"If you are looking for a series that keeps you on the edge, wondering what will happen next, wondering how an author created a jaw-dropping, heart-stopping book. Then look no further. Genie has created that with this series." --Bunnies Review

Monday, April 2, 2012


Challenge #4 from Grady

Brother Grady came up with what he thought was a challenge Dawson couldn't win. However, Grady's trick backfired.

** "Ever ridden a dirt bike?" Grady looked up from where he puttered with a motorcycle. 

Dawson shrugged. He figured another challenge was coming. "What kid hasn't?"  

"Want to test ride this one? There's a track a few miles from here around the old gold 

"Sure. I have an hour or so before Claudia is expected back."  
Dawson called dispatch and told them he would be out of touch for awhile, then helped load a couple dirt bikes into the back of Grady's pick-up.  

The "track" consisted of dirt paths criss-crossing around and over the tailings of an abandoned dredge. During Oregon's gold rush days in the early the 1900s, the giant, dinosaur-looking machine had chewed up the ground looking for gold. It spit the tailings out behind, leaving heaps of rocks six to eight feet high and twice as wide, which now sprouted tufts of grass. Around the two-story, wooden hull of the dredge, sunk like a beached houseboat in a small pond, weeds and shrubs sprouted in tangled profusion.  

"About a mile of track circles the dredge." Grady waved his arm in a circular motion. "Three times around, then switch direction and make another three laps." 

"What's the wager?" 

Grady grinned. "Win the race and I'll consider my challenge for the honor of marriage to my sister complete."  
"Fair enough." 

The two men straddled the bikes and kick-started them. They strapped on helmets and Grady tapped the timer on his watch. Dawson nodded he was ready and Grady dropped his hand as a signal to go.  

The first quarter mile of track rolled smoothly over the dirt trail with only a few low heaps of tailings. A sharp jog to the left to avoid a wooden sluice box provided the first surprise. Grady's laughter taunted Dawson as he overcorrected and fell behind the other man.  

Determined to make up the few seconds he had lost, Dawson goosed the gas. The engine sputtered and died.  

"Damn," Dawson muttered. He kicked the starter pedal once, twice, three times to no avail as Grady's plume of dust drew farther and farther ahead.  

Dawson knew the engine was flooded and the best plan would be to wait it out. However, in his impatience, he gave the starter another kick, and the engine caught. Dawson twisted the throttle wide open, churning up dirt as he popped a wheelie and roared down the track toward where Grady had disappeared.  

As he rounded the dredge, Dawson caught sight of Grady just passing the starting line. The other man made the mistake of looking back at Dawson, missed a turn and slid the 
bike on its side. 

Dawson didn't bother to suppress a smile as he closed the gap between them. Halfway through the second lap, Dawson trailed Grady by only a tire's length. On the third lap, Dawson passed the other man and spurted out front.  

Dawson slid in a circle near the starting point to turn around and finish the race with three laps in the opposite direction. He expected to see Grady close to his tailpipe.  

But the other man was nowhere in sight. 

Puzzled, Dawson started back around the track, still watching for Grady. After one lap with no sign of him, Dawson suspected a trick.  

However, on Dawson's next lap with still no sign of Grady, he began to worry.  

On the final lap around, Dawson rode slowly, looking for signs of Grady and the other motorcycle. With no luck.  

Dawson cut the motorcycle's engine and listened. Nothing disturbed nature's normal sounds of life.  

"Grady?" Dawson's shout echoed up and down the creek bed. 

Only a metallic scraping answered.  

Dawson's gaze swung toward the old dredge--the only metal nearby. Why would Grady go into that rusty, rotting hulk? And where was the motorcycle?  **

**Excerpt from PICTURE PERFECT LEGACY, copyright Genie Gabriel

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