Step Aside, Mr. Jones...Make Way for a New Raider You'll Love
Forget the dial. Meet the new adventure you're destined for with bestselling author Tamara Grantham's Harleigh Sinclair and the Raiders of the Lost Ankh!
Join the adventure with the excerpt below and use your bullwhip to try and snag the $25 Amazon gift card and free eBook in the giveaway!
Harleigh Sinclair and the Raiders of the Lost Ankh by Tamara Grantham Publication Date: October 17, 2023 Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Getting confessions from notorious serial killers? Easy. Stealing priceless Egyptian artifacts? No problem. Doing it with a cocky, too-handsome-for-his-own-good bad boy? Impossible. My name is Harleigh Sinclair, and I’m a Neotact. That’s a fancy word for a person who has special powers using touch. My special power? I can touch a person, see into their mind, and find any object they’ve physically contacted. Comes in handy when you’re employed by San Antonio’s wealthiest entrepreneur who’s in the business of finding lost relics. However, my job description does come with a few hitches. My most recent client is a man named Jagg Ransom. He’s arrogant and too attractive for his own good. My mission is to purchase an ancient Egyptian ankh from him and deliver it to my boss. Sounds easy, right? But Ransom refuses to cooperate, so I have no choice but to break into his apartment and steal the location of the amulet from his mind. Bad idea. Like, really bad idea. I find out that this relic happens to be the relic that gave five percent of Earth’s population Neotact powers. I also learn that Ransom isn’t who he says he is, and I’m forced onto a path that will take me from my home in Texas to a hidden dungeon of a Scottish castle, and then into the heart of a deadly Egyptian desert. Finding the ankh is hard enough. Fighting my feelings for Jagg Ransom is worse. If I can’t find the ankh in time, not only will I be out of a job, but I’ll lose everything I value—including my own life. Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/197614269-harleigh-sinclair-and-the-raiders-of-the-lost-ankh Purchase: Amazon: https://amzn.to/3tMIkzv
I’m afraid of the usual: heights, snakes, dirty toilets. Crazy psycho serial killers? Maybe I should’ve been more afraid of them as I walked through the halls of San Antonio’s max security jail.
Detective Mendoza marched alongside me, her stilettos clicking with each step. Her penciled eyebrows didn’t flinch as she stared straight ahead. Generously applied makeup couldn’t hide the wrinkles lining her eyes or the creases around her mouth. She stayed quiet as we paced behind the guards, which clued me in to her current mood. Pure panic. Nothing else would’ve made her speechless.
Wild guess here, but I imagined trying to get a confession from Texas’s most notorious serial killer was a tad bit stressful.
Harsh lights gave the linoleum floors a sterile feeling. I had to suppress a shiver as we passed by the cells. Lean, hungry eyes fixated on me from behind the bars. One of the inmates, a bald man with a tattooed face, glanced at my hands. His eyes widened.
My red leather gloves creased as I flexed my fingers. I stifled the jolt of electricity coursing through my veins.
Yeah. Neotact here. Keep your distance.
I was used to the stares by now.
We reached a room barricaded by a steel door. Keys jangled as one of the guards unlocked the latch.
“I won’t force you to do this,” Mendoza said. “Leave now and I won’t blame you.”
“I’ll be fine.” After everything life had thrown at me, it took more than a little to scare me.
She gave me a shrewd glance. “I’ve already warned you about him. You know what’s at stake, and what he’s accused of…” She trailed off, and though unwanted, the bodies of the mutilated teens intruded on my memories. Beheaded. Their hands surgically removed. I took a deep, cleansing breath and pushed the images away. “Don’t let him get into your head whatever you do,” she finished.
I flexed my hands. “I’m not planning on it.”
“Fine.” Her eyes flicked to the door. “Just be careful in there, all right?”
“Aren’t I always?” I said with an overconfident smile.
She sighed with annoyance. “Sinclair, he’s not like the others. You understand that?”
I gave her my best stern glare. “I got it.”
Mendoza stood tall and ran a hand down a crease in her jacket, returning to her usual demeanor, all business in her navy suit, her hair pulled back in a tight bun with enough gel to make it shine. “I’m counting on you to get a confession. Otherwise, he walks.”
“Trust me, Mendoza. I got this.”
“You’d better.” She narrowed her eyes, then nodded to a guard, and he opened the door.
Through the open doorway, I spotted the prisoner.
Not that I was scared or anything, but this guy gave a serious creepy vibe.
