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Treasured Dreams (EBOOK)

Treasured Dreams (EBOOK)

Book 3 in the Treasure Hunters series

Regular price $4.99 USD
Regular price $5.99 USD Sale price $4.99 USD
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Treasure brought them together. Enemies tested their love.

But what happens when the enemy is closer than they think?

Archer Mahoney’s talent for finding lost treasure is almost as good as his talent for finding trouble. When he uncovers a vintage portrait linked to a fortune of diamonds stolen during World War II, he’s suddenly thrust into a dangerous chase filled with bizarre clues, ruthless adversaries, and stakes that could cost him the woman he loves.

When Rosalina is kidnapped by a madman out for revenge, the treasure hunt turns into something more sinister. More personal.

With time running out, Archer will have to play the madman’s chilling game to save her in time. But if there’s one thing Archer has learned from a lifetime of hunting lost secrets, it’s that to win against the devil you can’t play by the rules…

This is BOOK 3 in the complete six-book Treasure Hunters series, spanning exotic locations in Egypt, the Greek Islands, Brazil, the Caribbean, and Archer's luxury multi-million-dollar yacht.

❤️Buy this book in a bundle to binge read the complete series rather than buy them individually at full price.

FAQS - Chapter look inside

Chapter 1
Rosalina didn’t want to look at the bruises coloring her leg dark blue, but she couldn’t help it. Considering a sizeable chunk of a helicopter had landed on her, it was a miracle she hadn’t broken both her legs.
Or been crushed to death.
Since she’d started hunting for treasure with her fiancé, she’d sustained a lot of injuries. This was by far the worst.
With each passing day, the swelling had subsided, but the dark clouds still stained her flesh from her toes to her knee.
She’d gotten lucky. But how much more luck did they have?
Was the allure of the treasure truly worth it?
At night, her dreams were filled with scrambled concoctions of glistening treasure and crazy men trying to steal it from them. During the day, her mind continued the chaos.
How much more can I take?
Archer took the crutches from her, rested them against Evangeline’s chrome railing, and helped her lift her other leg onto the plush sun lounge. The plaster cast that ran from below her knee to the edge of her toes was heavy, and she was sick of lugging it around. She’d painted her toenails that poked out of the cast in bright pink, hoping the pretty color would cheer her up.
It hadn’t.
Three more weeks until the cast came off, and it couldn’t come soon enough.
“How’s that?” Archer kneeled at her side and lifted her chin with his finger, drawing her eyes to his. “Better?”
She nodded. “It’s good.” Her blood pounded against her swollen skin, throbbing out a painful pulse in her wounds that were her constant companion. Hopefully the agony would subside with her legs elevated.
Archer tilted his head at her. It was one of her fiancé’s signature moves and the angle captured the sunlight and the golden halo of flecks circling his dark irises seemed to dance. His incredible irises had harnessed her initial attraction to him. His eyes had a personality of their own. He ran his thumb over her chin and when he touched her lips, she kissed his thumb.
Five weeks ago, while she’s been pinned to the dive deck below by a chunk of mangled helicopter, she’d thought she’d lost him. He’d plummeted from the chopper into the black water he’d splashed into and vanished. With each ticking second, as black smoke had poured over her, and she’d begged for Archer to resurface, her heart had crumbled to a thousand pieces and drifted away with the smoke-filled air.
After that heart-wrenching moment when she’d thought her fiancé had died, she’d been gripped with melancholy. Archer had been stretching his creativity to cheer her up.
Bringing her back to Evangeline was another one of his attempts to help snap her out of gloominess. She hadn’t returned here since that night. Yet it was one of her favorite places in the world, so maybe this would help after all. She hoped so, it wasn’t like her to be so negative.
“You stay here,” he said. “I’ll grab a few things and be right back.”
She nodded. He leaned forward, gave her a quick kiss, then walked away. He was spectacular to watch. Light and shade alternated off his broad shoulders as he strode across the sunlit deck, and his perfectly toned bottom glided up and down with every step until he disappeared into the stairwell.
To avoid looking at her legs again, Rosalina flicked her long skirt over them.
Over her left shoulder, she had a perfect view across other magnificent yachts in Italy’s Marina di San Vincenzo. Most marinas could barely accommodate Archer’s yacht, but here in Livorno’s prestigious new yacht club, Evangeline was like a toy compared to the magnificent vessels they were moored alongside.
The morning sun, hanging high in the sky, dripped dazzling stars onto all the shiny chrome surfaces on the surrounding vessels. I should have remembered my sunglasses. Normally she’d never forget something like that. It proved that she still wasn’t thinking straight.
