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Authors: Ronie Kendig

Dead Reckoning

BOOK: Dead Reckoning
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Dead Reckoning

Ronie Kendig surpasses all debut expectations. This story is well-researched, fast-paced, and centered around memorable characters. From exotic locales to romantic tensions,
Dead Reckoning
gives us everything we hope for in a modern thriller.

—ERIC WILSON,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Fireproof
and V
alley of Bones

All I can say is wow! What a fabulous story!
Dead Reckoning
is an adrenaline-laden ride that left me breathless and flipping pages fast enough to rip them.

Ronie Kendig is an author to watch!

—COLLEEN COBLE, bestselling author of
The Lightkeeper's Daughter
and the Rock Harbor series

Dead Reckoning
moves at the pace of an action-adventure movie. Ronie Kendig writes with painstaking attention to technical details of the setting, plot, and characters, while heart-stopping suspense ensues on every page.

—Deborah M. Piccurelli, author of
In the Midst of Deceit

Dead Reckoning

Copyright © 2010 by Ronie Kendig

ISBN-13: 978-1-4267-0058-3

Published by Abingdon Press, P.O. Box 801, Nashville, TN 37202
www.abingdonpress.com

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced
in any form, stored in any retrieval system, posted on any website,
or transmitted in any form or by any means—digital, electronic,
scanning, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without written
permission from the publisher, except for brief quotations in
printed reviews and articles.

The persons and events portrayed in this work of fiction are the
creations of the author, and any resemblance to persons living or
dead is purely coincidental.

Cover design by Anderson Design Group, Nashville, TN

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Kendig, Ronie.

Dead reckoning / Ronie Kendig.

p. cm.

ISBN 978-1-4267-0058-3 (pbk. : alk. paper)

  1. Marine archaeologists—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3611.E5344D43 2010

813’.6—dc22

2009046208

Printed in the United States of America

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 / 15 14 13 12 11 10

Whatever souls are made of,
his and mine are the same.
–Emily Bronte

 

Brian,
I dared to dream
because of you.
For all your strength and love
my biggest Thank You!
All my love … .
Always,
Ronie

Contents

 

 

Acknowledgments

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Epilogue

Discussion Questions

Acknowledgments

To my awesome Lord and Savior, Jesus. Without you, I am nothing. You gave me strength I did not have, words I did not know, and blessings I did not deserve. Forever grateful.

My precious children—Ciara—thank you for babysitting and all those sweets you baked to get me through late-nights. Keighley—thanks for your help with cleaning and whatever else needed to be done. Ryan and Reagan— thank you for being the funniest, cutest twin boys ever. I love you all so very much!

To my AWESOME agent Steve Laube—Agent-man, We did it! Thank you for believing in me and my writing, and for pulling (not pushing!) me from many ledges.

Madame Editor Barbara Scott—Wow! There's a gazillion thanks owed to you for letting this book see the “ink of print.” You took a risk on this new, unpubbed author, and I’m so very thankful and grateful! You RAWK!

My “twin” Neen Miller—You are so amazing and beautiful. XOXOXOXO

Dearest friend Robin Miller—I’m so very grateful for and touched by your friendship.

Shiny Sara Mills—Thank you for talking me down with your laughter and insanity! Just remember—you rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.

“Big Brother” John Olson—Your humility and talent are an example for all. I am still humbled you became my advocate and cheered me on. Thanks for the brainstorming help and for reminding me not to take myself—or life—so seriously.

Lynn Dean—To Starbucks and decompressing!

Becky Yauger—I love our Thursday Nights.

Kristin Billerbeck—You were the first in ACFW to cheer me on—thank you. You watered my thirsty writer soul.

THANK YOU to friends: Camy Tang, Shannon and Troy McNear, Beth Goddard, Mindy Obenhaus, Dooley Crit Group, Cheryl Wyatt, Ane Mulligan, Pamela James, Al Speegle, Frank Ball, Steve Miller, and Tamera Alexander (for your France input!).

ACFW—So many writers with such big, willing hearts who guided me, encouraged me, challenged me, and loved me. What an absolutely amazing organization! THANK YOU!

1

Mumbai Harbor, India

S
HAFTS OF YELLOW LIGHT PIERCED THE BLUE-GREEN WATERS, SILHOUETT
ing the dive rig that hovered on the surface of the Arabian Sea. Shiloh Blake stopped and watched a wrasse scuttle past, its tiny fins working hard to ferry the brightly striped fish to safety.

