I just got this book in mail yesterday, so I have not had a chance to read it! i will be reading it hopefully today, if i have time. -Martha
It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
B&H Academic (February 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn of B&H Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***
Robin Caroll has authored eight previous books including Bayou Justice and Melody of Murder. She gives back to the writing community as conference director for the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. A proud southerner through and through, Robin lives with her husband and three daughters in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Visit the author’s website.
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: B&H Academic (February 1, 2010)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
FBI Field Office
Jonathans throat closed as he stared at the building from the parking lot. He gripped the package tight in his arthritic hands. Could he do this? Turn over evidence that would implicate him?
His heart raced and he froze. Not the best time for his atrial fibrillation to make an appearance. Despite being on the heart transplant list for eight months, it looked like his progressed heart disease would do him in. The most important reason he couldnt go to prisonhed never get a heart and would die. While Carmen wanted him to confess his crimes, she wouldnt want him to die. The memory of saying good-bye to his beloved mere hours ago scorched his soul.
Her eyes fluttered open. Those blue orbs, which had once sparkled even in the absence of light, now blinked flat and lifeless.
He swallowed hard.
Jonathan, her voice croaked, its time.
Tears burned the backs of his eyes, and he rested his hand over her parchmentlike skin. No, Carmen. Please, let me get the medicine.
Her eyelids drooped and she gasped. Air wheezed in her lungs. Sweetheart, the fights . . . gone from me. She let out a hiss, faint and eerie. The cancers . . . won.
Jonathan laid his lips against her cheek, her skin cold and clammy, as if in preparation for the morgue. How could she continue to refuse the medicine? Even though she didnt approve of his means of acquisition, the drugs had kept her alive for five years. Five years he cherished every minute of. Hed do anything to keep her alive and the pain at baythe intense pain that had become her constant companion these last two weeks. It killed him to witness her agony.
She licked her bottom lip, but no moisture soaked into the cracked flesh. Youve done . . . your best by me, Jonathan. I know . . . you meant . . . no harm to . . . anyone. Her eyes lit as they once had. Oh, how Ive enjoyed loving you.
His insides turned to oatmeal. Stubborn womanshed allow herself to die, all because she discovered how hed gotten the money.
Promise me . . . youll . . . tell the . . . truth. Admit what . . . youve done. Her breath rattled. What youve . . . all done.
Pulling himself from the wretched memory, Jonathan breathed through the heat tightening his chest. Hed secure himself the best deal possibleimmunityor he wouldnt decipher the papers. And without him no one could make sense of the accounting system hed created more than five years ago. Officials hadnt a clue.
With a deep breath he headed to the guardhouse in front of the fenced FBI building. His legs threatened to rebel, stiffening with every step. He forced himself to keep moving, one foot in front of the other.
At the guardhouse, a man behind bulletproof glass looked up. May I help you?
I need to . . . see someone.
About what, sir?
I have some information regarding a crime. He waved the file he held.
One moment, sir, and someone will be with you.
Jonathan stared at the cloudy sky. He could still turn back, get away scot-free. His heartbeat sped. The world blurred. No, he couldnt lose consciousness now, nor could he go back on his promise. He owed it to Carmen. No matter what happened, hed honor Carmens dying wish.
Sir? A young man in a suit stood beside the fenced entry, hand resting on the butt of his gun. May I help you?
Jonathan lifted the file. I have some evidence regarding an ongoing crime ring.
The agent motioned him toward a metal-detector arch. Come through this way, sir.
Jonathans steps wavered. He dragged his feet toward the archway.
A car door creaked. Jonathan glanced over his shoulder just as two men in full tactical gear stormed toward them. He had a split second to recognize one of the mens eyes, just before gunfire erupted.
A vise gripped Jonathans heart, and he slumped to the dirty tile floor, the squeezing of his heart demanding his paralysis.
Too late. Im sorry, Carmen.
Two Weeks LaterWednesday, 3:45 p.m.
Golden Gloves Boxing of Knoxville
Brannon Callahans head jerked backward. She swiped her headgear with her glove.
You arent concentrating on your form. Youre just trying to whale on me. Steve Burroughs, her supervisor and sparring partner, bounced on the balls of his feet.
Then why am I the one getting hit? She threw a right jab that missed his jaw.
He brushed her off with his glove. Dont try to street fight me. Box.
She clamped down on her mouthpiece and threw an uppercut with her left fist. It made contact, sending vibrations up her arm.
He wobbled backward, then got his balance. Nice shot.
It felt good to hit something. Hard. Sparring with Steve was the best form of venting. The energy had to be spent somehowwhy not get a workout at the same time? She ducked a right cross, then followed through with a left-right combination. Both shots made full contact.
Steve spit out his mouthpiece and leaned against the ropes. I think thats enough for today, girl. Im an old man, remember?
