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Hidden in the Everglades (Love Inspired Suspense) Mass Market Paperback – September 6, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
Book 3 of 6 in the Guardians, Inc. Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Margaret Daley, an award-winning author of eighty-three books, has been married for over forty years and is a firm believer in romance and love. When she isn’t traveling, she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread, and corralling her three cats that think they rule her household. To find out more about Margaret visit her website at http://www.margaretdaley.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

A wave broke and rolled across the white sandy beach, the warm water bubbling around Kyra Morgan's feet before receding back into the Gulfof Mexico. The sun peeked over the tops of the palm trees behind her, flooding the day with light. Her favorite time, at dawn when all was still right with the world. Before her day began.

The screech of a seagull pierced the tranquillity. A momentary disturbance until everything went back to a calmness that she'd needed after spending six straight years establishing Guardians, Inc. into a premier international company of female bodyguards. Drawing in a soothing breath, she relished the scent of the sea mingling with the sweet fragrance of the flowers her dad had planted right before his death a few years ago.

This was her time to rest and relax. One week in Flamingo Cay, Florida, where she'd grown up. One week of no work. No emergencies. No—

A click and muffled pop invaded her tranquillity.

Sounds she'd heard as a police officer.

She pivoted, her survival instinct kicking into play as she raced to her beach bag a few yards away. When she reached it, she plunged her hand inside and grasped the handle of her Glock while panning the house next door where the sound of a gun with a silencer going off had come from.

Another pop invaded the early-morning quiet. She started moving toward the noise. Every sense locked on finding the source of the danger.

Suddenly a young man burst out of the hibiscus hedge edging the neighbor's property, staggering toward her, his face clenched in pain. He clutched his stomach, blood pouring out between his fingers. Stopping, he fell to his knees, a plea in his eyes as they homed in on Kyra.

"Help us."

Us? Kyra glanced around as she covered the short distance to the young man. He collapsed to the sand, his eyes wide-open, giving her the dead man's stare she'd seen countless times as a homicide detective. She felt for his pulse and found none.

She pulled her cell from her shorts pocket and dialed 911. "Shots have been fired at 523 Pelican Lane. One man down—dead."

Another shot, coming from inside the house, sent a spurt of adrenaline through her veins. "Hurry." She disconnected, stuffed her phone into her pocket and ran toward the neighbor's back deck—the sliding glass door was partially open. The house was up for sale. She'd noticed the sign out front when she'd arrived yesterday evening. She hadn't thought anyone was living there.

Every nerve tingled with the threat of danger, but she couldn't get the young man's plea out of her mind. Help us. Who else was in trouble?

As she neared the back that faced the water, she slowed, scanning the overgrown yard. The place had a vacant look to it, with no furniture on the deck. She ascended the stairs and crept toward the sliding glass door. Through it she looked inside. Totally empty.

When she stepped over the threshold into the living room, a large expanse of taupe-colored tiles, her heartbeat accelerated. She paused and listened for any noise that indicated where the killer was.

Silence.

Another pop echoed through the vacant house, coming from the hallway that led to the bedrooms. A scream cleaved the air. The sound of pounding footsteps racing down the corridor toward Kyra propelled her into action. She flattened herself against the wall, her gun up, her total concentration on the opening. Heart hammering against her rib cage, she waited.

A teenage girl burst out of the hall and darted across the room, blood on her hands and shirt, her features chiseled in fear. She glimpsed Kyra out of the corner of her eye and gasped, momentarily slowing. Their gazes connected for a few seconds. Kyra put her forefinger to her lips to indicate she keep quiet.

The intrusion of a deep gravelly voice saying, "You can't get away from me," leached the rest of the color from the teen's face. Her eyes grew huge. She sped toward the exit.

Kyra focused on the entrance into the living room while the racing footsteps of the girl resonated through the air. From the hallway a shot sounded, shattering the glass in the door. She glanced toward the girl to see her disappear down the stairs and into the backyard.

Any second she expected to see the killer burst into the living room to hunt down the teen and finish her off. Kyra stiffened, every muscle primed for action.

Five heartbeats later she knew something was wrong. She inched closer to the edge of the wall to peer into the corridor. The thundering in her head pulsated through her mind, sending out an alarm. One, two deep breaths and she swiveled out into the entrance, her Glock pointing toward the bedrooms. Emptiness taunted her.

Followed by a sliver of fear.

Had the killer sensed she was there waiting for him to appear? Did the girl's gasp alert him?

Maybe. Was he now lying in wait for her somewhere down this hall? Or did he flee out another way and was doubling around the house to go after the girl?

Each possibility only reinforced the peril. Kyra eased down the hall, approaching each room with caution. After a visual check from the doorway, she continued her search until she reached the last bedroom, its entrance wide-open. The silence lured her forward, at the same time cautioning her against the action.

