By Elizabeth Peters

An exceptional wage and an all-expenses-paid summer season spent a sprawling Arizona ranch is just too solid a deal for fledgling anthropologist D.J. Abbott to show down. What does it topic that her wealthy new employer/benefactor, Hank Hunnicutt, is a professional oddball who's shortly investment all demeanour of off-beat initiatives, from alien conspiracy experiences to a hunt for dragon bones? there is even speak of treasure buried within the within reach mountains, yet D.J. is not going to permit free hypothesis -- or the enormous charms of good-looking expert treasure hunter Jesse Franklin -- to sidetrack her. till Hunnicutt suffers a mysterious coincidence after which vanishes, leaving the weirdos collected at his unfold to eye one another with fearful suspicion. yet on a excessive wilderness look for the lacking millionaire, D.J. is studying issues that will not be fit for her to understand. For the sport anyone is taking part in right here is going a long way past the rational universe -- and it can go away D.J. legitimately useless.

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Don’t just stand there, go on in. ” I inquired. ” “Then do join me. I don’t believe in these outmoded class distinctions. ” De Karsky glared at me and stalked toward the house. I followed him toward a door in the opposite wall. Before we reached it, it opened, and a man came out. If De Karsky hadn’t greeted him by name I wouldn’t have known who he was. He didn’t 48 / Elizabeth Peters look anything like what I had expected; tall and lean and weatherbeaten, he looked like John Wayne and Gary Cooper and Tom Mix—all the old cowboy heroes rolled into one.

Ahead, on the horizon, was a dark blotch. As we swept toward it, it took on shape: trees, their rich green soothing to eyes weary of dust and sun. I had expected trees. You can’t have a ranch without water. But I was not prepared for the luxuriant vegetation that adorned the grounds. We passed through another gate and into a long avenue lined with green. Through the tree trunks I caught an occasional glimpse of a velvety lawn 46 / Elizabeth Peters set with shrubs and flower beds, but most of the parklike area had been left as nature designed it.

I figured you might need rescuing,” Jesse said. “I cannot tell a lie,” I said, wondering if he wore his shirt sleeves rolled up clear to the shoulder on purpose to display his muscles. Whatever his reason, it was an excellent idea. “I don’t need rescuing from people like that. I could have walked away clean anytime. ” He flashed me another wide white smile. ” I didn’t say “oh, no” out loud this time, but I thought it. ” “Well, I like to think I’m not quite as crazy as some of the others. ” “That’s a new one to me,” I said.

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