The Guardian, Book 2: To Run with the Swift (Hardcover)

by Gerald N. Lund

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After Danni McAllister and her family escaped from El Cobra and his kidnapping ring, they thought life would basically return to normal. Little did they know that their peril had just begun.

As secrets from the past begin to unfold, it becomes evident that the motives driving the attacks on the McAllister family go much deeper than money—and they're not going to stop anytime soon. Now, as Danni faces evils even more sinister than before, she has to wonder if even the Guardian will be equal to the dangers ahead.

The whole family will love this page-turning conclusion to the story of Le Gardien, the enchanted pouch that guides, protects, and teaches those who have it in their keeping.

Product Details

  • Size:  6" x 9"
  • Pages:  560
  • Year Published:  2013
  • Book on CD:  Unabridged, 13 discs

About the Author

Elder Gerald N. Lund received his B.A. and M.S. degrees in sociology from Brigham Young University. He also did extensive graduate work in New Testament studies at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California, and studies Hebrew at the University of Judaism in Hollywood, California.


During his thirty-five years in the Church Educational System, the author served as a seminary teacher, an institute teacher and director, a curriculum writer, director of college curriculum, and zone administrator. His Church callings have included serving as stake president, bishop, and teacher. Elder Lund served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 2002 to 2008.


Elder Lund is a prolific author; his novels include the Work and the Glory series, the Kingdom and the Crown trilogy, Fire of the Covenant, and The Undaunted. He has also written several books on gospel topics, including Hearing the Voice of the Lord and Divine Signatures.


He and his wife, Lynn, are the parents of seven children. For more information, please visit Gerald Lund’s website (Click Here)

Chapter 1

Lakeview Motel, Page, Arizona

June 21, 2011, 11:33 p.m.

Hi! My name is Carruthers Monique McAllister, AKA Danni McAllister to everyone other than my mom.

Hi! My name is Carruthers Monique McAllister, AKA Danni McAllister to everyone other than my mom.

If you are wondering how and why anyone living in the 21st century could have a name like Carruthers, please see “My Personal Journal: Volume 1, p. 2.” The details of how I got my nickname and why my mother steadfastly refuses to call me by it are all found there. It’s pretty boring stuff, so I won’t repeat it here.

If you are wondering how and why anyone living in the 21st century could have a name like Carruthers, please see “My Personal Journal: Volume 1, p. 2.” The details of how I got my nickname and why my mother steadfastly refuses to call me by it are all found there. It’s pretty boring stuff, so I won’t repeat it here.

I am currently sitting on the toilet—and FYI, the lid is down, thank you very much!!!—in the bathroom of a motel in Page, Arizona. Mom and my little brother, Cody, are asleep in our room, and this is the only place where I can have the light on without waking them up. We’re here because my best bud, Rick Ramirez, is in a clinic a block or two from here with a gunshot wound in his leg. And no, I’m not going to explain that further. See Vol. 1 where all is revealed.

I am currently sitting on the toilet—and FYI, the lid is down, thank you very much!!!—in the bathroom of a motel in Page, Arizona. Mom and my little brother, Cody, are asleep in our room, and this is the only place where I can have the light on without waking them up. We’re here because my best bud, Rick Ramirez, is in a clinic a block or two from here with a gunshot wound in his leg. And no, I’m not going to explain that further. See Vol. 1 where all is revealed.

I am 16 years and 9 days old. I will be a junior at Wayne County High School this fall. I am five feet five inches tall, have green eyes and a ton of Irish freckles. I weigh about … ha! Had you going there, didn’t I?

I am 16 years and 9 days old. I will be a junior at Wayne County High School this fall. I am five feet five inches tall, have green eyes and a ton of Irish freckles. I weigh about … ha! Had you going there, didn’t I?

I have dark, straight hair—like my mom’s—which I haven’t cut since I was twelve. It is nearly down to the middle of my back now. Usually I wear it in a ponytail, or Mom puts it in a long French braid. It takes a lot of work to take care of it, and so I’ve been thinking about cutting it off before school starts. But when I told Rick that last night, he told me not to be stupid. He loved it the way it was, especially when it’s braided. That’s Rick. As usual, I wasn’t sure if it was a compliment or a put-down. But, FYI, I won’t be cutting my hair anytime this year.