Heaving a long breath, she turned her attention to the damaged part of the sundeck.
Jimmy and Alessandro had worked tirelessly to clear away as many of the crash remnants as they could, but the police forensics team had restricted their access. The image of the body covered by a white cloth flashed into her mind. Thankfully, Ignatius Montpellier was the only person who’d died in that fiery crash.
She felt no remorse for him.
The damage from the crash was extensive. Most of the helicopter pad, which was one level up, had been crushed into the deck she was now sitting on. The narrow steps that had led to the helipad were a tangle of metal and plastic. One of the helicopter’s blades must’ve struck the deck before ricocheting into the ocean because a long, jagged gash in the teak decking made it look as if a great monster had sliced through the polished wood with a broadsword.
Jimmy’s deep, hearty belly laugh echoed up the stairwell.
She smiled as his laughter grew louder.
He stepped onto the sundeck with Archer beside him. As usual, Jimmy was shirtless, and the sun captured the graying chest hairs covering his leathery skin. With a smile on his face and a six-pack of beer clutched in his hand, he strode towards Rosalina with his signature prize-fighter swagger. He was light on his feet for such a solid man.
“Heya Rosa.” Jimmy brushed his lips to her cheek and his stubble was a rough abrasion on her skin.
“Ciao, Jimmy, how are you?”
“Couldn’t be better. How about you? Getting used to those crutches yet?”
She huffed. “No. I don’t think I ever will.”
Archer placed an antipasti platter on the table at her side, and as she eyed off the lovely selection of cured meats, cheeses, and olives, a champagne cork popped.
“What’s going on?” She suppressed a grin as she nodded at the champagne Archer opened. They usually didn’t have a drink until at least midday.
“A few things.” Archer topped up five crystal champagne glasses that he’d brought with him.
“Not all of us have been lazing around on our ass since that bastard crashed his helicopter into us.” Jimmy’s grin was growing ridiculous.
They’re both itching to tell me something.
“Believe me, I’d rather do anything than sit on my butt all day.” She took the glass Archer offered her. “So tell me, what’s going on?”
Archer eyeballed Jimmy. “Should we wait till Alessandro and Ginger get here?”
Jimmy opened a bottle of Peroni. “That’d be the right thing to do.” He took a swig of beer, and his lip quivered as he attempted to keep a straight face.
“Okay then.” She could play this game too. “Who made the antipasti platter? It looks good.”
“I did.” Archer gobbled a slice of cured meat that she guessed to be bresaola. He turned to Jimmy. “Maybe we could tell Rosa some of the news.”
Jimmy’s eyes switched from the salami he was about to devour to Archer, and he nodded like a kid in a chocolate parlor.
Archer rubbed his hands together, reached for his champagne glass then sat on the deck chair next to hers. “The police have finished combing over this area, so we can finally start the renovations.” Archer stood and strode to the center of the sundeck. “Jimmy has suggested we put a jacuzzi right here.” He indicated to his right. “And he was thinking of a rooftop bar over this side.”
She glanced at Jimmy, who grinned like a drunken teenager. “Sounds like you boys have thought this through.”
“Not me.” Archer palmed his chest, in mock hurt. “I’m thinking something much more sophisticated would be appropriate.”
“Really?” she said sarcastically. “So. . . you don’t want a rooftop bar?”
“Well, now that you mention it,” he chuckled and raised his glass.
Grinning, she conceded that maybe this was the distraction she needed. “You know what we could do? We could make an outdoor kitchen. With a teppanyaki barbecue or something similar.”
Archer snapped his fingers. “Great idea.”
“We could have a nice table setting here too, so we can eat outside for a change.” She could already picture it brimming with food.
“We’ll need a decent beer fridge.” Jimmy added, in all seriousness.
She laughed. “Of course we will.”
“Hey guys.” Ginger’s Australian accent was unmistakable. The younger woman stepped into view from the stairwell. Her tiny white shorts showed off her long, tanned legs as she walked towards Rosalina.
“Buongiorno. How is everyone?” Alessandro strolled across the sundeck behind Ginger, carrying a manila folder.
Archer’s eyes shot to the folder and judging by the glimmer in his eyes, Rosalina figured half of his excitement was because of whatever it contained. Ginger clutched her blonde braid in her hand and bent down to kiss Rosalina’s cheek.
Alessandro placed the folder on the sun lounge to Rosalina’s left and then kissed both her cheeks. For the first time since she’d met Alessandro, he seemed to be wearing a different aftershave. Maybe Ginger had finally convinced him it was time for a change.
“Come ti senti?” His eyes were the picture of concern.
“I’m okay, just sick of these crutches. And tired of sitting on my bottom, despite what Archer and Jimmy think.”
All of them gathered around her and she felt both the weight of their concern and the prickle of anticipation. Their concern probably wasn’t about her injuries. They would heal. It was because she hadn’t been herself lately.
“Did they tell you what I found?” Alessandro indicated to Archer and Jimmy.
