Author: Kendall Talbot
From Romantic Book of the Year winner Kendall Talbot comes an adrenaline-fuelled new series introducing sassy sexy characters, exotic locations, and action-packed adventure.
Some secrets should remain hidden forever…
The last place Rosalina expected the clue to a 700-year-old mystery to lead her was back into the arms of Archer, the man who broke her heart. When neither can solve the puzzle without the other, they set off on a new adventure. They’re forced to ignore the sparks that still fly unhindered between them as their search for the golden riches weaves from Tuscany’s underbelly to Archer’s luxurious yacht in the Greek Islands.
Archer desperately wants to salvage his shattered relationship with Rosalina but fighting for her love soon takes a back seat to fighting for their lives. Ruthless competition is hot on their heels and will do anything to get his hands on the treasure. With evil close on their trail, and Archer wrestling with the remnants of a childhood tragedy, Rosalina begins to wonder if some secrets were never meant to be revealed.
Moments like these were said to happen in slow motion. Not for Archer Mahoney. From the instant he saw the cold terror reflected in his father’s eyes, everything happened at full speed.
Archer spun in the surging water as a shark with eyes as black as onyx shot past him. He clawed at the water, reaching for his father’s buoyancy vest. Archer should stay still but he couldn’t help it. To keep track of the beast he was forced to spin around. Again and again the shark circled, trapping them in an invisible ring. The plastic sides of Archer’s mask narrowed his vision and a couple of times, the only way he knew the shark had passed was the surge of the water. His bright yellow board shorts wafted in the current, making him an obvious target, and for the first time in months he wished he had the protection of a wetsuit.
Sunlight pierced the water, glistening off the shark’s back as if it were solid metal. But what scared Archer the most was its silence. Knowing the monster was there when all he heard was his own ragged breathing terrified him. The beast swam past again, but this time it kept going. Archer let out a long, slow breath as the shark faded into the deep blue.
But then it turned. The shark tracked towards him with deadly efficiency, on a mission. It darted at him and when Archer’s father yanked him back it flicked away again. This time it disappeared over a coral outcrop. The water felt heavy, squeezing tight around Archer’s bare chest. He sucked in another breath, the sound sharp and short as the air shot from his tank to his regulator. Don’t hold your breath. It was the first rule of scuba diving, according to his father’s frequent lectures.
With five more minutes to wait at the decompression stop, he now regretted tricking his father into continuing the dive. It was entirely his fault they’d blown their dive time limit. Hovering in the water like this, exposed and without any defences, was as scary as hell. To surface now would risk decompression sickness, but to remain in the water with a curious shark was just as deadly.
Archer’s father reached down to his ankle holster and unclipped his dive knife, but Archer’s relief at seeing the weapon was short-lived. The three inches of steel with the flat top was hardly a knife at all. Sure it was useful at cutting a diver free from trawler netting or fishing line, but against a man-eater, it would be like attacking a monster with a toothpick.
Crystal clear water allowed Archer to see at least fifty metres of the surrounding ocean. The shark was still out of sight, but so was the boat’s anchor line, absorbed into the deep blue. With a pounding heart, he wondered how far they’d drifted. Despite the comfortable twenty-five-degree water, he shivered. He wanted to rub some warmth into his exposed arms and legs, but fear paralysed him. His mind, on the other hand, raged. Had the shark gone? Or was it preparing for a final attack?
His father’s usual steely gaze had shifted to wide darting eyes, and his grip became a vice around Archer’s bicep. Archer checked his dive watch again. His clenched knuckles were bone white, as if he were trying to force the seconds out of it.
The shark appeared again, slicing through the water with deadly precision. With a flash of steel his father lunged with the knife, but the stubby blade missed. Archer’s heart thundered in his ears as he thrashed around, trying to follow the beast’s erratic path. His father was right there with him.
The shark’s teeth, row after row of pointed razors, were scary. But its eyes, evil vacant eyes, scared Archer even more.
The attack came from nowhere. Archer snapped his legs back, but this time the shark’s teeth tore through the skin above his knee. Stinging pain blazed through his leg as a crimson cloud of blood swirled into the water.
His father hand-signed ‘boat’ and ignored the time constraints to shove him upwards. Panic forced his arms and legs into action and Archer clawed his way to the surface. He punched through the water, pulled his mask to his neck and scoured the horizon.
But all he saw were white-crested waves. The boat wasn’t there.
About the Author
Kendall Talbot is an award winning author, thrill seeker and a hopeless romantic. She has travelled extensively, some 36 countries, and counting and she’s addicted to experiences that make her scream…white water rafting, scuba diving with sharks and hang gliding are just a few. Her stories reflect her sense of adventure and her long running love affair with her very own hero.
Kendall collects junky jewellery and expensive perfume, her favourite night out is with great friends and a fabulous bottle of wine or two, and she rarely watches TV. She lives in Brisbane with her hubby, her two grown boys and her little dog, Josie McLuvin.
Her debut novel Lost in Kakadu (Escape Publishing, 2013) has received a clutch of award nominations and most notably won the exclusive Romantic Book of the Year.
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