I have dark, straight hair—like my mom’s—which I haven’t cut since I was twelve. It is nearly down to the middle of my back now. Usually I wear it in a ponytail, or Mom puts it in a long French braid. It takes a lot of work to take care of it, and so I’ve been thinking about cutting it off before school starts. But when I told Rick that last night, he told me not to be stupid. He loved it the way it was, especially when it’s braided. That’s Rick. As usual, I wasn’t sure if it was a compliment or a put-down. But, FYI, I won’t be cutting my hair anytime this year.

Okay, enough with the introduction stuff. I see that it’s close to midnight and I am getting very tired. As is my bottom. So just a quick word about today. Me and Mom and Cody are the only ones still here in Page with Rick. Grandpère had to go to SL to be with Dad, and Charlie Ramirez (Rick’s dad) and Rick’s sisters had to go back to Hanksville, so they all left yesterday.

Okay, enough with the introduction stuff. I see that it’s close to midnight and I am getting very tired. As is my bottom. So just a quick word about today. Me and Mom and Cody are the only ones still here in Page with Rick. Grandpère had to go to SL to be with Dad, and Charlie Ramirez (Rick’s dad) and Rick’s sisters had to go back to Hanksville, so they all left yesterday.

The doctors say that Rick can go home today. So Clay—that’s Clay Zabriskie, AIC (Special Agent in Charge) of the SLC Regional FBI office—is coming down in a chopper to take us all home. Which is way cool! I’m going to see if the pilot will do a flyover of Hanksville so we can wave to everybody from the air. Wake them up a little.

The doctors say that Rick can go home today. So Clay—that’s Clay Zabriskie, AIC (Special Agent in Charge) of the SLC Regional FBI office—is coming down in a chopper to take us all home. Which is way cool! I’m going to see if the pilot will do a flyover of Hanksville so we can wave to everybody from the air. Wake them up a little.

It’s going to be good to get Rick out of here. The nurses here—especially the single, younger ones—have spoiled him shamelessly. Another day or two of this and his ego will be bigger than a football stadium. I’ve told him that several times just to keep him humble.

It’s going to be good to get Rick out of here. The nurses here—especially the single, younger ones—have spoiled him shamelessly. Another day or two of this and his ego will be bigger than a football stadium. I’ve told him that several times just to keep him humble.

Seriously, all kidding aside, every day I thank Heavenly Father that Rick is okay. If he had died, I—nope! Not going there. Not now. Not ever. I can’t even think about that.

Seriously, all kidding aside, every day I thank Heavenly Father that Rick is okay. If he had died, I—nope! Not going there. Not now. Not ever. I can’t even think about that.

So, before I start bawling my eyes out, let me explain about this Volume 1, Volume 2 thing. On my thirteenth birthday, my grandfather, who lives with us and whom we call Grandpère, gave me my first journal. He encouraged me to keep a record of significant things in my life. I have been doing that now for three years.

So, before I start bawling my eyes out, let me explain about this Volume 1, Volume 2 thing. On my thirteenth birthday, my grandfather, who lives with us and whom we call Grandpère, gave me my first journal. He encouraged me to keep a record of significant things in my life. I have been doing that now for three years.

But about a week ago, my family had a terrible experience. A gang of professional thieves tried to kidnap us and hold us for ransom. It was a horrible few days, but we were very blessed, and with the help of God, along with a friend by the name of Le Gardien (French for The Guardian), we managed to escape and stop them. That was how Rick got shot.

But about a week ago, my family had a terrible experience. A gang of professional thieves tried to kidnap us and hold us for ransom. It was a horrible few days, but we were very blessed, and with the help of God, along with a friend by the name of Le Gardien (French for The Guardian), we managed to escape and stop them. That was how Rick got shot.

As you might guess, during that week I didn’t do a lot of writing in my journal. But now, with Rick in the hospital, I decided this was a good time to catch up on everything that had happened. I wrote quite a bit on Monday when Rick was still sleeping a lot because of his pain meds. Then this morning, I left Mom and Cody sleeping in the motel and came down early. Rick was awake and we had a good talk, but he crashed again after breakfast, so while Cody and Mom went back to the motel to watch a movie, I finished the rest of my account.

As you might guess, during that week I didn’t do a lot of writing in my journal. But now, with Rick in the hospital, I decided this was a good time to catch up on everything that had happened. I wrote quite a bit on Monday when Rick was still sleeping a lot because of his pain meds. Then this morning, I left Mom and Cody sleeping in the motel and came down early. Rick was awake and we had a good talk, but he crashed again after breakfast, so while Cody and Mom went back to the motel to watch a movie, I finished the rest of my account.

