Izzy, her boyfriend, and her holiday-crashing neighbor, Etta, are off to the driest, flattest, and most infertile inhabited continent on earth—where even the cutest of creatures might try to kill you.
But that’s only the beginning of their problems…
A Taste Society courier goes missing.
And twenty-six hours after Izzy lands in Australia, a crocodile is found dead. With a human corpse inside.
Not quite the start to her relaxing holiday she’d been hoping for.
Etta, on the other hand, is ecstatic. Relaxing was never part of her itinerary.
Meanwhile, Izzy’s boyfriend, Connor, is developing a new sympathy for fish out of water. Between trying to win over Izzy’s country-folk parents, preventing Etta from shooting anything, and being enlisted to smuggle a goat into a posh hotel, his day job hunting down criminals has never seemed more appealing.
Then a series of accidents threatens to add Izzy to that body count. Is Australia really that dangerous? Or does someone want Izzy to swim with the
Scouring the crocodile-infested riverbank for human remains was not on my list of preferred holiday activities.
Mud sucked at my shoes. In another country that would be an unpleasant inconvenience. Maybe an expensive one if you were wearing nice shoes. But here in far north Queensland, Australia, it was life-threatening.
If a crocodile surged out of the river to sample the Izzy steak special, that mud would slow me down.
“Did you know that saltwater crocodiles have the most powerful bite force ever measured?” Etta asked. “Three thousand seven hundred pounds per square inch. That’s like four grand pianos smacking down on a hammer. Only their teeth are a lot sharper than a hammer.”
“Wonderful,” I muttered. “That’s exactly what I want to hear right now.”
It wasn’t the first or the last time I would lament Etta’s decision to become a fountain of fun facts about Australia.
I ignored the polite urge to look at the person I was conversing with and kept my eyes peeled on the muddy bank and more vitally on the river’s edge. My entire body was covered in sweat from humidity and maybe fear. My ears were pricked for any unusual sloshing noises. Or maybe screams. And my heart was drumming against my rib cage.
It turned out it was damned hard searching for body parts when you were worried about becoming an ancient predator’s lunch.
If Etta’s heart was drumming, it was with excitement. “Maybe we should’ve brought Herbert as bait.”
My head snapped round to stare at her incredulously before self-preservation turned it back to the river. “We’re not trying to catch a crocodile, Etta! We’re distinctly trying to avoid crocodiles.”
“I know, I know.” Her tone implied this was a great flaw in our plan. “But don’t fret. I’ve got your back.”
I heard the sound of a gun being cocked and, despite myself, looked her way again.
Impossibly, she was holding some kind of large revolver.
Crap. “Where did you get that?”
“A friend let me borrow it.”
“What do you mean? How could you have friends out here in the middle of nowhere?”
She gave me a look that suggested we didn’t all have difficulty making friends.
“Besides, that’s not how it works in Australia. We have laws, you know. We don’t just let people borrow guns!”
“Sure. That’s why I promised not to shoot anything unless I had to. Don’t wanna get him in trouble.”
I belatedly remembered to turn back toward the river. For good measure, I squelched my way a few feet in the opposite direction. So I’d have more time to react if an oversized reptile took advantage of my distraction. “Wild crocs are protected,” I reminded her. “It’s illegal to shoot them.”
“That’s true,” she said. “And there’s no law against being eaten by a crocodile… But what would you prefer?”
I leaped a foot in the air as a bird splashed into the water for a quick cool-off. When I could speak again, I gave Etta a nod.
“Okay, if one of those monsters comes at me, it’s all yours.”