Reluctant Smuggler, To Catch a Thief Series #3Reluctant Smuggler, To Catch a Thief Series #3
Jill Elizabeth Nelson
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Interview, Excerpt

They say keep your friends close and your enemies closer but what if you can't tell the difference? For security consultant Desiree Jacobs, the assignment is simple: make off with an ancient Mayan artifact, and hand it over to the good guys in time to plan her wedding to ultra-fine FBI agent, Tony Lucano.Yet, in a world where no one is as they seem, Desi must decipher who the good guys are-before she ends up in the hands of a ruthless enemy. Suddenly, artifact recovery turns into archaeological espionage, and the woman who finds all the answers must now ask questions. Who's looting priceless antiquities underneath the nose of the baffled Mexican government? And what does a violent gang of drug and human traffickers have to do with missing artifacts?

 Reluctant Smuggler Discussion Questions by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

 1     At the beginning of the story, Desiree is using work to cover her grief over her dad’s death, rather than dealing with her

emotions.   What avoidance mechanisms do we sometimes use to keep from confronting the real issues in our lives?




  2.     President Montoya compliments Desiree’s perceptiveness to see the deeper motives behind Greybeck and Sons’ smear

campaign, rather than being swept away by emotions that could blind her to the real root of the attack.   Often we are tempted to become caught up in battling flesh and blood.  What Scriptures admonish us to look beyond the person to the dark forces working through them?   What methods can we use to combat those forces while walking in love toward those who behave badly toward us?




  3.     Tony runs into a sticky situation with his ex-partner’s prayer request about the woman Steve wants to marry. Tony strives to convey the truth without giving offense. Did he succeed?  Could he or should he have responded differently?   Have

you run into similar difficult situations with people who seek your prayers but not your Lord? How did you handle those situations?




  4.     Culture and environment can be huge factors in the choices  we make.   Zapopa’s grandson must choose between honoring his grandmother, as his culture dictates, or giving in to the hopelessness of his environment and staying with the gang.   In this instance, the former path happens to line up with Scripture, and the latter leads to destruction.  There are times

when both culture and environment can steer us wrong, and we must rise above those factors in order to follow God’s Word.

Name ways for good or ill that your culture or environment has molded you and influenced your choices.   Name  ways that you have defied those influences in obedience to Christ.   Name ways that you need to change in order to resist culture and environment and live a life pleasing to God.




5.     When Tony is in a coma, he faces a grave choice—continue physical life or go on to be with the Lord.   How much of afactor is our will in these matters of life or death?   Later in the story, what nonphysical battle must Tony win in order toassure his full recovery?   How important are our attitudes  about ourselves in determining outcomes in the issues of life?

Give examples from the Bible that illustrate this concept.




  6.     Why do you think Desi had so much trouble calling Tony’s mother “Mom”?   Was Max’s advice good in telling Desi to be

patient until that right moment came?   Do we sometimes trip up our relationships with others by trying to force things, or conversely, by resisting a call to deepen a relationship?  What finally broke through the barrier in Desi’s hear and cemented her mother-daughter relationship with Gina?




  7.     How did you feel about Tony’s gift to Desi on their wedding day?   What healing revelation did that gift inspire in her

heart?   Share a time when a gift in season changed your life.





8.       Tony and Desi have a deep conversation about the gang mentality.   Do you agree with Desi’s assessment that hopelessness is a prime factor influencing young people to form and join gangs?   Why or why not?   How important is a sense

of hope to any person, group, culture, or race?   What does  the Bible say about hope and the human spirit?




9.     El Jaguar does evil because he likes it. Clayton Greybeck appears to be a victim of upbringing and circumstance.   Forwhich person do you feel the most compassion?   Why?   Is that a purely human assessment?   How does God evaluateevil?      



10.     At the end of the story, Tony states that he and Desi must work hard to be worthy of a child’s trust.   Desi counters thatwork is involved, but worthiness is only by grace. What does  she mean by that?   How do we walk out that balance of work and grace—especially in our attempts to influence children for good?










