Book 3 in the Treasure Hunters Series
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Diving into dark Egyptian waters, Archer makes an astonishing underwater discovery that could rewrite history. But Egypt is a land of intrigue, dark secrets and ruthless treasure hunters who are determined to make Archer and Rosalina yet another mystery that vanishes amid the golden sands.
⭐ Quest for answers⭐Evil nemises ⭐Race against time ⭐Hidden secrets ⭐Broken hero ⭐Tragic childhood ⭐ Kick-ass heroine
Treasured Whispers is book 4 in the complete Treasure Hunters Series. ❤️Buy the full series in a book bundle to save $$$, and receive a bonus prequel for FREE
- Broken Alpha Hero
- Treasure Hunt danger
- Race against time
A sunken nightmare. A deadly twist of fate. An action-packed romantic suspense.
When rogue treasure hunter Archer Mahoney dives into dark Egyptian waters, he’s searching for the final pieces of an ancient treasure. But a deadly attack plunges him into an astonishing underwater discovery. It could rewrite the history books. Or stop him from meeting his first child forever.
Rosalina’s night exploring an ancient Egyptian temple turns deadly when she is kidnapped by a ruthless adversary. But it’s not just her life on the line —her unborn child is at risk, and Rosalina will do anything to save the baby she never thought she’d have.
Egypt is a land of intrigue and dark secrets. But when everything spirals out of control, will Archer and Rosalina ever become a family, or will they be yet another mystery amid the golden sands?
Intro to Chapter One
Intro to Chapter One
Archer dragged his eyes away from a luxury yacht docking in a nearby berth at Livorno’s Marina and leaned across the bar to study the satellite map for the hundredth time.
The photo revealed very little. Certainly not enough to demonstrate the extensive feat of engineering that’d been undertaken to move two of Egypt’s largest temples to higher ground.
Lake Nasser, which had flooded the original location of the ancient Abu Simbel Temples, was almost black in the satellite image. The waters Archer was accustomed to diving in were usually crystal blue. This was the opposite.
Jimmy plonked his beer on the bar top across from him. “What’re you thinking, boss?”
Archer shoved the image away and reached for his Peroni. “I was wondering what the visibility was going to be like down there.”
“It’s gonna be dark as hell. That’s for sure.” Jimmy scratched the thatch of gray chest hair above the neckline of his favorite singlet top. “That’s why we got the drone.”
“Oh, we got the drone, did we?” Archer chuckled. The hi-tech submersible was a new toy in their treasure-hunting arsenal. It had been damn expensive, but necessary given where they believed a significant portion of the Calimala treasure was buried.
Jimmy shrugged. “Well, if it works as well as it did in our practice runs, then we’ll be digging up that treasure come this time next week.”
Archer smiled at his buddy. Ever since Alessandro had dropped the bombshell about the ancient relics from the Calimala treasure being buried at Abu Simbel Temples, they’d been making plans to retrieve it. And every day, Jimmy had made a comment like that.
If their history of treasure hunting was anything to go by, then things rarely went to plan.
Several aspects were stacked against them this time. For starters, compared to most of the other treasures Archer had found, this location was vastly different.
Egypt was a country ravaged by both greed and poverty, and that produced men that were either desperate or dangerous. Or both. Finding people to trust was proving challenging.
The treasure wasn’t buried beneath sand in a crystal-clear ocean. It was in the mud at the bottom of a man-made lake that had been formed after the construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1970.
Lake Nasser was jam-packed with touring yachts, fishing vessels, charter boats, and if that wasn’t bad enough—the sheltered water ensured the Nile perch grew big and fat, and that in turn meant the Nile crocodiles thrived in plague proportions.
Sharks he could handle. Crocs, on the other hand . . . they were sneaky bastards. He’d never been close to one, and he sure as hell didn’t want to be.
“We’re still setting sail tomorrow.” Jimmy’s bushy brows drilled together. “Right?”
Archer nodded. His right-hand man had been like a bear in a cage ever since Archer had agreed to go after the rest of the Calimala treasure. “Stop worrying. As soon as Rosalina and I get the all-clear from the doc, we’ll pull up anchor.”
