Under A Turquoise Sky

Under A Turquoise Sky

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by Lisa Carter

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When federal agent Aaron Yazzie is assigned to protect the only witness to a drug cartel execution, he hides Kailyn Eudailey in the safest place he knows . . . the vast, untamed wilderness of the Navajo Reservation.

Transporting Kailyn to New Mexico may not be as easy as Aaron would like. Kailyn is a high-maintenance Southern belle who is determined to assert her


When federal agent Aaron Yazzie is assigned to protect the only witness to a drug cartel execution, he hides Kailyn Eudailey in the safest place he knows . . . the vast, untamed wilderness of the Navajo Reservation.

Transporting Kailyn to New Mexico may not be as easy as Aaron would like. Kailyn is a high-maintenance Southern belle who is determined to assert her independence at every step. Although Aaron's job is to protect her from the dangers that could get them both killed, Kailyn is getting to him. As an undercover agent, Aaron has grown adept at playing many roles. But will he be able to embrace his true identity and God’s plan for his life in order to keep Kailyn alive?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Carter (Carolina Reckoning) has a promising enough premise. Federal agent Aaron Yazzie, a Navajo, must protect Kailyn Eudailey, a temperamental Southerner who has witnessed the murder of her friend, the wife of a Latino gang boss. Aaron hides Kailyn with his grandmother in Navajo Nation, the two pretending they are married. The challenge is to stay safe and to get along, the latter being harder for two prickly, wounded souls. Too much formula mars a plot with decent romantic tension and two complex, engaging characters: a murder that’s an unfortunate cross between Breaking Bad and Legally Blonde (complete with little dog); unbelievable jealousies; a second, unexpected villain; and too many very good people who are churchgoers. On the plus side, Carter has done good research into the Diné (Navajo) people and provides intriguing cross-cultural tension. The dog is a fairly obvious symbol (it was abused), but in time becomes a charming agent of effective comic relief. Agent: Tamela Hancock Murray, Steve Laube Agency. (Sept.)

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Abingdon Press
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5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Under a Turquoise Sky

By Lisa Carter

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2014 Lisa Carter
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4267-9609-8


As soon as the elevator doors closed behind her, Kailyn knew she'd made a mistake.

Music blared in a mind-numbing, ear-deafening pulse from the penthouse suite stereo. Clutching her beaded purse, she placed her hands over both of her ears. A Latin beat, coupled with a heavy, chest-pounding, thumping bass, jangled her nerve endings.

Where was Dex?

Scanning the crowded party, she wrinkled her nose at the pungent odor permeating the room. An aroma once smelled—as any college student could testify—never forgotten. Bodies writhed and gyrated.

Kailyn's lip curled, the lyrics penetrating her consciousness. Gangsta rap.

Spanish gangsta rap.

Couples lounged on the couches, twined into each other. She pursed her lips at the faint lines of a chalk-white powder on a coffee table.

Dex had warned her to wait in the car. But she'd refused. No way she wanted to hang out in a deserted parking garage once night fell.

He said he'd be gone only a few minutes. Told her his biggest client wanted him to do a meet-and-greet with an out-of-town business associate. Promised they'd be on their way to the charity ball soon.

She crossed her arms, hugging herself. This was so not the charity ball. She tapped her foot on the hardwood floor. Dex better get a move on or her grandmother would have a cow.

Let Golden Boy explain their way out of this one.

It came to her attention that, of all the occupants in the room, she was the only blonde. Probably the only native English speaker, too.

The only woman whose décolletage wasn't cut to her navel and whose hemline wasn't hiked to her thighs. Self-conscious, she smoothed a hand across the ice-blue floor-length Vera Wang she wore. She didn't belong here.

Her skin prickled the way it does when you feel someone staring. Someone across the sunken living area. Against the glass-enclosed walls overlooking the twinkling lights of downtown Charlotte, she locked onto the penetrating glare of a thirty-something Latino man. His black hair scraped back from his sharply cut features, and a pencil-thin mustache and goatee framed full, sensual lips.

Gold studs glittered in both his ears. He'd been dancing—her brow arched—a euphemistic word for what she'd never describe as dancing. The voluptuous Latina continued to bump and grind. He'd gone stock-still. His dark chocolate eyes narrowed.

She lifted her chin, noting his skintight black pants, the gleam of gold chains against his well-muscled chest. And the smaller silver turquoise cross in the hollow of his throat. His white silk shirt hung open all the way to his—

Her feelings must have shown on her face for he moved around the woman, dodging the other revelers with the grace of a jaguar. Her mouth went dry. Out of her peripheral vision, she noted three other men from the corners of the room advancing.

