Newbie linguistics professor Mackenzie Campbell longs for love and success but works all the time, can’t connect with her students, and is afraid she’s a second-rate teacher. In the midst of finals, she receives a phone call from her ex-boyfriend, Charlie, begging her to join him in the remote Lake Powell canyons. He wants her to authenticate an ancient Aztec codex. Discovering a genuine codex would stun the linguistics world—but it's too risky for Mac, on so many levels.
When Mac discovers that Charlie has disappeared, she impulsively manipulates her way onto an archaeological expedition to find him. There, she meets Sullivan, the expedition’s brash, insensitive guide who thinks she needs baby sitting. His goading incenses her, but as they battle their way through unrelenting canyons, she’s forced to acknowledge her growing respect for him.
After a kiss in a cavern, they have a night of steamy sex. But is their relationship just the result of two people bonding during life-threatening events? And what about Charlie?
It takes all of Mac’s linguistics chops to decipher obscure clues, outwit devious expedition mates, and battle hazards that would unhinge even the bravest linguist. In the end, she realizes her most difficult task will be deciding between a known love and a new one. If she makes it out alive, that is.
MacKenzie Campbell, the protagonist of Reed's contemporary romantic thriller, sets off on a search-and-rescue mission equipped with delusions of grand deeds and little else, much less good sense. When the University of Denver linguistics professor learns that her ex-boyfriend Charlie is lost somewhere among the canyons surrounding Lake Powell, she impulsively drops everything and takes up with a foundation-sponsored expedition in hopes of locating him. The plot meanders, making it anybody's guess whether this is a Survivor knockoff or a watered down Lara Croft mystery if Croft were an impetuous 34-year-old too headstrong to admit her own limitations. The romance part of this romantic suspense story is so subtle that by the time anything happens it's more of a damp sparkler than a bottle rocket. The blend of Native American archeology-lite, Southwestern scenery, and tame romance is unlikely to find many fans.