BY: PINKIE PARANYA
She was in Brazil on a secret mission for her father…
A quiet, conservative teacher who’s lived in one small Virginian town all her life, Marisa Elliott plunges into a desperate adventure when she meets Scott Dunbar a devilishly handsome pilot, who is apparently down on his luck. Marissa tells him she’s searching for her Confederate ancestors who fled to Brazil during the Civil War. She persuades him to take her far into the jungles of the Amazon, but she doesn’t tell him her relatives have offered to give back the bank money they absconded with so long ago—money her father wants her to bring home to clear the Elliott name.
He had an agenda all his own….
Once burned in a bad marriage, Scott Dunbar hates commitment of any kind. To him, work is a four-letter word. He wants Marissa, though he knows she’s not the kind of girl to settle for a one night stand. Or is she? He’s hiding something, but then, so is she. He just can’t figure out what. Is she really here to find her missing relatives? Or is her mission something much more sinister?
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: Although I prefer erotic romances to sweet ones, Amazon Treasure by Pinkie Paranya wasn’t half-bad. Paranya crafted her story with a killer plot, down-to-earth characters, and quite a few surprises. I’m a girl who likes my sex scenes hot and heavy, and those were sadly lacking, but Paranya more than made up for it with her vivid descriptions that plopped me right down in the jungles of the Amazon. Our two main characters, Marisa and Scott, are an unlikely match—a small-town, conservative schoolteacher and a rough and tumble, ex-pat pilot with a penchant for archeology and a thirst for danger—and for Marisa, of course. But our girl knows what she wants, or at least what she doesn’t want, which is a one-night stand—no matter how sexy and tempting Scott is. He thinks that’s a shame, and I tended to agree with him, though I can kind of see her point. Still, given a choice between a fling with a hunk and my virtue, I confess my virtue would probably lose. When the two bicker and she goes off on her own with just a native guide who doesn’t want to be there, things really get interesting.
The writing’s good, the story’s charming, and the plot’s got enough surprises to keep you happily turning pages. So grab a cup of tea, put dibs on your favorite spot on the couch, sit back, and enjoy Amazon Treasure!
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Amazon Treasure by Pinkie Paranya is a sweet, contemporary romantic suspense. I’d call it a romantic action/adventure, but I’m not sure that’s a legitimate genre. Still, when a woman goes off to Brazil seeking lost treasure, romantic suspense seems too mild a term. This novel has more of an Indiana Jones feeling to it than a normal romantic suspense. Our spunky heroine Marisa, an American small-town schoolteacher turned Brazilian treasure hunter, is totally out of her element. Not only is she ill equipped, mentally and physically, to go treasure hunting in the Amazon jungle, she hasn’t a clue how to handle Scott, the renegade pilot who agrees to fly her to there. I enjoyed watching these two interact, though I think I would have enjoyed it more if the story had been told from both Scott and Marisa’s points of view. Still, Paranya did a good job of showing the building romance between the two main characters.
I especially liked the way the author described Brazil. Her detailed descriptions and vivid scene settings made me feel like I’d been there. As I’ve always wanted to go to Brazil, but have never had the chance, this was a treat. If you’re in the mood for a sweet, intriguing romance, with plenty of action, but without all the sex and violence so common in novels today, Amazon Treasure is a good bet.
Marisa should have found her circumstances terrifying, but anger blinded her. The stolen money, the promised inheritance, her father’s constant doubts as to her ability to do anything on her own—none of these should have compelled her to come here. Impatiently, she tapped her boot on the macadam of the Brazilian airport. Why was it so difficult to hire a private plane to take her into the jungle of Mato Grosso? Here she was in Brasilia, the capital city, and she might as well have been invisible.
She’d spoken to one pilot after another. Polished, wearing suits and ties, they looked like businessmen from any American city. Most spoke varying degrees of English but could have spoken in Portuguese for all that it mattered. They looked her over with admiring stares, taking inexcusable liberties with their dark, liquid eyes, and then promptly turned away when she asked them about Mato Grosso.
What was her stubbornness costing this time? Coming here, so far from her comfortable niche, wasn’t the first time she had burned her bridges. Dabbing perspiration from her forehead, she remembered the cold, raw wind of winter pushing against her back as she left Virginia. Heat was better.
In the next hangar, Marisa spied a pair of broad shoulders connected to long, brown arms, leaning over scattered parts that could once have belonged to an airplane. She eyed the untidy pile of tools with distaste as she stepped over them, edging closer to the man.
“Excuse me. Do you speak English?” she asked.
The man turned slowly to face her. Marisa saw her own reflection in his rimless, aviator sunglasses. A tall, slender young woman, with honey-blonde hair escaping from its usual prim twist at the nape of her neck, wrinkled her nose at the image just as he removed the glasses. She was completely unprepared for the cool gray eyes fringed in dark lashes that returned her stare. The slight sprinkle of silver mixed with his almost-black hair gave him a certain dignity of appearance he probably didn’t deserve. His lips parted in a wide grin, and white teeth contrasted against the honey-nut tan of his face.
“Yep, I speak English.”
“Is this your employer’s plane?” She pointed to a shiny new craft near the rear of the hangar.
He looked puzzled for a moment, as if he didn’t understand her question and then down at his grease-stained hands and clothing. A dark blue T-shirt molded his chest, and his tanned legs protruded from cutoff jeans. “You might say that.”
It took him so long to answer she wanted to walk away. She felt bedraggled, grimy, discouraged, and plain tired. Her funds were too dangerously limited to let her stay in the city any length of time, waiting for someone to take her into the jungle.
“Is there any way I could speak to your boss?” She tried to match his easy nonchalance.
He scratched his chin reflectively, rasping the short, dark stubble, and further grating against her taut nerves. His expression reflected some secret amusement he apparently did not plan to share with her.
“I don’t see as it’s any of your business.” She struggled for composure. The oaf enjoyed her discomfort. Why let him get the better of the situation? Besides, he might be a pilot. He looked like a pilot.
“I need to get to Mato Grosso.”
He leaned against the workbench and folded his arms across his chest. “How many in your party?”
“You? Alone? Forget it!”
“But why not? I’m prepared to pay. Within reason.”
The grin returned for a brief second, softening the hard planes of his jaw, and then faded. “Why the Matos, of all places? You’re a tourist, aren’t you? Then go take a tour.”
To avoid waiting for the next expression of sarcasm to come into his eyes, she looked down at her heeled boots and kicked a small stone with savage intensity. “No, I’m not a tourist. I didn’t come down here to sightsee, if that’s what you mean.” She wasn’t going to tell him about the treasure. The man was obviously an American adventurer, probably stranded here through lack of self-discipline and common sense, and not to be trusted. It was as if she stood in the middle of an old Humphrey Bogart movie.
“If your ladyship cares to sit, I’ll get a couple of cold ones out of the fridge.” He motioned her toward a scruffy-looking couch.
Marisa sat gingerly on the edge, expecting any moment that some loathsome creature would crawl onto her leg. She could abide snakes if they kept their distance, but she hated bugs of any kind.
“Now. Tell me all about it.” He cocked a dark eyebrow at her, stretching out his long legs as if he had all the time in the world.
Maybe he had time, but she didn’t. The pressure to get to the bottom of her family’s mystery money and find out what happened to Sara had become like a boulder teetering just above her head.