With a flick of his hand, he motioned the other men away. But he kept coming, his face unreadable. Her chest hammered. She reminded herself this was America, not Colombia. She was an American citizen. She had every right to—

* * *

"You don't belong here."

The blonde stiffened. She stared for a moment at the cross he wore about his neck. He fought the urge to touch it for reassurance. She cut her eyes at him, the look she gave him derisive.

He folded his arms across his chest. "Go back to where you belong, chica."

She squared her shoulders. "I belong where I say I belong."

Defiance sparked from her iris-blue eyes. He scowled. "Not here, you don't."

Her nostrils flared. "I'm waiting for my date, Dex Pritchard."

The tension between his shoulder blades eased. He'd spotted her as soon as the elevator doors parted. One look at her designer dress and smooth, flaxen chignon, and he'd strode over thinking to provide a lifeline to an innocent who'd wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time.

His bad.

Not an innocent. Not if she kept company with a weasel like Pritchard. Still, the situation was sensitive. Time she got a move on. Perhaps a new tactic was called for.

He broadened his chest and bared his teeth. "Ah." He allowed his shoulders to rise and fall. "Perhaps if I upped your hourly rate."

The woman's eyes widened. Her lips parted, her mouth opening into a round O.

In a reflex move he admired for its swiftness, she raised her hand. He caught it in a hard vise inches before she could make contact with his face. She twisted, yanking her hand free.

He loomed over her. "Such passion, señorita. Bueno. I think you and I, we could work out some arrangement."

She took a step backward against the closed elevator doors. With deliberation, he positioned one hand on the space to the right of her head. Trapped—for the first time, fear shone from her eyes.

"Get away from me," she hissed. She pushed at him, her palm cool against his bare chest. Strained with all the consequence of a gnat attempting to shift a burro.

Silently, he applauded her courage, her spunk. While he bewailed her stupidity.

He allowed his lips to curve. He leaned into her, her short gasps of breath fluttering against his cheek. "Let me introduce you to Latino-style love. I promise, once you've—"

"Can I never leave you unchained for a moment around the women, mi amigo?"

He closed his eyes at the sound of Esteban's smooth tones. He'd hoped to get the woman out of here before his boss emerged from the conference room at the rear of the suite.

"Get your hands off her." The Anglo lawyer, Pritchard, fair and blond like her, shoved his shoulder. To as much avail as the woman.

He planted his left hand on the other side of her head. "Maybe now she's had time to consider the advantages of—"

"Call him off, Esteban," growled Pritchard.

"You should have never brought the cordera here." Esteban's voice if anything grew colder.

Pritchard, not as dumb as he looked, managed to catch its glacial chilliness, too. "I—I told her to wait in the car. When I received your urgent text, I came right over."

At Pritchard's words, the woman bristled. Leave it to Pritchard to hang himself by throwing his date under the proverbial bus.

He gave her a slow, menacing smile.

If this woman was half as intelligent as he read in her eyes, she'd realize Pritchard was no friend. In fact, though she didn't know it, he was her only friend in this room. Her only chance.

Esteban snorted. "What? You couldn't have dropped her off at home first? You brought her into our business? Estúpido."

With more credit than he'd initially awarded her, the bimbo kept her mouth shut. A shapely, elegant bimbo. High-class. Nothing but the best for the Pritchards of the world.

"She won't be a problem, I promise."

He broke eye contact with the woman, throwing a glance over his shoulder at the near-groveling Anglo. He despised those overprivileged, former frat boy, trust-fund types.

Esteban lifted one eyebrow, stretching the muscles of his face into the semblance of a grin. A caricature of the blending of his Aztec and conquistador heritage. "I will hold you to that." He clapped a manicured hand on Pritchard's shoulder.

The Anglo jumped.

Esteban focused his laserlike attention his way. "Let her go, Rafael."

He made an exaggerated sigh, the air trickling out from his lips. The woman turned her face away. "If you say so, mi patrón. I thought she might be part of the entertainment ..." he licked his lips, "... package you provide for your associates." His body pressed hers against the elevator. She trembled.

Esteban laughed, the sound guttural. "Later, my friend, I promise. After our business is concluded. One day, I will introduce you to the keeper of my flocks."

The sound of Esteban's laughter frissoned across Rafe's spine, recalling to his mind his grandmother's tales of the evil chindi.

