Read The Unseen Online

Authors: Sabrina Devonshire

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Erotica, #Romantic, #Romance, #Romantic Suspense, #Mystery & Suspense, #Science Fiction, #Suspense, #erotic romance

The Unseen

BOOK: The Unseen
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After smugglers murder three tourists, Kent Dunbar pretends to abandon his Vietnam caving expedition to protect his new love, Rebecca Devereaux. But Rebecca suspects something.

 

 

After gemstone smugglers murder three men, Kent Dunbar pretends to abandon his exploration of Vietnam’s Mountain River Cave and his relationship with new love, Rebecca Devereaux. Imagining Rebecca has safely left the country, he plans to pursue the smugglers with help from Vietnam Veterans who served with his father in the war.

Rebecca is devastated by Kent’s rejection. At the airport, she overhears men discussing Kent’s mission. Rebecca convinces her best friend, Amanda, to stay and when the flight is cancelled, high-maintenance Bunny ends up with them as well.

While Rebecca and Amanda confront their men, first with words, then with naked flesh, Bunny suffers guilt over her whiny behavior and vows to toughen up and break free from her abusive past. But no one’s safe in the jungle or underground labyrinths with murderous smugglers around. Will the adventurers prevail?

The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

 

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

The Unseen

Copyright © 2013 Sabrina Devonshire

ISBN: 978-1-77111-635-0

Cover art by Carmen Waters

 

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

 

Published by eXtasy Books

Look for us online at:

www.eXtasybooks.com

 

 

The Unseen

Love in the Labyrinths Two

 

 

By

 

 

Sabrina Devonshire

Acknowledgements

 

 

I would like to thank Ellen Cross, Pat Dawson, Chris Ferko and Priyanka Mehta for reviewing this manuscript. This book would never have made it to publication without their help. Pat and Chris read the book and offered some initial feedback and corrections. Extasy author Ellen Cross offered feedback on the work as a whole, enabling me to make many positive changes. Priyanka worked tirelessly with me on three rounds of revisions during the weeks leading up to publication.

Every book I write is a product of some event or situation that incites my imagination. In this case, I came across a series of fascinating National Geographic videos online about Mountain River (Son Doong) Cave in Vietnam. This cave was classified as the largest in the world in 2009 and serves as the springboard for my story. Although I described some geological features of this cave based on video and photo footage I studied online and in the Oro Valley Library, I also took some creative license to make the cave layout fit my story. I also created fictional discoverers. The characters portrayed in this book were not written to, in any way, replicate the personalities or appearances of any of the British scientists who discovered the cave—they are completely fictional and a product of my imagination.

 

 

Preface

 

 

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam

One day earlier

 

They spilled out of the tunnel into empty air. Kent clutched Rebecca tightly against his chest, squinting out the sun to focus on her face. “I won’t let you go—I promise. Not now, not ever,” he said.

As they tumbled through the air, a warm breeze brushing over her body, Rebecca felt like she was flying. She felt so free, squinting through the brilliant sunlight and gazing into the eyes of the man she loved while water showered down all around them.

Their intertwined bodies splashed down in a brilliant blue-green pool in the middle of the lush jungle. Bubbles trailed from Kent’s nose and mouth and his blue eyes connected with hers through the crystal water. Kent gripped her arms and they kicked together toward the lens of water that marked the surface.

Rebecca had never been more entranced by her lover. The water exaggerated the sculpted muscles in his shoulders and chest, the cords in his neck, and his sexy dimples. She felt so safe in his arms. This man who had irritated her on too many occasions, had plunged into the rushing water to rescue her, covered her lips with his own to breathe life back into her and now held her in his arms, making her feel like she was the most beautiful, most cherished woman on Earth.

“Are you all right?” Kent asked between gasps.

“Yes, I’m fine.” Rebecca burst out laughing, feeling pure joy overcome her. She splashed the surface of the water, just relishing its sensation against her skin. “I’m so fine.”

They swam a slow breaststroke into shallow calm water and then collapsed on the shore.

Kent leaned in and kissed her bare shoulder. Rebecca looked down to see her clothes were in tatters—her shirt hung like a ripped rag from one shoulder, exposing the top of her breasts.

“I love you.” He took her hand and urged her to lie beside him on a mossy shelf of rock. She perched herself on an elbow facing him and reached out a hand to touch his face.

“Oh, Kent, I know.” Her chest nearly burst with emotion. “I felt so alone and frightened, tumbling through that water in complete darkness. I wished more than anything you’d come after me and then suddenly there you were. And you never let go. I love you, too.”

He brushed a lock of wet hair from her face. “I’m sorry this trip turned out like this for you. Caving is a dangerous business, but I take so many precautions that usually no one gets hurt. This wasn’t at all how I planned it.”

She reached for his cheek, numbing her hand with its rugged texture. “It’s not your fault. The important thing is we got out alive. And we’re together.”

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Dong Hoi Airport, Quang Binh Province, north central coastal Vietnam, June 28, 2008

 

Rebecca washed her hands and dried them before heading for the restroom exit. Male voices broke into her thoughts. Rebecca gasped and pressed her ear to the door to listen.

“I never thought we’d be back in Vietnam again,” said a man.

“I’m still having nightmares about the guys we lost. But I owe my life to Kent’s dad. When he mentioned his son was in trouble, I was ready to get on the next plane. And this could turn out to be one hell of a mission.”

