If you’ve never had the FBI ring your doorbell, thank your lucky stars. I’ve met with them several times while being investigated and now I worry that they are going to seize my computer and flash drives, based on my Internet search history.
Yes, I have reason to worry. While writing Explosive Combination, I was researching explosives (you could have guessed that one, huh) and downloading maps of Colombia for that book. At the same time I was trying to find the best way to blow up a Cessna jet for a different book. I also had SEAL websites open and was trying to determine the ten largest cities in the U.S.A. (Getting the picture here?)
I’m sure my name pinged somewhere in the bowels of the J. Edgar Hoover Building in D.C. and they pulled up my real name and thick file. When the lowly tech looked at it, he probably laughed, counted the number of guns I own, shook his head and refiled it so he could go find a real bad guy. At least I hope that’s what happened.
Before I continue, I need to tell you a little about myself. I went to college intending to be a Navy public affairs officer upon graduation so I was in NROTC. That’s when I met my first FBI agent up close and personal. To become a military officer, you must be investigated and vetted. All I remember about that encounter was how scared I was as a seventeen-year-old from a tiny town in upstate New York and how I hoped my four, vindictive brothers wouldn’t say anything to jeopardize my chances for the secret clearance I needed.
Four years later, I was a lot smarter. The Navy had cancelled my contract as part of the post-Vietnam drawdown, I was engaged to Macho Marine and they were investigating him, not me. I smiled sweetly and answered all the agent’s questions while trying desperately not to drool. He was freaking hot. He had a face that belonged on magazine covers and a body sculpted by hours in the gym. To top it off, he was a nice guy and only a few years older than me. We joked and talked casually long after the official questioning was completed.
Fast forward through several MM promotions and at least two more FBI vetting procedures. By that time I was getting good at this whole interrogation thing.
I owned an advertising and public relations agency in southern Georgia. My business had grown through word of mouth so when a plantation owner introduced me to his Georgia Tech roommate, I thought nothing of it.
The man was from Colombia, an Olympian shooter, and was so serious about his growing import-export business. He was trying to help the people in his country by importing generators since electricity was rare and unstable if available. He exported flowers, primarily to the U.S.A.
I used these ideas in Explosive Combination. The book takes place in Colombia and my antagonist was once idealistic about changing the agricultural focus of the country.
The new client wanted me to come to Colombia and oversee the photo and video shoot for the promotional materials for his side business; an exclusive trip for high-end sportsmen that included a dove hunt, deep sea fishing and mountain stream fly fishing. I’d negotiated in a side trip to the emerald mines and a few days at a beach resort on the Caribbean Sea. Sounded like the prefect trip to me.
Macho Marine already had orders for our next move which required a higher level of security, beyond his current top secret clearance.
Enter the FBI once again.
When the cordial agent, who was obviously nearing retirement, asked us if we had plans to travel outside the U.S.A., I excitedly told him about my planned trip to Colombia. He closed his little black notebook and stood. Shaking his head, he announced, “If she goes to Colombia, you’ll never get this clearance and you’ll never be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Your career will end.”
Needless to say, I never made it to Colombia, but it’s on my bucket list.
As I researched the country for Explosive Combination, many of the sites and cities I’d planned to visit all those years ago came back to me. Although economically and politically the country is much more stabilized than it was, it’s still a dangerous place.
In Explosive Combination, ATF Special Agent Harper Tambini is kidnapped by a Colombian drug lord and forced to use her explosives knowledge to kill his competition before she can escape with the help of undercover CIA agent Rafe Silva. As they make their way through the rivers, mountains, and jungles, their desire for each other detonates. But Harper reminds Rafe of his murdered fiancée and the shadow world he wants to leave. Harper learned the hard way that men never stay, so now she doesn’t keep them around long enough to see if the sparks can light a fire that will last forever. In their short time together, can they crystallize a relationship, or will it all blow up?
Harper heard the click of her bedroom door unlocking. Knowing her role as his pretend lover, she ran to the door. “Who’s there?’
“It’s me.” Rafe strolled in as if he had the right to her room, and her.
In nothing but dark silk boxers riding low on narrow hips, he was outlined in yellow by the dim hall lights. His broad shoulders filled the doorway. As he moved toward her, light caught raised pectoral muscles and flashes of well-defined six-pack abs. His swagger defined testosterone in motion. He was a specimen of pure male confidence and dominance.
He addressed the guards at the door. “Take a break. I’ll let you know when you need to come back. I’m going to enjoy my woman for a while.” He left the door open enough for his guards to watch as he claimed Harper, yanking her into his arms and covering her mouth with his.
His kiss was heaven and sin wrapped in one hard body. And he was hard everywhere.
Rafe slipped his hands around her, and she felt their heat through the thin silk of her nightgown. Intensity built quickly within her, and she grabbed his head, shoving her fingers through his silky dark curls. He pulled her forcefully against his body, but she didn’t resist. No man had ever made her feel this way so fast.
At the click of the door, Harper tried to shove Rafe back, but his solid body didn’t move. She had to get away from him before she lost her senses, so she stepped out of his embrace.
“That should get them talking.” Her voice was roughened, but she kept it low. “The whole compound will know you were in my room by breakfast.” She walked over to the nightstand and pulled a bottle of chilled water from an ice bucket. She needed to cool down, from the inside out. She cracked the seal, chugged down half of it, and then set it on the nightstand. “I’m going to bed…and to sleep.”
Separately, Harper Tambini and Rafe Silva are lethal…together, they’re explosive.
ATF Special Agent Harper Tambini is kidnapped by a Colombian drug lord and forced to use her explosives knowledge to kill his competition before she can escape with the help of undercover CIA agent Rafe Silva. As they make their way through the rivers, mountains and jungles, their desire for each other detonates. But Harper reminds Rafe of his murdered fiancée, and the shadow world he wants to leave. Harper learned the hard way that men never stay, so now she doesn’t keep them around long enough to see if the sparks can light a fire that will last forever. In their short time together, can they crystalize a relationship, or will it all blow up?
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