"Rafe ..." The Latina he'd left on the dance floor called his name.

One of his names.

Esteban chuckled. "I think, hermano, you need my help not at all with the chicas."

Time to save this particular chica.

He tilted his head, his lips touching the strands of silken hair at her diamond-studded ear. "Run, don't walk, querida." She flinched. "And don't ever show your face here again."

To make his point, he raked his hand down the side of the woman's sequined dress. She shrank further against the elevator. His hand trailing down, she tensed, expecting him to touch her in a more invasive location, but instead he pressed the elevator button. The doors opened.

Knees buckling, she fell in backward. Sidestepping him, Pritchard caught her arm. Pritchard glared at him, placing a protective arm around the blonde's shoulders.

He blew them both a kiss. The doors closed, shuttering them from his view. And he let out an inaudible sigh of relief before turning to face Esteban.

But Esteban lounged halfway across the room in intimate conversation with one of the organization's female groupies. Esteban assumed—rightly—his orders would be obeyed and hadn't bothered to stick around to see them carried out.

Esteban's arrogance and overweening pride would make his job a lot easier in the long run. Be the drug lord's downfall.

Dismissing the Anglos from his mind, he wrapped his persona once more around himself, a second skin. Like her, he didn't belong here, either.

Or he hadn't when he'd first begun this operation. The longer he remained in this slime hole, the more he worried how much like them he'd become. But this kind of thinking would get him killed. Banishing his doubts, he hardened his heart from the unpleasantness of what he'd have to do to accomplish his mission.

Striding toward the woman he'd temporarily abandoned, he fingered the silver turquoise cross resting among the clanking gold chains. He had his duty to perform. And whatever it took ... He grimaced before painting the expected leer on his face.

Whatever it took to get the job done, he'd do.


Three months later

I've got a surprise for you, mi amiga."

Amused, Kailyn glanced at her enthusiastic friend. She lounged against the deck chair, sipping her iced tea. "What now?"

She arched her eyebrows at Gaby. "Don't tell me you've ditched my color swatches and gone your own way?"

Gabriela Carmelita Flores Mendoza tossed her sun-streaked mane over a bare shoulder. She spread her coral-painted nails across the surface of the iron-scrolled table at the poolside cabana. "You've found me out."

Her dark brown eyes twinkled. "I've rejected your advice and chosen to paint the master suite—"

"Let me guess ..." Kailyn adjusted the brim of her white hat to keep the afternoon sun out of her eyes.

Stalling while she formulated an answer sure to entertain her friend, Kailyn's eyes darted around the perimeter of the Flores's ten-thousand-square-foot mansion. Several months into their budding friendship, Gaby asked Kailyn to redecorate the Flores home. One exquisite room at a time, though the house needed no makeover.

But fledgling interior designers couldn't afford to be choosy. Not in this economy. And what were friends for, Gaby reminded, if they couldn't throw business a friend's way every now and again?


Gaby choked on a swallow of water.

"You've chosen, against my advice, to paint the master cavern you call a bedroom black."

Gaby's lips twitched. "You've uncovered my secret."

Kailyn's eyes widened.

Gaby fell over the side of her chair at the expression on Kailyn's face. "Got you. So gullible. So naive. So ..."

Kailyn made a move as if to scoot back her chair. "If I'd known I was only coming over here to be insulted ..."

Gaby patted her arm. Her coral lips widened, revealing perfect white teeth glowing against the brown of her natural skin tone. "I love you just the way you are, Kailyn."

She squirmed, unsettled by Gaby's praise. "No, I think you were right the first time. All my life I've rushed headlong into situations where—"

"Where ángeles fear to tread?" Gaby crossed her legs at the ankle, brushing out a crinkle in her apricot-colored swimsuit.

Kailyn's lips quirked at the way her friend mixed her English with Español. Not that she understood much Spanish. Her grandmother had insisted she study French.

Which had proven to be so useful. Like a lot of things her grandmother had insisted she learn.


"Actually, I was kidding. You have impeccable taste as always. But I do have a gift for you—wait," Gaby countered at Kailyn's motion of protest.

"You don't have to keep buying me gifts. Your friendship means the world to me."

Gaby's face softened. "Right back at you, my friend. I don't know how I would've survived these months ..." Her gaze flickered.

They'd been riding bikes next to each other at the gym for a week, same time every morning, before they'd acknowledged the other's presence. But their friendship hadn't blossomed until Kailyn inadvertently followed Gaby into the women's restroom and discovered the Latina leaning against a stall door, sobbing over a soiled tampon in her hand.

