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Alex Bryson is patrolling Rocky Mountain backcountry in his job as a security guard when he discovers a woman with a baby wandering alone in the snow far from the nearest road. He takes them to shelter in a weekender cabin and sees a newscast that suggests the woman, Pia Ulmer, kidnapped the baby from its rightful parents and that it is the sole heir of Peru’s wealthiest and most corrupt family. Pia claims that she is the baby’s mother, and Alex doesn’t know what to believe. After turning her in, he continues to struggle with his budding feelings for her and remains unsure of the true story. He becomes more and more involved until finally there is no turning back—lives are on the line. He helps Pia get free from a brutal world that values money over life, and together they devise a plan to reclaim the baby. Just when it looks like they might succeed, they discover an international conspiracy that changes the game entirely.
Alex pulled off the thermal mittens he wore over his gloves and unbuckled the backpack. “Just shifting you to the rear for a little while,” he said, trying to soothe Frederick. “When we get down to the river, we’ll travel face to face again.”
The toddler chose the moment of transfer to throw a temper tantrum. The wild kicking and squirming cost Alex his grip on the backpack.
Knowing he was going to drop it, he batted the pack so that it hit the snow uphill from him. Twisting like a wrestler trying to avoid being pinned, he grabbed it as it started to slip by on its way to the bottom of the gorge.
The move unanchored him from the ice. Belly down, feet first, he began sliding.
Gripping the shoulder strap of the backpack with one hand, he clawed at the snow with his other, trying to grasp something—anything—to arrest their slide. Twisting sideways, he angled his body to increase the likelihood of finding a handhold.
He became airborne for a moment and then landed with a jarring thud. His foot hit something solid—a root or a rock protruding from the shelf. He kicked hard and stretched his free arm, grasping for the trunk of a small evergreen. Got it!
Arresting his fall caused his body to swivel. His legs dangled over the edge of the shelf. Not enough strength left to pull himself up with one arm, but if he turned loose of the backpack it was bye-bye Freddy.
His fingers and forearm burned from holding onto the sapling. He couldn’t hang on more than a few more moments. Then both of them would splatter on rocks along the river at the bottom of the gorge. Praying that the evergreens were close enough together to keep Frederick from slipping between them, he flung the backpack up onto the shelf so that the boy, on his back, slid across the snow behind the tree line.
Using both arms, he muscled himself back up. He reached for the next shrub and then the next, pulling until he was behind the protective row.
Frederick regained his breath before Alex did. The boy’s howl announced his survival.
“That’s it, kid,” Alex shouted as he rested for an additional moment. “Let it out. Tell the world we made it.”
Working with traveling carnivals and itinerant farm labor gangs during his teen and early adult years took Gaylon Greer up, down, and across the U.S. and introduced him to a plethora of colorful individuals who serve as models for his fictional characters. After several years as an Air Force officer and then a university professor with a Ph.D. in economics, Greer developed an interest in writing fiction and attended workshops at the University of Iowa, the University of Nebraska, and Bryn-Mawr College. He also studied with the U.C. Davis Extension program and the Algonquian Writers Group.