GUADALUPE'S GIFT  Baja California, Mexico


In San Diego, Kate, a play-by-the-rules city girl with untamable red hair, meets Carlos, handsome Mexican sculptor and irrepressible Casanova. Employing charm and Margaritas, he persuades her to go camping with him in Baja. Kate realizes Carlos is reckless and a little crazy but he's the most exciting man she's ever met.


Their romantic romp south of the border turns ugly when a small plane crashes in the mountains and they discover a briefcase of drug money in the wreckage. Carlos is ecstatic. Kate is horrified. Of course Kate's right.  Never meddle in the workings of the drug trade.  



The noisy, dimly lit gallery overflowed with chic young professionals from the cottages in Hillcrest and the lofts of the Gaslamp Quarter. Carlos Quintana held court among his creaking metal sculptures. From her first glimpse, she was a goner. Carlos took her breath away. Long wavy dark hair and sexy Latin eyes that seared her soul. He wore tight blue jeans and a white linen shirt with the top buttons undone. His sculptures, though, were downright weird. Nothing you'd ever find at Crate and Barrel. Her expression must have given her away.


"Don't worry, they don't eat human flesh," Carlos said, handing her a margarita.    


She felt the heat creep up her neck and flush her cheeks. His smile fluttered her insides. He reached out and touched a tendril of her untamable red hair. Thank God she'd washed it.


"Beautiful," he said. "Red as a chili pepper. I shall call you Pepita."