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FINALIST: Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize 2021

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An ancient Mayan Temple. A dark family secret. A desperate fight for survival.

And an unexpected love that's worth fighting for.

When her father suddenly dies, Lily uncovers a hidden journal that reveals his secret past. Determined to get answers for her grieving family, she travels to Mexico refusing to believe she’s out of her depth.

Reluctantly, she partners with Carter, an older, grouchy nature photographer hiding secrets of his own.

Searching for Agulinta, the mysterious Mayan temple, they head into the Yucatan jungle with their overweight guide and his prized pet rooster. Lily expects to encounter wild animals, intense humidity and a brutal hike. But she didn’t foresee Carter being such a pain in the butt, and she certainly didn't expect her guide to die.

Lost and alone, Lily and Carter stumble across something they should never have seen and with armed bandits chasing them, her quest for answers becomes a desperate fight for survival.

Will Agulinta be the key to their survival? Or will Carter and Liliana become victims to the cruel relentless jungle and the evil men hunting them down?

This is a thrilling action adventure romance featuring a feisty heroine who’s not afraid of anyone, a grumpy hero who doesn’t believe in love, and a plucky rooster that tags along for the ride.

"Such a beautifully written, in depth novel full of emotion. I often found myself either laughing out loud, holding my breath or wiping my tears. It was full of suspense, angst and pure heartache. Sheer perfection."⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Gayle

"There’s much to love about DEADLY TWIST. A family mystery, Yucatan jungles, newly discovered ruins, and a fight to survive odds continually stacked against our main characters. Then mix it up with occasional humor, a feisty rooster, and a hero/heroine who needed each other for more than just making it out of the jungle alive. Adventure romance at it's best."⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Monica McCabe


  • ISBN: 9781923194113
  • SIZE: 5 X 8
  • PAGE COUNT: 348 Pages
  • GENRE - Romantic Suspense

FAQS - Chapter look inside

“What’re you doing?” Lily lunged at her bag.

“We go in my car. I’m your guide."

“You are?” She released the strap and squinted against the blazing sunshine. “But the email said my guide’s name was Miguel.”

“Yes, it was. But he . . . had accident. I take you now.”

“Oh . . . so you know how to get to Agulinta Temple?”

“Of course. I go there three times now. I know good shortcut too.”

His lopsided grin didn’t instill any confidence, but she was far too invested to cancel. Her mother depended on her. Backing down was not an option.

Otomi opened the car door with a weird grin that wasn’t exactly welcoming.

Lily climbed into the back seat and jolted back. “Jesus, Carter! What’re you doing here?”

“This time it’s you following me.” He grinned.

“Pardon?” She plonked her satchel next to his pack on the seat between them.

“Otomi told me your guide was hurt last night. So, he asked if you could come with us instead.”
Lily’s mind flashed to her attacker. Was he my intended guide? But he looked so young. In an attempt to calm her swirling thoughts, she opened the side zipper of her satchel and fished out her sunglasses.

“Or you can wait until your guide is available.” Carter’s Australian accent seemed stronger this morning.

“No . . . I, um, I can’t.” She sighed and put her glasses on. “Thank you.”

He nodded. “You’re welcome.”

Otomi opened the driver’s-side door and tossed a large chicken onto the front passenger seat. The bird shook its plump body, casting rust-colored feathers about the taxi.

“What the hell?” Lily scowled.

“Sorry.” Otomi’s grin said he wasn’t sorry at all. “My wife make me take Pompa. But don’t worry, he be good.”

Carter’s huge smile confirmed he was enjoying her reaction.
She swallowed back her objection and returned his smile. “Of course, bring the chicken.”

Otomi slid into the driver’s seat and shut his door. “Not chicken. Rooster.”

The car kicked into gear and they sped through town as if mobsters were behind them. At each building along the way, the pairs of elderly men sitting on the balconies followed the car’s progress.

Where the main street ended, the dense vegetation began. Dark shadows and earthy jungle scents enveloped the car, and a kaleidoscope of green hues was displayed in every direction.

Sensing Carter’s eyes on her, she spun to him. If he was embarrassed to be caught staring, he didn’t show it.
“I guess we’re going to be travel companions for a couple of days.” She couldn’t decide if that was good or bad.

Carter picked at his fingernail. “Guess we are. Have you been to Agulinta yet?”

“No, first time. You?”

“First time too.” He huffed. “We’re both Agulinta virgins.”

She wrinkled her nose. “That’s one way to put it.

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