Christina Cole Romance

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Can You Solve the Cipher?

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Later this month, the third book of my “Sunset” western historical romance series will be published by Secret Cravings Publishing. The story involves a search for an outlaw’s stolen gold and the only clue is a strange cipher.

Here’s a short excerpt from Chapter Eight. Benjamin Brooks has an interesting conversation with a young woman named Della.

* * * *

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

“Do you know where the gold is hidden?” he asked.

The features of her face seemed to change, turning her from a pretty girl to a tired young woman whose life must surely be a struggle. Her countenance reflected disappointment, hardship, and uncertainty.

“All I have,” she said, “is this.” She reached toward her throat, grasped hold of the tin locket hanging around her neck, and then carefully pried open the heart-shaped charm. From within, she took out a folded piece of foolscap and handed it to Ben.

He held it in his hand, marveling that something so light and insubstantial could possibly hold the secret to such a sizable treasure. Never judge by appearances. He’d heard that adage more than once. This meager piece of paper illustrated that fact quite well.

With great care, he smoothed the paper open and laid it out on the worktable.

“This is gibberish,” he said. Even he heard the tremendous note of regret in his voice. “It’s nothing but numbers.” Puzzled by the numerals, he tried to make sense of it. “There’s no order to it that I can discern.”

“Nothing adds up. I’ve already tried putting them together every way I can think of.” Della sighed and slumped into the chair. “You’re so bright, Ben. I was hoping you might be able to figure out what it means.”

He pressed his lips together again—another of those habits he’d developed over the years. Like tugging at his ear whenever he was about to spin a tale, pressing his lips into a firm, hard line was a sure sign that his brain was working hard.

Now, lips thinned, one hand shooting up to his left ear, Ben nodded. “I don’t think it means anything. Maybe your father was just practicing some arithmetic or something.” He grinned at her. “I hate to say it, but most outlaws aren’t known for their mathematical abilities.”

“Do you think maybe it’s some sort of record? The amounts of cash he stole?”

Ben let out a whistle. “That would add up to a pretty penny, for sure.” He shook his head. “Somehow, I doubt it. I don’t know.” He shrugged. “Just doesn’t seem to make a bit of sense, all those figures jumbled up together.”

He stared at the paper again. Although he suspected the scrap of paper did indeed hold the information he needed, he truly didn’t have a clue as to how to extract that information.

* * * *

The real trouble begins when Emily Sue Phillips gets her hands on the cipher and sets about trying to decode it.

THINK YOU CAN SOLVE THE CIPHER?

 

Here’s the complete cipher.

 What do you think it means?

Find the answer in

“He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not”

118

13

6

68

1

6

2

2

2

48

2

3

98

1

9

13

9

6

36

1

6

44

5

6

1

1

1

132

6

8

3

11

4

68

1

6

106

1

2

68

11

6

3

1

4

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Author: christinacoleromance

Christina Cole believes in the power of love. She writes romance novels with characters you'll care about and remember long after the end of the story.

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