Please help me welcome Kim McMahill, author of Shrouded in Secrets, to my blog today.
Thanks for joining me, Kim. The blog is yours. Take it away!
Embrace Adventure â€“ itâ€™s the name of my blog, my goal in life, and the catalyst behind most of my writing. I grew up in Wyoming, which is where I must have developed my sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. Since leaving Wyoming Iâ€™ve enjoyed many opportunities to see the world and have lived amid some of Americaâ€™s most stunning landscapes. I started out writing non-fiction, but my passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew me into a world of romantic suspense. Along with writing adventure novels I have published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel anthology and cookbook.
My latest undertaking is Shrouded In Secrets, and Iâ€™m so excited to finally see it in print. The book has been an intense labor of love and I truly hope that readers will agree that the results merit the years of effort. I read through mountains of material (much of which I didnâ€™t understand not being a scientist or archeologist), encountered creative and emotional setbacks, but persevered and couldnâ€™t be more pleased with the finished product.
The story begins with a horrifying incident in a remote jungle in Peru, launching a suspense-filled international adventure. Iâ€™ve been to all the countries visited in the book, except for Peru, though not necessarily to the specific region of each particular scene. Thatâ€™s where research and creative license come into play. Itâ€™s always my goal to describe places in a manner that transports readers to a myriad of exotic locals, and as much firsthand knowledge as possible, canâ€™t hurt. But with this novel, I also take on a larger, more complex cast of characters than ever before. I hope I have done them justice and given them the depth and relatable qualities they deserve. So, without further ado, hereâ€™s a quick taste of the adventure to come.
United by a common mission, bonded by tragedy
The massacre of an unarmed South American village, destruction of one of the greatest manmade wonders of the world, and multiple museum thefts ignite a desperate scramble to locate a deadly group of terrorists. An international team led by the ruggedly handsome, but emotionally scarred CIA agent, Cash Luker, scours the globe in an attempt to keep ahead of those striving to bring thirteen mythical relics together. As Cashâ€™s team closes in on those responsible for the devastation he must conquer past demons in order to save the woman who has captured his heart and prevent destruction of legendary proportions.
A smart and cautious man would backtrack out of the cavern and return with help and materials to shore up the ceiling before removing the parcel, but patience was not one of his virtues, and he had never been accused of being the careful sort. One hard yank and the bundle would fall, but the motion might bring the whole cavern down upon him. Whether it was just weak with age and rotted timbers, or intentionally unstable as a last hope of protecting the sacred relic, it didnâ€™t really matter. Bottom line, Cash possessed no desire to be buried alive.
Visualizing the concern etched on Oliviaâ€™s face, he decided to play it safe for once in his life. He took one step away from the dead end, but halted as a barrage of noise penetrated the cave. Despite the distortion of the earthen walls, Cash recognized the sound of automatic gun fire, and his team hadnâ€™t brought those types of weapons on this excursion.
Cash yanked the closest timber and caught the bundle as it fell. The ceiling groaned and rocks dislodged in a hail storm as he ran toward the first pit. He cleared the hole with room to spare, landed on his feet and kept running, hunched over. The sound of gunfire grew louder as he neared the sharp turn in the tunnel.
As soon as he rounded the corner, he was forced to lie down and shimmy forward. He pulled himself along the ground with one arm while holding his prize tight to his side with the other. He scooted past the second pit and slowed as he reached the exit. He set the bundle down, planning to retrieve it once he neutralized the threat. At the moment, he needed his hand on his gun more than the rotted leather wrap.
He was in a vulnerable position. If he just stuck his head out, it could very well get shot off, but he had to do something. Inching closer to the mouth of the cavern, the gunfire stopped, leaving an eerie quiet. He strained to hear sounds to clue him in on the situation, but silence ruled.
Suddenly the slack went out of the forgotten rope tied around his waist, tightening, forcing all the air out of his lungs, propelling him into motion. The momentum yanked him out into the daylight in a blur, dislodging his gun somewhere in the process. The speed in which he was being drug up the steep hill, across the rocks, brush, and cacti on his belly grew with each painful moment. Cash struggled to retrieve the knife from its sheath at his side, but found accomplishing the task impossible as his body bounced over the rough terrain with the rope cutting into his skin.
He abandoned all attempts to reach his blade and covered his head with his arms as he sped toward a sturdy shrub. Branches snapped and flew through the air as he scraped over the bush. Blood ran down his hands and forearms, but at least he successfully protected his skull. Fumbling, Cash finally managed to free his knife. He sawed frantically at the taut rope, realizing the mule pulling him was running full out for the lip of another steep gorge.
The ultra-strong high-tech filament line gave way, and his body skidded to an abrupt halt. He glanced up in time to see the mule disappear over the ledge, dust and rocks flying up behind frantic hooves as the terrified animal fled the danger.
Thanks again for visiting today, Kim. Wishing you much success.