Jimmy raised his beer. “I’ll drink to that.”
Right on cue, Rosalina appeared from the stairwell and strolled across the top deck toward them. The golden glow from the setting sun enhanced her long yellow dress, making it look luminescent, and her olive skin was simply divine. His tiny baby was growing inside her, but she was yet to add a sexy baby bump to her stunning physique.
Archer slipped off the barstool and strode to her. “Hey, gorgeous, how was your day?”
“It was okay.” She scrunched up her nose. The redness around her eyes confirmed she’d been crying.
Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her to his chest. Saying goodbye to her grandmother today was never going to be easy. “Well, with a bit of luck, we’ll find that treasure and be back before Nonna even misses us.”
Rosalina pulled back. “Hmmm, that would be lucky.” She didn’t try to hide her sarcasm.
Refusing to slump into any negativity, he led her to the bar. “Jimmy had another successful run with Nemo today.” Their name for the underwater drone had been Rosalina’s idea. Archer would’ve preferred something a bit more robust, but anything that made Rosa happy was a good thing.
Jimmy fished out a soda water from the glass fridge behind him, added ice and a wedge of lime, and handed the tumbler to Rosalina. “There you go, love.”
“Thanks, Jimmy.” As she wrapped her slender fingers around the glass, her eyes shifted to the satellite image.
Archer eased in beside her and pointed at the photo; near where the lake met with the riverbank. “This is where we believe the temple’s original position was. See how it’s darker than the surrounding area? It means it’s deeper.”
She ran her finger over the temples in the image. Four colossal statues of Ramses II, each standing sixty-six feet high, adorned the entrance to the main temple, and just like the pyramids of Egypt, these were so big they were clearly visible from space. “I can’t wait to see them.”
“Me neither.” He draped his arm over her shoulder. “The history behind them is fascinating.”
“Yeah. Alessandro has been bombarding me with details about how they moved them.” A frown rippled her forehead. “Where is he, anyway?”
“He hasn’t come back from visiting Sezoine yet.” Alessandro had been trying to contact the archaeology professor for weeks, but as he hadn’t been answering his calls, Alex went to search for him in person.
“I hope he found the professor. That detail on the scroll had been bothering him.” She shifted on her seat to look at Archer. “Did he tell you what he’d spotted inside that cylinder?”
“Are you kidding? He just about fell over himself to show me. Not that it was helpful when he couldn’t work out what it meant.” Alessandro had been equal parts excited about the find and distressed. He hadn’t seen the marking until after he’d sent the photos to Professor Sezoine, and he was worried that it was an important notation regarding the whereabouts of the treasure.
“He’s gonna be a pain in the ass when he gets back, you know?” Jimmy huffed.
Rosalina playfully slapped his arm. “Leave him alone. We wouldn’t have found any of the Calimala treasure if it wasn’t for him.”
“And me!” Jimmy smiled.
Rosalina laughed. “Yes. And you, Jimmy.”
“All of us had a hand in it. Even Ginger. We’d never have found those ancient skulls without her.” Archer was still trying to work out Ginger. On one hand, the young Australian acted like a ditzy teenager who was looking for nothing but good times and a free ride. On the other, she possessed some skills that’d surprised him.
Rosalina’s tummy grumbled loud enough that he heard it, and she giggled. “That’s my cue to get dinner on the go.”
“What’s on the menu for tonight?” Jimmy rubbed his hands together.
She wiggled her brows. “You’re going to love me, Jimmy.”
Jimmy’s eyes flared. “I already do, but tell me.”
“I figured the chances of finding porterhouse steak once we reached Egypt would be negligible. So, I bought some of the biggest steaks you’ve ever seen.”
Jimmy’s jaw dropped. “You’re not bullshitting me, are you?”
“I’d never do that. Not with steak.” Rosalina’s smile lit up her whole face. “I’m making your favorite— Bistecca alla Fiorentina.” She shifted off her chair. “Fire up the barbecue.”
“Yes, boss.” Jimmy charged to the outdoor kitchen; a man on a mission.