I was glad I did. A little before noon, Grandpère called from Salt Lake City. (He and my father are up there closing on the sale of the Danny Boy Mine.) After asking how Rick was doing, he asked me if I had my journal with me. When I said yes, he said that it was very important that I write up a full account of all that happened while it was still fresh in my mind. He seemed very pleased when I told him that I already had done so.

I was glad I did. A little before noon, Grandpère called from Salt Lake City. (He and my father are up there closing on the sale of the Danny Boy Mine.) After asking how Rick was doing, he asked me if I had my journal with me. When I said yes, he said that it was very important that I write up a full account of all that happened while it was still fresh in my mind. He seemed very pleased when I told him that I already had done so.

What he said next really kinda knocked me off my saddle. He said that he was sending me a new journal. When I told him that I had only used about two-thirds of the first one, and that I didn’t need a new one yet, here’s kinda how the conversation went from there:

What he said next really kinda knocked me off my saddle. He said that he was sending me a new journal. When I told him that I had only used about two-thirds of the first one, and that I didn’t need a new one yet, here’s kinda how the conversation went from there:

Grandpère: Did you write about the part Le Gardien played in all that happened?

Grandpère: Did you write about the part Le Gardien played in all that happened?

Me: Of course.

Me: Of course.

GP: In full detail? Even the little things?

GP: In full detail? Even the little things?

Me: Yes, everything. Did you not want me to?

Me: Yes, everything. Did you not want me to?

GP: No, I’m glad you did. We need a record made. But Danni, promise me that you’ll keep the journal with you every moment until we can put it in the safety deposit box in the bank.

GP: No, I’m glad you did. We need a record made. But Danni, promise me that you’ll keep the journal with you every moment until we can put it in the safety deposit box in the bank.

Me—in mild shock: Are you kidding? My journal in a bank vault. What? Do you think someone’s going to offer us a movie contract or something? (Ha Ha)

Me—in mild shock: Are you kidding? My journal in a bank vault. What? Do you think someone’s going to offer us a movie contract or something? (Ha Ha)

GP—not a hint of a smile in his voice: I’m sending you a new journal via overnight mail. Finish the record up to the sinking of the boat and the arrests. That should be your last entry. Thereafter, write in the new journal.

GP—not a hint of a smile in his voice: I’m sending you a new journal via overnight mail. Finish the record up to the sinking of the boat and the arrests. That should be your last entry. Thereafter, write in the new journal.

About then, I didn’t know what to say. For some reason I had little chills dancing up and down my back.

About then, I didn’t know what to say. For some reason I had little chills dancing up and down my back.

GP: You’ve watched your Dad use dynamite enough that you know what it can do, right?

GP: You’ve watched your Dad use dynamite enough that you know what it can do, right?

Me: Yes.

Me: Yes.

GP: Good. Think of your journal as if it were a dozen sticks of dynamite, okay?

GP: Good. Think of your journal as if it were a dozen sticks of dynamite, okay?

Then he suddenly said he had to go and hung up on me.

Then he suddenly said he had to go and hung up on me.

Sure enough, my new journal was delivered to the clinic just before lunch. That is what I am writing in now, sitting on the toilet in our bathroom while Mom and Cody sleep. And BTW, the old journal is locked in the motel safe, along with the duplicate pouch. Oh, yeah. That’s another story, but not for tonight. It’s past midnight. My handwriting looks like a lizard just ran across the page, so good night, one and all. This ol’ girl is headed for bed.

Sure enough, my new journal was delivered to the clinic just before lunch. That is what I am writing in now, sitting on the toilet in our bathroom while Mom and Cody sleep. And BTW, the old journal is locked in the motel safe, along with the duplicate pouch. Oh, yeah. That’s another story, but not for tonight. It’s past midnight. My handwriting looks like a lizard just ran across the page, so good night, one and all. This ol’ girl is headed for bed.

 


The intermittent buzzing, though very far off, was an unwelcome intrusion. I was lost and didn’t want to be interrupted. This was bliss that you never wanted to end. And then it started again.

“Carruthers! Wake up.”

I cracked one eye open with a tremendous effort. To my surprise, Mom was standing in a doorway, one towel clutched around her, another towel rubbing at her hair. For a moment, I had no idea where I was. “Mom?” I managed to mumble.

