City of Gold
Matthew Connor Adventure Series, Book 1
by Carolyn Arnold Genre: Action, Adventure
Finding the Incas' lost City of Gold would be the discovery of a lifetime. But failing could mean her death…
Archaeologist Matthew Connor and his friends Cal and Robyn are finally home after a dangerous retrieval expedition in India. While they succeeded in obtaining the priceless Pandu artifact they sought, it almost cost them their lives. Still, Matthew is ready for the next adventure. Yet when new intel surfaces indicating the possible location of the legendary City of Gold, Matthew is hesitant to embark on the quest.
Not only is the evidence questionable but it means looking for the lost city of Paititi far away from where other explorers have concentrated their efforts. As appealing as making the discovery would be, it’s just too risky. But when Cal’s girlfriend, Sophie, is abducted by Matthew’s old nemesis who is dead-set on acquiring the Pandu statue, Matthew may be forced into action. Saving Sophie’s life means either breaking into the Royal Ontario Museum to steal the relic or offering up something no one in his or her right mind would refuse—the City of Gold.
Now Matthew and his two closest friends have to find a city and a treasure that have been lost for centuries. And they only have seven days to do it. As they race against the clock, they quickly discover that the streets they seek aren’t actually paved with gold, but with blood.
What to expect from the Matthew Connor Adventure series:
Action-adventure books for the mystery lover.Does treasure hunting excite you? What about the thought of traveling the globe and exploring remote regions to uncover legends that the world has all but forgotten? If so, strap yourself in for an adventure with modern-day archaeologist Matthew Connor and his two closest friends. Indiana Jones meets the twenty-first century.
This is the perfect book series for fans of Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, National Treasure, and The Relic Hunter.
Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.
THE SOUND OF HIS THUMPING heartbeat was only dulled by the screeching monkeys that were performing aerial acrobatics in the tree canopy overhead. Their rhythmic swinging from one vine to the next urged his steps forward but not with the same convincing nature as did the bullets whizzing by his head.
Matthew glanced behind at his friends and was nearly met with a bullet between the eyes. He crouched low, an arm instinctively shooting up as if he’d drop faster with it atop his head. The round of shots hit a nearby tree, and splintering bark rained down on him.
“Hurry!” he called out, as he peered at his companions.
“What do you think we’re—” Cal lost his footing, tripping over an extended root, his arms flailing as he tried to regain his balance.
Robyn, who was a few steps ahead of Cal, held out a hand, her pace slowing as she helped steady him.
“Pick it up, Garcia!” Matthew didn’t miss her glare before he turned back around. He hurdled through the rainforest, leaping over some branches while dipping under others, parting dangling vines as he went, as if they were beaded curtains.
His lungs burned, and his muscles were on fire. One quick glance up, and the monkeys spurred him on again. Not that he needed more than the cries of the men who were chasing him. The voices were getting louder, too—growing closer.
Robyn caught up to Matthew. “What happened to natives with poison darts?”
“The modern-day savage packs an AK-47 and body armor.”
Several reports sounded. Another burst of ammunition splayed around them.
“If we get out of this alive, you owe me a drink.” Her smile oddly contrasted their situation.
“I’ll buy you each two,” Matthew promised.
Cal ran, holding the GPS out in front of him, his arm swaying up and down, and Matthew wasn’t sure how he read it with the motion.
“Where do you expect to take us, Cal? We’re in the middle of a damn jungle,” Robyn said.
“Round here. Go right,” Cal shouted.
Another deafening shot rang out and came close to hitting Matthew.
“You don’t have to tell me twice.” Matthew ramped up his speed, self-preservation at the top of his list while the idol secured in his backpack slipped down in priority.
Most of their pursuers were yelling in Hindi, but one voice came through in English. He was clearly the one giving directions, and from his accent, Matthew guessed he was American, possibly from one of the northern states.
“I have to stop…and…breathe.” Robyn held a hand to her chest.
