Maureen A. Miller
(High-Risk Agenda, #3)
Publication date: September 30th 2021
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
A mysterious coin leads two strangers on a daring journey to an uncharted island.
I am being followed…
That was the cryptic note that accompanied the ancient coin Zachary Selmon examined in his campus office. An archeology professor by day and a numismatist, or collector of coins by night, Zach was puzzled by this piece of silver and concerned about the old friend who sent it.
Art grad student, Gretchen Rice, was too engrossed in studies to worry about the snowstorm that shut down Summerlin University. But when an armed man appears in the library, demanding to know, “Where is the coin?” she did what she had to…screamed and ran.
Zach and Gretchen collide in the hallway, an encounter that pits them together in a race to determine the origin of the coin. They are being followed. They are being hunted. They are falling in love. And their only recourse is to rely on each other and embark on a daring journey to an arctic island that is not supposed to exist.
A scream reverberated in the hallway.
Zach dropped the coin and vaulted towards the door. Swinging his head in each direction, he found both ends of the corridor locked in shadows.
It had sounded like the shriek of a female—not the wind.
Zach stepped out into the hall, listening. This wing was an isolated offshoot of the main artery running through the Department of Art and Archeology. Only because everyone was gone could he hear the distant squeak of shoe against linoleum. That scuffing sound picked up its pace and burgeoned into a full-out sprint as a figure blasted out of the shadows at the far end of the corridor.
“Help!” a female voice cried out.
Long raincoat lapels wafted at her sides like dragon wings as she raced towards him. Zach tried to look past her for who or what might be in pursuit, but the hall was empty.
Lurching to a halt, the woman stooped over, her hands on her knees as she angled her head to look behind her.
“Is there somewhere we can hide?” she whispered.
Anywhere in the university. It’s empty.
Her back rose and fell under rapid breaths. A pointed chin angled as she gazed up at him from beneath unruly brown waves. In that brief second, he tried to assess whether she was a student or teacher. He would have recognized faculty, so that left student, but she looked older. Grad student, most likely.
“Hurry,” she urged.
Zach snapped out of his stupor and extended his arm towards the open door of his office. The woman wasted no time and darted inside.
One last glance down the corridor revealed no demons. No sound of pursuit.
Shaking his head, Zach followed her into his office.
The waif of a woman stood in the corner trying to minimize her presence. Shrewd brown eyes snapped from the door—to the window—to his face, and then landed on his desk. Those eyes widened as she shrank back even further.
“The coin—” she gasped.
Zach frowned, snatching the coin and lodging it into the pocket of his blazer, out of the view of her horrified gaze.
“What about it?”
“The—the man who attacked me—” she eyed his door and added in a tight voice, “he asked—where is the coin?”
“Attacked?” Zach jolted.
“Yes!” The woman’s hands quivered until her fingers delved deep into her coat pocket, extracting her phone. “He had a gun. I have to call the Police.”
Just as he uttered the words, the sound of breaking glass shattered his poise. The woman winced in the corner and eyed up the gap under his desk. Another pane of glass shattered, this one closer than the previous.
“He’s breaking in the windows of all the office doors,” she whispered, dropping down onto her knees and crawling towards the desk. “That’s how he found me. He said he was looking for a coin.”
Zach stared at the pane of glass on his door. The light was out on this end of the hallway. Darkness loomed outside that small frame.
That was room 213. He recognized the proximity from the thousand times students slammed that door on their way out.
His was room 217.
Zach thumped his palm on the desktop lamp, switching it off. A hand reached up from the shadows, startling him as the woman tugged him under the desk.
This was absurd. He reached for his phone but hesitated, afraid the glow would carry into the hall.
Harrowing images from the news darkened his mind. School shooter.
Beside him, the woman bent her legs, tucking her knees up under her chin. Folding his tall frame as tight as he could, he reached out and wheeled the desk chair up against them.
Tiny shards of glass spattered across the floor near his boots.
The woman next to him quaked as Zach reached for her.
To keep her still?
To protect her?
To touch another human in these last moments of life?
The doorknob rattled. Another trickle of broken glass and then he heard the snap of the bolt.
USA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller worked in the software industry for fifteen years. She crawled around plant floors in a hard hat and safety glasses hooking up computers to behemoth manufacturing machines. The job required extensive travel. The best form of escapism during those lengthy airport layovers became writing.
Maureen’s first novel, WIDOW’S TALE, earned her a Golden Heart nomination in Romantic Suspense. After that she became hooked to the genre. In fact, she was so hooked she is the founder of the JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE website.
Recently, Maureen branched out into the Young Adult Science Fiction market with the popular BEYOND Series. To her it was still Romantic Suspense…just on another planet!