Buzz. Buzz.

“Carruthers!” Much sharper now. “Answer the phone.”

With a groan I rolled onto my side and started groping for my phone. I recognized the sound now. I had put my phone on vibrate last night so as not to wake up Mom and Cody.

“Not your phone. My phone. There on the dresser. Hurry!”

“Where’s Cody?” I said, pulling myself up to a sitting position.

“At the swimming pool. Hurry, Carruthers. I can’t get it. I’m dripping wet.”

I got out of bed and retrieved her phone, swiped my thumb across the “slide to unlock” button, and put it up to my face. “Hullo?”

“Angelique?”

“No, sorry. This is Danni. I’m her daughter.”

“Hi, Danni. This is Clay. Is your mom there?”

“Oh, hi, Clay. Yeah, but she’s just getting out of the tub. Can she call you back? Or can I give her a message?”

“Sure. You ready?”

“Uh …” I looked around for a paper and pencil.

“It’s not that long, Danni,” he chuckled. “You don’t need to write it down.” He paused. “You all right? You sound like you’ve got a hangover.”

“Thanks. What time is it, anyway?” I turned to see sunlight behind the drapes.

“Almost nine. Sorry to wake you up.”

“Who said I was awake? What’s the message?”

“I talked to the clinic administrator a couple of minutes ago. The doctors have confirmed that Rick will be released today, but they want him to take it easy for at least another week.”

“Good luck with that,” I said. “He’s already saying he won’t need the crutches.”

“That’s a good sign, but the doctors will set him straight on that.” He paused for a moment. “Danni, tell your mom that we’ll be to the clinic about ten. We’ll be coming by car because—”

“Car? I thought you said you were bringing down a chopper.”

“We are, but we’re going to set her down a little ways out of town. This one has FBI markings on it, and we want to avoid attracting a lot of attention. We’ll have a car waiting for us. There are some things I need to share with you guys before we take off. So we’ll have a little meeting there at the clinic before we leave.”

With that, I was finally fully awake. “Is something wrong, Clay?”

“No, no. Just some logistical things that we need to talk through. No big deal.”

I stifled a huge yawn. “All right. I’ll tell her.”

“Great. See you in about an hour.”

 



 

Clay stuck his head into the medical center’s conference room at 10:07. He was not in a suit and tie but in jeans, sports shirt, and hiking boots. He looked like one of the locals. He went straight to Rick and shook his hand. “How’s the leg coming along?”

“A little slower than my other one at the moment,” he said.

Clay’s face softened. “As you may remember, I once took a bullet in my right leg, so you have my full sympathy.”

He moved down the table, briefly greeting Mom, me, and Cody. Then, taking a seat at the end of the table, he plunged right in. “Okay. We don’t want to spend a lot of time here, but there have been some new developments, so we need to make a couple of changes in our plans.”

“What developments?” Mom asked.

“First, some good news. Danni’s guess that your kidnappers might be Europeans was a good one. We contacted Interpol and—” He glanced at Cody. “Do you know what Interpol is?”

That irked Cody. “Yes. It’s like the FBI, only it’s in Europe.”

“Actually, they have offices in about a hundred and ninety countries, but yeah, that’s pretty much it. Anyway, we sent them what little information your family was able to provide, along with a few fingerprints we were able to pull off the houseboat and the vehicles.”

“And?” I asked eagerly.

“More than I expected, to be honest. It turns out that they have been tracking a highly sophisticated, very professional group that has been operating in Europe for the last several years. They believe this group is responsible for at least half a dozen kidnappings and extortion schemes.

Mom broke in. “You mean like some kind of political extremist group?”

“No. Their motivation seems to be strictly financial. So far they have raked in about nine million dollars. So you can guess how frustrated they must be with losing your twenty million. But they have no known political or religious affiliation, so far as Interpol can determine.”

Mom was not liking this one bit. “So how did they pick a family in Hanksville, Utah?”

“That’s what Interpol would like to know. They’re sending over a couple of their people to interrogate our prisoners. Not that I have a lot of hope for that. So far the prisoners have refused to say a single word to us. They even refused to talk to their court-appointed attorney.”

I raised my hand, but Clay didn’t see it. He was extracting a piece of paper from his shirt pocket. “Danni, you and Rick said you overheard some of them calling each other by their first names. Do you remember what they were?”

Rick answered immediately. “The two who chased us into Leprechaun Canyon, the ones Danni called Doc and Gordo, called each other Raul and Lew.”