Rosalina leaned over to plant a kiss on Archer’s lips. It was brief—way too brief. “Come and give me a hand in about ten minutes.”
She sashayed away, and Archer was mesmerized by the sway of her hips. She got sexier every day.
“Hey . . . maybe we should buy a chest freezer and stock it with some real food before we leave Italy?” Jimmy grunted as he strolled back from the barbecue.
“Stop grumbling.” Archer held his beer up for a toast. “You’ll be too busy digging up ancient treasure to worry about food.”
“Hell yes to that.” Jimmy tapped his beer glass to Archer’s.
As Jimmy settled into his favorite position behind the bar, Archer returned his gaze to the satellite image and clutched the golden pendant around his neck. Anticipation over finally searching for the remaining pieces of treasure that his necklace had come from coursed through his veins. “It’s not going to be like any of our previous hunts.”
“Nope. But we’ve done our research.” Jimmy jabbed a fat finger at the notepad detailing the list of items they’d needed for the dig. All were ticked off. Everything was done. The last time they cruised from Livorno to Alexandria it’d taken three days.
Once they got there, they’d likely have another full day waiting their turn in the Suez Canal. Then they’d cruise to Marsa Al’Alam, a tiny seaside town on the south-eastern end of the Red Sea, and Evangeline would be moored there for as long as needed.
From there, he’d hired a helicopter and pilot to ship them and their gear to Abu Simbel airport. Then two drivers would take them to the biggest house he’d found to rent nearest to the temple. It was going to be at least five days before they could actually see the enormous Ramses II statues with their own eyes. Jimmy was going to be unbearable until then.
Archer was exhausted just thinking of all the planning that’d gone into this hunt. But it was also the most organized he’d ever been. Finding men to help them at the other end had been a challenge though. And not just because of the language barrier. Most of them wanted more information than Archer was willing to give. A place like Egypt had seen its share of treasure hunters over the years. Many never returned.
It was the reason why Archer had also hired two bodyguards. One was to be on Rosalina every step of the way. The other would shadow the rest of them as required.
Chicco and Fat Tony, who was more muscle than fat, hadn’t come cheap. But they had come highly recommended.
Rosalina shuffled from the top of the stairs again, but the look of horror on her face had Archer striding her way. “What’s wrong?”
Alessandro appeared behind her. The blood had drained from his face like he was about to vomit.
“What! What’s wrong?”
“Il professor Sezoine ha rubato le nostre informazioni. Sta scavando per il Tesoro—”
“Alex!” Archer clutched his arm. “English. What about Professor Sezoine?”
Alessandro’s breath shot in and out, and his eyes darted from Archer to Rosalina. “He . . . Sezoine . . . he stole our information. He’s in Egypt. He’s digging for the treasure.”
Archer’s gut buckled.
“He’s fucking what?” Jimmy charged out from behind the bar.
Alessandro wobbled and, fearing he was about to pass out, Archer grabbed his arm and dragged him to a chair. “Sit. Tell me everything.”
Alessandro’s eyes pooled, and he swallowed loud enough that Archer heard it. “I spoke to one of Sezoine’s colleghi, and he told me the professor took the informazione from our scroll to a man who searches for ancient treasure. They’re already there, Archer. They’re at Abu Simbel. They’ve been there for weeks.”
“Son of a bitch!” Jimmy punched his palm.
“I thought you trusted him?” Archer clenched his fists, his nails digging into his flesh.
“I do.” Alessandro’s shoulders slumped. “At least, I did. He was the most revered professor of Egyptian archaeology. When I told Sezoine’s colleghi it was our scroll . . . our information . . . he didn’t believe me. Sezoine is taking all the credit.”
“Christ!” Anger barreled through Archer like a tsunami, becoming more destructive as comprehension dawned on him. How the hell did this happen?
Jimmy stepped closer to Archer, right to his ear. “We gotta get down there, boss. We gotta beat ’em to it.” Fury had his eyes flaring and his cheeks blazing red.
A dozen questions careened through Archer’s mind before he could voice the most important one. “Have they found anything?”
