by Elisabeth Naughton
Advanced Reading Copy
Published: September 12, 2013, Season Publishing
My rating: 4 of 5 ⭐
When salvage expert Thad Leighton and archeologist Maren Hudson are both conned into returning to the Yucatan in search of an elusive treasure that cost a team member's life nine years ago, neither is particularly happy to be there. They certainly would have gladly avoided seeing each other. Things were not left very friendly when they parted ways and both held secrets they were eager to hang on to.
Maren's treasure hunting father had feigned illness to force Maren's hand, leaving her daughter behind in the care of her mother and her assistant. She quickly discovers the ruse and prepares to make a quick turnaround home, not prepared to get sucked into her father's destructive obsession once again. But one late night phonecall convinces her to stay, albeit unwillingly.
The murder of his brother, nine years ago, is what propelled Thad to return to the same hunt in the Yucatan. He still carries guilt over what happened to his younger sibling and would like nothing better than to see the hunt through this time and perhaps get some closure. He had not expected that seeing Maren again would knock the wind right out of him. Her effect on him had not changed one bit, if anything, she was more beautiful now than before and he had a hard time remembering why it was he had been in such a hurry to run from her.
Maren is hesitant to be accepting of Thad's advances, after all, he left her high and dry before, without returning any of her calls. Not only that, she had to be careful not to drop her guard around him and keep her secrets close to her chest. Her daughter's safety depended on it. But there was no denying the chemistry and they are inevitably drawn together, while Thad slowly peels away Maren's protective layers.
When a cave exploration goes awry, and the two of them are stranded in the jungle facing all types of danger, Maren lets slip the one secret she had been desperate to hang on to. But is only the first of many. As more secrets are exposed, it becomes clear how much danger really is out there......
What a ride!!! Great entertainment, it has adventure, intrigue, drama, romance and suspense!! And it ends with some phenomenal plot twists. I even has a paranormal flavour although 'mystical' is probably a better term to use and a flavour is all it is.....
I'd say this is exactly what a good, fast-paced adventure read should be like. Hits all the senses just right and has all the required elements nicely balanced.
The characters are interesting, quite a cast actually. Not particularly deeply explored, but sufficiently so, that their placement in the story is easily understood and explained. The only one we had to wait for some context for was Maren, obviously, since we only found out the full extent of her 'secrets' along with everyone else. Once we did, things became a little more clear about her motivations, since there is absolutely nothing any of us wouldn't do for our children. Although.......Maren's parents took a while to come to that conclusion!
The weaving of the story line with history and folklore was very well-done and an interesting deepening of the plot. It also brought out the slightly 'mystical' aspect, which was as I stated before, simply a touch here or there. Nothing overwhelming and easily dismissed for those not willing to buy in to anything not firmly rooted in science.
✨A thrilling, seductive and well written page-turner that keeps you guessing till the last page!!✨
**ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Season Publishing in return for an honest review.**