Photographer Kayli Heddon is sent on an airboat tour of the Everglades to do a controversial photo-essay for the governor’s re-election campaign. The tour’s scheduled guide gets sidetracked, and he coerces his cousin — sugar plantation owner Skye Landers — into taking his place and guiding the government biologists and photographer on the two-day safari.
Kayli’s ex-boyfriend, Clay Jameson — the governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff — isn’t buying her story about a routine assignment and shows up unexpectedly to tag along on her tour. Jameson and Landers immediately butt heads, and Kayli can’t keep them from bickering anymore than she can quell her mounting agitation with Jameson or her inexplicable attraction to her enigmatic guide. She thinks Landers is just her Seminole airboat guide and wants to call the shots. Landers is used to giving orders, not taking them, and the two lock horns in the famed River of Grass.
Since you really don’t care for me reminiscing about my youth in Florida, I will say that the scenes with Clay were either hysterically funny or just so frustrating that I wanted to be there to shake some sense into him. Skye and Kayli alternated being really good together or being too tied up to their pride to get through all of each other’s baggage. I have to admit, I spent the first half of the book thinking ‘where’s the sunscreen? They have bug spray, why haven’t they even put on sunscreen?’ This story seems to have it all: Gators, banana spiders, drug runners, machetes and guns, my favorite was the ever mystical Uncle Wren and panther. Skye and Kayli did eventually admit to themselves and each other they were in love, which didn’t happen until the very end. Ms. McCarty wrote a good story, but she wrote an incredible Save the Everglades book!