“No.” Alessandro shook his head. “Not that his colleghi knew of anyway.”
Archer’s gaze fell on Rosalina. Her eyes darkened and her anguished expression made his gut a ball of twisting scorpions. Rosa believed this treasure was cursed. This would add ammunition to her theory. He needed to keep calm for her sake, and everyone else’s.
“This changes everything.” Archer strode to the bar and snatched his notes. “We don’t have time to sail to Egypt now. We need the first plane to Cairo.”
“But what about all our gear?” Jimmy drove his hand through his hair.
“We’ll take it with us.”
Ginger bounced onto the top deck like she was announcing happy hour. She skidded to a halt, and when her gaze fell on Alessandro, the smile vanished from her face. “What’s wrong?” She raced to him and clutched his hand in hers.
“Sezoine is stealing our fucking treasure,” Jimmy barked.
Ginger gasped. “What?” She strangled the blonde braid over her shoulder. “But how?”
“Easy.” Jimmy threw his hands up in frustration. “We practically gave him the map and said dig here.”
“Jimmy!” Archer met his buddy’s evil glare. “Calm down before you blow a gasket. Finding treasure is never that easy, and you know it.”
“Not when you don’t know where to look. This’s different. He knows exactly where it is ’cause he told him.” Jimmy jabbed a finger at Alessandro.
“Per favore. I’m sorry.” Alessandro’s skin washed even more pale. “I can’t believe he did this.”
“Well, he did, and now he’s fucki—”
“Jimmy!” Archer spun to him. “That’s enough. No one could’ve predicted this. Let alone Alessandro.”
Jimmy clenched his jaw so hard his cheeks wobbled.
After a beat, Archer eased away and scanned those around him. They’d already been to hell and back chasing the Calimala treasure. But they were committed. They’d been planning this for weeks and spent a bucketload of money on new equipment.
They were all looking at him, seeking guidance. Rosalina’s eyes pierced his. Her pale blue irises were as frosty as a glacier, projecting both anger and fear. She’d want him to let it go. But no! That was something he would not do. It was the treasure his father had died chasing. He owed it to him to find it. All of it.
He cleared his throat and released a long, slow breath, trying to portray calm. “Look . . . we know a hell of a lot more about both the Calimala treasure and treasure hunting than Professor Sezoine. We have my dad’s notes. We have that ancient diary detailing what we are looking for, and we have the right gear. We’re ready for this. Besides, Sezoine is probably going through the correct process and lodging a claim for the relics. And he’d have lost time trying to find the right people to help him. For all we know, he probably hasn’t even started digging.”
Jimmy’s shoulders settled a fraction.
“While Sezoine and his team are sorting all that shit out, we can sneak right in under their noses and dig it up ourselves.”
“Now we’re talking.” A smile crawled across Jimmy’s lips.
Alex stood. “Si. Si. That’s perfecto. What do you need me to do?” He still looked nauseous, but the hopeful gleam in his eyes proved he wanted to make things right.
“We have heaps to do before we fly.” Archer tried to avoid Rosalina’s glare as he grabbed the notepad and pen. He jotted down things as they came to mind. “Alex, you start with the flights. Get us and our gear to Abu Simbel as quickly as possible.”
“And me?” Ginger’s knuckles bulged as she shoved her fingers into the pockets of her denim shorts. She had hopefulness in her eyes too. But there was also something else. Something Archer couldn’t quite pinpoint.
Shoving the ambiguity aside, he nodded at her. “Start packing for you and Alex. We need to travel light, but smart. Only take what you absolutely need.”
Holding hands, Ginger and Alessandro disappeared down the stairs.
Archer turned to Jimmy. He wanted to tell him not to worry. But it was pointless. Jimmy was going to worry right up until he had a golden relic in his fat fingers. Keeping him busy was the only way to deal with his best mate. “Jimmy, I promise you, we’re not going to let anyone take our treasure from us again.”
But as soon as those words left his lips, Archer wanted to retract them.
This business was full of assholes who’d slit their throats for a sliver of gold.
And Egypt attracted the deadliest of treasure hunters.