“We stop and we’re dead. Keep moving.” Cal reached for her arm and yanked.
Matthew slowed his pace slightly. “Robyn, you could always get on Cal’s back.”
“What?” Cal lowered the arm that was holding the GPS.
She angled her head toward Matthew. “If you think I’m going to get up there like some child, you are sorely mistaken.”
Matthew laughed but stopped abruptly, his body following suit and coming to a quick halt. He was teetering on the edge of a cliff that was several stories high, looking straight down into a violent pool of rushing water. He lifted his gaze to an upstream waterfall that fed into the basin.
Cal caught Matthew’s backpack just in time and pulled him back to solid ground.
The rush of adrenaline made Matthew dizzy. He bent over, braced his hands on his knees, and tucked his head between his legs. He’d just come way too close to never reaching his twenty-ninth birthday.
Robyn punched Cal in the shoulder. “Go right, eh? Good directions, wiseass. Maybe next time we’ll just keep going straight.”
“Sure, blame the black guy,” Cal said.
More bullets fired over the empty space of the gorge.
“What do we do now?” Cal asked.
Matthew forced himself to straighten to a stand. He hadn’t brought them all the way here to die. He’d come to retrieve a priceless artifact, and by all means, it was going to get back to Canada. He pulled off his sack, quickly assessed the condition of the zippers, and shrugged it back on. He tightened the straps, looking quickly at Cal and then at Robyn. One stood to each side of him. He had to act before he lost the courage. He put his arms out behind them.
Robyn’s eyes widened. “What are you doing, Matt? You can’t honestly be thinking of—”
Matthew wasn’t a religious man, but he was praying for them on the way down.
The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh Matthew Connor Adventure Series, Book 2
In Egypt’s Western Desert lies the tomb of an unnamed pharaoh that hides a secret so powerful, it could destroy the world as we know it.
Archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor has made a career of finding legends the world has all but forgotten. Though there’s one in particular that has fascinated him for years—the Emerald Tablets. Myth says that they possess the knowledge of the universe, allowing humankind to traverse Heaven and Earth, and have the power to bestow wealth and wisdom upon whoever possesses them. But if they fall into evil hands, it could cause a global disaster.
So when a former colleague stumbles across an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic map that promises to lead to a pharaoh’s tombandthe Emerald Tablets, there’s no way he’s turning down her invitation to join the dig. He only has one stipulation: his best friends Robyn Garcia and Cal Myers come with him.
The road ahead isn’t going to be an easy one, and their shared dream of recovering the Emerald Tablets is being crushed at every turn. And just when they think it’s all over, they learn there are a few clues they have overlooked. But they’re no longer the only ones searching for the Tablets. Now, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and soon they’ll find out that when it comes to hunting legends, they can’t trust anyone.
Robyn went to get up when her dooropenedand Matthew Connor strolled in. His eyes were bluer than she remembered. She swept some of her dark hair behind an ear. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen each other,” he responded casually.
“You’re the one who took off to Alaska, and before that to—” She stopped talking before it came across like she was keeping track of his schedule. “It’s good to see you.” And it was. It always was.They’d been friends since college and lovers there for a while, too. But just when things started to get serious between them, she’d been offered this job. And with her life plan coming together and Matthew’s selfless understanding, they’d ended things so she could focus on her career. She’d even gone so far as to avoid expeditions with him for a time, claiming they were too dangerous.
“You too.” He flashed her a smile that could stop her heart if she allowed itto.
“If you had been around yesterday, you could have joined us at Gretzky’s.” Byus, she meant, Cal, Sophie, and herself, but Matthew would know that.
He was still smiling as he sat down in the chair across from her. “I figured you’d end up on a patio for drinks.”
“Uh-huh.” She regarded the light in his eyes but also picked up on shadows of secrecy. He got that look when he was thinking about an expedition. But she didn’t have time to go away to wherever it was he had in mind. Maybe he had the luxury of dropping everything on a whim, but she didn’t. Shewas tetheredto a job she loved, and Lord knew she had enough that needed taking careof. The e-mail about the African exhibit was far from being the only thing on her to-do list.