"My hopes and dreams died then." Gaby's lips trembled. "I realized the doctors were correct. I'd never conceive without medical intervention."

Gaby's hands fisted in her lap. "And I knew my husband would never agree to invasive procedures calling into question his very manhood."

Kailyn dropped her eyes and traced the condensation down the stem of her glass. She'd never met Gaby's husband. But she long ago realized all was not well in the Flores marriage.

She'd also come to the belated realization that Gaby only invited her over when Señor Flores was out of town on another business trip. Her childless friend had been lonely, hence their unlikely friendship when Kailyn offered a tissue and a shoulder to cry upon in the restroom. An unlikely, but mutually satisfying friendship between a pampered, sheltered Southern belle—Kailyn was self-aware if nothing else—and a vivacious, sheltered, convent-educated Latina.

Gaby cleared her throat. "You've given me so much more than sympathy. Your kindness ... Hope of heaven ..."

Kailyn shuffled her flip-flops on the concrete, truly uncomfortable now. "I didn't—"

Gaby seized her arm. "Oh yes, you did. More than you know."

"You don't have to shower me with extravagant gifts from Prada and Gucci just because my grandmother cut me off after I ditched Dex."

Gaby's mouth twisted. "You were right to dump that sleaze bucket."

Kailyn nodded. "You and I are in complete agreement there, but Grandmother didn't agree." She bit her lip at the memory of society maven Carole Eudailey's exact words about Kailyn's choice of friends.

In her grandmother's tunneled worldview, Latinas answered doors and scrubbed kitchen floors.

Gaby scraped her chair back. "You did far more for me. You brought me back to my faith. Come."

She followed Gaby around the pool toward the house. Gaby threw open the glass door on the tiled veranda. "Come see."

"What now? I really don't need any more Bobbi Brown makeup."

"Better, mi hermana en Cristo."

Sister in Christ.

Kailyn sighed, resigned to her fate. It was a tough job to be the constant recipient of Gaby's thousand-dollar shopping sprees. But, hey, someone had to do it.

Gaby strolled into the Mexican-tiled kitchen. A kitchen she never used. A furious barking greeted their entrance.

Kailyn's eyes rounded. "What the—?" She swung her gaze to her grinning, loca friend. "What have you done?"

"Voilà!" Gaby swept her arm across the length of the makeshift pen corralling the ugl—One look at Gaby's adoring pet-lover face and Kailyn amended—most unusual-looking dog she'd ever laid eyes on.

Kailyn narrowed her eyes. "You said your husband hated dogs."

Gaby cocked her head. "He does. But this is for you. To greet you when you return to your condo after a long day placating impossible clients like myself." She bowed her chin to her chest. "This, I do for you, my friend. To warm your heart. A small token of all you've done for me."

Kailyn planted her hands on her hips. "My heart's less than warmed. I work long hours, Gab. What would I do with a pet?"

Gaby's eyes found hers. "You don't like dogs?"

"I—I didn't say that."

Gaby's chin jabbed at the air between them. "You tell me your grandmother did not allow pets after you came to live with her. How your parents had promised you a dog but after your mother's death ..." She raised her shoulders and let them drop in the classic Latino gesture of she'd-done-what-she-could.

"Besides," she stabbed her index finger in Kailyn's direction. "You tell me to find something to expend my energy upon and so I volunteer at the animal shelter like you say."

Kailyn winced. Somehow she already knew how this would end.

"You tell me to lavish the love I have inside on those who need it most."

Kailyn had been thinking the senior center, not the SPCA.

"You say I should find the least of these and make their lives better."

Kailyn lifted her eyes to the ceiling.


Excerpted from Under a Turquoise Sky by Lisa Carter. Copyright © 2014 Lisa Carter. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Lisa Carter is the author of Carolina Reckoning, Beneath a Navajo Moon, Under a Turquoise Sky, and Aloha Rose. She and her husband have two daughters and make their home in Raleigh, North Carolina. A member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime, when she isn’t writing, Lisa enjoys traveling, quilting, and researching her next romantic adventure. Visit her online at LisaCarterAuthor.com.

