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San Gabriel's Secret
by David Ciambrone

Category: Mystery/Crime
Description: A mysterious Civil War journal lands in the hands of newspaper columnist Adam Thomas--immersing him in a strange and deadly treasure hunt. When a package arrives at the Williamson County Sun for "Ask Aunt Kay" columnist Adam Thomas, he has no idea who sent it or why. But he's intrigued. It's a 150 year old Confederate Sergeant's journal, detailing his Northern Virginia regiment's travels through Texas--transporting something valuable. Something they desperately wanted to keep safe. With the Union Army in hot pursuit the Confederates hid their cargo in a cave, somewhere near the San Gabriel River. Could it be gold? Was it still hidden somewhere nearby? Adam and his lawyer girlfriend Kathy Rossi decide to have some fun and embark on a treasure hunt. As they gather maps and gear, the trouble begins--it seems numerous people know about the journal, and they're willing to do anything to get it and find the treasure--even kill. When an attractive female government agent offers to help Adam find the cave, something about her story and her many job titles doesn't ring true--who is she really working for and why do they want the bounty? As they get closer to finding the secret location, and details of the treasure get stranger, even more people seem to be after Kathy and Adam. Can they find whatever it is before one or both of them get killed?
eBook Publisher: L&L Dreamspell/L&L Dreamspell, 2009 Spring, Texas
eBookwise Release Date: February 2009


2 Reader Ratings:
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Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [346 KB]
Words: 73398
Reading time: 209-293 min.


April 1864 Somewhere in Central Texas

* * * *

The wagon drew to a stop as the outriders caught up. The crisp moonless night air lay still. Captain Spalling of the 3rd Northern Virginia Regulars listened. There weren't the usual sounds. No chirping of insects, no rustle of leaves, just the sound of water tumbling over rocks in a nearby river. He motioned a sergeant to ride up alongside.

"Any sign of them Yanks we spotted this afternoon?"

"No sir. I think we lost them back a spell."

"Good. We'll camp over by the river tonight. Post the watch while we set up."

The sergeant saluted, turned his horse and trotted back to the unit.

* * * *

As the campfire died out leaving only the smell of burnt cedar and oak, the troops slept--except for the sentries, Captain Spalling, the sergeant and two troopers. They huddled around the dying fire, drinking the last of what passed as coffee.

"It's only a matter of time before them Yanks behind us catch up," said Spalling. "We can't let them have the shipment at any cost."

A trooper put down his tin cup. "What do you have in mind sir?"

"We hide it someplace along the way and lead them boys in blue away from it. Without the wagon and its cargo, we can move faster and probably evade them until we can join up with more of our brothers."

"I saw a place just before nightfall, sir," said the second trooper. "It's just down river, about a half mile in the river bank."

The captain's eyebrow shot up in a quizzical look. "What is it, a cave?"

"Yes sir. It's hidden, covered by bushes. The cave has a narrow, almost a tunnel-like opening just above the river. It goes back about ten yards then opens into a small cave. I found it by accident."

The sergeant lit his cigar then looked at the soldier. "How'd you happen upon it, son, if it's so hidden and all?"

"I saw something move near it and went to investigate, Sarge. It was only a deer but I stumbled on the cave."

"You spotted a deer and we had beans for dinner? I ought to shoot you."

"I'm sorry, Sarge. I saw the cave as it darted into the brush. I couldn't get a shot off and--well--the captain here, he said not to shoot unless necessary, so as to not give our position away to them yanks."

The sergeant laughed. "It's okay, son. You did good." Turning to the captain, he added, "What do you think, sir? Should we look at the young man's cave at first light?"

"Yes. Time is of the essence. We'll take a look and if it's as good as the lad says, we'll unload the wagon and high tail it to San Antonio. We'll go east to Georgetown first and leave the wagon. Hopefully our northern friends will find it there and think we're heading due east." He looked at the faces around the fire. "Any questions?"

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