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In this volume, Jase and John Luke are offered the chance to go to a special island for the greatest hunt of their lives. They get to pick their weapon of choice and a unique location on the island—mountains, cave, forest, river, etc. Then they get to choose their animal. The only thing is that these aren’t ordinary animals. They are bigger and wilder than the Robertsons have ever seen. Will the guys be up for the challenge? Or will these bigger-than-normal animals show the Duck Commanders who is really in charge?
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Jase & the Deadliest Hunt
By John Luke Robertson, TRAVIS THRASHER
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2014 John Luke Robertson
All rights reserved.
THE ISLAND OF THE GREAT UNKNOWN
YOU ARE ABOUT TO EMBARK on the greatest hunting expedition man has ever seen, yet you have no idea where you'll be hunting, nor do you know what you'll be trying to track down.
There are four of you seated in a helicopter: you; your brother Willie; his eldest son, John Luke; and your middle son, Cole. You've gotten used to the rumbling of the chopper through your entire body, though you're also amazed at how smooth this trip has been. So far, all you've seen is water below. The helicopter took off from Fiji, where you arrived earlier this morning. Or maybe it was afternoon—your sense of time has disappeared since leaving West Monroe and flying to Los Angeles, then getting on a flight lasting over eleven hours.
You're ready to get there, wherever there might be.
"You ready to swim if this thing goes down?" Willie asks, sitting across from you.
You can tell he's bored.
"If this thing goes down, it's 'cause of you, big boy," you say.
"So you think this is going to be as good of a hunting trip as the wives promised?"
You shake your head. "Well, if it's not, then we better get another birthday present."
"Hey—it's your birthday month officially. I already had my present back in April."
"Mom says this counts for your present next year," John Luke says.
"Make sure you don't remind her," Willie says. "Got that?"
You gaze out over the Pacific. "Missy and Korie sure talked up this trip. The guy they met was either the real deal or some fraud who could've sold them a plot of land on the moon."
"Count VanderVelde," Willie reminds you. "He's the guy who bought the Duck Commander crossbow at the silent auction. Paid ten times the price. He's no joke."
"Every time I hear someone named Count anything, I think of Count Chocula," you say. "Do they still sell that?"
Cole, who's sitting next to you, just shrugs. Missy is the one who does the shopping, and Count Chocula isn't on the menu these days. It's not exactly a health food.
"Is that stuff any good?" John Luke asks.
"Of course it's good, John Luke," Willie says. "Come on."
Missy said the cost of this trip was a little high, but it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You know that few things described that way actually turn out to be once-in-a-lifetime. But she promised it was going to be a hunting expedition like you'd never seen before. You reminded your wife that you've seen some pretty awesome things and hunted down some pretty wild things.
"Not like this," Missy said.
Now you're wondering what kind of island you're heading to. Obviously it's an island. It's gotta be an island. No way you're gonna be hunting for anything on an oil rig or an aircraft carrier.
"Did I tell you I got a call from Luke Bryan?" Willie asks. "He said he went on one of these expeditions."
"So what'd he say about it?"
"He's sworn to secrecy. That's part of the intrigue—not knowing what you're hunting for until you get there. Luke just said we couldn't pass on this opportunity."
"Oh yeah? Well, Lady Gaga called me and said she's been to this island," you joke. "Said not to order the veal. Bad idea."
Willie shakes his head while the boys laugh. You like to make fun of Hollywood Willie with all his famous buddies. Sure, country musician Luke Bryan is a part of Buck Commander. Maybe you can start Truck Commander and get some famous people to participate. Maybe someone like Darius Rucker. The musician. Yeah. That'd be cool.
"So we still have the wager going on?" Willie asks.
This wager will determine who wins the much-beloved family trophy that says #1 Robertson Hunter. The trophy's been passed back and forth between Phil and Uncle Si but now happens to be owned—horror of horrors—by Willie. He got it after nabbing a twenty-point buck on one of his Buck Commander hunts. That was pretty good, but you like to remind him that some teenager was reported on the news for bagging a twenty-four-point buck.