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Under A Turquoise Sky 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
TSMathews More than 1 year ago
ANOTHER MUST READ BY LISA CARTER!  What an exciting story Lisa Carter has pinned. This is the saga of Aaron Yazzie aka Rafael Chavez, a tough-as-nails FBI agent, and Kailyn Eudailey, a beautiful southern belle both on the inside and out. On the surface these two are nothing alike yet deep down both harbor hurts from abusive pasts; perhaps that's why they are like oil and water when they are together; what an amazing and delicious mix!! Kailyn Eudailey endured the horror of seeing her new best friend being murdered at the hands of her Mexican Mafia husband, Esteban Flores, now her life will never be the same. Seeing that monster behind bars will be worth her being put in the witness protection program, besides she doesn't mind leaving behind her empty life as the granddaughter of the elite Carole Eudailey. When Aaron Yazzie is asked by his adopted dad to take over the protection of a young woman that has witnessed a murder by Esteban Flores he has no clue they have already met; had he known who it was he probably would have refused. When Kailyn recognizes who she thinks is Rafael Chavez, she panics because the last time she saw him was in the company of Esteban Flores. Once again it seems she has been sold out and marked for death!  When Flores' men show up to take out Kailyn, Aaron has no choice but to take her and run. After being tracked down a second time and almost killed Aaron decides to take this infuriating woman to the one place where no one would ever think to look them...The Navajo Reservation; as very few people know his true heritage. What Aaron decides to do on the way there even he can't understand! Could it be he has broken the number one rule of law enforcement; he has fallen for his witness? When an unexpected evil from Aaron's past shows up, will he be able to keep both Kailyn and himself from certain death? Lisa Carter has quickly become one of my favored authors; one who writes intriguing stories that catch my attention from the start!! She also has a beautiful illuminating voice that flowed effortlessly while describing the vast landscape of the Navajo Nation; she made me feel as though I was there beholding its splendor. If you are looking for a book that will be well worth your time then look no further, this is the one to grab!!  ***Thanks to the Abingdon Press and Net Galley for supplying a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion.*** 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jeanniezelos More than 1 year ago
Under A Turquoise Sky, Lisa Carter NB: DNF Review from jeannie zelos book reviews This looked a fun and interesting read, I was looking forward to reading about life in the wilds of the Navajo reservation. Sadly though this book was too God centric for me. I'm not anti religion, not saying books should never mention God(s) of any kind. I've loved learning about different religions from some books. I was brought up the traditional route of sunday school, church etc, and was even a teacher for a couple of years in my teens, but since then I've come to the view that if there is a God or Gods then it's Doing that counts, not Talking. Here I felt that God was thrown at me from every couple of pages. The characters seem incapable of having even a simple conversation without reference to God in some way...that spoiled it for me. TBH though I don't think I'd have gelled with it even without the God refs. The characters seem to me to be very stereotyped, Kailyn as the poor little rich girl, she's pushed as a fluffy, decorative airhead, and when she does do something it seems like a celebration is expected for it. She's unrelentingly cheerful, even with all the death and danger she's seen and faces. Making a bandage for the tough FBI agent out of the dog's superdog cape – guess that was supposed to be amusing, but for me it was just an example of how cheesy I found so much of the content. It's pretty clear too how Aaron is going to react to her, hates her but wants her....and it took so long before we got to the reservation part that I gave up....DNF the book :-( just couldn't take any more swirky cheese, and enforced cheer of God allusions. Stars: sorry, just a two from me. Not my kind of read, and it if had a Christian tag I'd have realised before. I avoid those ones as I know they don't suit me, but clearly as there is a whole genre devoted to it then others love them, and this book would benefit from more clear labelling. ARC supplied via Netgalley.
TerrriL More than 1 year ago
Kailyn witnesses a friend’s murder in North Carolina. She has to disappear in the Witness Protection Program. Leaving her old life isn’t so hard. The grandmother who raised her after her parents died saw to it that Kailyn didn’t believe she was good at anything. FBI agent Aaron Yazzie has been undercover in Latino gangs for three years when his adoptive marshal father summons his help. His father is murdered by a turncoat marshal, and now he’s responsible for Kailyn. He takes her, and her ugly dog he names Taco, to his birthplace in New Mexico, the Navajo Nation. They pose as newlyweds. He thinks she’s high maintenance, but she readily accepts their rustic life. More danger exists in New Mexico than they’re aware of, and they can’t relax. Kailyn finds comfort in her faith, but Aaron can’t believe. Not after the cruel abuse of his stepfather. His fledgling relationship with his birth father, and new danger from the vengeful stepfather, help redirect his thinking. Filled with humor that lightens the darkness of drug cartels and child abuse.