Alex Bryson is patrolling Rocky Mountain backcountry in his job as a security guard when he discovers a woman with a baby wandering alone in the snow far from the nearest road. He takes them to shelter in a weekender cabin and sees a newscast that suggests the woman, Pia Ulmer, kidnapped the baby from its rightful parents and that it is the sole heir of Peru’s wealthiest and most corrupt family. Pia claims that she is the baby’s mother, and Alex doesn't know what to believe. After turning her in, he continues to struggle with his budding feelings for her and remains unsure of the true story. He becomes more and more involved until finally there is no turning back—lives are on the line. He helps Pia get free from a brutal world that values money over life, and together they devise a plan to reclaim the baby. Just when it looks like they might succeed, they discover an international conspiracy that changes the game entirely.
When Pia’s image appeared on the cabin’s television screen Alex tensed, every muscle on high alert. The cops wouldn’t suspect a kidnapping just because the boy and his nanny were missing. Without some evidence to the contrary, they would assume she had wandered away from the wreck in search of shelter.
“The person of interest is Pia Ulmer,” the newscaster said. “As recently as two years ago, she was a member of a rebel militia active in Colombia and Peru, a group that routinely uses kidnapping and ransom demands to finance their rebellion.”
His brain cycling madly, Alex processed the information. Pia had mentioned past association with rebels but obviously hadn’t told him the whole story. She might have gotten separated from her cohorts during a melee after they intercepted Frederick’s limo and forced it off the road. If she was kidnapping the Koenigs’ child, she had practically made Alex an accomplice.
What was she doing in the kitchen? Lots of potential weapons there, and if she was a kidnapper and realized he was on to her, killing him was the obvious solution.
He eased his knife from its sheath. Holding it tight against his thigh so she couldn't hit it with a makeshift club, he crept to the kitchen door.
She could be waiting, her body flattened against the wall just inside, ready to lash out in ambush. He hesitated for another moment and then sprang forward, diving through the doorway, and executed a shoulder roll to come back onto his feet in a crouch. Spinning, he took in all quadrants of the room.
No Pia, no Frederick. The kitchen had a door to the outside, and his cold-weather gear was missing from the corner where he had piled it.
He found them on the back stoop. Frederick, blanket-wrapped from head to foot but with his mitten-sheathed hands poking through holes, played with the big wooden spoon that had become his favorite toy. Pia concentrated on fitting Alex's snowshoes onto her boots. Frederick saw him and gurgled a baby-talk greeting that alerted Pia. She reached for the boy, but the snowshoes hampered her movement.
Alex lunged and snatched Frederick away. Hugging the child close, he stepped back.
With a feral shriek, Pia charged.
About the author:
Working with traveling carnivals and itinerant farm labor gangs during his teen and early adult years took Gaylon Greer up, down, and across the U.S. and introduced him to a plethora of colorful individuals who serve as models for his fictional characters. After several years as an Air Force officer and then a university professor with a Ph.D. in economics, Greer developed an interest in writing fiction and attended workshops at the University of Iowa, the University of Nebraska, and Bryn-Mawr College. He also studied with the U.C. Davis Extension program and the Algonquian Writers Group.
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