“Yeah,” I came in. “Lew was the short, fat one. Raul the tall, ugly, mean one. And El Cobra called his wife Eileen, and she called him Armando.”

“Good, that’s what I remembered. Interpol thinks the leader of the group is named Armando Mendosa. He is not from Latin America, as you supposed, but from Malaga, Spain.”

“Is Eileen Irish?” I asked. “She had a strong accent.”

“She is. She’s originally from Dublin but now holds Spanish citizenship, probably because of her marriage to Mendosa.”

Rick was following this closely. “And Doc and Gordo?”

Clay looked at his list. “Raul is probably Raul Jose Carrero Muñoz. He was born in Colombia, but his family immigrated to Spain when he was a boy. He and Armando evidently were close friends in high school.” He smiled at me. “And he is known to have a liking for Doc Martens shoes. Lew is almost certainly Lewis Fortier. He was born in England but lived with his French father in the Basque region on the border of France and Spain for most of his life.

“They’re still working on some of the other names, but they think they have identified one from France, two Brits, and one Belgian. Very international.”

“So, the three who escaped are probably the two Brits and the one from Belgium,” I guessed.

Mom’s head swung around. “Escaped? Who escaped?”

Clay was startled, then instantly apologetic. “Sorry, I gave Mack and Jean-Henri that information yesterday. I forgot I hadn’t shared that with you yet. But yes, that is correct. As Danni knows, when the gang took off from the houseboat, three boats headed upstream for Bullfrog Marina, but one went downstream with three men in it. We had teams waiting at all the marinas and picked up all of them except the three who went south. They never showed up.”

“So they slipped past your agents?” Rick asked.

“Actually, no. Late that afternoon, we got a call from a park ranger. He found an abandoned boat at a place called Crosby Canyon. You familiar with where that is?”

All of us looked at each other, then shook our heads.

“It’s a small cove at the north end of Warm Creek Bay. That’s the next bay up from Wahweap. There’s a back country road that comes right down to the lake at that point. It’s the only place on Lake Powell that you can get lake access by vehicle other than the main highways.”

“So they had someone waiting for them there?” Mom asked.

Again he shook his head. “We don’t think so. Our team did some exploring up the road for a ways. They found a place on a little two-track side road where someone had parked a truck in the underbrush of a dry wash. There were three sets of boot prints around where the truck had been parked, and fresh tire marks leading away from the site. We’re pretty sure they initially came in that way, then left their truck there so they could go out that way. Which is actually pretty clever when you think about it. Don’t send everyone out by the same route. And it worked.”

“Where does that road go?” Cody asked.

Clay’s sigh was one of frustration and weariness. “Unfortunately, it splits a few miles above the lake. If you turn west, you come out on US 89 at Big Water, which is just above the Arizona line. If you go east, eventually the road goes all the way north to Escalante. So, several options.”

Mom said, “So they got away?”

He shrugged. “Probably. We’ve put out an APB—an all points bulletin—to every police and sheriff’s department in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. If they did go out through Big Water and cross into Arizona, they probably headed for Mexico. By now they could even be back in Europe.”

“Which means they are no longer a threat to us?” Mom said.

“Until we find them, we always consider them a credible threat. But we think it is a very low possibility. The plan seems to have been to have the whole gang scatter to the wind, get out of the U.S. as quickly as possible.”

I had another thought. “What about the two locals who came in the pickup to help Gordo?”

“Ah, yes. Thanks to your description of the truck, we picked them up in Salt Lake City. They were a couple of lowlifes, muscle that El Cobra hired out of Salt Lake and brought in just to back up his team. They are cooperating, but they know practically nothing.”

Cody abruptly stood up. “So can we go home now?”

Clay pulled a face. “Um … yes, but … I’ve got one more thing first.”

It was obvious that Clay was uncomfortable. He kept glancing over at me, then away. “Okay, here’s the deal. I’ve been on the phone with Joel Jamison, who is the Deputy Director of the FBI in Washington. He is my direct-line supervisor. We are concerned that if this whole story gets out, we’re going to have a media blitz that could greatly hamper our investigation.”

“You mean about us?” I asked, somewhat knocked back by that.

He waved his hands in the air, like he was putting up a banner. “Young Teen Thwarts Vicious Gang of Professional Criminals. Boyfriend Shot.”

“He’s not my boyfriend,” I broke in. “We’re just best friends.”

