With the summer months upon us–and one year after its publishing date–I thought I would give you an excerpt from Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure–a 2016 Clive Cussler Adventure Writer’s Competition Semi-Finalist. This scene brings our protagonists to Edisto Island, that jewel in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.
Lucas had wanted to reach Edisto Island by first light. He wanted to have the entire day to devote to exploring the area on the map and if everything worked out, finding the treasure. As they put the bridge behind them and passed a grocery store, the sun broke through the clouds and its rays reached down to the ocean as though God was dipping his fingers in the water.
It promised to be a picturesque day. Perhaps they would make history as well, Lucas thought.
A quiet four-lane highway ran the length of the beach, behind a single row of oceanfront houses. Only a few vehicles were out at this hour. Men going out to the beach to claim their spots for fishing. Employees of the island’s large timeshare coming from off the island to work. Restaurant workers arriving to prep for the lunch rush.
The densely packed houses along the ocean to their left concealed most views of the ocean. From time to time, Darwin spied green waves over the sand dunes. He almost remembered seeing a few of these homes as he and Riddick cruised past this place the previous day. He was amazed to find that there weren’t any large hotels along the water. He mentioned that to Lucas.
“Yeah, when tourists started coming to the island years ago,” Lucas said, “the townsfolk kept it unincorporated. They allowed one grocery store and gas station. Everything else had to be small. No bright lights. They were isolated and wanted to keep the quaint, laid back way of life they enjoyed unlike their neighbors to the north and south.”
“Nice,” Lynn and Darwin both said.
Lucas sat back in his seat. “That’s why I like it here.”
After about three miles, the road narrowed to two lanes and began to curve around the southern end of the island. They passed the different areas of the sleepy resort complex and a well-manicured golf course rising from the marsh as they came about to the sound side of the island. They saw mostly older people out for an early morning walk, jog, or bike ride.
As they approached a large sign for the resort on the right with an entrance road splitting two holes on the golf course, Lucas had Lynn pull into a parking lot on their left. To the right was a squared two-story building with gray siding. The sign above the door read “The Dockside Bar & Grill.”
To the left of that was a small building with blue wood siding covering the top half of the structure. The area below the siding was made of cinder blocks painted white. Large murals of shrimp, a fishing boat, swordfish, and crawfish covered the front of the building. A covered entryway came out from above the door with “Fresh Edisto Seafood” painted in flowy letters across the façade. A wood sign hung down advertising “Fontaine Fishing Charters” in bold white letters.
The restaurant’s parking lot was empty. The smaller building had two cars parked in front of it. “Pull up right there,” Lucas instructed. “I’ve used these guys a bunch of times. Nicest folks you’ll ever meet. They love to have a good time too.”
Darwin practically jumped out of the car now that he had a chance to stretch out from its cramped confines.
Alone in the car with Lynn for the first time, Lucas said, “I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for us.”
Her smile made Lucas’s heart skip a beat. “Sure thing,” she said. “I needed a break from the monotony anyway. Glad I could help.”
Lucas reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of twenty-dollar bills. “Look, here’s the five-hundred I said I would give you for bringing us.”
She took the money from his hands and held it carefully. She almost cried. This was a lifesaver for her.
“Thank you,” she said.
“No, thank you. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.” He noted for the first time that her eyes weren’t brown. Up close, they looked hazel. “Look, you can go back to Hilton Head if you want. I know people around here and I think I can get us back to North Carolina.”
She shook her head. “What would I go back to?” she said. “I already told my boss I wasn’t coming to work today. I’m off tomorrow. All I would do is go sit in my apartment and watch sappy old romantic movies or read a book. If you don’t mind, I wouldn’t mind tagging along with you guys for a while longer.”
What she said delighted him, but not without reservation. “I just want to warn you, if this Riddick guy comes around, it might get dangerous.”
She gave him a self-assured smile and then said, “What good would an adventure be without a little danger?”
Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure is the perfect beach read for this summer. Get yours here on Kindle for $6.99 and in paperback for $16.95!