“Yeah, really. Who could imagine we’d be back here chasing down gemstone smugglers convinced that aliens or people with supernatural powers once visited this cave. Even if Mountain River Cave doesn’t turn out to be the largest cave, it’s got to be the weirdest one on Earth.”

These must be those buff looking older men we saw deplaning a few minutes ago.
Rebecca couldn’t wait to share what she’d learned with the others.

On a whim, she and her best-friend Amanda had quit their Tucson jobs to join famous geologist Kent Dunbar on a caving expedition to Vietnam’s Phong Na-Ke Bang National Park. The minute they’d met, Rebecca had found the ruggedly handsome scientist almost as irresistible as he was irritating. And he’d apparently found her equally alluring because within days, they were making love every chance they got.

When gemstone smugglers had killed three men near their camp and later kidnapped Bunny, one of the female assistants, Kent had called an end to the mission–and their relationship.
Or so he said . . .

She, Amanda and Bunny were scheduled to fly back to the U.S. on the next flight. Rebecca strode from the restroom toward airport security, her clenched fists itching to punch the man she shouldn’t have fallen for. She huffed out an irritated sigh.
Macho man thinks he’s too tough for us. We’ll see about that.

Now she realized why the man who had declared he would never let her go had suddenly treated their relationship like another that-was-great-now-it’s-over fling.
He was just trying to protect me. So why am I so damned pissed?

His lie bruised her pride, but not nearly as much as it wounded her heart. She’d imagined the special connection between them would never be broken.

Ever since he’d called a halt to their relationship the previous evening, her chest had ached, nausea had replaced her usually healthy appetite, and lethargy had made her body feel as heavy as clay. She’d never felt so overwrought over a relationship before. She raised her arms and let the guard frisk her before sprinting toward Amanda and Bunny. They stood in line, waiting to board the Vietnam Airlines flight.

“Wait, we have to talk.” The sprint and the oppressing, humid air left Rebecca hunched over, panting for breath.

“It’s about time you got back here. What took you so long?” Amanda tugged on her blonde ponytail anxiously with one hand, holding her boarding pass and passport in the other. “It’s already last call for boarding. And there’s only a few people left in the line.”

Bunny had her iPod volume so loud, Rebecca could almost make out the tune. Her eyes closed, she mimed the words. While Rebecca and Amanda had barely run a brush through their hair, Bunny looked like she’d just stepped out of the beauty parlor. Her thick, reddish-brown hair was styled and sprayed and she’d applied mascara and bright red lipstick.

When the man in front of them handed his ticket to the attendant, Bunny stopped bopping to her music and removed her ear buds. “Don’t we need to board?” She reached into her purse for a pocket mirror, popped it open and studied her reflection.

The airline attendant stood nearby, watching them. She motioned for them to approach. “Plane leaving soon.”

Rebecca patted Bunny’s arm. “Yes, Bunny. You go ahead—Amanda and I need to talk for a minute.”

Bunny shrugged. “Well, hurry up. I don’t know about you two, but I’m ready for a good long day at the spa.”

“I’m not going anywhere.” Rebecca pulled her boarding pass out of her pocket and ripped it in half. Amanda drew in a shocked breath. Bunny dropped her mirror and it shattered on the floor.

 

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

“Have you lost your mind?” Amanda’s mouth fell open and her blue eyes widened with worry. “If you don’t hurry and get another boarding pass, you’ll be stuck in this awful place.”

Bunny’s brown-eyed gaze dropped toward the jagged fragments of her mirror that lay scattered on the white tile floor.

Rebecca gave Bunny a peremptory hug before urging her on. “You need to get on that plane right now.”

“Don’t worry, I’m going. But I hope you change your mind.” Bunny gave the two women one last sad look before striding to the gate and handing her boarding pass to the attendant.

Rebecca planted her hands on her hips and raised her chin higher. “You know those military looking dudes we saw deplaning earlier?”

“Yeah, so?” Amanda’s lips pressed into a tight line as her gaze drifted beyond the glass windows toward the diminishing line of people climbing the aircraft stairs.

“I overheard them talking on my way out of the restroom. They’re here to help Kent continue the mission.”

Amanda frowned. She angled one hip slightly askew and flapped her boarding pass in her hand as if trying to decide what to do with it. “Are you serious? Why would Kent stay after everything that’s happened?”

“Because this is his one and only chance to get credit for the discovery and exploration of Mountain River Cave. He pretended to call off the mission so he could send home anyone he worried might get in the way, namely us. And then he recruited these soldiers he thinks are better suited for the job.” Just talking about it infuriated Rebecca. She couldn’t wait to shout out unedited what she thought of him.

“Wow, that’s crazy.” Amanda placed her palm against her forehead as if she was trying to ease a headache. Her boarding pass slipped from her fingers and she bent down to pick it up. “I wonder if Tom is staying on, too. He said he was flying to New Hampshire to spend a few weeks with his sick mother, but maybe he lied.”

“It wouldn’t shock me in the least if he did—Kent’s obviously trained them well—by now they’ve probably all earned PhDs in lying and deception.” Rebecca kicked at the leg of one of the plastic chairs.

“That man’s really got you tied up in knots,” said Amanda.

That’s the understatement of the year.
“I can’t believe he ended it like he did.” Tears rushed to her eyes and as they ran down her face and into her mouth, she coughed, choking on her tears.

Amanda wrapped her pale slender arms around Rebecca’s shoulders and patted her on the back. “Oh, please don’t be so upset. He only said it was over because he was worried about you. Can’t you see that now?”

BOOK: The Unseen
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