Samantha Harrington, a reporter for a fading Phoenix newspaper, is assigned to write a story about a local man bequeathing nearly a million dollars to cancer research. When Samantha learns the man, a non-smoker, died suddenly from lung cancer, she smells a bigger story. She soon learns that not one, but two cancer clusters have been identified in the Phoenix area, both located near large Phoenix corporations. Are chemicals from one of them escaping into the air, the soil, or the water? Samantha is soon on a mission to learn who is responsible for the increase in cancer deaths.

Luke Palmer, once a decorated Marine and police officer, is now a licensed private investigator and the co-founder of the Lana Palmer Foundation for Cancer Research. The last thing Luke wants is a reporter stirring up trouble with the people his organization is trying to help. He tries to warn her away from writing the story, but Samantha Harrington can’t be swayed, especially by a man who offers his services to one of the companies she’s investigating.

After someone breaks into Samantha’s home and delivers her a warning, she has no choice but to ask Luke for help in finding the intruder. Luke has no trouble tracking him down, but not before the man is murdered. When Samantha realizes what the intruder meant when he said, “You’re looking in the wrong place,” and the guilty party is not who she thought, she finds herself running from people who will do anything to keep their plan a secret – while relying on a man she’s not sure she can trust.

Samantha and Luke are the only ones who can solve the mystery? Can they trust each other?

Can they trust anyone?

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Desert Deception - Short Story Cover