Twenty minutes later, after weaving their way through traffic, they pulled up in front of Abby’s borrowed apartment.
“I won’t be long,” she said and cracked open her door.
Gage caught her arm. “Now that the papers are signed, I’m in charge, remember?”
“The problem that existed last night hasn’t changed. Just because you put the gold back in the bank doesn’t mean you’re safe. There’s been at least one attempt on your life, and if the guy at the museum was the same man, he might be willing to take you by force, coerce you into giving him the map.”
A thread of unease slid through her. “So what would you suggest? I have work to do, same as you.”
“If you want this venture to succeed, at this point, you have two options—I can put a guard on your door 24/7 or you can stay at my place.”
“You can’t be serious.” Superman, ha! The man was dictatorial and overbearing. How was she going to put up with him for what could end up being weeks?
But what if he was right? Was it possible the man who’d attacked her knew where she was staying? Had he followed her to the museum last night? Would he come after her again, try to force her to give him the map?
“My apartment building’s extremely secure,” Gage was saying. “It’s big enough that you’ll have all the privacy you need, and it won’t be for long. As soon as everything’s ready, we’ll be leaving for Arizona.”
The chunk of gold was back in the bank, the map in the safe in Gage’s office, but she and Gage were the only ones who knew that. Abby looked into Gage’s stern features and knew he wasn’t going to back down.
“So what’s it going to be?” he said.
“If you hire a guard, I’ll be paying for half of it. I’ll stay at your place. And you’d better remember–I still have my gun.”
Gage grinned, then threw back his head and laughed.
Gage wasn’t laughing when Abby opened the door to the apartment and the interior looked as if a bomb had gone off.
“Oh, my God!”
Easing her behind him, he walked into the living room. The sofa was overturned, the cushions sliced open, pictures had been jerked down from the walls, the backs ripped off. Kitchen drawers had been pulled out and dumped, cabinets opened, the contents spilled on the floor.
“Stay right here.” For once, Abby didn’t argue. She was clearly in shock at the nightmare she had stumbled into.
Gage checked the rooms, making sure the intruder or intruders were gone, then returned to the living room. “Take a look around, see if anything’s missing.”
Big golden eyes flashed to his face. “You think it was him? The guy who broke in before?”
“What do you think?”
She huffed out a breath at the sarcasm in his voice. “Well, hell’s bells. Tammy’s going to kill me.”
Amusement eased some of his tension. “Don’t worry, we’ll clean everything up before she comes back.”
Gage followed Abby on a tour of the apartment, including the bedroom and bathroom, both of which had been very thoroughly searched.
Abby sighed as they returned to the living room. “It’s hard to tell for sure, but I don’t think anything’s missing.”
“He was looking for the map, same as before. Does he also know about the gold?”
“I don’t know. They were both in the old wooden box, which was sealed when I got it. But the map was mentioned in the will. King’s attorney called everyone together for the reading, anyone who received a gift. That included several museums, who had representatives there. So there are a number of people who know about it.”
“You need to make a list—anyone who was at the reading, or might know about your grandfather’s bequest.”
She glanced around and nodded dully. “Okay.”
“In the meantime, I’m bringing in reinforcements. We need to get this place cleaned up.” Taking out his cell, Gage phoned Maggie. Half an hour later, a cleaning crew arrived and Abby put them to work alongside her.
Gage pitched in and they made fairly quick progress. There were items that needed replacing. After an explanatory phone call to her friend and a lengthy apology, Abby left a check for repairs on the counter.
Though the afternoon was shot to hell, Gage couldn’t help feeling relieved that he had insisted on coming with her. Or that Abby would be staying at his place tonight.
Whoever was after the map wasn’t giving up. Gage needed to look at Abby’s suspect list. He wanted to find this guy before they set off on what was already certain to be a dangerous journey.
By late afternoon, the work was finally completed, the cleaning crew gone, the apartment restored as much as possible. Abby had packed several suitcases, casual clothes as well as gear suitable for the trip into the desert. Anything else could be purchased once they got to Arizona.
“You ready?” Gage asked. The suitcases were loaded. The digital cards had been stolen from her cameras but fortunately she had extras and the cameras hadn’t been destroyed.
“I’m ready.” She looked tired for the first time since he’d met her, her expression glum. She put her hand on his arm, as if to steady herself.
