The Official Blog of Author Tristan Vick
My Amanda Archer Relics Hunter action-adventure series will be coming summer of 2022. Here's a sneak peek with covers and chapter 1 sample. Enjoy!
New York City
Amanda Archer’s pulse raced as she sprinted down the steps of the American Museum of Natural History. She bypassed the last three stairs in a single bound and slung the dark brown leather protective tube case she was carrying over her shoulder. Making a mad dash for the street, she slid across the hood of a yellow taxi that had inadvertently cut her off and then continued up the street as the cabbie shouted at her from behind.
Even as the cabbie’s obscenities trailed her, she didn’t have time to care about any of that. Not with the League of Collectors on her tail. She heard the glass doors of the museum explode from within, glass tinkling on the pavement as the noise of motorcycle engines revved.
She glanced back briefly to catch the two black, leather-clad riders wearing glossy black helmets with tinted visors racing down the museum steps on a couple of Honda XR650L off-road bikes in pursuit of her.
“Balls,” she cursed under her breath as she sprinted down West 77th street toward the park, bystanders looking at her with shocked expressions as she darted past them.
She knew by their dismayed looks that most of them assumed she’d stolen some priceless item of antiquity. But the truth was rather much more complex. The League of Collectors were the true thieves. And she just happened to get to the map moments before they did. Thank god.
It was a stroke of luck really. Amanda had intercepted the wire informing the League that the lost Key of Hades had been discovered. If the legends were true then the key opened a very important door. Not to Tartarus or Hades, but to the sealed vault of the Serapeum. The sister library to the Great Library of Alexandria, in Egypt.
After the sacking of Alexandria by the emperor Diocletian in 297 A.D., however, the Serapeum was rumored to have been ransacked and left completely empty. Other legends spoke to how the contents were miraculously saved by the curators and had been moved to a secret underground vault beneath the library. But, although archaeologists had searched for such a rumored vault, none had ever been unearthed.
If the lost Key of Hades was real, then such a secret library existed. Amanda could feel it in her bones. And it was only a matter of time before the corporate big-wigs and organizations like the League of Collectors swooped in and took the wealth of information for themselves. But Amanda wasn't about to let them rewrite history by hoarding all of that valuable information. This was the find of the century and the wealth of knowledge it contained belonged to everyone.
The whine of both motorbikes grew louder behind her and Amanda hooked a hard right and darted into Central Park hoping to lose them at the West 77th Street stone arch.
Before she could react, however, she felt a hand reach out and grab her jacket. She glanced to her right to see the gloved hand of a masked biker grasping onto her collar. Reacting, she dug her boots in and dipped down, slipping out of her jacket.
The biker, who'd jerked hard on the jacket, threw himself off balance and lost control of the bike. Wobbling, the biker crashed into a park bench and trash bin and went flying up over it. Both the biker and the bike crashed to the ground with a thud.
Amanda's charcoal gray tank top was dark with sweat stains when she rose back to her feet. It would be a while before the biker got up, but the revving of an engine reminded her of the second biker. She spun around and saw her jacket along with the carrying case lying on the ground an equal distance from her and the second biker.
Situated directly between them, Amanda's eyes darted to the case and then to the biker. He revved the engine again, daring her to make the first move, and without hesitating she started off.
As soon as she'd broken into a sprint, the bike's rear tire squealed before making purchase with the pavement. The motorcycle barreled toward her, engine growling like a wild beast as it drew close.
She knew that she couldn't out run the bike, but she didn't have to. The biker was focused on the map and if she was aiming for the map too she'd likely lose it. But like in the game of baseball, you don't swing at the ball where it's at. You predict where it will be and aim for it there.
Amanda watched as the biker leaned off the side and snatched up the leather carrying case. At the same time, she leaped into the air, bringing both knees out in front of her.
The biker, having secured the package, looked up just in time to see Amanda leap up with a vicious knee thrust. Both her knees hit the biker squarely in the chest. Hard. Biker, container, and Amanda all toppled the ground with equal force.
The wind knocked out of them both, she knew she needed to get to her feet before he did.
Amanda groaned and rolled onto her side. Looking up, she saw the biker lying a short distance away, still stunned. The leather tube carrying case sat just a few meters beyond the toppled bike.
Move it or lose it, she thought to herself. With a grunt, she pushed herself up and staggered over to the carrying case. As she went, she got her breath back and began to amble faster. The biker's head turned as she breezed past him. Determined not to let her get the jump on him, he slowly, agonizingly pushed himself up.
Amanda quickly picked up the leather carrying case along with her jacket and slung the tube back over her shoulder, the strap settling between her breasts. When she turned back around, she found that the biker was nearly upon her and her mind raced through all her options.
Jacket, she thought. Then, she tossed her jacket over his head, tied off the sleeves around his neck, and then need him right in the family jewels.
Oomph! he gasped as he crumpled to the ground, clutching his groin.
