Excerpt from book:
Kessler Island, Southeast Alaska
Dread crept up Cobie MacBride's spine. She'd never wanted to do this again. But here she was, facing her past in an attempt to gain a future. Facing a cave again, when she never wanted to see the inside of another one after the caving accident that had taken her brother Brad's life. She was here today for an entirely different reason, and yet it was all connected.
She'd expected a yawning opening, but instead she stared at the slim crawlway into the cave, low and vertical. A muddy chute into the underworld. A trickle of water ran down the towering rock face; velvety moss covered the ground and entrance. Surrounded by the lush greenery of ferns, the cavea product of this karst-laden landhad remained hidden on Kessler Island, one of thousands of islands, most uninhabited, in southeast Alaska's Tongass National Forest.
Her archaeologist father had found it and written about it in his journal. That was the only reason she was here. He had been missing for six months now and presumed dead. They'd been estranged for years, until last Christmas when he'd called and claimed he wanted to make up for the past and would be in touch soon.
She never heard from him again.
Peering at the cave nowa place where he'd recently been and walked, that one last connection to himCobie knew she wouldn't go inside alone. Bad enough she'd arrived on the island via floatplane ahead of Laura and Jen, two spelunking buddies she'd lost touch with over the years who had been eager enough to go on this venture with her. After she'd dumped her pack containing extra clothes, food and other supplies at the public-use cabin, she'd figured she could scout out one of the two cave entrances detailed in her father's journal. He'd made sure that someone delivered the journal into her hands, leaving her with more questions than answers. All she wanted to do was go inside and see the last thing her father had written about.
The whir of a boat in the distance pulled her thoughts back to the present. That must be Laura and Jen now. Better head back to the cabin.
She reached for her bottled water.
From behind, a strong arm wrapped around her throat in a choke hold and squeezed. Her air supply cut off, Cobie didn't have time to think, just react. She twisted and pulled and kicked, but the man's thick muscled arm didn't budge. She wasn't breaking free from this.
She wanted to ask him why he was trying to kill her. Persuade him to let her go. But she couldn't croak out the words. Pressure built in her head. Darkness edged her vision.
Cobie couldn't die like this. She was the only one of her family left. But what to do? Her life was slipping away
He'd gripped her tightly enough that she couldn't headbutt. She'd never wrestle his arm away from her throat.
She let go, flailing. Her lungs screamed. Her head felt as if it would explode.
God, please, help me!
Her hand bumped a rock. A rock! That was the only way. She had seconds before she passed out. Or before he crushed her throat completely.
Her fingers reached for the rock, grappling, feeling the rough edges, unable to secure it, until finally she gripped the weapon. Prickles of light flashed across her vision. Before she was gone, before it was too late, she put all her strength into slamming the rock into his head.
Immediately, his grip loosened. He dropped her and collapsed.
Cobie crashed to the ground, sharp pebbles and sticks cutting into her knees. She reached for her neckhad to be bruisedas she sucked in oxygen. Rolling to her side, she let her vision clear, the pressure from her head easIN TOO DEEP
With Christmas just around the corner, Cobie MacBride wants closure in the case of her missing father. But when a visit to the last place he was seen leads to an attack by a masked assailant, Cobie knows she's in over her head. Running for her life, she never expected to find safety with Adam Warrenthe man she blames for her brother's death. Seeking answers leads them to a treasure ship, buried secrets
and deadly danger. Christmas could find them starting a new futureif they can avoid getting trapped in the perils of the past.
MOUNTAIN COVE: In the Alaskan wilderness, love and danger collide