“If you’re hereaboutan expedition, I can’t go,” she stated, certain she was getting in front of what he’d come here to ask.
“You don’t even know when I’m going.” Matthew leaned forward, one corner of his mouth lifting as ifit had been raised by a hook. It was a carefree and devilishexpression,and one that she found titillating, whether she wanted it to or not. And she didn’t want itto. They were better off as friends. It was so much less complicated. He did his thing; she did hers. And when they did go on quests together, it was an experience they sharedasfriends.
“It doesn’t matter.” She was shaking her head. “I have too much to do here.”
Matthew’s gaze went to her tidy desk before meeting her eyes. “It doesn’t look like it.”
“You know that my desk isn’t an indication of my workload. Do you want to see myin-box?” She gestured toward her monitor and then set her hand down on her desk.
Matthew reached forward and put his hand on top of hers. Her heart began to beat faster. She pulled her hand away and swallowed, hoping he hadn’t sensed how uncomfortable his touch made her.
His gaze dropped to her desk but then tracked up to meet her eyes. “You seem a little jumpy. I think someone needs a vacation.”
“Ha!” She mocked laughter. “You have no idea.”Truth be told, shehadn’t taken time off since the better part of a year ago, when they had gone in search of the City of Gold.
Matthew splayed out his hands. “No time like the present, then.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “An expedition”—she pointed a swirling finger at him—“isn’t a vacation. It’s work.”
Matthew sat back in his chair and bobbed his head side to side. “Fun work. And in this case, it could affect the fate of the world.”
“Excuse me while I roll my eyes.The fate of the world?Really?” She expected him to smile or laugh, but his eyesdarkenedand his mouth fell into a straight line. “You’reserious?”
“I am dead serious.”
“So what is this mission that could affect the fate of the world?” She’d started off armed with cynicism but found that her shield was starting to lower. What was wrong with her? Was hereallybaiting her withthe fate of the world? Was she that desperate for time off that she was buying into his hyperbole?
“Before I continue,” he said, “I just want to make sure you realize that what I’m about to tell you is highly confidential.”
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.
Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and beagles and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.
“This book has everything: a kidnapping, murder, a police investigation, and the hunt for lost treasure. A real page-turner full of thrills and emotion with excellent descriptive writing and characters that jump out of the pages and come to life.” –Beck Valley Books
Many people have died trying to find the Incas’ lost City of Gold. For a long time, it was believed to be a real city that was filled with treasure beyond imagining. It’s fabled to even have streets made of gold. But over the centuries, it has been relegated to nothing more than fantasy and myth.
When the seed was planted in my mind that I wanted to try my hand at an action adventure, the possibility that something like the City of Gold truly existed toyed with my imagination and got me writing about it. The research I conducted was intensive, and the more I learned, the more intrigued I was. There are so many different takes on the legend, and just like the telephone game most of us played as kids, the stories about the City of Gold changed slightly each time it was told.
But the varying stories presented a challenge, as did my background in mostly writing mysteries. After all, they are grounded in the real world and governed by police procedure and science—the complete opposite of myths and legends. So when it came to writing about the Incas’ lost City of Gold, I felt like I needed to find it and make it real in order to write about it! In fact, I had said numerous times that if I had the money to fund an expedition, I’d set out in search of the City of Gold myself!
After completing my research, I developed a theory of where the city might be. And with so many people throughout history talking about it, surely there had to besometruth to their words. Then again, the treasure could have long since been found and taken and distributed elsewhere. Who can know for sure?
Ah, but therein lies the fun. The prospect that the Inca’s City of Gold may be out there waiting to be discovered has endless possibilities! And whether it is or not, writing this book reminded me of a valuable lesson: there is nothing wrong with believing. In fact, I dare you to believe. I dare you to sink into the world of possibilities…
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