Amanda hurried over to the bike, picked it up and hopped on. She revved the still idling engine twice and then tore off into the park. The second biker, who was already on his feet, raced to his bike, set it right, and jumped on. In no time, Amanda found herself tearing through Central Park with a masked marauder chasing her.
Leafy branches whipped by her face as she took a shortcut across the enclosed greens. She took a quick glance behind her to see that the other rider had followed her onto the protected area. But with no people Amanda twisted the handle hard and opened up the throttle.
The bike’s engine moaned as if in protest to the unfamiliar terrain, but she couldn’t pull back now. Not with so much at stake.
Coming to the other end of the park Amanda slowed before she hit the street. Idling at the top of the hill, she knew that if took the race into city traffic, she might be able to loose him.
She gunned the throttle and the bike’s rear wheel kicked up a spray of dirt and grass. Almost loosing control, the back kicked out and Amanda, holding the front brake, skidded all the way around before getting it back under control. Launching off the hill, the bike caught some air and she leaned forward, watching intently as she judged the speed of the traffic ahead of her. Here goes nothing, she thought, and then gunned it, shooting into traffic liking a bat out of hell.
The masked biker had nearly caught up to her after her delay, but her reckless driving gained her a few seconds head start when he pulled back and waited for a safe moment to merge with the lanes of rush hour traffic.
By the time the biker gotten back onto the road, she already was a block ahead of him and turning up 79th street along the Upper East Side.
Amanda weaved in and out of traffic as she raced straight up 79th street until she came to 2nd Ave. Kicking the bike into a turning slide, she skidded around the street corner, narrowly avoiding some pedestrians who were making their way into the crosswalk. She nearly clipped a tall black man with dreadlocks, forcing him to stop somewhat abruptly. He dropped his blunt he was smoking as she whisked past him and mumbled something under his breath.
“Sorry!” she called out as she pulled away. She glanced back in time to see him start to bend down to pick it up when the second biker drove over it, sending up an eddy of sparks as it snuffed out the blunt.
Amanda red-lined the dirt bike, pushing the Honda to its top speed of 98 miles per hour. Traffic whipped by at a breakneck pace and at these dangerous speeds she knew that even the smallest miscalculation would end her life. Or, at the very least, leave her in a full body cast.
At the 72nd street junction, she clamped down on the brakes and screeched to a halt. She hopped off the bike, discarding it in the middle of the street, and jogged down the steps of the 72nd street subway station.
She patted her pants pockets as she scrambled down the stairs, searching for her wallet. Her MetroCard was in her wallet. That’s when she realized she’d left her wallet back in her jackets. Balls.
Suddenly, her fingertips brushed against something flat and hard. Something plastic. She reached in her back pocket and drew out the MetroCard. That’s right, she remembered, now. Being in a hurry on her way to the museum this morning, she’d slipped the pass back into her back pocket instead of fiddling with her wallet which she’d already placed back inside her jacket pocket.
She waved the pass in front of the turnstile censor and the light flashed blue. She pushed through the turnstile with no problem and then glanced back one more time. She heard the second bike revving its engine at the top of the stairwell and she quickly turned and ducked into a crowd of people.
Amanda casually wove through the crowd, making sure to keep her eyes down and her hand on the important carrying case at all times. The train was just arriving at the subway platform when she stepped out and the subway doors slid open with a squeaky, almost defiant metallic screech.
Casually, she stepped onto the train and move over to let several other passengers pass. Once the doors had shut, she looked up to see the black helmet and visor of the biker starring across the platform at her. She smiled and waved goodbye just as the train lurched and began to pull away.
The biker ran up to the train, jogging along side it. He slammed a palm against the window which made Amanda flinch but the train was already picking up speed and, soon enough, it pulled away from the biker who’d lost his steam. She peered out the windows, seeing the biker take off her helmet, allowing for her long golden locks to unfurl, and then throw her helmet at the ground out of frustration.
Amanda was surprised that it was a woman. A beautiful woman at that. But almost as soon as their eyes locked onto one another, the train entered the tunnel and blacked everything out.
Exhausted from her morning jaunt, Amanda found a nearby available seat and plopped down in it. She tilted her head back, resting it on the cool glass window of the train, and took in a deep breath. It smelled like musk, sweat, and excess deodorizers doing their best to mask awful B.O. The smell of cigarette smoke of a nearby vaper helped cut down on the linger stench of urine. But, all in all, it smelled like the metro train always smelled. Pretty damn bad.
She took the leather tube in her hands and, holding it tight, whispered, “Now, let’s get you to someplace safe.”
She couldn’t go home though. Not now, since she was fairly certain they had her wallet, I.D., and her home address. No. She needed to go someplace so far off the grid they’d never find her. And she knew just the place.
***End of Sneak Peek***
Amanda Archer series coming 2020
By day I am an educator and a cultural ambassador. By night I entertain notions of being a literary master. In reality I am just a family man and ordinary guy who works hard and loves writing just about as much as I love my family. Just about.