Title: Desert Gold: A Southwest Adventure Romance (the Treasure Hunting series)
Author: Kris Bock
Genre: Romantic Suspense
A legendary treasure hunt in the dramatic – and deadly – New Mexico desert....
The lost Victorio Peak treasure is the stuff of legends—a heretic Spanish priest’s gold mine, made richer by the spoils of bandits and an Apache raider.
When Erin, a quiet history professor, uncovers a clue that may pinpoint the lost treasure cave, she prepares for adventure. But when a hit and run driver nearly kills her, she realizes she’s not the only one after the treasure. And is Drew, the handsome helicopter pilot who found her bleeding in a ditch, really a hero, or one of the enemy?
Just how far will Erin go to find the treasure and discover what she’s really made of?
“The story has it all—action, romance, danger, intrigue, lost treasure, not to mention a sizzling relationship....”
This is book 1 in the Southwest Romantic Suspense series, followed by Valley of Gems and Silver Canyon. Each novel stands alone and is complete, with no cliffhangers. This series mixes action and adventure with light romance in the Southwest. This series was originally published as The Mad Monk’s Treasure, The Dead Man’s Treasure, and The Skeleton Canyon Treasure.
Among all the legends, all the fact and fiction, one story stood out. The Victorio Peak legend had it all. A Franciscan priest and a swindler. Torture, murder, a government cover-up. Where was the truth, among all the stories? Erin wanted to find out. Over time, and with Camie’s encouragement, she’d started to take the treasure hunt more seriously. It wasn’t so much for the treasure itself—that would most likely belong to the government or the landowners. But it would make her reputation, open up new job opportunities—change her life in ways she hardly dared dream.
She touched the book gently. The pages were falling out; she didn’t want to risk carrying it around. Instead, Erin snapped a picture of the petroglyphs with her phone. That would be enough to show Camie for now.
The timing was perfect; she just had to turn in grades and field a few tearful last-minute requests for extensions, and she’d be done for the semester. What better way to spend the summer, than hunting for buried treasure?
Erin shook her head. Who would’ve thought that she, the quiet, studious girl who’d spent her entire adult life in academia in one way or another, would be planning such an adventure?
Erin wheeled the bike around the front of her house and mounted. At the corner, she paused and looked both ways. The long frontage road was dangerously narrow, with a cement wall on one side and a ditch on the other. Fortunately, traffic was normally light, and at this time of day the road lay empty. Erin pushed off, still grinning from her find. She rode on the right side, by the ditch, instead of facing traffic, because it was just too frightening to ride alongside the wall when a car passed.
She’d gone a block when she heard the hum of a car engine as it pulled out from a side street behind her. She rode along the very edge of the pavement, even though the car would have plenty of room to pass her without oncoming traffic.
Erin glanced over her shoulder. The black SUV 20 feet behind her hadn’t bothered to pull out into the road at all. Jerk. When would drivers learn to share the road with bicyclists? Erin pulled onto the two-foot-wide gravel strip between the pavement and the ditch. She couldn’t stop without risking a skid, but she slowed so the SUV could pass.
The engine roared. Erin glanced back again.
Black metal bore down on her. Her heart lurched and the bike wobbled. This guy was crazy! She whipped her gaze forward, rose up in the seat, and pumped the pedals with all her power, skimming along inches from the ditch. He was just trying to scare her. She’d get his license plate and—
She felt the bumper hit her back tire. The bike seemed to leap into the air, and she went flying. The dried mud and weeds of the ditch seemed to rise up to meet her.
She didn’t even have time to scream.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
I love the Southwest, and I love the romance and mystery behind tales of buried treasure. When researching lost treasures of the American Southwest, I came across the story of the Victorio Peak treasure, which has it all – a heretic Spanish priest, bandits, an Apache raider, and of course lots of gold. Desert Gold was inspired by this tale. It’s a fun adventure with lots of action that is toward the sweet end of the heat scale. Readers praise the “great balance of history, romance, and adventure” and call it “Smart romance with an Indiana Jones feel.”
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Kris Bock writes novels of romance, mystery, and suspense. Desert Gold follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In Valley of Gems, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. In Silver Canyon, 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. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town. Kris’s Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the employees and customers at a cat café. Watch as they fall in love with each other and shelter cats.
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