Dear Readers, Lisa is a long-time friend of mine whose family has been missionaries in
Africa for years. Before they left the , I was
privileged to mentor her with her writing. She’s a special author who often
sets her books in US Africa. Deadly Safari is one of those stories. And since Lisa and her
family often stop at wild game parks there, and she photographs the game, her
book has a very authentic setting. Throw that together with interesting
characters and a suspenseful story, and I couldn’t put the book down until I
read the last word. You’ll love this book as much as I did. (She also creates a
yearly calendar using the photos, which she sells to help fund special projects
for the people they minister to. Check out her website for more information
about getting one of the calendars.)
Welcome back, Lisa. Do you have a favorite genre to write? If so, what is it?
Yes! I love romantic suspense, which is the genre I’m enjoying writing now.
If you didn’t live in the part of the country where you do, where would you live?
I’m writing a book set in
right now, and it has me wanting to jump on the next plane to France. I’d love to live there for
a few months, exploring, working on my French, and being inspired. I might not
be a city girl, but I love Paris
and would love to live there (temporarily) one day.
What foreign country would you like to visit and why?
I’ve been blessed to visit a lot of places, but the next place on my list is
My son and I have done lots of reading and research on the country, and we’re
planning at some point to work in an orphanage for a couple of weeks. I know
the experience is going to be tough, but it’s something he really wants to do.
Describe what you think would be the most romantic vacation you could take.
For our twentieth anniversary, my husband and I went on a cruise in the
Caribbean. I’d never been big on
the idea of going on a cruise, but I loved it. I think the main reason was
because normally when we travel, we stay at places where we have a kitchen and
can cook, but a cruise means no cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, just relaxing
and spending time together. I’d love to take a European cruise, adding the
perfect combination or romance and relaxing.
Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?
I was just thinking about this recently, because there are so many international settings—some places I’ve visited—that I would love to write about.
London, Rio, the Amazon, Kenya … and
that’s just for starters!
What is the main theme of this novel?
I had so much fun writing this book. Not only is it set in
but it’s set on a game reserve—on safari! So the setting was not only perfect
for a suspense novel, but a lot of fun to write.
Tell us about the story.
From the back cover:
BODYGUARD UNDER COVER
Texas Ranger Alex Markham lands an unusual assignment—protecting an ambassador's daughter on the African savanna. No one—not even wildlife filmmaker Meghan Jordan herself—can know his true identity. The stubborn but beautiful Meghan is nothing like the bookish woman he expected … and neither is his unguarded reaction to her. For the cowboy-turned-cop, the routine babysitting assignment turns into a lifesaving mission when poachers target the unsuspecting beauty. But when Meghan learns the truth of Alex's identity, can she forgive him before their chances for a future are destroyed forever?
Please give us the first pages of the book for my readers.
Meghan Jordan lay on her stomach against the thick African grass, steadying the video camera between both hands. This morning, Kibibi, with her sandy-brown coat, had ventured briefly from her den only to disappear again. With her four lion cubs already over a month old, it wouldn't be much longer until she introduced them to the pride. All they had to do now was wait.
Her second camera operator and editor, Kate, handed her a bottle of water from the Jeep's cooler before crouching back down beside her. "What do you think?"
Meghan mulled over the question. "I think that creating a documentary is far less glamorous than I once thought."
"Yeah, well, I figured that one out after the first week."
Meghan smiled as she unscrewed the top of the water bottle, her eyes still on the entrance of the den where Kibibi had moved her cubs six days ago. Unglamorous, maybe, but completely worth it. Eight months as a part of the reserve's conservation program had given them full access to the pride, including the recent birth of Kibibi's four cubs. Statistics showed that 80 percent of all lion cubs died within the first two years, but so far, all of Kibibi's cubs were thriving. They'd already been waiting five weeks to get footage of the lioness finally introducing her cubs to their father. She'd wait another five weeks if she had to.
"Samuel's in the Jeep, keeping his eye on a female black rhino that just wandered into the area."
Meghan frowned. "If she scares away Kibibi, that rhino and I are going to have words."
"I'm more worried about the rhino's bad temper and what it might think about us edging in on its territory."
"Don't worry. Their eyesight is worse than their temper."
"So what does that mean exactly?" Kate asked. "That I hope it won't be able to see me when I have to start running for the nearest tree?"
"As long as you're actually able to scale one of these trees, you'll be fine."
"Right." Kate eyed the nearest Jackalberry tree shooting fifty feet into the air, then shook her head. "I'm not sure which would be worse. Tangling with a rhino or being forced to scale that."
Movement from the tall yellow grass drew Meghan's attention back to the den. Kibibi emerged cautiously with one of the cubs in her mouth.
Bingo. "We've got them."
Meghan lifted up her camera. Samuel was going to have to worry about the rhino for them. She had to focus on getting the last of the footage she needed.
Kibibi took a guarded step forward.
They were either moving on to another den or, as Meghan hoped, finally joining up with the rest of the pride. She held the camera steady, her adrenaline rushing again, while Kate snapped still footage. She could try to script the document down to the smallest detail, but in the end, the wildlife-especially the predators she was documenting-always had the final say. What happened next was up to Kibibi.
The lioness stopped a few feet from the den, her body alert to the scene around her. Something familiar stirred within Meghan. There was nothing like being out in the bush. The neverending velds bordered by thick forests had become her second home. Here was the one place she'd found that made the stress of the real world disappear-like her other role as the daughter of a diplomat who had recently been appointed ambassador.
The subtle scent of cigarette smoke jerked her attention away from her work.