“No. They wanted to wait till you were here.”
Alessandro nodded. “Grazie, signori.” The sun bounced off his slick black hair as opened the folder and reached in. Archer sat on the edge of Rosalina’s sun lounge and carefully lifted her legs onto his. His eyes, however, remained on the paperwork Alessandro lifted out.
“Ginger and I made five copies.” As a university professor, Alessandro was accustomed to making presentations to sizeable crowds, but as he bounced from one foot to the other, Rosalina couldn’t decide if he was excited or nervous.
The pages were held together with gold clips, and Alessandro handed one set to each of them, starting with Rosalina.
“I’ve done some digging on the Awa Maru. Because it’s been some time since we’ve discussed it, I’ve summarized what we already know about her.”
Rosalina scanned the list as Alessandro read out their findings so far.
“As we all know, the Awa Maru was a passenger ship that was requisitioned by the Japanese during the war, and in 1945 the Red Cross deployed her to carry supplies to American and allied prisoners of war held in Japanese custody. After delivering those supplies to Singapore, she was boarded with stranded marines, military personnel, and civilians.”
“And treasure.” Jimmy voiced like an excited child.
“Yes. Treasure.” The word treasure was highlighted and underlined on the page. “Billions of dollars, apparently.”
“Apparently,” Rosalina emphasized and shrugged when Archer glanced her way.
Alessandro cleared his throat. “She is also rumored to have carried the priceless Peking Man skulls.”
Rosalina couldn’t fathom what someone would do with the five-hundred-thousand-year-old skulls. Yes, they were priceless, but selling them without revealing their identity would be pointless. And she couldn’t comprehend why someone would want to keep them. The skulls would be creepy.
“Near midnight on the last day of March 1945,” Alessandro continued, “the Awa Maru was torpedoed by an American submarine.”
“And there was only one survivor,” Ginger said.
“Yes,” Alessandro agreed. “The captain’s steward, who is reported to have been the sole survivor of three torpedoed ships.”
“That’s one lucky bastard.” Jimmy shook his head.
“Or unlucky,” Archer said, “depending on which way you look at it.”
Jimmy screwed up his face. “True.”
“In 1980, China located the wreck of the Awa Maru, but no treasure was found.” Alessandro folded a slice of culatello cured meat around a semi-ripened tomato, popped the appetizer in his mouth, and watched Ginger scroll her finger down the page as she read. He waited until she was near the bottom before he spoke again. “You all knew these details up to this point.”
Ginger looked at him and grinned a silly, childish grin. Sometimes Rosalina forgot Ginger was only twenty-one years old.
Alessandro rubbed his hands together. “I’ve spent significant time with my associates in the war museum, and I’m quite certain I have something.”
“So, spit it out, numb-nuts.” Jimmy was an impatient man.
Ginger slapped Jimmy’s arm as Alessandro reached back into the folder and removed a black-and-white photo.
The photo was of ten Japanese men. They were in uniform and positioned in two rows with the men at the front seated and the five men at the back standing behind them. None of them smiled. The man centered at the front held what looked like a Japanese samurai sword. A banner to the left of the picture had Japanese writing on it.
“Are you going to tell us what it means, or should we guess?” Jimmy scowled at Alessandro.
Before he’d taken the offer to come treasure hunting with her and Archer, Alessandro had been a professor of ancient history and architecture at Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence and his work included lecturing to disinterested students in a packed auditorium.
Out here, he only had one naughty student to contend with. . . Jimmy. As usual, though, Alessandro appeared to take it in his stride.
“This photo was taken in the Solomon Islands on a small settlement called Munda,” Alessandro said.
Rosalina examined the background of the photo. Along with dense jungle behind the men, a wooden hut with a thatched roof was nearly hidden within the vegetation.
“These men were World War Two Pacific soldiers. See this signore?” Alessandro pointed at the man seated at the far left. “That’s Kimoda Yukimura.”
Archer snapped his fingers. “The only guy to survive the sinking of the Awa Maru.”
“Correct. See this signore?” Alessandro pointed at the man standing directly behind Kimoda Yukimura. “That’s Hiro Yukimura. Kimoda’s identical twin brother. I believe these two are the masterminds behind the stolen treasure.”
“And we think we know where they took it.” Ginger grinned like she’d spotted an X on a treasure map.
“Fantastic.” Archer rubbed his hands like he was rubbing a magic lantern. “And with those bastards Nox and Ignatius Montpellier dead, we don’t have anything else to worry about but finding that treasure.” Archer swept his gaze at me with boyish glee.
I wanted to soak up his enthusiasm. I really did.
But I couldn’t shake the feeling that some other bastard would step into the shoes of our enemy.
While we are hunting for treasure we will never be safe.

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