Photographer Kayli Heddon has been given the biggest assignment of her career -- a photo essay on the Everglades Restoration the Florida governor intends to use in his re-election campaign. A special airboat safari is arranged, so Kayli can get her pictures. What she doesn't count on is being stranded alone in the Everglades with her handsome and enigmatic airboat guide. Kayli is forced to learn some tough lessons. Trust means everything in the dangerous River of Grass, and a skilled partner can make all the difference in your survival.
Skye Landers takes the airboat safari gig as a favor to his cousin who is called out of town. Skye doesn't expect the governor's photographer to catch his eye, but Kayli Heddon is unlike any woman he has ever met. He knows he should keep his distance, but common sense goes out the window whenever he gets near her. Trouble is, Kayli thinks honesty is the most important thing in a relationship -- any relationship -- and Skye Landers is a fraud. When secrets surface from Skye's past, Kayli and Skye are soon on the run from more than just alligators.
Landers pulled back a palm frond and nodded silently toward the clearing beyond. Kayli eased forward to peer over his shoulder. His unique scent of male, sunscreen, and cologne assailed her senses and left her light-headed.
She blinked and caught a blur of white. A wood stork stood near the trunk of a small live oak and rocked slightly in place. Landers turned his head, his face inches from hers. She concentrated on the bird; she could feel him wanting her to notice something.
"Oh my gosh," she whispered. The bird stirred at the sound. "He's got a hook stuck in his beak."
She could feel Landers nod. His scent seduced at this close range, and she wanted to scream at the sudden desire to wrap it around her like a cloak. One day out in the sun and she had completely lost her mind. She shook her head hard.
"What?" he whispered softly.
"Nothing. Can you help him, Landers?"
A smile twitched at one corner of his mouth. "How do you know it's a him?"
She fought the continuing flush at his nearness and gave a devilish grin. "No self-respecting female wood stork would eat something with a fish hook in it," she whispered back. "She'd check her food first."
His jaw dropped, and she wanted to scream in exultation until she saw the grin start and his eyes darken. Apprehension sapped her mirth. Her mouth went bone-dry. Twelve inches separated his lips from hers. Not far in the grand scheme of things.
He shifted. Ten inches separated them.
She hazarded a brief glance at his eyes. All dark, no color.
"When are you going to call me Skye?" His voice sounded husky.
The blur of white snagged their simultaneous attentions. The stork hopped, and closer inspection showed monofilament line dangled from the hook and twisted around the bird's legs, leaving him nothing but an awkward hop for locomotion.
Kayli stifled a gasp.
"He hasn't been like that long," Landers said, watching her expression.
She couldn't say whether the sudden twist in her stomach came from fear for the wounded stork or fear of falling for Landers. This man could read her mind, and that alone should scare the devil out of her.
"How do you know?" she managed to ask and kept her eyes focused hard on the bird. She felt him turn.
"Because he'd have starved by now. Wading birds that can't walk and stir up the bottom sediments for food soon starve." His face was close enough she could feel the change in temperature against her cheek. Her insides felt like jelly, and she imagined the press of her lips against the sultry mouth waiting only inches from hers.
You don't really have a boyfriend, her heart reasoned.
Her better judgment prodded her with the argument she had, in fact, convinced this gorgeous man she did have a boyfriend. Would he think her a loose woman if she kissed him now? She knew deep down Landers waited for her to turn and face him, but at this close range she didn't dare. She was unprepared to cross the invisible line. Even the bird had shifted to stare in their direction, and his tiny dark eyes begged for help.
"Please help him." Her eyes stayed on the distressed bird.
"Skye," he whispered in her ear. "Please help him, Skye."
Posted by Sall Pink Reviews on 23rd Feb 2013
McCarty pens an intriguing tale of adventure and love with "Everglades." Kayli Heddon is a photographer on a mission, but will her Seminole guide, Skye Landers, derail her planned out life?
Set in the Florida everglades, Kayli is given an assignment by her uncle, the governor – capture the beauty of the everglades. He has a proposal to help the everglades environment. Upon her arrival, Kayli meets her guide, Skye Landers. Kayli and Skye share an instant attraction, but both try to deny it.
Kayli sets out on her expedition with guides from the water district and Clay, a man she used to date. With so many different personalities, there are a ton of clashes and misunderstandings.
While exploring the everglades, Kayli and Skye grow closer, but danger lurks just around the corner when one of the Skye's cousins is coerced into helping drug dealers. Can Skye keep Kayli safe? Does their romance even stand a chance when both Kayli and Skye can't be honest with each other?
McCarty's writing is sharp and engaging. The plot is interesting and the story educates the reader in a natural, organic way. If anything, there didn't appear to be a solid resolution regarding Clay's actions, but that was minor for me.
The characters are deliciously human. Skye shows true heroism in the face of danger, while Kayli finds an inner strength and courage she didn't realize she possessed. Kayli's and Skye's pride gets in their ways at times, and both need to overcome this if they want a real future together.
The most rewarding part was the ending. With an unexpected twist, a lot of elements came together. The end was full of excitement, adventure and mystery which kept me on the edge of my seat.
The novel is sweet for romance readers with Kayli and Skye sharing several kisses. Overall, "Everglades" is a heartwarming story that will have readers believing in the power of love.