She nudged Kate with her elbow, her gaze still on Kibibi, who stood still at the top of the ridge outside the den. "Do you smell that?"
"Yeah. All we need now is a fire to set this grass ablaze."
The roar of a second vehicle to their east broke through the stillness of the bush, followed by a deep snort behind her. The rhino. Meghan jerked her head around and peered into the thick brush. That rhino would stomp right over them if they weren't careful. Twenty feet away, Samuel, their driver, sat alert in the Jeep with a safari hat perched on his head and a rifle in his hand.
Meghan glanced back toward Kibibi's den, but she'd already missed her chance for any new footage. The lioness had vanished.
Frustrated, she scanned the thick brush, scattered with spiny tree trunks and limbs covered in green leaves, and spotted the second vehicle as it bridged the gap between them. Her stomach twisted as the second
Jeep moved in between the female rhino and her baby, pushing the mother toward them.
"We need to move now," Kate shouted.
Meghan shoved her camera into the bag and snapped the flap shut. What in the world was the driver doing? Samuel's gun fired behind them in an attempt to scare the rhino back into the thick brush as Kate ran ahead of her for Samuel and the Jeep.
But Meghan's route was cut off as the rhino gave another warning snort, signaling it was about to charge. Meghan's heart pounded. Two tons of rhino wasn't something to tangle with. She weighed her options. Behind her the bush was too thick to negotiate. The only open routes were either toward the baby rhino or up a tree a dozen feet to her right.
As she started to run toward the tree, the second Jeep accelerated past the mother rhino, slowing down briefly beside her. The driver shouted at her to get in. Meghan didn't have time to think. Grabbing the strap of the camera case tightly between her fingers, she swung up onto the passenger side of the vehicle as the rhino charged.
The driver pushed on the accelerator. "How fast can they run?"
"I'd suggest we don't stick around to find out."
Meghan ducked as the tall grass whipped against her face and arms from the sides of the open Jeep. Branches snapped beneath them, but they were beginning to lengthen the distance from the rhino. A second later, her driver hightailed it through a wide opening in the bush to safety.
He glanced at the rearview mirror. "I think we lost her."
As the Jeep came to a stop, Meghan fought to catch her breath. Chest still heaving, she glanced at the stranger beside her wearing a black Stetson, Spanish-style boots, a Western shirt and a belt buckle the size of Texas.
She blinked twice. Who was this guy? "Do you realize how close we both just came to getting killed? If she'd gotten close enough, that rhino could have flipped this Jeep."
He shot her a weak smile. "And I thought I just saved your life."
"You think you saved my life?" Seriously? Meghan's fingers gripped the side of the Jeep. "You're the one who got between that mama and her baby and caused this whole fiasco. You can't just drive where you please—not in a wildlife reserve. In case you hadn't realized it, you're not in
"Thanks for the tip, but I figured that out a few hours ago. We don't exactly have giraffes and baboons in my part of the world."
"Just longhorns and tumbleweeds?" she countered.
"I suppose we've got a few of those back on the ranch." He pulled off his hat, revealing a pair of striking blue eyes that managed to cut through a layer of her frustration. "But I really am sorry."
He might be good-looking, but she wasn't willing to be charmed. Even saying sorry in that thick Southern drawl of his wouldn't bring Kibibi out of her den today or return the wasted hours they'd spent waiting for the lioness's appearance.
"I guess I should introduce myself. I'm Alex Markham."
"My new assistant?" Meghan swallowed hard. Mr. Cowboy wasn't at all what she'd expected. "You were supposed to arrive yesterday."
"I apologize. I missed my flight out of
"My boss assured me you could handle the work. What do you know about filming wildlife and making documentaries?"
"Apparently enough for your boss to give me this job."
She frowned, still unimpressed. If he had any real credentials, he'd have mentioned them. The way he was dodging the question seemed to indicate that he had no direct experience at all. Surely he wasn't serious. She'd asked for a film student, not some
Texas ranch hand.
She let out a sharp humph. The last thing she needed right now was an unqualified assistant. She'd come a long way from her days as school-newspaper editor at her high school. Since then, she'd moved on to producing short films and online promotional pieces for businesses. The opportunity to make this wildlife documentary held with it the power to propel her further into the world of film, but she needed this footage-and a qualified replacement assistant-to pull it all together.
A twig snapped in the distance. She stared out into the bush, looking for movement. She'd have to deal with Mr. Lone Star later, because something wasn't right. Someone else was out here.
She turned back to him, her brow furrowed. "Do you smoke?"
"Smoke?" The question clearly caught him off guard. "No. Why?"
"I want you to drive back to the spot where you picked me up."
He shook his head as if she was crazy. "In case you forgot, there was a very unhappy rhino back there that I, for one, would prefer to avoid running into again."
"And in case you forgot, an assistant is supposed to assist. Are you going to drive or do I need to?"
Alex hesitated briefly, then spun the vehicle around and headed back toward the clearing.
Meghan leaned into the seat, battling nerves that had settled in the pit of her stomach. If the mystery smoker wasn't Mr. Cowboy, then who was he? And what had he been doing in the middle of nowhere with no one but Meghan's crew, an angry rhino, and a litter of lion cubs in range?
How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can find me on my website at www.lisaharriswrites.com or my blog http://myblogintheeheartofafrica.blogspot.com. I also have a newsletter you can sign up for at both locations. If you sign up you get a free copy of one of my cozy mysteries, Recipe for Murder!
Lisa, it's always a pleasure to have you visit my blog.
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Deadly Safari - Christianbook.com
Deadly Safari (Love Inspired Suspense) - Amazon
Deadly Safari (Love Inspired Suspense) - Kindle
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