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Discussion Question Index


 • Abigail: Jill Eileen Smith
 • Abigail's New Hope: Mary Ellis
 • Against All Odds: Irene Hannon
 • Against the Tide: Elizabeth Camden
 • Almost Forever: Deborah Raney


 • Blue Moon Promise: Colleen Coble
 • Blue Widow Brides: Maggie Brendan
 • Breach of Trust: DiAnn Mills
 • (The) Bridesmaid: Beverly Lewis
 • (The) Bridge: Karen Kingsbury
 • Brigid of Ireland: Cindy Thomson
 • Burn: Ted Dekker


 • (The) Calling: Suzanne Woods Fisher
 • (The) Chance: Karen Kingsbury
 • Chasing Mona Lisa: Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey
 • Chasing the Sun: Tracie Peterson
 • Choices of the Heart: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate: Diana Wallis Taylor
 • Critical Care: Candace Calvert
 • Crossing Oceans: Gina Holmes


 • (The) Dance: Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley
 • Deadline: Randy Alcorn
 • Deadly Devotion: Sandra Orchard
 • Deadly Ties: Vicki Hinze
 • Deception: Randy Alcorn
 • (The) Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow: Olivia Newport
 • (The) Discovery: Dan Walsh
 •  Dolled Up to Die: Lorena McCourtney
 • Demon: A Memoir: Tosca Lee
 • Digitalis: Ronie Kendig
 • Dogwood: Chris Fabry
 • Double Minds: Terri Blackstock
 • Dying to Read: Lorena McCourtney


 • Fair Is the Rose: Liz Curtis Higgs
 • Freefall: Kristen Heitzmann
 • Frontiersman's Daughter: Laura Frantz


 • Gift of Grace: Amy Clipston
 • Gone South: Meg Mosley
 • Grace: Shelley Shepard Gray


 • Havah; The Story of Eve: Tosca Lee
 • Heart's Safe Passage: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Highland Sanctuary: Jennifer Hudson Taylor
 • Hope of Refuge: Cindy Woodsmall


 • Intervention: Terri Blackstock
 • Into the Whirlwind: Elizabeth Camden
 • Invisible: Ginny Yttrup
 • Iscariot: Tosca Lee


 • (The) Jewel of His Heart: Maggie Brendan
 • June Bug: Chris Fabry


 • Katie's Way: Marta Perry
 • Killer Among Us: Lynette Eason


 • Lady in the Mist: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Lady of Bolton Hill: Elizabeth Camden
 • Lady of Milkweed Manor: Julie Klassen
 • (A) Lasting Impression: Tamera Alexander
 • Leah's Choice: Marta Perry
 • The Lesson: Suzanne Woods Fisher
 • Lethal Remedy: Richard Mabry
 • Life in Defiance: MaryLu Tyndall
 • Like Dandelion Dust: Karen Kingsbury
 • Lonestar Sanctuary: Colleen Coble
 • Lonestar Secrets: Colleen Coble
 • Love Amid the Ashes: Mesu Andrews
 • Love at Any Cost: By Julie Lessman
 • Love Calls: Lorna Sielstad
 • Love in a Broken Vessel: Mesu Andrews


 • Making Waves: Lorna Sielstad
 • (A) Memory Between Us: Sarah Sundin
 • Moon in the Mango Tree: Pamela Ewen
 • Moonlight Masquerade: Ruth Axtell
 • (A) Most Peculiar Circumstance: Jen Turano
 • My Heart Remembers: Kim Vogel Sawyer


 • Naomi's Gift: Amy Clipston
 • Never Far From Home: Mary Ellis
 • Nightshade: by Ronie Kendig
 • No Place for a Lady: Maggie Brendan
 • (A) Noble Groom: Jody Hedlund



 • Paper Roses, by Amanda Cabot
 • Plain Jayne, by Hillary Manton Lodge
 • Preacher's Bride: Jody Hedlund
 • Promise of an Angel: Ruth Reid


 • Rebekah: by Jill Eileen Smith
 • Redeeming Love: Francine Rivers
 • Redemption: Karen Kingsbury & Gary Smalley
 • (A) Reluctant Queen: Joan Wolf
 • Remember to Forget: Deborah Raney
 • Remembered: Tamera Alexander


 • Sarah's Gift: Marta Perry
 • Shadows of the Past: Patricia Bradley
 • Simple Choices: Nancy Mehl
 • Simple Deceit: Nancy Mehl
 • Slow Moon Rising: Eva Marie Everson
 • Someone to Blame: Susanne Lakin
 • A Sound Among the Trees: Susan Meissner
 • The Sweetest Thing: Elizabeth Musser


 • Tailor Made Bride: Karen Witemeyer
 • That Certain Summer: Irene Hannon