Thank goodness for the Internet and Google to show up fast-talking Willie.
"It's time to put the trophy in its proper place," you say.
"You know, one of the boys might get it," Willie says. "What do you say, Cole? Think you'll nab the biggest buck this weekend?"
"It might be something else," Cole says.
"The biggest catch. That's the deal. Whoever gets it."
You simply smile at your brother. Willie's all talk and no action. He'll get tired and try to convince someone to shoot the game for him.
Not this time. On this trip, it's every hunter for himself.
Then Willie points outside. "Looks like we've found the island from Lost."
You peer out the window and spot an island far below. It's covered with a thick jungle, a river cutting through it. A single mountain towers over everything, and you can just make out the entrance to a cave on the mountain slope. You can't help but think of Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away, but this island is much larger than that one.
As the helicopter rounds the steep mountain, you catch sight of a large resort/lodge complex at the base. A landing pad and a small runway with a private airplane on it stretches in front of the resort, right next to an endless beach.
"The ladies are gonna be jealous," Willie says.
"The ladies aren't gonna see a picture of that," you tell him. "Or else we'll never hear the end of it."
It's a rare moment when Willie immediately agrees with you, but in this case it's for certain that he does. All Missy said was that you'd be going somewhere rugged and dangerous and wild.
But this ... this is a tropical paradise.
As the helicopter descends toward the landing pad, you look at Cole and John Luke. "So, you boys ready to become men?"
"I think that's, uh, technically called puberty," Willie points out.
You shake your head and ignore his comment. "Whatever's on this island doesn't stand a chance," you say. "They haven't met the Robertson clan yet."
After landing, you climb out of the chopper and are greeted by two military-looking men carrying M16 rifles and dressed in camo. They take your bags but don't bother saying anything to you. The blades of the helicopter never shut off—as soon as you and your gear are unloaded, it takes off again.
"Check out this place!" Willie says.
"Looks like Fantasy Island to me," you tell him.
"See any animals while we were flying over the island?"
"Nope. There's a lot of terrain to cover."
"I want to fish," Cole says. "Maybe go on some deep-sea excursion."
"Last time you did that, you were puking over the side of the boat," you remind him.
"I want to know what kind of weapons we'll be able to use," John Luke says.
You follow the armed guards toward the multilevel lodge complex. It's sticky hot here, just like back home, but there's a cool breeze coming off the ocean. The sand looks so pure, and so does the water.
You're sweaty and probably stinky and could use a nice cool shower. "Man, I'd love to dive in there right around now."
A long flight of stairs at the front of the complex leads you to a spacious deck complete with a pool and lounge chairs. You're tempted to dive into the water here too, but you refrain for now. You want to be dry when you enter this building.
The guys with the rifles put down your bags. "Someone will be here to meet you soon," one of them says.
You're wondering if "someone" is that Count VanderVelde. Missy said he would be here. But his absence only adds to the mystique of this place.
An older man with a head of thick white hair and a long, slender face emerges from a nearby door, carrying a tray of fancy champagne glasses.
"Good day, gentlemen. I'm Winchester. I'll be guiding you to your accommodations. First, anybody care for some freshly squeezed orange juice?"
"My buns feel freshly squeezed after traveling all day," Willie says.
All of you take glasses and toast to the hunt. You realize you've never had orange juice this good in your whole life.
"Where's the count?" you ask Winchester.
"He will be with you shortly," Winchester says. "He has asked whether you would like to go to the weaponry room or whether you would prefer to see the operations room, which will give you an overview of the island."
Options already! This is gonna be fun.
Excerpted from Jase & the Deadliest Hunt by John Luke Robertson, TRAVIS THRASHER. Copyright © 2014 John Luke Robertson. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
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