Did you miss Chapter One?
Even though I’d wanted to search for Scott, Parker and
Victoria convinced me to go back to camp. After all, it was
likely Scott could have returned in the time we’d been away. When we
arrived at camp, the silence was ominous.
Parker unceremoniously announced, “My ribs are killing me. I’m
going to lie down.”
I turned to Victoria, shining the lantern in her face. “You said you
saw the NFL guy. Did you mean Cooper or his partner, Todd?”
Victoria snorted. “Todd’s not NFL. He’s more like a sumo wrestler,
if you know what I mean.”
It was true that Todd hadn’t played football for the NFL, but he
was still associated with it somehow, as Cooper’s manager or some‐
thing. I realized with a shudder how little I knew about the people I
was stuck here with.
Victoria shrugged. “Anyway, I meant Cooper. He was hanging
around the campsite when I got up. We chatted for a few minutes, but
when I asked him if he wanted to walk to the river with me, he said no
and went back to his tent.” She motioned toward one of the two-man
tents across the meadow.
My mind was whirling. Should I wake Cooper and ask him if he’d
seen Scott? Should I call Becca or the authorities and start a search
and rescue? In the States, anyone could call for search and rescue as
soon as someone in his or her party was overdue. Was it the same in
Was Scott overdue, or was he just taking a midnight stroll?
Scott was a writer and I knew he liked to talk long walks, but I
hadn’t known him to do so in the middle of the night.
Indecision bit at me, but I found myself marching over toward
Cooper’s tent all the same.
Victoria called after me, “What are you doing?”
I ignored her and stood outside of Cooper and his partner Todd’s
tent. “Cooper,” I called out in a loud whisper.
I was rewarded by some rustling and rummaging sounds coming
from inside the tent, then someone murmured, “Who’s there?”
A head emerged from the opening of the tent and the man
shielded his eyes from my lantern. It was Todd. “What’s going on
Georgia?” He half smiled. “Is it reveille?”
“No. It’s the middle of the night. I’m looking for Scott. He’s not at
Todd frowned up at me and scratched at what little hair remained
on his head. “Well, he’s not in here!” He sounded offended.
“I understand. Sorry for waking you, but Victoria said that Cooper
was up a while ago. I’m wondering if he knows where Scott is.”
Todd chewed his lip. “Oh. You want to talk to Coop?”
Todd ducked back into the tent, mumbling. “It’s always about
I heard a thump as if Todd had socked Cooper’s arm. Then some
hushed exchange between the two of them. “Darling, I don’t know
where your beau has gone off to,” a deep groggy voice called out.
A light flashed from inside a neighboring tent. I couldn’t recall
whose tent it was, either the girls from Nashville or the two crew
members assigned to babysit us.
“Cooper, did you see Scott leave camp? Do you know which way
“Nah. I didn’t see nothing, baby,” Cooper said. “Go back to sleep.
He’s probably just off on a nature call.”
“Or on a booty call,” Todd snickered.
Anger surged through my body, heating my veins. I clenched my
teeth and stalked back toward the picnic table. Victoria, I noticed, had
retired back to her tent.
I added some logs to the smoldering embers that remained of the
campfire and paced. I desperately wanted to search for Scott myself,
but that wouldn’t be prudent in the dark. I could easily fall and injure
myself worse than Parker had and not be able to make it back to camp
and then the team would have to find two missing persons.
No, better to wait until daylight.
I fingered our lantern and then the thought occurred to me that
Scott likely had his phone with him. While we were prohibited from
using devices during the competitions, we were allowed to have
personal items with us. Not like on the previous show, Love or Money.
And since the lantern was here with me, he’d probably used the flash‐
light app on his phone.
I dashed to our tent and picked up my cell phone. Unfortunately,
the cell phone coverage in the mountains was nonexistent, and I real‐
ized with a sinking heart that I wouldn’t be able to call Scott, much
less Becca to organize a search-and-rescue team.
I glanced at the dim digital display on the phone.
The deadliest time of night.
The emerging sunlight woke me, the empty sleeping bag next to
me jolting me back to reality. Alarm and dread mingled in my
stomach as I realized Scott had not returned in the middle of the
Where could he be? It was still cold out, but not freezing. I zipped
up my down jacket anyway and exited the tent. I tossed some fire‐
wood onto the smoldering embers of the fire I’d made the night
My shoulders were tight and my neck sore, and what little sleep I’d
gotten had been spent tossing and turning. There was some rustling
behind me and I turned to find Juan Jose, one of the crew members,
walking toward me
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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