Height of Danger by Nancy Nolan Radke

Then someone stopped her with a hand on her arm, turning her. Surprised, she looked to see who it was. A young man stood next to her, deeply tanned by the sun, dressed in khaki shorts and a white T-shirt. A good-looking young man, he looked extremely confident, friendly, happy-go-lucky. “Laura Galbec?” he asked, his smile enhanced by deep hazel eyes. He had a fresh gash over the left one, swollen, but it added to his attractiveness, making him look like a man of action. “Yes.” She smiled back, instantly charmed by his friendliness. Wow! Who was he? “Your father sent me to take you to his place.” “He did? Oh, but…” She looked around enough to see beyond her, toward where the man stood with the sign. He wasn’t there. “Where?” She turned in a complete circle, puzzled, and then told the young man, “There was a man, right there, holding up a sign with my name.” She pointed toward the spot. “Right there?” “Yes. Standing in front of that plant, by the white column. He’s gone now.” “Hum. Weird. Let me take your bag.” This was strange. What had happened to the other man? Who was she supposed to go with? The young man grabbed the handle on her rolling suitcase, and Laura let him walk away with it as she continued to search the crowd of people coming and going. Some with signs, but none of them holding up one with her name. She had focused more on the sign, rather than on the man holding it, but he had been of medium height, dark hair, wearing a dark suit coat. Not like the casually dressed young man dragging her suitcase. “Do you have a letter from my father?” she asked, starting to follow, but even more uncertain now. The young man was a hunk of an American with a Texas drawl, a deep voice, and a manner that seemed friendly. But she was in a foreign country, out of her element, and couldn’t understand a word other people were saying. “Nope. No letter. Chris just told me to jump in the car and come get you.” He continued to walk away, dragging her suitcase, and she felt compelled to keep up. After all, he had her luggage. “Wait. What’s your name?” she called, wondering if she should grab her case from him. He seemed to be in a hurry. “Owen. Owen Peterson. They call me ‘Opie.’” “Father didn’t write back, so I didn’t know what to expect.” “He just got your letter this morning. The mail out to our site isn’t very regular.”

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