Gage caught her shoulders. “Everything’s going to be all right. We still have what we need to find the Devil’s Gold, okay?”
Abby slowly nodded. “You’re right. I just…I didn’t expect anything like this to happen.”
“It’s been a long day. Let’s go home.”
Abby looked up at him. “I don’t really have a home anymore so I guess your place will do.”
She looked so forlorn, Gage leaned down and kissed her forehead. It was a very un-Gage-like thing to do.
May 31, 2022
A treasure map, a treasure hunter, the Devil’s Gold, suspense, romance and a lot of twists and turns.
Abby Holland inherits a treasure from her beloved grandfather, King Farrell. Farrell was a famed explorer and treasure hunter until he allowed his obsession for the Devil’s Gold to destroy his reputation. With map in hand, Abby vows to find the gold and restore her grandfather’s good name.
Knowing she is out of her league and that others will stop at nothing to steal her treasure map, she hires another professional treasurer hunter, Gage Logan, to help her.
Gage is skeptical but still intrigued by the map and Abby. At first, he tries to dissuade her expedition. But when he realizes she’s determined to go with or without him, he reasons that the least he can do is to keep Abby safe while she uncovers the hidden messages left by her grandfather.
Heat, flash floods, winds, and a host of bad guys compound the problems Abby and Gage encounter while racing across the Superstition Mountains following King Farrell’s clues. Their growing attraction to each other doesn’t help the situation.
Abby and Gage must decide if finding the Devil’s Gold and restoring King Farrell’s reputation is worth the danger they face.
There is something about a treasure that fastens upon a man’s mind. He will pray and blaspheme and still persevere and will curse the day he heard of it, and will let his last hour come upon him unawares, still believing that he missed it only by a foot. He will see it every time he closes his eyes. He will never forget it until he is dead . . . and even then he will pass it along to his survivors, that they may follow in his footsteps.
There is no way of getting away from a treasure . . . once it fastens itself upon your mind.Joseph Conrad
I found this quote in a book I was reading, words about treasure I found remarkably compelling. Years ago, I wrote a novel called DEEP BLUE about hunting for treasure on a sunken Spanish galleon.
I’d been wanting to write another treasure story ever since, and this seemed like the perfect chance. The hero of the story, Gage Logan, is the second of the three Logan brothers, a man who left his home at an early age in search of adventure. Over the years, he became one of the world’s foremost explorers and treasure hunters.
I did a ton of research for the book, starting with a list of the lost treasures of the world, narrowing it down to the legendary Lost Dutchman mine in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. Since I spend my winters there, it seemed the perfect place to set a high action adventure story.
The Superstitions themselves are daunting. I made a trip there with my husband because no amount of research could give me a clear picture of what such a harsh environment would look like.
The mountains, forty miles east of Phoenix, have been designated a wilderness area. That means no motorized vehicles allowed. It’s a chilling landscape of jagged rocks, deep ravines, and sheer cliffs that lure the unwary. With its vicious jumping cactus, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and deadly reputation for the deaths through the years of more than two-hundred people, the mountains are one of the most intimidating spots I’ve ever encountered.
My research trip included a short excursion into the harsh desert around the perimeter–which was more than enough to satisfy my curiosity. I was also able to speak to old Dutch hunters, men who spend their lives hunting for the rumored Peralta gold. A trip to the museum allowed me to examine an extensive collection of treasure maps used by Dutch hunters over the years.
Finally satisfied I had enough information, I was able to actually start writing.
In THE LAST MILE, when Abigail Holland inherits a treasure map from her grandfather, she seeks out renown treasure hunter, Gage Logan—the only man she’ll trust to help her find it. It’s high action, plenty of twists and turns, and of course a passionate romance.
Fighting flash floods, brutal winds, and men willing to kill for the treasure, Gage and Abby face the dark heart of danger—but nothing will stop them from finding the Devil’s Gold.
I hope you will look for Gage and Abby in THE LAST MILE and that you enjoy it.
Till next time, all best and happy reading,
May 31, 2022
Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin. More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film. Kat’s newist hardcover, THE LAST MILE, a Romantic Thriller, will be released today, May 31th. THE LAST MILE is the second novel in her Blood Ties Series.
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