“That’s right,” Rick said, blushing a little.

Clay laughed shortly. “Try selling that to the media.” He turned back to Mom. “Think about it. Home break-in, family held at gunpoint, twenty-million-dollar ransom, a rhodium mine in the mountains. Come on. If this gets out, there will be a media feeding frenzy.”

Mom still looked confused. “Are you suggesting we keep it all a secret?”

“No, that’s not possible. When we made the arrests at Bullfrog Marina, there were people around who saw us do that. And then, of course, there’s the boatload of people who came over to help Armando and Eileen and who were shot at. They immediately called that in to park headquarters. So far, the press hasn’t got ahold of that yet, but rest assured, they will soon enough. Not only will publicity severely hamper our investigation, but it could put you at risk.”

Mom’s head came up slowly. “What do you mean?”

He shrugged. “Your family are key witnesses in this case. Any convictions will depend heavily on your testimony.”

We all looked at each other. This was not good.

He went on quickly. “So, here’s what we recommend. There will come a time when we will release the full story, of course, but for now we’ve put out a brief press release. It states that over the weekend, the FBI and the Utah Highway Patrol cooperated in making a major drug bust of one of the Mexican cartels transporting drugs here at Lake Powell. Your names have not been mentioned, nor will they be for now. We’re saying that this is an ongoing investigation and no further info will be available at this time.”

“Um …” I raised my hand. “Aren’t you forgetting about Rick here? The staff here at the clinic all know that he was shot.”

“Yeah,” Rick said. “I was thinking about what I might tell people when I show up in Hanksville hobbling around on crutches.”

Mom laughed. “You’ll be like a field of flowers to a hive of bees, especially with the girls.”

To my surprise, Clay was looking at me now. “I was just getting to that.” He turned to Rick. “Even while you were on your way here, I talked to the clinic administrator and told him that the gunshot wound was an accident, and that until the investigation into the incident is completed, the person responsible will not be identified.” There was a momentary flash of panic on Clay’s face. “You didn’t tell anyone what really happened, did you?”

“No. Like I said, no one asked me about it.”

I smirked at him. “And believe me, Clay, Rick never volunteers any information unless you pry it out of him.”

Clay ignored that, and so did Rick. Clay was looking at me again, and, to my further surprise, he looked very apologetic. “But since Rick is being released today, we’re going to have to release the name of the person who shot him.”

is

“Who?” Rick, Cody, and I all blurted it out together.

He cleared his throat. “Well, um … when you think about it … uh … the angle of the wound is such that it clearly was not self-inflicted. So we can’t blame Rick. And … uh … since we can’t say anything about El Cobra’s team being on the houseboat with you, I … I think we’ll have to say that it was a family member.”

The silence in the room was total for about two seconds. Then I shot to my feet. “You’re telling everyone it was me? But you—”

He held up his hand, cutting me off. “Think about it. Your dad often carries a pistol, but he has a reputation for being very, very careful with his weapons.”

Mom saw it now too. “And everyone knows that I don’t like guns, even though I know how to use them.”

“No!”

“And it’s a bit of a stretch that Cody would be handling a weapon on a houseboat.”

I turned to Rick, and he had this stupid grin on his face, like he was two years old. I dropped my head in my hands and groaned. “No, no, no.”

“Come on, Danni,” Clay said softly. “This has to be believable. And eventually the truth will come out. Then you’ll be the big hero.”

I didn’t look up. “Okay. I get it. Danni loves guns. Danni’s a ditz. Danni’s the perfect fall guy. Or fall girl.” I was picturing how this was going to go down in Hanksville. Lisa. Angie. Megan. Rick’s friends. All doubled over with laughter. The lunch crowd at Blondie’s. The guys at the service station. The clerks at the store.

I moaned inwardly. Hanksville was only the beginning! Even though the towns in Wayne County were miles apart, I knew without the slightest doubt that the word would spread to every person within a hundred miles, faster than you could spit at a jackrabbit.

Hanksville was only the beginning!

“I’m sorry, Danni,” Clay started, “but—”

Waving him off, I glared at Rick, who quickly wiped the grin off his face and was trying to look sufficiently stricken. “One crack out of you, buddy,” I hissed, “and I’ll shoot you in the other leg. Maybe in both arms, too.”

“One more thing,” Clay said. “Flying you guys into Hanksville in an FBI chopper is no longer an option.”

