When college students begin disappearing from American campuses, a notorious cult, God’s Delight, is the primary suspect. God’s Delight has been hosting shows featuring sex, drugs, and rock and roll around the country, and young people are flocking to them.
Among the missing is the President’s goddaughter, and he wants answers. When he asks Agent Cade Matthews, a member of a secret covert organization, to find her, the mission appears fairly straightforward. Find the God’s Delight compound, determine whether a welfare check on American cult members is warranted, and get out. Simple. Clean. Easy.
Cade sends newly-married Agents Dianna Murphy and Anders Mark to the University of Wisconsin to follow the trail to God’s Delight, but when they wind up in Bolivia, things go sideways. Suddenly, what appeared to be nothing more than a simple in-and-out could cost Dianna her life. When an Agency extraction is ordered, chaos erupts, and the question becomes, will anyone survive?
Hope Ali stopped in front of the clothing boutique and pretended to study the ugly dress on the mannequin in the window.
Just outside of her peripheral vision, there was a quick flash of movement. Then it disappeared. Hope frowned. Patience, girl. Patience. Make him come to you. She continued to study the reflections in the window. There. The man in the black jeans and the Bucky Badger hoodie. He had been following her since she left the University of Wisconsin-Madison food court. While she knew Warren Hazelton, her bodyguard, had her within his sights, Hope had convinced him to fall back so she appeared to be alone. It had been a week since the man had begun following her. Today, she was bait. Hope wanted some answers.
Hope didn’t know if she had an admirer, a stalker, or someone who had put a target on her back. She didn’t really care. The man had pursued her long enough and she wanted it to end. It was the only way she could focus on what was important—getting her degree.
Unfortunately, past experience had taught Hope that she could never be too careful. Her parents were International Law attorneys who fought for the victims of terrorism. Her father, Sheikh Harun Ali, and her mother, Marianne Benson, were fearless and feared. They also had a price on their heads. The year prior, a terrorist posed as a high school student to get close to Hope with the intent of murdering her parents. Hope had almost become collateral damage.
She had fought hard to leave her well-secured family farm outside Milwaukee and attend college in Madison. After all, before she arrived in the United States, she had been educated at British boarding schools. She knew how to survive on her own. Her parents had finally relented when she agreed to round-the-clock surveillance. It was only for a year, after all. Hope had completed most of her college credits through high school Advanced Placement courses and online study during the summer. She’d have her degree in international relations by spring. Then she intended to disappear into the world of international espionage. If the Agency cuts me some slack.
Slowly, Hope stepped away from the store window and feigned disinterest. Her gaze remained on the window as she watched the man draw closer. Suddenly, she spun around and ran directly at the man. When she reached him, she swung her right leg and batted the man’s legs out from under him. He fell and Hope slammed her high-heeled boot onto his chest. Bucky Badger—the University of Wisconsin mascot on his sweatshirt—appeared none too pleased.
Hope bent over and removed the man’s wallet. In her cultured British accent, she crooned, “Hey, baby, perhaps you’d like to tell me why you’ve been tailing me? I know it’s not because of my magnificent ass, though I couldn’t blame you if it was.” She flipped open the man’s wallet and frowned. “Bloody hell! Why the heck is the Secret Service following me?”
The man groaned as Hope removed her boot from his chest and yanked the man to his feet. He was a little over six feet and lean. She gave him a stink eye and the man shifted uncomfortably. She held out her hand. “Weapon?”
“You can if you don’t want me calling the President and reporting that a nineteen-year-old college student, a foot shorter than you and half your weight, took you down. I suggest you cooperate. Now, hand over your gun or my bodyguard will search all of your...private parts. Thoroughly.” Hope smirked.
Hazelton, a six-foot-four-inch former U.S. Navy Seal, appeared and pushed a pistol into the man’s back. He laughed, a low evil laugh. “Wait until your buddies find out that you were taken down by a teeny, tiny woman. Geesh, where’d you train? Quantico?” His sharp blue eyes crinkled in amusement. He reached under the man’s hoodie and removed a gun from his waistband. Hazelton made sure the safety was on and then handed it to Hope.
Hope took the weapon, shoved it into the back of her jean shorts, and adjusted her sweatshirt to cover it. Then she began to tap her foot. “All right, asshole. Explain why you’ve been following me.”
The man flushed. “Damn you, Hazelton, put that gun down.” He brushed his dirty blonde hair out of his brown eyes and studied Hope.
Hazelton kept the gun at the man’s back. “What’s the name on the Secret Service I.D.?”
Hope opened the wallet and studied it. “Daniel J. Perkins.”
Hazelton withdrew his gun and placed it in his holster. He began to laugh. “Pesky Perky? No way.” He spun the man around and studied him. “Shit, Pesky, you’ve been working out.” Hazelton scowled. “Now why the hell are you following Hope?”
Perkins sighed. “The Ambassador sent me. Cookie Creighton is looking for a roommate. Hope was suggested. I was ordered to check her out, make sure it was safe to place the Ambassador’s daughter with her.”
“The U.N. Ambassador? Lydia Creighton?” Hope smiled. “She and my mom are friends. I met her last year. That hijacked plane she was on wound up buried in the cornfield next to our farm.” She frowned. “Why would she be worried about me? She was right there when I took down one of the hijackers.”
“Exactly. The Ambassador wanted to make sure that you don’t attract trouble.” Perkins shook his head. “Cookie has had problems staying on the straight and narrow. She was booted from her last two colleges. The Ambassador wasn’t sure whether you’d be a good or bad influence.” He glared at Hazelton. “However, since you hang out with a bunch of thugs, I decided a little reconnaissance was in order.”