How far will ordinary people go to protect their secrets? The Collectors’ games are as much about manipulating lives as finding lost treasure. Everyone is expendable as the ruthless C7 pushes people into gambling with their lives in order to find priceless objects lost to history.
Samantha Crowe’s secrets could ruin her career, while Brody Parker’s could get him killed. They become pawns for two Collectors seeking Bad King John’s crown jewels, which disappeared in rural England back when Robin Hood roamed Nottingham.
This time, however, the Collectors–a ruthless dotcom billionaire and a desperate London detective–might not be playing for the same team, leaving Sam and Brody trapped in the middle.
One thing’s for sure: If either hope to survive, Sam and Brody will have to find a way to overcome their distrust–and their growing attraction–in order to succeed on this winner-take-all treasure hunt.
~ Bewitching BT
Guest Post: In Search of Crown Jewels…Whatever They Are
by Susannah Sandlin
When I began researching the world’s great lost treasures, I wasn’t surprised to see pirate loot that was never found or even Knights Templar goodies that had gone to ground, never to be seen again. There was plenty out there for my hero and heroine to go searching for in my Collectors series (think Indiana Jones with sex).
One thing that surprised me, however, was reading about the lost crown jewels of King John of England—you know, the evil old king that Robin Hood railed against, the one that had to sign the Magna Carta to keep his own land barons from siding with the French against him. “Bad King John,” as he’s become known to history, was the only English king to ever carry that name because everyone thought it was cursed.
Because whatever else he might or might not have done, Bad King John had some bad, bad luck.
Here’s what happened, as far as historians know—and it’s the subject my heroine Samanatha, a grad student working on her history thesis, is obsessed with in DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD.
Take the events of autumn 1216, for example. Old John had squandered his land in France, his power had been reduced by having to sign the Magna Carta a few years earlier, and the pope had excommunicated him from the church. On Oct. 9, avoiding the political hotbed of London, he decided to travel from Lincoln to Norfolk, but fell ill—it’s said with dysentery from eating figs, but who knows.
So he turned back toward Lincolnshire, feeling like crap, and that’s when IT happened. He spent the night in the village of Swineshead, at Swineshead Abbey, and historians believe that he sent his baggage train on a shortcut through the swampy lands of East Anglia, where horses, wagons, and humans—and the crown jewels—sank in quicksand and were never again seen. Distraught, John pigged out on peaches, his medical condition worsened, and he died six days later.
Another theory has it that John had the jewels with him and maybe lost them gambling. Or another story goes that a monk at the Abbey, who hated John, poisoned him and took the jewels for the abbott or even buried them on the grounds of the abbey.
We’ll probably never know. But my question was: Exactly what ARE crown jewels? On a visit to London a few years ago, I saw a lot of crown jewels on exhibition at the Tower of London. There were, well, crowns. And jewels. But what makes up official “crown jewels”?
Turns out that it refers to the regalia worn by a given king or queen at his or her coronation and at different state functions. It includes crowns, scepters, orbs, swords, rings, spurs, royal robes, and some other ceremonial stuff of whose meaning I haven’t a clue.
Which begs the next question—why the heck was John riding around the countryside with all his crown bling? Apparently, John was quite fond of jewelry, and he had spent the previous couple of years traveling around collecting the royal bounty so he would have it close to him.
Alas, he died at age 49 and was buried—without his treasure, leaving it fair game for my hero and heroine, Samantha and Brody, to hunt for it in modern-day Swineshead, England.
Have you ever gone in search of “buried treasure”? My brother and I used to hunt arrowheads when we were kids, and he even found a few.
But damn, that man was sexy. He was facing her, his head thrown back and eyes closed as the water cascaded over every ridge and muscle and . . . everything. She had to look, right? She might have taken a vow of celibacy but she hadn’t taken a vow of blindness.
You’re an absolutely pathetic loser, Sam’s inner nag said, and she agreed. Anyone who’d stand in the middle of a monsoon and ogle a man in his shower should have LOSER stamped on her forehead.
As soon as Brody stepped out of the water and saw her, his mouth and eyes battling for which could open the widest in shock, she stepped away from the window and splashed her way around the corner, returning to the back door. And yeah, giggled a little, the laughter bubbling up and spilling out before she could get it under control. She hadn’t laughed much in the last couple of days.
She’d never been quite so wet and cold in her life. The wind had picked up, stabbing horizontal blades of rain into her face as she waited at the back door. For a few seconds, she wondered if he might leave her out here, but then the door opened and he stood there with a white towel slung loosely around his hips, which would have been sexy as hell except for the black T-shirt he’d pulled on. Droplets of water dripped from his black wavy hair onto his shoulders, getting said T-shirt wet.
“Nice fashion statement.” She gave him her best lopsided smile as he moved aside to let her in. “You’re shy about going without a shirt? You have man boobs, don’t you?” Which would be a crime against nature.
“I certainly do not.” Looking offended, Brody pulled the T-shirt up, exposing a rock-hard set of damp abs and nice, firm pecs without a trace of man boob. He jerked the shirt back down before she started salivating, which was good, given her celibacy and all.
“Why were you leering in my bathroom window?” He cocked his head. “Are you stalking me? How long had you been watching?”
Not nearly long enough. “Just a few seconds. I knocked on the door earlier and you didn’t answer.”
He glanced out the door, where the rain almost obscured the garage. “Where’s your car?”
“Ah, that’s the real story. Do you have a fire lit?”
Brody closed the door, shutting out the hiss of rain hitting the slate courtyard. “Not yet. I was going to do it as soon as I showered. Give me a minute to get dressed.” He made no attempt to leave, though, but instead treated her to a head-to-toe visual inspection that she could swear grew a little heated when his gaze landed on where her soaked, thin sweater clung to her breasts.
Her nipples perked up just to make sure he could see them, the traitors. They didn’t want her to be celibate. They wanted to be touched and licked and nibbled on, even if the attention came at the lips and tongue and teeth of the man who’d deliberately punctured her tire.
About the Author & Links:
Susannah Sandlin writes paranormal romance and romantic thrillers from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual.
She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick. She’s the author of the award-winning Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, a spinoff novel, Storm Force, a standalone novelette, Chenoire, and a new romantic thriller series, The Collectors, beginning with Lovely, Dark, and Deep.
Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she also is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series.
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