“Why don’t we walk back?” I suggested sarcastically. “Or swim. It might take a little longer, but hey, who cares?”

He laughed. “Thanks, Danni. Thanks for seeing what has to be done.” He turned to Rick. “We took that Silverado pickup back to the rental company. Your 4Runner is in the parking lot at Bullfrog Marina where you met El Cobra and Eileen. It has all your stuff in it. So, here’s the plan. Even landing at Bullfrog has too high a visibility, so we’ll drop you off on the other side of the lake, near Hall’s Crossing. Once the chopper’s gone, then you can take the ferry across to Bullfrog and pick up your car.” He reached in his back pocket, took out his wallet, and extracted two hundred-dollar bills. He handed them to Mom. “Here’s enough to pay for your ferry tickets and to grab a bite of lunch before you head back.”

She nodded as she took the two bills. “What about our Suburban? They brought me and Cody here in that, and I assume it’s still at Bullfrog too.”

“Not anymore. Your father took it Salt Lake to join up with Mack. So you and Cody will go back with Rick and Danni. Okay?”

She nodded, visibly relaxing. And I had to admit, it was good to know that Clay had thought of everything and was not taking any chances.

“Mack and Jean-Henri are at my office in Salt Lake right now, giving their statements. They should be back home in Hanksville by late this afternoon or this evening. Then we’re hoping things can start getting back to normal for the McAllisters and the Ramirezes.”

He stood up. “We have new satellite-capable smart phones in the chopper for you. One for your dad, too, Rick. They have your names on them. They are bug free and encrypted so they are completely secure. Mack already has his. Jean-Henri didn’t want one. I had the staff put my number and all of your numbers on each of the favorites list, along with all your personal data—contacts, calendar stuff, and so on. These are your personal phones now, even though they have satellite capability. Any questions?”

No one spoke.

“Then let’s go.” He stood up and led us out.

 



 

As we reached the chopper, the rotor began to spin with a sharp whine even before we were out of the car. One of the waiting agents took Clay aside and conferred quickly with him. He nodded and turned to us.

“Good news,” he said. “We received a tip from a service station in Big Water. Last night, three guys in a white Ford pickup truck stopped for gas at the station. An attendant came out to help, but they waved him away.” He grinned. “But not before he saw at least one assault rifle in the backseat.”

“Our three escapees?” I blurted, delighted with that news.

“We think so. Unfortunately, the guy didn’t think to get a license plate number, but he said they did turn south, headed for Arizona, just as we thought.”

His fellow agent spoke up. “We’re already on it. We’ve got teams setting up checkpoints along all the major roads as quickly as possible.”

“Good. All right, guys. Into the chopper. Rick first.”

I was the last to climb in, and Clay gave me a hand up as I did so. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?” he shouted as I strapped myself in.

“What?” I shouted back. “Oh, you mean being sacrificed on the altar of shame?”

He laughed. A few moments later, we lifted off and headed east.

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OK, but not as good as most Lund books

by  Brian  -   reviewed on  February 22, 2014

When I read the first Guardian book last year, I liked it but didn't think it was as good as the fourteen previous books of fiction by Bro. Lund that I read. (The first book in the Work and the Glory series was one of my favorite books of all time.) Unfortunately, for me this second book falls even farther below the Lund standard I was used to. It just doesn't seem to flow real well, is hard to believe at times (and I'm not referring to the supernatural powers of the "Guardian") and often seemed to bog down.

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Perfect Sequel!

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  March 01, 2014

I loved this sequel to the Guardian. Danni is a sweet, fun girl. It's been enjoyable following her story.

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Not Bad--But Make Sure to Read 1st Book First

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  January 13, 2014

International intrigue, realism with a touch of magic, characters to entertain any age, clean and suspenseful, a hint of romance, written by the masterful Gerald N. Lund--what's not to like? The only problem was--I haven't read The Guardian (Book One). Yeah, probably would have been a good idea. I was especially intrigued with the first section of the book, but wasn't quite prepared for when it jumped from Europe to the US and totally different characters. (I know, if I'd only read the first book...) After that, the excitement seemed to take a little time to get going again. Much of the first half was taken up with "wrapping up" what transpired in the first book. By the middle, when the family went overseas, I found myself more invested in the story and it finally felt like its own plot rather than a continuation of the first. It was then that I became immersed in the McAllisters' world and the pace picked up, though my favorite part remained the history and back story.

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