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Scroll (EBOOK)

Scroll (EBOOK)

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EBOOK. Book 2 in the USA Today Bestselling Relic Hunters TaskForce archeological adventure series. Sweet and clean suspense. 

Dr. Abigail Spencer is an ancient languages scholar. So why do covert agents want her dead?

When Special Agent Jack Riley asks college professor Dr. Abigail Spencer to translate an ancient copper scroll, she has no idea it will lead to the lost treasure of Croesus hidden for centuries.

When they arrive in Ephesus, their contact is dead; the scroll is gone, and mercenaries sent by a covert organization are determined to kill them.

It's a race against time for Abigail. Can she reach the treasure before the killers, and manage to stay alive?

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Read a Sample

Chapter 1.

LYDIA, 546 B.C.
Gordias looked over his shoulder. They were closing on him. He clutched the bag of electrum coins to his chest.
He was close now, so close he could almost taste the gold.
For a minute he hesitated, weighing up his options. Did he have time to reach the tunnel? Maybe it would be better to lead the others away even though that would mean his certain death. His mission was to keep the treasure safe.
He ducked behind a boulder and looked at his pursuers.
No, they were far enough away. He would reach the tunnel without discovery.
He took another deep breath and wiped the sweat from his brow. His throat hurt and he could taste blood but was aware it was purely from the exhaustion. He was uninjured, for now at least. Gordias knew they wouldn’t be able to track him over the rubble and the rocky pathway made by wild mountain goats.
As he lowered the bag of coins, he heard a noise.
Gordias ducked under a bush as a mountain goat scurried past him. Whoever was closing in on him had frightened the goat.
His only weapon was a knife, and his pursuers were bigger and stronger than he. Besides, he was vastly outnumbered, apart from the one pursuer who was rapidly closing in.
Gordias silently shuffled backward under the bush. As he did so, some scree tumbled down the rock face directly above him. It was the goat, but maybe his pursuer didn’t know that. He held his breath as the man’s legs came into view, as did his short sword swinging from his belt beside his left thigh. Gordias gazed on the man’s ostentatious clothing with disapproval: multi-colored long pants and a bright purple and crimson cloak.
The pursuer’s pace quickened and he hurried along the path to the left from where the rockfall had come.
Gordias sighed with relief. He wished to go to the right. It would be a while before his pursuer realized he was chasing a goat, if he ever did. Gordias held his breath and inched out carefully, in case the other Persians were closer. Behind the shelter of a tree, he looked out over the landscape once more. Now he couldn’t see them, but he couldn’t hear them either and he was certain they hadn’t made up much ground. Their fancy clothes would prove a hindrance over the rocks.
With that, he hunched over and ran to the right as fast as his burden of treasure would allow him.
It was dusk now, the time of day in which it is hardest to see. Still, he knew that would hinder his pursuers as much as it would hinder him and the tunnel entrance was well hidden. He had made himself a camp at the entrance to the tunnel, a rough bed of leaves and a stash of supplies: figs, grapes, and apples, and some now-stale bread. He even had a column krater filled with wine. Lydian soldiers were as prepared as the Persians were flamboyant. A trickle of water ran down a rock and pooled at the bottom. He could live there for a while if he could catch small game from time to time.
Gordias knew the route to the entrance well, being one of the guards entrusted by Croesus himself. The Persians wouldn’t find him there.
His king, Croesus, had retreated from the battle on the eastern bank of the Pactolus River to the impenetrable fortress at Sardis. Sadly, the acropolis turned out to be not so impenetrable, not in the face of Cyrus the Great and the mighty Persian army. They had taken Croesus, maybe even killed him. Just before the Persian army captured the acropolis, Gordias and other soldiers were sent to ascertain whether the Persians had discovered the treasure in various locations. Gordias was to make sure the biggest stockpile of all was safe.
Gordias’s thoughts turned to his situation. He was grateful to the goat. Maybe it had saved his life. He allowed himself a small smile of satisfaction as he turned by a yellow-flowering shrub and rounded the corner.
As he made to climb over a boulder, the ground shook. Surely it wasn’t an earthquake? Gordias had experienced slight earth tremors, but this seemed stronger. Besides, it wasn’t as if the ground was shaking—it was as if the very air around him was shaking.
Maybe that’s why the birds had been conspicuous by their absence that afternoon. Gordias heard some rocks fall and hoped they were falling on his pursuers. Still, he was sure they had all gone in the wrong direction, but more would come. What was he to do? He needed help and no help was coming. The mighty Lydian Empire had fallen.
Gordias approached his destination. Now he had to climb what appeared to be a vertical rock face and then he would be in the cave. He pulled himself up, reaching for the handholds he knew to be there and then threw himself onto the ledge. He looked around to make sure he hadn’t been seen before rolling into the cave.
Gordias shimmied inside backward and then stood. He deposited his bag on the ground before stretching his shoulders and arms, sore from the burden. He lowered the bag of coins and smiled widely.
He was still shaking from his narrow escape but was hungry. He reached for a handful of figs and stuffed them in his mouth. That’s when the rumbling came again.
There was a loud sound like thunder and it was as if the walls were leaning toward Gordias, closing in on him. He put his hands above his head as he heard rocks falling. Gordias threw himself back against the rock wall, terrified, as everything continued to shake.
Boulders fell past the entrance to the cave and one landed on the ledge, blocking most of the light.
Gordias looked up as the cavern roof fell on top of him.

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