Their mission is to search out and bring down those who trade in terrorism, fear, and human suffering by whatever means necessary. To do this, they must be willing to give up their freedom, and even their lives. They are a mercenary unit with a mission, and a motivation that has nothing to do with what they get paid, and everything to do with the innocent lives they save. Meet the men and women of…
Manara Binte Alzena never asked to be anyone’s savior. So when the destiny to save the world from a great evil was placed upon her, she did the only thing she knew how to escape it — she ran. Fleeing Ishtar’s temple, she befriended an American spy who could teach her everything a virgin should know to survive, except how to guard her heart. And when her brother murders their mother and destroys the temple in Syria, Manara knows she must reach the buried temple at Nineveh before he unleashes the evil locked there into the world. But, to stop him, she must rely on the one man who can break her heart.
“Blood Sacrifice” – Excerpted from IN HER NAME (Project Prometheus, Book 1) —
He called it a situation. What kind of situation bloodied a man’s face and clothes while sealing his lips?
A few moments later, Manara had her answer and wished she never asked. Standing beside Matt, her eyes filled with tears and her face froze in horror, Manara viewed the carnage laid out before her eyes and felt ill. Unsteadily, she groped for Matt’s arm, clinging to him with all the strength she possessed as she stared out over at blood-soaked stretch of land. A swatch of cloth, like a bloody flag, snapped on the stiff desert breeze from its position in the low desert brush. It was easier to look there than to see what made up its genesis.
The pieces were almost unrecognizable as body parts from this distance. At first glance, they looked like nothing more than dust-caked red rocks. But the carrion birds that circled and swooped in to grab up the pieces belied that illusion. And then she saw the heads. Sitting side-by-side, staring toward their home, were the bloody, slashed heads of a man and a woman. His beard was matted with blood, and her hair was hacked off and clumped near her dismembered head. Gashes slit open the skin to the bone and their eyes held matching, blank expressions of terror.
Her stomach heaved without warning, and Manara spun away and dropped to the ground as she retched. Even the temple had not been this grotesque or without cause. Sobs folded her over long after the illness passed and she rocked back and forth on her knees, wailing for these people whose souls she had not been strong enough to save.
She sensed movement and knew when Matthew crouched beside her by the warmth of his hand on her back. With another sob, she threw herself into his embrace, and clung with all her strength to his rock-solid support.
“How?” She cried, as fury rose up to mingle with failure and pain. “How could this happen? How could we not know?”
“I found them this morning on the other side of the ridge. It’s not pretty over there.”
Her eyes snapped to his grim face as he spoke those quiet words. Her stomach roiled threateningly as her mind painted grotesque pictures, but she forced herself to ask the question she really didn’t want answered.
“There are more?”
“Just goats and sheep. Animals,” he reassured her quietly as he helped her to her feet, then placed a protective arm around her as she swayed. Squeezing her gently, he asked, “Are you okay?”
Manara’s stomach heaved again. Okay? Anything but, she acknowledged queasily as she turned to stare at the carnage, which was all that remained of the goatherd and his wife. She didn’t have to ask who brutally dismembered them or their herd. She already knew.
“It was…it was like this at the temple, too,” she whispered weakly as she clung to Matthew’s steady support. “Bodies torn apart as if by some terrible beast.”
She took a shaky step toward the bodies but Matthew caught her, pulling her back. His eyes were tender and filled with concern as he gazed down into her face. A shadow touched those muddy eyes and she realized that the demon responsible for this evil had already reached across the span of oceans and polluted another heart with such vileness it was driven to butchery. The horrible memory of Rachel Murray never left Matthew, though he hardened himself against its influence over time.
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