The memory of the fright on the teen's face propelled her toward the room. The girl was no match for a killer. Swinging into the bedroom, every sense homed outward, she scanned the area. A young man lay face up, his eyes closed, his chest barely rising and falling. Blood pooled on the tile floor by him, in front of an open sliding glass door, as a soft breeze blew the curtains.

Had the killer already escaped? Or was he in the bathroom or closet? She slunk along the wall to the first door and threw it wide. After inspecting the empty closet, she quickly moved on. At the bathroom, the door was ajar, and she nudged it farther open. As soon as she assessed no threat, she hurried to the man on the floor to see if there was anything she could do.

Tattoos covering both arms and an elaborate black dagger inked on his neck, the victim, probably between eighteen and twenty-two, wore blue jeans, the bottoms encrusted with wet mud, and a snow-white T-shirt, now saturated with blood from multiple shots to his gut. In her line of work she'd seen lethal wounds. This was one of them.

She placed another call to 911 to let them know a person was critically injured in the bedroom of the vacant house and the shooter had fled the scene possibly pursuing a potential witness. As she hung up, a flash caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. Leaping to her feet, she saw a man dressed in camouflage plunge into the thick underbrush on the right side of the house—into the thicket that led to the swamp nearby.

Was he going after the girl to finish her off?

Kyra couldn't let that happen. She'd done all she could for the young man, but maybe she could protect the teenage girl from getting killed, too.

She rushed out onto the small deck at the side of the house and scoured the area for any sign of an accomplice or the witness, then followed the assailant into the tangle of vegetation.

Dr. Michael Hunt scrubbed his hands down his face, trying to keep awake after pulling an all-nighter with a patient, a mother who finally delivered her baby boy at 5:13 a.m. this morning. Pouring his third mug of coffee, he wandered toward his bedroom to change, so he could turn around and go back to the clinic for today's appointments. At least his partner would be back from vacation to help take some of the load off.

The blare of a siren halted Michael's progress. He glanced toward the front of his house. The sound grew closer. Curiosity led him toward the entryway. He opened his door as two police cars passed his home on Pelican Lane and came to a stop five houses down from his place.

The old Patterson house? Was someone hurt? No one lived there. Hadn't for the past six months, according to his kid sister, Amy.

He heard the click of the back door and swiveled around, catching a glimpse of his youngest sister hurrying down the hallway. What was Amy doing up so early? She wasn't a morning person. He started forward to find out where she'd been when the shrill ring of his phone sliced through the silence.

Not far from the table in the entryway where it sat, he snatched up the receiver. "Hello."

"Dr. Hunt, this is Officer Wilson with Flamingo Cay Police. A man is injured at the Pattersons' place. He was shot. An ambulance won't get here for at least fifteen more minutes from Clear Springs. Since you only live—"

"I'll be there." Michael grabbed his black bag from a chair nearby and headed out the front door.

The urgency in the officer's voice prodded him to quicken his pace. As he neared the vacant house, Levi Wilson came around from the side, a frown on his face.

He waved Michael toward him. "There's a dead man on the beach, but there's one in the bedroom alive. Barely."

"Shot where?"

"In the gut."

Michael rushed up the steps to the small deck on the side of the house. Just inside the sliding glass door lay a young man, faceup. He'd seen his fair share of fatal gunshot wounds. This one looked bad.

Michael knelt on the tile floor next to the injured young man who moaned, fixing his eyes on Michael. The young man's eyes fluttered right before his head lolled to the side and the breath went out of him.

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Product Details

  • Series: Love Inspired Suspense
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Love Inspired (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373444575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373444571
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,861,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Margaret has been writing for over 35 years. She started writing in the late 1970s because she wanted to see if she could put a whole story down on paper. That book is still in the drawer and will never see the light of day. But she was able to finish a book, which was her goal.

She decided after that to get some help, and joined a writers' roundtable where she met once a week with some fellow writers who went over each other's work. She sold her first book in the early 1980s and has been selling ever since. She loves to tell a story. When she was a little girl she made up stories while playing with her dolls. On long trips with her family she would weave a story about the surrounding countryside. From those early beginnings grew a love of entertaining people with a story. She has sold nearly 5 million books worldwide with over 90 books.

When she went away to college, she met her husband, Mike, to whom she has been married for over 40 years. He is her support and her best friend. She has always felt she was the luckiest woman the day she bumped into him on campus.

When they married, they moved to Tulsa, where she finished her degree in special education and began teaching. She loved teaching and working with students with special needs. They helped her remember what is important in life. She also participated in the Special Olympics as a coach with her students and has attended the State Games in May for years. Recently she retired from teaching to write full-time.

Besides teaching and writing, she is also a mother of one. Her son, Shaun, loves animals and there have been times they could have their own zoo at the house. The most interesting pet Shaun had is a leopard tortoise, which could outlive him. She has joked that his children will be inheriting a tortoise. He is married with four daughters.

When she isn't working, she loves to read, travel, and go to lunch and a movie with a friend. She has been to many countries in the world and loves to meet new people. Her favorite place is Tahiti -- Bora Bora. It is as beautiful as all the pictures portray it.

