14The Unseen (Love in the Labyrinths 2)
Released August 1, 2013 by Extasy Books
Will Kent lose his expedition and his true love?
After gemstone smugglers murder three men, Kent Dunbar pretends to abandon his exploration of Vietnam’s Mountain River Cave and his relationship with new love, Rebecca Devereaux. Imagining Rebecca has safely left the country, he plans to pursue the smugglers with help from Vietnam Veterans who served with his father in the war.
Rebecca is devastated by Kent’s rejection. At the airport, she overhears men discussing Kent’s mission. Rebecca convinces her best friend, Amanda, to stay and when the flight is cancelled, high-maintenance Bunny ends up with them as well.
While Rebecca and Amanda confront their men, first with words, then with naked flesh, Bunny suffers guilt over her whiny behavior and vows to toughen up and break free from her abusive past. But no one’s safe in the jungle or underground labyrinths with murderous smugglers around. Will the adventurers prevail?
Dong Hoi Airport, Quang Province, north central coastal Vietnam, June 28, 2008
Rebecca washed her hands and dried them before heading for the restroom exit. Male voices broke into her thoughts. Rebecca gasped and pressed her ear to the door to listen.
“I never thought we’d be back in Vietnam again,” said a man.
“I’m still having nightmares about the guys we lost. But I owe my life to Kent’s dad. When he mentioned his son was in trouble, I was ready to get on the next plane. And this could turn out to be one hell of a mission.”
“Yeah, really. Who could imagine we’d be back here chasing down gemstone smugglers convinced that aliens or people with supernatural powers once visited this cave. Even if Mountain River Cave doesn’t turn out to be the largest cave, it’s got to be the weirdest one on Earth.”
These must be those buff looking older men we saw deplaning a few minutes ago. Rebecca couldn’t wait to share what she’d learned with the others.
On a whim, she and her best-friend Amanda had quit their Tucson jobs to join famous geologist Kent Dunbar on a caving expedition to Vietnam’s Phong Na-Ke Bang National Park. The minute they’d met, Rebecca had found the ruggedly handsome scientist almost as irresistible as he was irritating. And he’d apparently found her equally alluring because within days, they were making love every chance they got.
When gemstone smugglers had killed three men near their camp and later kidnapped Bunny, one of the female assistants, Kent had called an end to the mission–and their relationship. Or so he said…
She, Amanda and Bunny were scheduled to fly back to the U.S. on the next flight. Rebecca strode from the restroom toward airport security, her clenched fists itching to punch the man she shouldn’t have fallen for. She huffed out an irritated sigh. Macho man thinks he’s too tough for us. We’ll see about that.
Now she realized why the man who had declared he would never let her go had suddenly treated their relationship like another that-was-great-now-it’s-over fling. He was just trying to protect me. So why am I so damned pissed?
His lie bruised her pride, but not nearly as much as it wounded her heart. She’d imagined the special connection between them would never be broken.
Ever since he’d called a halt to their relationship the previous evening, her chest had ached, nausea had replaced her usually healthy appetite, and lethargy had made her body feel as heavy as clay. She’d never felt so overwrought over a relationship before. She raised her arms and let the guard frisk her before sprinting toward Amanda and Bunny. They stood in line, waiting to board the Vietnam Airlines flight.
“Wait, we have to talk.” The sprint and the oppressing, humid air left Rebecca hunched over, panting for breath.
“It’s about time you got back here. What took you so long?” Amanda tugged on her blonde ponytail anxiously with one hand, holding her boarding pass and passport in the other. “It’s already last call for boarding. And there’s only a few people left in the line.”
Bunny had her iPod volume so loud, Rebecca could almost make out the tune. Her eyes closed, she mimed the words. While Rebecca and Amanda had barely run a brush through their hair, Bunny looked like she’d just stepped out of the beauty parlor. Her thick, reddish-brown hair was styled and sprayed and she’d applied mascara and bright red lipstick.
When the man in front of them handed his ticket to the attendant, Bunny stopped bopping to her music and removed her ear buds. “Don’t we need to board?” She reached into her purse for a pocket mirror, popped it open and studied her reflection.
The airline attendant stood nearby, watching them. She motioned for them to approach. “Plane leaving soon.”
Rebecca patted Bunny’s arm. “Yes, Bunny. You go ahead—Amanda and I need to talk for a minute.”
Bunny shrugged. “Well, hurry up. I don’t know about you two, but I’m ready for a good long day at the spa.”
“I’m not going anywhere.” Rebecca pulled her boarding pass out of her pocket and ripped it in half. Amanda drew in a shocked breath. Bunny dropped her mirror and it shattered on the floor.