Stolen Fury Page 0,1

under her.

“Dr. Maxwell!”

Brisk air whooshed around her as she plummeted with the falling rock into a tunnel below. She hit the ground with a thud. Her light went out when her helmet cracked against the rocks. Pain ricocheted through her torso just as a surge of icy water washed over her body, pulling her through the darkness.

Instinct took over before she could panic. She kicked frantic legs, gasped for air and lashed out with her hands to grab on to something to slow her descent. Her fingers slipped on the slick rocks as she made useless attempts to stop herself.

The rush of water yanked her over sharp rocks and cave formations. Jagged points stabbed into her back, sliced up her hands and arms. She fought the fear, tried to keep her wits as her body was bruised and beaten. If she could just get one good grip, grab on to one solid rock…

Then the tunnel took a steep drop. A blast of cold air hissed over her, and a terror-filled scream tore from her chest as she fell feet first into the blackness below.

Her boots hit a pool of frigid water. She plunged beneath the surface, wrenched down by the sheer force of gravity. The muscles in her chest constricted while her lungs burned at the lack of oxygen. Kicking as hard as she could, she tried to swim up, but her senses were so disoriented in the darkness, she had no idea if she was heading in the right direction.

Just when she was sure she was going to drown, she broke the surface, gasped and pulled damp air into her blazing lungs. Heart thundering, she tried to slow her breathing. Long minutes passed before she opened her eyes and peered into the darkness.

She couldn’t see a thing. The new room she’d tumbled into was pitch-black, the only sound the fall of water somewhere to her left.

Maybe caving in Jamaica hadn’t been the brightest idea after all.

With unsteady hands, she flipped on her helmet light, praying the whole time that it wasn’t damaged. Her fingers passed over dents in the metal cap, and her breath caught at the realization that without the safety gear, she’d probably be dead now.

As that lovely thought settled in, her light flickered on, and she heaved out a long sigh of relief. Not dead. Not yet anyway. She looked up and took survey of the new room.

The ceiling was at least thirty feet above, the pool surrounding her wide and vast, reflecting stalactites hanging down from above. Large columns and stalagmites jutted out of the cold liquid. A waterfall spilled from a hole in the wall at least twenty feet up and to her left.

She swallowed hard. Had she landed on one of those stalagmites, she’d have knocked herself out, drowned before Simeon figured out where she’d gone.

Don’t think about that now.

Shaking the fog from her head, she swam toward the edge of the pool and hauled herself out of the water, then sucked in a breath and shivered in the cool air.

In the fourteen years she’d been an archaeologist, she’d encountered her fair share of tight scrapes in the field—a mudslide in a trench in Asia when a wall of sediment had caved in after a torrential downpour, a rockslide in Peru that had seriously tested her resolve and almost taken her life, and an underwater accident that had made her wonder why she’d taken up scuba diving in the first place. But in each instance, she’d gotten back up and kept going, because that’s what she did. She was a woman proving herself