A single bulb buzzed overhead. Metal clasps pinned his hands to the tabletop where he sat, and cuffs linked his ankles to chains bolted to the floor. Gray streaked his unwashed blond hair. Dark eyes peered from a pockmarked face, boring into me with a hatred I could feel from here.
Like I said. Creepy.
When I shut the door, I sank into the seat. The dark interior of the car surrounded me. Cool air hummed from the vents. My restlessness eased, the great knot in my chest slowly shrinking.
Gael grunted and steered the Escalade out of the parking lot. “You look like shite.”
“That’s because I feel like shite,” I answered, mimicking his Scottish accent as I rubbed my forehead where a headache pounded. Using my gift always came with its side effects.
“What happened?” he asked.
“I helped find the girl’s body, but… it was weird. This guy, Darrell Brownstein, he knew about my record. Knew about my dad, too.”
He scratched his bushy red beard. Gael was five-and-a-half feet of solid muscle and grit. I wouldn’t go up against him on my best day. There was a reason Greyson trusted the man as one of his top bodyguards. “He probably dug into your files,” the Scotsman said. “If you know where to look, you can find it.” He shook his head. “Can’t say I didn’t warn you,” he said with a sigh. “You shouldn’t be wasting your time at the PD with weirdos like that. Do you listen to me? Nay. Of course not. Why would Harleigh Sinclair listen to her manager?”
“I listen to you all the time, Gael.”
“Aye, but do you take my advice?”
I crossed my arms. “Sometimes.”
“Well, you’d better listen this time. You’ve got a case this evening. Seven o’clock. Downtown. Bohanan’s.”
I groaned. Bohanan’s meant formal attire. No exceptions. “Why can’t we ever set up a meeting at McDonald’s?”
“Because the type of people you’re interviewing don’t eat at McDonald’s.”
“Not true. Everyone eats there. You can’t be classified as American if you’ve never eaten fast food.”
Gael chuckled. “Maybe true. Still. You’re eating at Bohanan’s tonight, and you’d better be prepared. This is a high-profile client. Mr. Greyson himself set up the meeting.”
I tilted my head. “Greyson set it up?”
“Aye. Says this is a meeting he can’t afford to screw up, so he’s sending you.”
“What’s the case?”
“You’re meeting with a man named Jagg Ransom. Might’ve heard of him. He’s a collector. Minor league. But he managed to acquire the Amulet of Amon-Ra.”
I whistled. “The Amulet of Amon-Ra?”
“One and the same.”
“Damn,” I said under my breath. “It’s classified as a level one relic. One of the five original talismans. How’d he get it?”
“As far as we can tell, he bought it from the Cairo Museum.”
I almost laughed. “You’re not serious.”
He steered us onto the freeway. Semis zoomed past, and the radio played a soft background noise against the roaring traffic.
“Dead serious,” he answered. “And Mr. Greyson is interested in purchasing it.”
“Do you think Ransom will sell it?”
Gael chuckled under his breath. “That’s why Mr. Greyson is sending you. Ransom is keeping the amulet’s location a secret, but if you managed to shake the man’s hand, well then… we’d know where he kept it, wouldn’t we?”
“Gael,” I chided. “You know that’s illegal. I can’t just shake his hand.” I held up my gloved hands. “Why do you think I wear these?”
“Then you’ll have to get creative.”
“Fine.” I sighed. Outside my window, skyscrapers towered. Thunderheads blossomed with bursts of lightning far in the distance. The horizon seemed to stretch forever, as if I could see across the globe, to Egypt, to the Valley of the Kings, where the ankh had been found, an artifact that had changed the course of history.
I waited near the bar at Bohanan’s, clenching my gloved hands, resisting the urge to move the strands of hair tickling my cheeks. Lexi had curled it in flowing waves, then styled it in a loose knot at the back of my neck, carefully arranging a few curls to fall down my face. The scent of hair product—natural botanical leave-in-conditioner, as Lexi had informed me—left a light fragrant scent lingering in the air.
You had to give it to my sister, she was a genius when it came to fashion and beauty. As I pulled at my skirt, my exposed legs felt cold in the air conditioning. Sitting here waiting was wearing on me. He was supposed to be here ten minutes ago. Where was this guy? Jagg Ransom. Sounded like a con-artist or some rich schmuck. If he’d purchased the amulet, he must’ve been.
I groaned under my breath. This evening couldn’t get over soon enough.
The host approached me. “Miss Sinclair, I have your table ready, if you’ll follow me.”
