Earth, wind, fire .... and passion.
Rockie Wexler's father has created a device that predicts earthquakes. Unfortunately it can also cause them, and now both Dr. Wexler and the TAQ box have disappeared.
Gutsy and brilliant Rockie fended off lecherous advances with ease during her brief career as as actress, but she knows she needs help to rescue her father from the bad guys and their terrifying leader Conan.
Help arrives in the form of Dr. Leslie Sheridan. The hard-edged, self-described pain in the butt turns her world upside down. And Sheridan has his own reasons for hating anyone with the name of Wexler.
A captivating adventure in the tradition of Indiana Jones.
SEQUEL TO THE PATRIOT
FINALIST FOR THE RWA RITA AWARD
Rockie never saw him move. Maybe she blinked, or maybe Sheridan teleported. One second he was leaning against the Jeep, the next he had her shoulders gripped in his hands. A full five seconds before she felt the concrete floor move and heard a low, telltale rumble. He not only had eyes in the back of his head, he had sonar for ears.
"Holy crap." He looked down at the crack spreading beneath their feet like a long-fingered bolt of lightning. "What a lousy time for an earthquake."
Rockie clung to his forearms as the tunnel groaned around them, the Jeep rocked on its springs, and her memory flashed back to the coffin-shaped box she'd seen Conan's mercs carry out of her father's lab.
"I don't think it's an earthquake," she said. "I think it's the TAQ box."
Sheridan blinked, twice. "Addison built it?"
"He built two. Prototypes."
"I'll kill him." Sheridan put his arms around her and held her until the tremor stopped.
Over the hiss of dust sifting down on their heads, Rockie heard a loud metallic pop, then a sigh, and she froze. So did Sheridan, spinning her around to fish the flashlight out of her backpack. He switched it on and aimed it at the east wall. The lockers were slowly swinging open, a faint gap of distant, murky light showing through the fourth one.
"I'll be damned. A fail-safe system." Sheridan pulled her forward, the canteen falling off her shoulder with a clunk. "Maybe I won't kill your father after all. Maybe I'll just put him in a body cast."
The concrete floor was rippling like a wave by the time they reached the locker, a low, ominous rumble groaning toward them from the south branch of the tunnel that led to the lab. Coughing in the dust billowing around her, Rockie peered down a dim metal chute that curved to the left and then out of sight.
A haze of dust muted the pale light filtering up from the bottom. The chute was about four feet high and three across, its seams already grinding under stress. Rockie could hear dirt and small rocks pinging on its sheet-metal sides.
"D'you suppose it's safe?"
"It's a hellova lot safer than staying here. Ladies first."
Sheridan caught Rockie beneath her arms, lifted her off her feet and into the chute. She landed hard on her tailbone, felt the tube quivering around her and clutched the sides. She didn't like this. Oh, God, she didn't like this.
"Hang on." Sheridan swung in behind her and hooked his legs around hers.
"I am." Rockie squeezed her eyes shut and clung for dear life as the sides began shuddering and the seams shrieked.
"To me, not the chute." Sheridan peeled her fingers looses and clamped them on his knees.
It was enough to send them shooting down the tube into God only knew what. Sheridan locked his arms around Rockie's rib cage, and she locked her hands around his wrists just as the roof of the tunnel collapsed behind them, the roar of tons of falling concrete muffling her scream.