Sparkling diamonds, scarlet rubies, dazzling emeralds, and breathtaking sapphires were only a few of the treasures hidden in the secret room beneath the Demiris Mansion on the Greek Island of Corfu. But there was far more than that...
Read the following excerpt from award-winning, mystery romance bestseller Spellbound in His Arms to find out what else was hidden in that enormous and elegant room with its protective steel walls covered with carved stones, probably to prevent it from looking like a vault:
Knowing exactly what she needed to do, she took her sandwich and a glass of water and entered the study in the back of the house. Walking inside, Jackie took a careful look around the beautifully furnished room. The French doors leading to the veranda were locked—she had checked them earlier—and the heavy curtains were drawn shut, giving her privacy from anyone who might be spying on the house. On both sides of the French doors, there were two arch-shaped, stained glass windows with a beautiful flower designed pattern.
The study was furnished with a burgundy leather sofa, an oval-shaped table in front of it, and two cream color armchairs on the other side. An enormous desk was placed next to one of the stained glass windows, with a burgundy leather armchair behind it and two smaller ones in front of it.
The walls were covered with bookcases filled with endless rows of books and beautiful silver, bronze, and porcelain artifacts. Between two of the bookcases, there was a showcase table made of cherry wood and glass, with a miniature of the mansion and the estate surrounding it sitting on the table. A portrait of an elegant old man dressed in a ship captain’s uniform was hanging on the wall behind the table.
Between the sofa and the armchairs, a white marble fireplace dominated the room, with two bronze hounds standing guards on each side. A painting of a stunning teenage girl riding a black stallion was hanging above it. She had shining black hair pulled back in a ponytail, amazing blue eyes, and a breathtaking smile. Jackie noticed that the woods in the background seemed very similar to those surrounding the mansion. The painting was probably done here, and the girl was a member of the Demiris family.
She placed the plate with her sandwich and the glass of water on the desk and stood there for a couple of minutes, totally enchanted by the beauty of the girl who seemed vaguely familiar. She looked at the painting troubled. Who is she and where is she now? Was the girl still alive or yet another victim of this family curse, or whatever it was that haunted the heirs of Greek tycoon, Andreas Demiris?
The deafening sound of thunder brought her back to reality, and Jackie realized she had to get on with what she had come here for.
Following Stephanos’ instructions, she walked over to the fireplace and turned clockwise the head of the hound on the right. The entire fireplace moved back inside the wall, revealing a small entrance to the left.
Stepping inside, she felt along the left wall until she found a light switch and turned it on. Thank God! The lights here are working. She carefully descended the narrow steps, leading underneath the house. At the bottom of the stairs, there was a corridor to the right, leading to a steel door.
Jackie noticed the touch screen monitor to the right of the door, and she punched in the first combination of numbers. She waited breathlessly until she heard a soft buzzing noise and then punched in the second combination. To her relief, the steel door opened, and bright lights came on, leaving Jackie breathless at the sight of the enormous secret room hidden beneath the mansion.
She stepped inside and let her eyes wander around the impressive and elegant room with its protective steel walls covered with carved stones, probably to prevent it from looking like a vault.
A mahogany showcase, with four rows of glassed-in shelves, covered the wall opposite to the door. Placed on the shelves, black velvet, display stands were filled with the most exquisite pieces of jewelry Jackie had ever seen… Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings of sparkling diamonds, scarlet rubies, dazzling emeralds, and breathtaking sapphires were dominating the surroundings with their brilliance. Jackie was so mesmerized by this impeccable beauty that everything else seemed to fade away.
She took a few steps forward on the thick cream color carpet and absentmindedly sunk down on one of the two, semicircular sofas, placed in the middle of the room facing each other. Her eyes rested on an exquisite, crystal vase with gold designs, placed on a round table in the middle of the circle formed by the two sofas.
This was almost unreal, far beyond her expectations. Jackie was sure that not even Stephanos knew exactly what was hidden in the secret room underneath the old mansion. He was precise, as always, giving her instructions how to get there and get in. But he had mentioned nothing about the contents of the room, except that she would find in there what she was looking for.
Sitting on the sofa, she faced the wall on the left of the door. A desk, with a computer on it and a black leather armchair in front of it, was placed facing the wall. Above the desk, eight, wall-mounted, flat-screen monitors were placed in two rows. Even though the computer screen and the monitors on the wall were black, Jackie could hear a soft, humming noise and could see that the computer was operating. She guessed it was probably a security system, monitoring the mansion and its surroundings.
Realizing that her entering the secret room might have been recorded, she shifted uncomfortably. What if the system was connected with a security company or even worse, the police? What if someone was watching her? Well, there is nothing I can do about it now. I might as well go ahead with my assignment and get out of here as soon as possible.
She turned to look at the wall behind her. A bookcase was there, with shelves filled with crystal, porcelain, and gold artifacts. The bottom part of the bookcase had three closed cabinets, where Jackie was sure she would find what she had come for.
She got up and walked over to the cabinets, opening them one by one and checking their contents. In the first one, she found stacks of black velvet jewelry cases. Opening a few of them, Jackie was dazzled by the exquisite pieces and realized that some of these, if not all of them, had to be priceless. She softly ran her fingers over the precious stones and closed her eyes, imagining beautiful women in evening gowns wearing them.
She opened the second cabinet to find that it was filled with piles of stocks and bonds, as well as black velvet cases filled with gold and silver coins that seemed very old. Jackie swallowed hard, realizing that the secret room was hiding a treasure. This whole experience had thrown her off balance. In her entire life, she’d never seen such riches before and probably would never again. This was a once in a lifetime experience…an amazing, intoxicating thrill that made her smile.
Finally, she opened the third cabinet... Here we are!
End of the excerpt
I hope you have enjoyed this excerpt of Spellbound in His Arms. But keep in mind that investigative reporter Jackie Alexander did not fly six thousand miles away from home for any those treasures. It was something else—something far more important—that she was looking for in that vault. Read the book to find out what that priceless object was...
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