Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

Today, award-winning and bestselling author Tim Smith is guesting.  He’s here to talk about his latest release Out of the Shadows, book eight in the Nick Seven series, a mystery/thriller romance.

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Thank you for stopping by to check out my newest romantic spy thriller, “Out of the Shadows” (Nick Seven, Book 8). This is another breezy adventure set in the exotic Florida Keys, with interesting characters, vivid atmosphere, snappy dialogue, fast-paced action, and a sensuous romance between the two leads.

“What does a former spy have to do to get some peace and quiet in his personal corner of paradise? In the laidback ease of the Florida Keys, Nick Seven has carved out a life far removed from the intrigue that once defined his life in the CIA. He runs his trendy club on the Gulf, keeps a low profile, and enjoys the tropical setting with Felicia, his Barbadian lover and former co-worker. After he sees a woman being killed at a resort, Nick finds himself thrust into an investigation where there is no corpse and no evidence of a crime. The police are busy with a string of high-profile home burglaries and don’t have time to look for his imaginary victim, so it’s up to Nick to investigate. Then French con artist Marco St. Julian unexpectedly surfaces from Nick’s past. Are the incidents related? And what part does the wealthy young trophy wife of a convicted financial scammer play in all of this? Throw in a career-hungry FBI agent, a mysterious Cuban crook and an ex-patriate Irish gunrunner, and it’s more than just another day at the beach.”

This year marks my 20th anniversary as a published author, and “Out of the Shadows” is my 29th book. Not all of them were part of this series of Florida-based spy romances, though. I have a second ongoing series about a former cop turned private eye named Vic Fallon, who operates out of the Lake Erie town of Sandusky, Ohio. I’ve also written several short holiday romances, and another series of summer beach reads under the umbrella title “Key West Heat.”

With so many books on the market, I’m often asked where the ideas come from. I wish I had an answer for that, but the truth is that they just pop into my head when I least expect them to. I might be reading a news item or watching a TV show and think “What if we did this instead? Which one of my characters would be good for this?” Some of the stories were inspired by actual life events or an experience someone shared with me.

The basic elements of “Out of the Shadows” were inspired by some classic films, like “To Catch a Thief” and “Charade.” There’s also a ripped-from-the-headlines element involving the young trophy widow of a convicted financial scammer and sex trafficker who was found hanging in his jail cell before he could name names. It isn’t the central plot, but a juicy side story inspired by actual events. You can fill in the names. To embellish the Keys atmosphere, I included a quirky charter boat skipper who may remind film buffs of a gruff Irish shark hunter from the movie “Jaws.”

Of course, there are the usual lead characters, Nick Seven and Felicia Hagens. They both left the CIA to find peace in paradise, but somehow never manage to do so, thanks to past events intruding at unwanted times. They still generate more heat than Key West in July with their sensuous romantic banter and teasing.

If you’re in the mood to chase away the winter blahs and blues with an escape to a sultry climate, join Nick and Felicia as they outwit the bad guys in “Out of the Shadows.” I think you’ll enjoy the trip!

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Title: Out of the Shadows
Series: Nick Seven, Book Eight
Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Romance
Author: Tim Smith
Heat Rating: 4 Flames (open-door sex, explicit language used)
Release Date: October 28, 2022
Length: 62,000 words/240 pages
Publisher: eXtasy Books

What does a former spy have to do to get some peace and quiet in his personal corner of paradise?

Blurb:  In the laidback ease of the Florida Keys, Nick Seven has carved out a life far removed from the intrigue that once defined his life in the CIA. He runs his trendy club on the Gulf, keeps a low profile, and enjoys the tropical setting with Felicia, his Barbadian lover and former co-worker.

After he sees a woman being killed at a resort, Nick finds himself thrust into an investigation where there is no corpse and no evidence of a crime. The police are busy with a string of high-profile home burglaries and don’t have time to look for his imaginary victim, so it’s up to Nick to investigate.

Then French con artist Marco St. Julian unexpectedly surfaces from Nick’s past. Are the incidents related? And what part does the wealthy young trophy wife of a convicted financial scammer play in all of this?

Throw in a career-hungry FBI agent, a mysterious Cuban crook and an ex-patriate Irish gunrunner, and it’s more than just another day at the beach.

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eXtasy Books | Amazon

Nick stood at the railing overlooking the Gulf, staring at the calm blue waters. A flamingo lazily walked along the rocky jetty that protruded near the boat dock into the water, its keen eyes alert for any small fish careless enough to swim too close to shore. Nick’s focus may have been idle but his mind was active, processing what they had learned earlier. Why would a slick thief like Marco St. Julian hang around with the widow of an accused swindler and sex trafficker? I’m sure Lauren Scott has enough money to tempt him, but what else does she have that would whet his appetite?

He came back to the present when he felt Felicia’s arm around his waist. He pulled her close and she rested her head on his chest.

“Whatcha thinkin’ about?” she asked.

“Nothing special.” He hesitated. “Actually, that isn’t true. I was thinking about how lucky I am, having you in my life.”

“What’s that they say about great minds thinkin’ alike?”

“That’s on your mind, too?”

Felicia placed her palm on Nick’s cheek and peered into his eyes. “Every day, tough guy. Every day.”

Nick gave her a firm hug and inhaled her musky scent. It was an erotic combination of Giorgio Red and her natural body chemistry that always kickstarted his libido, sending it into occasionally inconvenient directions. He pulled her a bit closer.

“Don’t ever change that cologne.”

Felicia giggled. “You like that, do you?”

“Always have. You know what we should do? Have a nice dinner with a couple of drinks and enjoy this beautiful evening we’ve been treated to.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

They went to Nick’s private table. A server came by to take their drink orders then returned in a few minutes with a Rum Runner for Felicia and a scotch and soda for Nick. They placed dinner orders then settled back to enjoy the sunset.

“You never get tired of lookin’ at this, do you?” Felicia asked.

“Never. There’s something mysterious about sunsets, the way they change color depending on their atmospheric mood.” He pointed to a dark cloud formation far away over the Gulf. “See that cloud in the middle over there? What does it look like to you?”

Felicia stared at it for a bit. “A seahorse. What do you think it looks like?”

“A woman riding a unicorn.”

Felicia laughed. “Seriously? Where did you get that?”

“I see a human shape that looks like it’s sitting on a horse, but there’s something protruding from the horse’s forehead.”

Felicia sighed and shook her head. “I worry about you sometimes.”

Nick sipped his drink. “You must’ve seen some beautiful sunsets on Barbados.”

“Mm-hmm. That was one of my favorite times of the day.” She smiled. “When I was a teenager and I wanted to go to the beach to hang out with my friends, my folks always made me take a couple of my younger sisters or brothers. I think they did it so they could have some peace and quiet for a little while.”

“You’re the oldest of seven kids, right?”

“Yeah, and because of that, I always got stuck with daycare duty.” She glanced down and smiled shyly. “I wouldn’t trade any of those times, though.”

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Tim Smith is an award-winning bestselling author of romantic mystery/thrillers and contemporary erotic romance. His books featuring former spy Nick Seven have garnered several awards and international critical acclaim. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and photographer. He can often be found in the Florida Keys, doing research between parasailing and seeking out the perfect Mojito.

Find Tim:  Web Site | Facebook | Goodreads | BookBub | Linked In | Amazon | eXtasy Books

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