Title: The Emerald Cave
Ramsey Series Book 3
Author: James McPike
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2
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Renowned Ministry investigator Vince Ramsey returns for his biggest mission yet. To hunt down a dangerous arms dealer who is after the Holy Grail.
BLURB: The Emerald Cave
The Ministry of Jerusalem calls in their top investigator—Vince Ramsey—to track down a shadowy arms dealer whose last known whereabouts were in a reclusive village in France. It soon becomes clear that the arms dealer was after a fabled treasure—something so powerful that it could be used as the ultimate weapon. Ramsey enlists the help of April Fulton, an expert in rare antiquities, to aid him in his whirlwind quest.
April traces clues to a controversial physics lab in Switzerland, led by a mysterious figure. Hunting down another lead, Ramsey travels halfway around the globe to a decommissioned military base in the most remote place on earth—Antarctica. There he must battle the dangerous elements and a ruthless team of mercenaries in a race to find the treasure in time.
EXCERPT: The Emerald Cave
The door opened with a pitiful creak.
Wasting no time, Ramsey slid his mask back on and darted in, gun drawn. There was a long hallway with two doors on his left and three to his right. He swiftly checked the closest one to his left, ducking in and sweeping the room from side to side.
Nothing but an empty bunkbed and an unsightly disarray of clothes.
Erstad reluctantly followed a few steps behind, sticking close to the walls. For the first time, he was looking a little unsure of himself as if it was a grave mistake to come here. But he kept his mouth shut.
Ramsey moved smoothly and expertly, operating in stunning silence. He checked the next room. Nothing but miscellaneous storage goods. He quietly moved on, checking room after room with expert precision and impeccable timing. Each one turned out to be empty until he reached the last one on his right.
It happened to be positioned straight across from the front entrance.
There was a desk in the room with a radio for communications. Someone was sitting there with a pair of earphones on while chowing down on a sub sandwich. The guy immediately whipped his head up, startled at first, then he quickly recovered and reached for something by his side.
Ramsey flew into the room with dazzling speed and knocked the weapon out of his hand. Then he spun the man’s chair around to face him and jammed the muzzle of his Jericho pistol into his forehead.
“Nice to meet you,” Ramsey said with a wicked snicker beneath his mask.
The man’s face suddenly drooped in fear as he slowly raised his hands up. He’d reached for the shotgun so fast that he’d dropped his sandwich, leaving a disgusting stain all over his sweater.
“Oh, maybe you didn’t hear me,” Ramsey went on to say as he knocked the earphones off the man’s head. “I said, nice to meet you!”
The man was shaking all over. “Uh...who are you?” He spoke in a distinct Chechen accent and had pronounced cauliflower ears.
“Don’t worry about that. Just tell me what you’re doing here?”
“I’m...” the man paused and gulped, trying to figure out what to say. “I’m a geologist conducting my research. Did you know the main mineral resource here is coal? But the best of all is the untapped oil and natural gas reserves that lie offshore.”
“Thanks for the geology lesson,” Ramsey replied with an absurd sigh, not buying it. For the first time, he noticed all the different maps of Antarctica displayed in the room. There was a dizzying amount of charts and correlation studies attached to each one. He’d almost forgotten about Erstad who was hanging back in the hallway, looking uncertain he wanted to be any part of this.
Ramsey gestured toward all the empty space in the room. “It’s okay. You can come in.”
Erstad attempted a feckless smile, looking as if he didn’t have a choice in the matter, so he tentatively stepped in, saying nothing.
Ramsey focused once again on the man in the chair. “What’s your name?”
“Okay,” he said as if they were off to a good start. “I’ll call you Raz for short. How’s that? I just have a few questions to ask, and then I’ll be on my way. Depending on how you answer them will ultimately decide if you get out of here or not.” He paused, letting that monumental bit of significance sink in. “So, let’s begin, shall we?”
The man nodded, but hesitantly.
“Do you know someone by the name of Cordoba?”
Ramsey studied his reaction as the man seemed to rake his brain for an easy answer. After what felt like too long, he finally spoke up, saying firmly, “No.”
Ramsey took a step back while keeping his gun trained on him, a look of sheer disappointment concealed beneath his mask.
“All right then. Next question. Do you know anything about a treasure that the Nazis hid out here?”
Despite himself, Raz laughed at the ridiculousness of the question. “You’re kidding, right?”
Ramsey’s storm-blue eyes regarded him with deadly intensity. “Not at all. I’ve flown halfway around the world to find out. So, do you know anything about it or not?”
Raz gave a shrug of indifference. “Don’t know what you’re talking about, man. I just run a research station here.”
Ramsey sighed most regrettably. He could tell that this person wouldn’t be as forthcoming with info as he thought. That was too bad. He’d have to resort to more extreme measures.
“All right. Let’s try something else.” He made a show of returning his gun to his holster as if coming to friendlier terms with the man. “Maybe I was a little rude at first. What I should have done is this.” He swung his fist and punched the man squarely in the face.
“What the hell!” Raz croaked as his head snapped back.
Erstad stepped further into the room, growing wary. “Maybe we should just leave,” he suggested.
“Not a chance,” Ramsey told him incredulously. “We just got here.” He wrapped his left hand into a tight coil around the collar of Raz’s nice wool sweater. Then he slowly reared back his other fist in the air. “Shall I try this again?”
“You’re fucking crazy!” Raz scolded him.
Ramsey smacked him again, only much harder this time. The crunching sound of cartilage breaking was awfully painful to hear in the confines of the room.
“Ow! For chrissakes!” Raz unleashed another outburst as blood squirted from his busted nose. He clamped his hands over his bruised face, trying to contain the torrent of blood. He looked pleadingly over to Erstad for help. “Tell your boy to stop!”
Erstad sighed in a disgruntled manner, hating the position he was in. He held up his hand as if maybe this had gone far enough. “I think you made your point.”
Ramsey settled back, looking sympathetic for only a fleeting second. “Find him a towel or a rag, would you?”
Erstad obliged, rushing back to another room and returning a minute later with a dishrag. He handed it to Raz who immediately snatched it up and held it like a sieve to his broken nose. Ramsey gave him a couple minutes to regain his composure, standing off to the side with his arms casually crossed.
“Feel any better?”
Raz nodded angrily as the outpour of blood began to subdue.
“Well, that’s good,” Ramsey said as he drew closer. “Feel like talkin’ yet?”
Raz clammed up, his bleary eyes filling with malice as he held the bloody rag to his face. He spit in hateful defiance toward the floor.
“Really?” Ramsey asked him as if he were not the least bit surprised. “You still don’t want to cooperate? Hmm...” He gazed around the room, pondering on what else he could use.
There was a long metal survey pole that looked tempting. Ramsey grabbed it and wound his arms back like he was a slugger in the batter’s box.
“Okay, okay!” Raz frantically protested, his voice badly garbled and distorted through the rag. He raised one trembling hand, hoping to fend off any more debilitating blows. “You don’t know what kind of trouble you’ve just put yourself in,” he told Ramsey with a newfound confidence and swagger. He glared at him through red-speckled eyes, issuing a crude laugh. “The people I work for are going to come after you. Cordoba is one of them. We’re here searching for that Nazi treasure just like you. Cordoba is out looking for it right now.”
“Do you know how far away he is?”