By Gaylon Greer
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.
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Alex approached Pia's hiding place at a slow walk. Holding Frederick’s sling steady against his chest with one arm, he raised the other over his head. “It's Alex. I've got Freddy.”
Pia's white-sheeted body hurtled out of the tree-shrouded darkness and collided with his. She hugged him for a moment and then tore at the sheet he had looped around his neck as a sling for Frederick. “Baby, baby.” She cuddled the youngster to her breasts.
Frederick, apparently worn out from screaming and fighting to escape Alex's clutches, had gone back to sleep. He shifted fitfully but did not awaken.
“Take him back to the snowmobiles,” Alex said. “I've got to do something about our tracks.” He cut another cedar bough and returned to where he had left the road. Backing as he worked, he swept away all boot prints between the road and the trees. Not perfect, but probably okay until daylight.
Pia had made a nest in the snow under bushes between the stolen snowmobiles. Inside her sleeping bag, she cuddled Frederick. Alex unrolled his own bag and slid into the nest by her side.
“Alex,” she said, “thank you. I owe you my life, my . . . everything.” She leaned across and kissed him.
“We have to stay here 'til daylight,” he said, using an officious tone to cover his fluster. “When the lodge has a shift change, staffers will start their snowmobiles. We're less likely to be noticed then.” With his nostrils flaring at her faint aroma mixed with Frederick's baby smell, he forced his adrenaline-hyped body to relax and let the sound of her occasional clucking at Frederick wash over him. His lips tingled from the touch of hers.
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. His most recent novel, THE DESCENT FROM TRUTH is available at www.Amazon.com and other e-book retailers. Please visit Greer at www.GaylonGreer.com