When Camille Dagneau surprises a strange man in the college machine shop she runs, she is ready for battle. Ryan MacAllister seems equally suspicious of her, but he insists he’s merely looking for his missing uncle, who has disappeared while hunting for a lost treasure. He believes Camie is the key to finding the treasure, and his uncle. But Camie – beautiful, brilliant, and prickly – isn’t about to trust this oversized geologist, or the attraction she feels.
Following the clues in the missing man’s journal will take Camie, Ryan, and the cat Tiger on a trail through New Mexico and Arizona. They’ll visit the Tombstone graveyard at night, uncover clues in museums, and ultimately wind up in Skeleton Canyon, where rumor says nineteenth-century cowboy bandits secreted their treasure in a cave. To rescue Ryan’s uncle, they’ll face steep cliffs, twisty tunnels, and worse dangers in human form, but trusting each other may be the biggest challenge. And they’re running out of time ….
If you love suspense and romance, don’t miss this gripping adventure! The Southwest Treasure Hunters novels include The Mad Monk’s Treasure and The Dead Man’s Treasure. Each novel stands alone in this series mixing action and adventure with light romance.
Praise for The Skeleton Canyon Treasure:
“The Skeleton Canyon Treasure is a light, breezy action/adventure/romance that’s perfect for summer reading.”
“A great mystery, love story, and search for a treasure.”
“If you like strong women and adventure, you’re going to love this.”
Excerpt of The Skeleton Canyon Treasure:
Camie let herself into the darkened building, reveling in the silence. At 10 PM on a Friday, the engineering department was abandoned, exactly the way she liked it. A few hours of work without distractions and she’d get her invention running.
A faint light shone in the darkened hallway. The glow spilled through the small square of glass in her door, a warning beacon coming from inside her machine shop. She hesitated. Had she forgotten to turn off the light when she left for dinner? Plausible but unlikely. Slapping the light switch on the way out was habit, and she’d been extra careful since the break-in a few nights earlier.
A few other people had keys to the college machine shop, but the cleaning staff would be long gone, and her student interns spent Friday nights at the bar. Camie returned after hours to work on her own projects because inspiration required solitude. So why was her light on?
She crept forward, as silent as the sleeping building around her. The ten-inch window was cloudy with age and threaded with wire mesh, but it didn’t completely hide the sight within. A large man stood on the far side of the room, hunched over one of her workbenches. She didn’t recognize him. Easily several inches over six feet and a good 220 pounds of mostly muscle, he would stand out in any crowd. Among the young geniuses of a science and engineering college, he was a mountain lion among prairie dogs.
Her eyes narrowed and she gave a low growl. What was he doing here, in her machine shop, messing with her equipment? He had to be connected to the earlier theft. Why would he come back when he already had her invention? He couldn’t know she’d already started rebuilding it. Maybe he wanted to steal her notes and the provisional patent application forms. Without them, she’d have a much harder time proving she’d been the original inventor.
She considered her options, calling campus security or the police being the most obvious. Campus security would be faster, but the police would have guns. Problem was, she’d left her phone inside the machine shop. She’d have to leave to find another phone, and he might escape in the meantime, with her notes, and the new version of her device. She didn’t trust the authorities to track him down once he got out of the building. More likely they’d take a report and do nothing. And she did not want to start over from scratch yet again.
And then the man actually reached out and picked up her baby, her new version of the invention, only partway rebuilt. All thought of options and smart choices vanished.
She barreled through the door.
The man spun around, still holding her machine. At least he didn’t drop it, and his hands were occupied so he couldn’t easily go for a weapon. But if he tried to get past her, she’d have to risk damaging her invention in order to stop him.
He gaped at her, several expressions flitting across his face as if unsure which one belonged. Finally he settled into a cocky grin. It didn’t make him good looking. But despite his size and her own keyed-up nerves, she didn’t get a sense of threat. She was usually good at reading people that way.
Still, she didn’t relax. “Well?”
He looked momentarily startled. What kind of greeting had he expected, a warm welcome?
He gave her a careful once over and then something like recognition lit in his eyes. He said cautiously, “You wouldn’t happen to be C. Dagneau?”
That was how she was listed on her nameplate outside the door. Ah, of course. He’d assumed that anyone who ran a machine shop had to be a man. Jerk.
She nodded once.
He turned and put her machine on the long table. She shifted so she could see enough of his hands to make sure they stayed empty. He wore jeans and a T-shirt, fitting closely enough she didn’t think he had anything in his pockets besides a wallet. She shot a glance at her filing cabinet, closed, and as far she could tell, still locked. Her notes appeared to be safe.
“What are you doing here?” she snarled.
“I was looking for you, actually.”
She raised one eyebrow. She’d spent weeks perfecting that particular move when she was fifteen, and it still came in handy when she needed to express skeptical disdain. “You expected to find me in the shop on a Friday night?”
He shrugged. “You’re here, aren’t you?”
Couldn’t argue with that logic. She tried again. “How did you get in?”
He hesitated a fraction too long. “The door was unlocked.”
She studied him, but the cocky grin was back, covering up any lies with attitude. He had the face of an Irish boxer. Not ugly, exactly, but definitely not handsome. Not that it mattered either way.
She knew she’d locked the door behind her. She remembered reaching back to twist the handle, testing it. The lock was loose since it had been damaged during the previous break-in and not yet replaced. Someone could have popped the lock with a credit card or a little force, but she doubted he could have gotten through without knowing he was breaking in. One chance in twenty maybe.
And she wasn’t ready to give up the offensive. “So you found me. Now what?”
Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. In The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, sparks fly when reader favorites Camie and Tiger help a mysterious man track down his missing uncle. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.
Fans of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Terry Odell will want to check out Kris Bock’s romantic adventures. “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog
Kris lives in New Mexico, where she enjoys hiking, watching the sunset from her patio, and hanging out with her husband and their ferrets. Her home office looks out on nature, complete with distracting wildlife such as roadrunners and foxes. Her BFA in photography is used mainly to show Facebook friends how lovely the Southwest is.