In her travels she has found herself in some interesting situations. Once, in London, she got caught in the middle of a protest that later turned into a riot over poll taxes. In the rain forest of Costa Rica, she was covered from head to toe in mud and ruined a perfectly good outfit. She should have remembered it was going to be wet since it was called a rain forest. In Rio, she and a friend were left with no means to get back to the hotel on the other side of the city. Neither Margaret nor her companion spoke Portuguese and there wasn't a cab in sight. Thankfully one finally pulled up to the curb at the museum because she couldn't see herself hiking across Rio to get back to the hotel at night.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I started reading Hidden in the Everglades, by Margaret Daley, yesterday morning, Saturday, 9/17/11, and just finished it 9/18/11 at 3:00. I had a hard time putting this book down. It was so exciting, wanting to continue to find out what was going to happen, how were they going to find those missing. Don't want to spoil it for anyone, so won't give out any information in the story, but it kept me on the edge. She has a great way of keeping your interest right from the very beginning. I believe the book would make a great movie. This is one book I won't forget about. Margaret Daley is an excellent writer, lover her suspense stories she writes. This tops them all. Juanita Wickey
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the third book of Margaret's series Guardians, Inc. It is a "can't put it down until you finish" book because you are not sure how the hero, heroine and two teenagers are going to survive the killer who is after them.

The heroine ~ Kyra Morgan ~ is the head of a bodyguard business in Dallas. But now she is on vacation in Flamingo Cay, Florida when suddenly she finds herself trying to rescue and save two teenage girls who have stumbled into a very dangerous and deadly situation. They are hiding out in the Everglades because they are being hunted by a killer who killed two boys that they were with when they discovered a large amount of money and plans that indicated someone was going to blow up some building while a conference was going on.

Michael Hunt is a doctor who is temporarily living in Flamingo Cay and he is only there while his sister is out of the country on a mission to take care of his niece ~ Amy. Once Amy and her friend disappeared he enlisted the help of Kyra to find the girls and help protect them. Michael is familiar with the Everglades and has an idea where they can find the two girls but once they find them and take them home they are still not totally save because one of the policemen in the town is connected with the killer and is keeping tabs on them so that they can be killed. Michael and Kyra don't know who to trust because the girls didn't know which policeman was the one after them.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
LOVE the SERIES, VERY VERY sad to find out it was the last in the series!!! But they were all good additions like this new one. Margaret Daley does a good job with the last book, portraying tough emotions to advance from.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Guardians, Inc.
Book 3

Kyra Morgan used to be a cop, but now runs her own all-woman bodyguard agency. She's on a much needed break, but what she thinks is going to be a relaxing vacation turns deadly when two men are murdered almost right in front of her. She soon finds herself int he middle of a murderous chase as the remaining witness, a sixteen year old girl, is running for her life. She assists her brother, Dr. Michael Hunt, in finding her and getting her to safety.

She had known Michael years ago. He was the kid brother of her best friend who used to bug her. Now, still five years younger than her, he had a different appeal. She was falling in love with him! But the good doctor had his own issues. He was burned out from doctoring and had lost his girlfriend in a car accident. Now he was taking over the raising of his teenage sister after his older sister went into missions.

The action took place in the everglades. It wasn't as exciting as I expected, but it was still interesting to read how the rescue took place. The conclusion was a bit weak, compared to other LIS novels I've read. The romance was a bit stifled, but the two got together at the end, so I guess that made up for some.

I really liked Amy (?), Michael's sister who was running. She had it rough - lost both of her parents when when she was quite young, being raised by her sister, than having to adjust when her brother took over her raising. She did a lot of things wrong, but I'm sure her brother sternly disciplined her in the end and they all lived happily ever after...
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Format: Kindle Edition
I needed a book to read that would fulfill the newest book cover requirement (FOG) called for in my Goodreads Book Cover Bingo challenge. So, I scanned my bookshelves, both real and virtual, and came up with a few possibilities. I am really glad that I chose to read hidden in the Everglades. Not only does the cover have some really good swamp fog, but the story inside is a very well-written one.

Hidden in the Everglades has a strong female main character. I wasn't sure when I read the back of the book if Kyra would be a really tough woman who felt she didn't need a man. That isn't the case at all. She is plenty tough and a well trained former police officer. However, she has a well balanced soft side, which is definitely needed in a book with suspense AND romance.

On the flip side, the hero who hires Kyra is no wimp. However, trying to find his missing niece and keep her alive after she witnesses a murder was not part of the training he received when he became a doctor! Kyra and Michael know each other from way back. As feelings resurface, there are issues that Michael must overcome before he can truly open himself up to the possibility of caring for Kyra.

There is plenty of action and suspense in this story to keep you reading till the end. I enjoyed the swamp setting, as I have not read a lot of books set in this area. I felt that the author created interesting, well-rounded characters and an exciting storyline.
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