DEA Operative Cameron Andrews can finally use her Master’s Degree in International Affairs when she's assigned to help Ambassador John Taylor in Argentina negotiate a trade treaty. But it’s a front for her real objective: extricate the ambassador’s eighteen-year-old son, Tad, from the trouble he is in with the Salavados Cartel and then work with the Argentine authorities to trap the Cartel in a sting.
Since her boss gave her the authority to use any means at her disposal, Cam falls back into a cover she's used before: the very wealthy and independent Canadian, Laura Stuard.
By playing the headstrong Laura to the hilt, Cameron is invited to the Salavados compound where they make a business proposal to her: use her SeaFarer Cruise Liners to move the drugs to Canada.
It is a dangerous and exhausting game Cameron and Tad are playing, because not all the Salavados brothers are convinced by “Laura Stuard.” Cameron will have to stretch her considerable skills to not get killed during this scheme.
Tad grinned an embarrassed smile. It was then that Cam saw a dark purple bruise on the left side of his face.
“What happened to you?” she exclaimed. “That looks terrible. What door did you walk into?”
Tad’s hand went to his face as if he’d forgotten everyone could see it. “It’s nothing. Just a misunderstanding.” He seemed to shift his weight, nervously.
“Sit down,” Cam offered, motioning toward another chair.
“No, I should get back to my room ...”
“Before your father sees your shiner?” Cam suggested.
Tad grinned. “Yes,” he said with a deep sigh, “before my father sees this.”
“You better keep out of sight for a few days, then. It won’t go away overnight.” She motioned again toward the chair with an encouraging look on her face.
Tad nodded, resigned to the fact that there was no way to get past his father. He walked slowly to the other chair, half bent over, and sat down gingerly.
“You look hurt somewhere else, too,” she observed.
“It’ll be okay. I’ll get used to it. It’ll go away ... eventually.”
Damn, this is more serious than I was told, Cam thought. “What can I do for you?” she asked.
“I found some of the stuff you asked for.”
Cam surmised that the black eye must have something to do with that.
“All right.” Cam smiled enthusiastically. “When can you get it for me?”
“Well ...” Tad paused. “They won’t sell it to me. You’d need to buy it yourself.”
Cam frowned, but said nothing.
“It ...” Tad hesitated. He’d never told anyone here about this. Why was he telling her? Well, he’d come this far. He continued quickly, “It’s because I owe them money and if I go to buy your stuff, they’ll just take your money and won’t give me anything.” That was all in one breath.
Cam nodded, thoughtfully, a frown on her face.
“It’s good stuff!” Tad assured her. “It’ll be well worth the money.”
“How much do you owe them?” Cam asked carefully.
Tad looked away, embarrassed. “A bit,” he said quietly.
“How big a bit?” she asked.
Tad grit his teeth.
When he didn’t answer, she continued with a laugh, hoping to relax him. “I’m not going to tell your father, Tad. How would it sound?” Then she said like a pouty child, “Tad can’t buy me any drugs because he owes his dealer too much money?”
That seemed to help. “Yah, you’re right.” he finally conceded. “That sounds pretty lame.” He grinned a wide grin.
“So,” Cam asked, reaching for a cigarette. “How much do you owe?”
“Almost seven thousand,” Tad whispered.
“Dollars or pesos?” Either way, it would be a sizable debt.
“Pesos,” Tad admitted, looking at the palms of his hands, nervously.
“Well, that’s a little less than dollars, but it’s still a lot.” Cam nodded. “So how am I going to find them to get the stuff?”
Tad looked at her, surprised.
“What?” Cam asked.
Tad frowned. “I thought you were going to get all over me for owing that much.”
“I’m not your father, Tad,” Cam said, with a quick shake of her head. “I’m not going to tell you how to live your life. But this will be a hard situation to get out of.”
“I know. I had asked a friend for a loan but he can’t get it. His grandmother is sick so he’s going home to Australia tomorrow. I’m not sure what I’m gonna do.”
“I’m sure something will come up.” Cam let a few minutes lapse in silence. Well, at least that took the young Australian out of the picture. One down.
It was Tad who finally spoke. “I can tell you where to go, though. Or I can go most of the way with you, but I can’t go in with you. I hope you understand.”
Cam nodded. “All right,” she said, lighting her cigarette. “When can this take place?”
“Whenever you have the time. It’ll take about two hours to get it done. It’s a ways across the city.”
Cam smiled. “Then you’ll have to go with me. I don’t think any of the Marines will be able to drive me there.”
Tad relaxed a little bit. “No, I doubt it.” He grinned.