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The greatest treasure in the Superstition Mountains isn't gold.
Mica Hawke tipped his hat over his eyes and feigned sleep.
When he had awakened from his dream a week ago, the phone had been ringing by his bedside. Upon answering it, a woman’s nasally voice introduced herself as Sue Ellen Mateo, Mica’s long-lost cousin. The story she had told him about uncovering the map in an old family Bible sounded far-fetched enough to be true. But was it? Well, there was only one way to find out. He would have to go to Arizona and have a look at the map.
The van hit a bump, and he shifted position so he could study the other occupants of the shuttle van from the airport. Sitting across from him, an attractive couple pored over a hand-drawn map and talked about gold. He knew who they were, Sue Ellen and her husband Jason. At the moment, they didn’t have any idea who he was, and he wanted to keep it that way for a bit longer. The map looked authentic enough, and the couple certainly treated it as if they believed it was genuine. It lent credibility to Sue Ellen’s story but didn’t rule out the chance the couple was perpetrating a hoax directed at Fool’s Gold. As a forensic document examiner, he’d seen more than his fair share of authentic-looking forgeries and interviewed con men and women who were better actors than any Hollywood star. Still, his gut feel was this was the map, and his fingers itched to hold it.
The man sitting behind the couple did nothing to hide his interest in the map. He sat high in his seat peering over their shoulders. Hawke didn’t like the speculative gleam in the older man’s eyes. Gold lust was something many men caught and some killed over.
The shuttle driver was giving a dissertation on the story of Joe Waltz and the Lost Dutchman Mine. The driver’s voice was monotonous, but Mica listened anyway. The subject was more than appropriate since the van’s destination was a place called Fool’s Gold in the town of Stallion Springs. There, for an ungodly sum of money, he was going to take an uncomfortable three-day horseback ride into the mountains. All because of a dream.
He wasn’t sure who was the biggest fool—him or the treasure hunters who’d gone before him.
“Are you sure we can convince her to let us follow the map?” The woman asked in a high, nasal whine. She was pretty in a blonde vapid sort of way, but her voice put his teeth on edge. The man sitting beside her didn’t seem fazed by it at all. Mica bit back a grin and questioned whether it was because the man didn’t mind or because he wasn’t listening.
“Of course she will,” the man said. When the woman shot him a dubious look, he quickly added. “Well, I was married to her once, you know.”
“So, you’ve told me.”
“Besides, after what happened in Iraq, I’m sure she’ll do anything to get her hands on some money. The VA is notoriously cheap about paying for prosthetics. She also got burned. I’m sure she has some horrific scars she’d like to have fixed.”
“I don’t want to talk about her anymore.” The woman tossed her hair over her shoulder. “So, what is the price of gold?”
“About six hundred dollars.”
“A pound?” The woman asked.
“No, an ounce.”
“Oh!” The woman gave a sexy shiver, and her blue eyes sparkled.
The brakes on the bus hissed as they pulled up in front of a low adobe building.
“Welcome to Stallion Springs,” the driver said.
Mica tipped up his hat, reached down for his duffle bag, then stared out the window. Oh, God, it was her!
In a flash, he was back in college. He’d had a hard-on for the pretty brunette from the first time he saw her in chemistry class. It was an open lecture so, over the next few weeks, he timed his arrival so he could walk behind her into class just to watch the sexy twitch of her ass. All semester he tried to work up the nerve to ask her out and failed. Rae Morgan. Even her name made his heart beat faster. If he closed his eyes, he could almost remember how her lips felt under his when he’d kissed her. Despite his shyness, he had managed to kiss her…once.
He had been passing her dorm on Sunday morning when he saw her come out the front door. It was the day after graduation, and everyone one else seemed to be packing up cars and vans with their belongings. All she carried was a duffle bag. He followed her on a whim and had been disconcerted when they ended up at the bus terminal. He watched her buy a ticket with his heart frozen like a stone in his chest. She was leaving! He didn’t have a clue what to do, but he knew he couldn’t just walk away…so he had kissed her. Did she even remember after all these years?
He took a deep breath and prepared to step out of the van. She hadn’t seen him yet. There was an air of seriousness about her as she stood at the foot of the van steps with a clipboard in her hand. Her long black hair had been cut short and now swung around her shoulders with a sassy flip at the ends. Taking a closer look at her, he realized she’d filled out in all the right places. She had large breasts, a trim waist, and flat stomach. Did she still walk with a tantalizing twitch of her ass? He’d definitely be watching to find out. Her eyes were still the same deep blue he remembered, but they weren’t wide and innocent anymore.
She’d grown from a girl to a woman. Well, he’d grown, too. No longer shy and awkward, he made a vow. This time he’d get more than just her name and one measly kiss.
End of Excerpt
by Ericka Scott
2:31 PM |