Clad in her wet suit, Shiloh squinted through her goggles and tucked the underwater camera into her leg pocket. She gripped the small stone artifact and propelled herself toward the surface. Ten meters and she would reveal her historic discovery to long-time rival Mikhail Drovosky.

Shiloh smiled. The guy would go ballistic. Score one for the girls. Between her and her new dive partner, Edie Valliant, they had surged ahead in finds. Not that this was a competition. Not technically. But everyone with the University of California–San Diego dig team knew it was make or break time.

Shiloh broke the surface. Warm sun bathed her face as she slid off her mask and tugged out her air regulator before hauling herself onto the iron dive flat. She squeezed the saltwater from her hair, the auburn glints catching in the sunlight.

“What did you find?” Khalid Khan knelt next to her.

With a smirk, she peeked at her best friend. Her own excitement was mirrored in his dark eyes. Then she noticed Edie's absence.

“Where’d she go this time? And Dr. Kuntz?”

“She wasn’t feeling well.”

“More like she had another date.” Irritation seeped through her pores like the hot sun, boiling her to frustration. She couldn’t believe her dive partner kept cutting digs to flirt with locals.

Khalid reached over to remove her dive tanks.

With a hand held up, she shifted away. “No, I’m going back down.”

Footsteps thudded on the deck. “It's my turn.” Mikhail's glower fanned her competitive streak.

“Sorry.” Shiloh grinned. “Not for another ten minutes. You’re not going to stop me from qualifying for the Pacific Rim Challenge.” She nearly sighed, thinking about racking up enough dive hours for the deep-sea assignment—her dream.

On his haunches, Khalid swiveled toward her, cutting off her view of Mikhail. “What’d you find?” he whispered. Damp from his last dive, Khalid's jet black hair hung into his face. “Please tell me you aren’t playing games.”

From a pouch hanging at her waist, she produced the lamp. “This for starters.”

He took the piece and traced the contours. “Soapstone.” His gaze darted back to hers. “You mapped it on the grid, right? And photographed it?”

Any first-year grad student would know to take a picture to verify its location and record it on the mapped grid of the site. “Of course.” She patted the camera in the pouch.

Not so many years ago a sunken city had been found in the area. Would she find another? Her heart thumped at the prospect. Tools. She would need better tools to safely remove the vase waiting at the bottom of the sea. Shiloh stood and hurried
to the chest to remove an air pipe to suction the silt and sediment away and then grabbed an airlift bag. As she plotted how to excavate the piece, she tucked the tools into holsters strapped around her legs and waist.

“I’m coming down there whether you’re done or not.” Mikhail bumped his shoulder against hers and pursed his lips. “If you find it in my time, I get to log it.”

Eyebrow quirked, she swept around him to the stern and sat on the ledge.

“I mean it, Blake!” Mikhail's face reddened.

She slipped the regulator back in her mouth, nearly smiling. With a thumbs-up to Khalid, she nudged herself into the water. Glee rippled through her. The look of incredulity on Mikhail's mug buoyed her spirits. Finding the lamp had been exhilarating, but one-upmanship had its own thrill. Besides, how many divers had worked this dig in the last year? Like them, she had found a piece of history. Divers and researchers had scoured this area and other sites along the coast of India.

Dr. Kuntz would have insisted on diving with Shiloh if not for ferrying Edie around Mumbai. Irritation at her new dive partner swelled. Why they had ever agreed to take on that useless woman, she’d never know. How could partying compare with the discovery of the past?

Although silt and sand shrouded the lip of the vase, Shiloh spotted its outline easily where she had marked the place with a flag. She lifted the red vinyl square from the sandy floor and worked quickly, refusing to relinquish this relic to the overblown ego of Mikhail Drovosky. He’d beaten her out of top honors for her bachelor's degree, relegating her to magna cum laude, lessening her scholarship. Enough was enough.

Why hadn’t anyone else found this vase? As she brushed away the sediment, confusion drifted through her like the cool waters. A spot in the clay smeared. Her heart rapid fired. Had
she ruined the relic? Yet something … Shiloh stilled, staring in disbelief. What on earth?

BOOK: Dead Reckoning
13.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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