She couldnt fight the grin. Although only in his late forties, the chief ranger looked two decades older. With gray hair, hawk nose, and skin like tanned leather, Steve had already lived a lifetime.
She removed her mouthpiece, gloves, and headgear before sitting on the canvas. Old? Youre still kickin me in the ring.
He tossed her a towel and sat beside her. So you wanna tell me whats got you all hot and bothered this afternoon?
Come on, spit it out. I know somethings gnawing at you, just like you were picking a fight with me in the ring. Whats up?
How could she explain? Im not exactly keen that the district feels theres a need for another pilot in the park. She tightened the scrunchie keeping her hair out of her face.
Thats a complimenthaving you on staff has been so successful they want to expand.
But I have to train him. Did you notice his arrogance? She ripped at the tape bound around her knuckles. Hes nothing more than a young upstart with an ego bigger than the helicopter. While only thirty-six, she often felt older than Steve looked.
Youre so good, you can come across a bit intimidating at first, girl. Steve grabbed the ropes and pulled to standing, then offered her a hand. Give him a chance.
She let Steve tug her up. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Even if he had maturity, I still have to train him. With all the rescues weve been called out on of late . . . well, I really dont have the time. She exited the ring. Like those kids yesterday. She shook her head as she waited for Steve to join her on the gym floor. Their stupidity almost cost them their lives.
They were young, Brannon.
Please. Any amateur with half a brain should know better than to try to climb Clingmans Dome in winter. Didnt people realize if something happened to them theyd leave behind devastated family and friends? Loved ones who would mourn them forever? She fought against the familiar pain every time she participated in a search and rescue. All because people hadnt taken necessary precautions.
They didnt know any better.
It takes a special kind of stupid not to have researched your climb. Most SARs could be avoided if people planned a little more. It ripped her apart that so many parents, grandparents, siblings . . . fiancées . . . survived to deal with such grief. Shed tasted the bitterness of grieftwiceand the aftertaste still lingered.
Steve paused outside the locker rooms and shifted his sparring gear to one hand. I agree, but most people dont see the dangers we do every day. He tapped her shoulder. Hit the showers, champ. You stink.
She laughed as she headed into the ladies locker room. Maybe Steve was right and the new pilot just made a lousy first impression. Maybe hed be easy to train.
Please, God, let it be so.
Friday, 2:15 p.m.
US Marshals Office, Howard Baker Federal Courthouse
You want me to escort a heart? Roark struggled to keep his voice calm. He tapped the butt of his Beretta, welcoming it back to its rightful place on his hip.
Senior US Marshal Gerald Demott glared. Look, I know you think this is a slight, but its important. And for your first assignment back on the job . . .
IA cleared me of all wrongdoing. Im seeing the shrink and everything. He gritted his teeth and exhaled. Ive been released to return to active duty.
This is active. Its a field assignment, and its important. Heres the case information. Demott passed him a folder, then glanced at his watch. Youd better hurry or youll miss your flight.
Roark grabbed the file and turned to go.
He looked back at his boss. Yeah?
Demott held out Roarks badge. You might want to take this with you, too.
Roark accepted the metal emblem, then clipped it to his belt before marching out of Demotts office. A heart. His job was to escort a human heart from North Carolina to Knoxville. Any rookie could handle that. But no, they still didnt trust him enough to handle a real assignment.
Hed done everything they askedtook a medical leave of absence while Internal Affairs went over every painful minute
of his failed mission, saw the shrink they demanded he speak to every week since Mindys death, answered their relentless questions. The shrink reiterated hed been forgiven for acting on his own.
Maybe one day hed forgive himself. How many innocent lives would he have to save for his conscience to leave him be?
Roark slipped into the car, then headed to the airport. But to be assigned a heart transport? Not only was it wrong, it was downright insulting. After almost fifteen years as a marshal, hed earned the benefit of the doubt from his supervisors. Especially Demott. His boss should know him better, know hed only disregard orders if it was a matter of life and death.
But Mindy Pugsley died. Theyd all died.
He pushed the nagging voice from his mind. Even Dr. Martin had advised him not to dwell on the past. On what had gone wrong. On disobeying a direct order.
If only Mindy didnt haunt his dreams.
Roark touched the angry scar that ran along his right cheekbone to his chin. A constant reminder that hed failed, that hed made a mistake that took someones life. Hed have to live with the pain for the rest of his life.
He skidded the car into the airports short-term parking lot. After securing the car and gathering the case folder, Roark grabbed his coat. Snowflakes pelted downward, swirling on the bursts of wind and settling on the concrete. The purple hues of the setting sun streaked across the mountain peaks beyond the runways, making the January snow grab the last hope of light.
Yes, hed handle this mundane assignment, then tell Demott he wanted back on real active duty. Making a difference would be the best thing for him. Would make him feel whole again.