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By L. Dean Murphy

Coast Guard helicopter pilot Olivia Carver is on a personal mission. Her twin brother, an undercover officer, was murdered by a drug cartel and she won’t stop until she finds the man responsible for his death.

In the course of her own investigation, Olivia meets informant Rico Cortes. He’s mysterious and sexy, and despite her reservations, the two share a night of passion. But Rico turns out to be more than a one-night stand. He’s a DEA agent, deep undercover in Miami’s drug world, and possibly the one person who can help Olivia find the justice she seeks. When Rico realizes his cover is compromised, he isn’t sure whether it was someone in the cartel or an inside agent. Olivia is the only one he can trust and together they venture on a dangerous, rogue mission to infiltrate a drug lord’s inner circle…with Olivia as bait.

Rita Henuber added, “The opening with a ‘helo’ chasing down a fast boat immediately lets readers know what the book is about. Another helo scene has a boat exploding. The protagonist talks her way into being accepted by the members of a drug cartel. She has a hand-to-hand fight with an informant.” How thrilling!

New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde said, “Henuber pens an outstanding, high-octane romantic thriller peopled with authentic characters that you won’t soon forget.” Henuber writes about “extraordinary women and the men they love.”

Diane Kelly, award-winning author of the Death & Taxes romantic mystery series, said, “Henuber’s debut novel Under Fire will blow your mind! This book has the whole shebang—a kick-ass heroine and sexy hero you can’t help but root for, evil villains you’ll love to hate, and a cleverly crafted, fast-paced plot that will keep your mind spinning like the rotors of a Coast Guard helicopter.”

Inspiration for the novel came from when Henuber was “enrolled in a writing class and required to have a story and a plot. Go figure. The Guardian, a story about the Coast Guard was on HBO, and a Coast Guard helicopter was flying by on a beach patrol. Suddenly, in my head, there were people all talking at once, telling this story. And I try to weave current events into my stories.”

Henuber’s outline process “starts with a longish synopsis. From that I can make sure the character and story GMC is in place along with plot points and story structure. And, as I polish the story, the synopsis details can change. Most of my writing is rewriting. The first draft is a real mess! I go back and layer in emotions and senses. Cut unnecessary words, move scenes around, even cut subplots. I can and do write scenes out of order, but don’t recommend it.”

The author has advice for aspiring writers. “Never stop learning the craft and NEVER give up.” She let The Big Thrill readers know what she reads. “I’ve always read across genres but have leaned to thrillers and suspense. I write to quiet the people living in my head.”

Henuber has received praise from readers. One wrote, Wow, Rita—this book is amazing! I can hardly believe it’s your debut novel. The author said that she’s “gone through many professions. I have to say, writing chose me.”

Henuber added, “I do huge amounts of research and then struggle with keeping out huge amounts of detail. To begin with the more detail you put in a story the more chance of making an error. In Under Fire my characters have to know about helos but I don’t want them to prove they can build one from parts. I spent hours in a store handling different handguns. Which would my characters use? Went to a knife show to learn about the many different blades. Visited marinas to look at yachts and I have a stack of magazines sitting here to use in describing luxury boats. Hopefully, I used what I learned to make the story vivid and real to the reader and not hit them over the head with details to show them how much research was done.”


Rita grew up on a Florida barrier island. She married a Marine, lived many places and traveled to states and countries she hasn’t lived. She’s experienced the highs and lows of military and government life and is grateful for each experience. She writes suspense thrillers, weaves those experiences into storytelling. Her heroes and heroines are either in the military or government service, because she writes what she knows. Her father was in the Coast Guard and immediate family served in every branch of the service, as desk jockeys, grunts, pilots, and everything in between.

For more information about the author, visit her website.

Dean Murphy
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