It took forever to get anywhere, Stanton Rourke fumed. He was sitting at the airport on a parked plane while officials decided if it was safe to let the passengers disembark. Of course, he reasoned, Africa was a place of tensions. That never changed. And he was landing in Ngawa, a small war-torn nation named in Swahili for a species of civet cat found there. He was in the same spot where a small commercial plane had been brought down with a rocket launcher only the week before.
He wasn’t afraid of war. Over the years, he’d become far too accustomed to it. He was usually called in when a counterespionage expert was wanted, but he had other skills, as well. Right now he wished he had more skill in diplomacy. He was going into Ngawa to get Tat out, and she wasn’t going to want to let him persuade her.
Tat. He almost groaned as he pictured her the last time he’d seen her in Barrera, Amazonas, just after General Emilio Machado had retaken his country from a powerful tyrant, with a little help from Rourke and a company of American mercs. Clarisse Carrington was her legal name. But to Rourke, who’d known her since she was a child, she’d always been just Tat.
A minion of the country’s usurper, Arturo Sapara, had tortured her with a knife. He could still see her, her blouse covered with blood, suffering from the effects of a bullet wound and knife cuts on her breast from one of Sapara’s apes, who was trying to force her to tell what she knew about a threatening invasion of his stolen country.
She was fragile in appearance, blonde and blue-eyed with a delicately perfect face and a body that drew men’s eyes. But the fragility had been eclipsed when she was threatened. She’d been angry, uncooperative, strong. She hadn’t given up one bit of information. With grit that had amazed Rourke, who still remembered her as the Washington socialite she’d been, she’d not only charmed a jailer into releasing her and two captured college professors, she’d managed to get them to safety, as well. Then she’d given Machado valuable intel that had helped him and his ragtag army overthrow Sapara and regain his country.
She did have credentials as a photojournalist, but Rourke had always considered that she was just playing at the job. To be fair, she had covered the invasion in Iraq, but in human-interest pieces, not what he thought of as true reporting. After Barrera, that had changed.
She’d signed on with one of the wire services as a foreign correspondent and gone into the combat zones. Her latest foray was this gig in Ngawa, where she’d stationed herself in a refugee camp which had just been overrun.
Rourke had come racing, after an agonizing few weeks in Wyoming and Texas helping close down a corrupt politician and expose a drug network. He hadn’t wanted to take the time. He was terrified that Tat was really going to get her self killed. He was almost sweating with worry, because he knew something that Tat didn’t; something potentially fatal to her and any foreigners in the region.
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About the Author:
Diana Palmer, AKA Susan Spaeth Kyle, was born in 1946 in Cuthbert, Georgia, the eldest daughter of William and Eloise Spaeth. She and her younger sister, Dannis, were raised in Chamblee, where Susan graduated from Chamblee High School in 1964. The family moved to Cornelia, Georgia, in 1965. Susan married James Kyle in 1972. They have a son, Blayne, who is married to the former Christina Clayton. They are both graduates of Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. They live in Tennessee and have a daughter, Selena Marie Kyle, born in February, 2009.
In 1991, Susan returned to college and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, in 1995. She continues to work on her master’s degree in history as time permits. Her first novel as Diana Palmer was published in 1979. She has over 115 novels in print. She has written historical novels as well as contemporary romance, and has produced science fiction, with her novel THE MORCAI BATTALION appearing in hardcover in 2007. Two sequels to this book have been released as eBooks. THE MORCAI BATTALION: The Recruit and THE MORCAI BATTALION: Invictus are both available from all eBook retailers now. Her latest hardcover novel is INVINCIBLE by HQN, released in August 2014 and mass market paperback novel is WYOMING STRONGby HQN, released November 2014.
Susan’s hobbies are gardening, knitting, crocheting, astronomy, archaeology, and animals. She has dogs, cats, birds and lizards. She enjoys getting mail from her readers, but is slow to answer it.
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