Nodding, I sauntered appropriately while wearing heels. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know how to walk in them. Doing previous jobs for Greyson had given me a certain amount of training, and I’d learned my way around a pair of stilettos. Didn’t make me comfortable in them, but I could hold my own.
Soft conversations came from the people sitting around the tables covered with white cloths. Lamps centered on each surface gave a muted light to the space. The host stopped near a table by the back wall, but I politely cleared my throat.
“Would it be too much trouble to be seated by the window?” I pointed to an empty spot near the wall of glass overlooking Houston Street.
“No problem at all. This way.”
I followed him, then sat in the cushioned chair as he placed a menu in front of me. I ordered breadsticks and a water. When he left, I peered out the window. Round bulbs glowed around the historic Majestic Theater sign across the street, and tall buildings rose in the distance against a dark evening sky. A few people walked past.
It took something out of me to sit here and pretend to be someone I wasn’t.
Get the amulet’s location, I reminded myself. That’s all that matters.
My basket of breadsticks arrived, and I nibbled on one as I watched people walk past outside. Ransom should’ve been easy enough to notice. I’d spot his ride first. A Porsche or Lamborghini. Maybe a Lexus. I’d know for sure when he stepped out of his car. Most likely he’d be wearing a tailored suit. It wouldn’t be store bought. That wouldn’t be his type. He’d wear a sensible monochromatic tie. Nothing too flashy. His shoes would be the giveaway. They’d be recently polished, no scuffs, no marks, nothing that would hint at spending any time outdoors or walking through mud puddles. His shoes would tread only on the marble tiles of billion-dollar estates.
A shadow loomed. My gaze wandered up to a mammoth of a man standing over me.
“Sinclair?” he asked, his voice deep and laced with a dangerous edge.
I gave him a shrewd glare in an attempt to hide my surprise. “Ransom?” I stood, berating myself for not recognizing him.
“Yeah,” he said casually, his tone bored and uninterested. “We meeting tonight?”
“We were meeting,” I answered. “Twenty minutes ago.”
He shrugged, looked past me, and grabbed a breadstick off the table. “Damn I’m starving,” he said as he ripped off a bite with his teeth.
I watched him eat with one-part shock and another part disgust. Who was this idiot? I stood tall and placed my hands on my hips, though the top of my head barely reached his chin. He must’ve been part Tongan or Samoan. His deeply tanned skin hinted at a life spent outdoors. Bleached brunette hair had been braided into cornrows that hung down to his shoulders. His frame rivaled any bodybuilder, and his suit hugged his muscles so tightly, I was surprised the seams hadn’t ripped.
He wore no tie, and beneath his purple suit jacket with leather elbow patches, he sported a Hawaiian shirt. When I glanced at his feet, my shock deepened.
He wore a pair of orange flip-flops.
A drop of anger simmered in my chest. Being so incredibly wrong about someone didn’t happen often, and annoyance clawed at me that I’d let it happen now.
He grabbed a chair, spun it around backward, and sat. Every eye in the place focused on him, drawing a few frowns, though most of the women’s glances lingered a little longer. One woman even dared to wink at him. He gave a broad grin and winked back, then propped his elbows on the seat back. “You ordered yet?”
“I haven’t.” With a forced smile, I sat and took a deep breath, trying my best to hold on to the last of my composure. Gael could’ve mentioned this guy was a complete buffoon, but he’d conveniently forgotten that tidbit of information.
Tamara Grantham is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books and novellas, including the Olive Kennedy: Fairy World MD series, the Shine novellas, and the Twisted Ever After trilogy. Dreamthief, the first book of her Fairy World MD series, won first place for fantasy in INDIEFAB’S Book of the Year Awards, a RONE award for best New Adult Romance, and is a #1 bestseller on Amazon with over 200 five-star reviews. Tamara holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Lamar University. She has been a featured speaker at multiple writing conferences, and she has been a panelist at Comic Con Wizard World speaking on the topic of female leads. For her first published project, she collaborated with New York-Times bestselling author, William Bernhardt, in writing the Shine series. Born and raised in Texas, Tamara now lives with her husband and five children in Wichita, Kansas. She rarely has any free time, but when the stars align and she gets a moment to relax, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, taking nature walks--which fuel her inspiration for creating fantastical worlds--and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made. You can find her online at www.TamaraGrantham.com. Author Links: https://tamaragrantham.com/ https://www.facebook.com/tamaraclairegrantham https://www.tiktok.com/@tamaragrantham https://www.instagram.com/authortamaragrantham https://twitter.com/TamaraGrantham https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8086515.Tamara_Grantham
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