In the next few months, WHISTLER HOUSE PUBLISHING will be releasing Novel 2 in my TRILOGY OF TREASON. For my readers who have been waiting far too long to see this book, I am beginning a series of weekly excerpts to start you reading this story that is very close to my heart. Not only does it follow up to THE CONSUMMATE TRAITOR with a plot related to those original characters, it deals with a heartless drug scandal that has already affected too many lives, both military and civilian.
CHAPTER THREE continued ...
“Suit yourself. I’m Sergeant Jean Lesare. My buddy here is Corporal Jordan Jelnic.”
“Good to meet you, Sergeant.” Ben introduced Kendra and himself but didn’t mention they were broadcasters. “What will you do in Rwanda?”
“Lesare is a technical expert,” Jelnic explained. “He keeps the radios and generators working 24/7. . . our wheels too . . . and runs the maintenance crew. I drive the convoy trucks he services.”
“A regular jack of all trades, eh?” Ben commented.
Lesare shrugged. “Are you NGOs?”
Kendra understood his assumption. Non-governmental organizations looked after the humanitarian needs of underdeveloped countries or disaster areas, and their staff sometimes hitched rides with the military.
“No, we’re not,” Ben answered.
Lesare spotted Ben’s camera bag in the empty seats beside him and leaned forward for a closer inspection. “Reporters.” He snipped the end of the word.
Kendra nodded. “I’m a broadcaster. This is my producer.”
Jelnic’s eyes changed from soft blue to gunmetal gray. Without another word, both soldiers rose out of their seats and headed for the logistics crews’ sleeping quarters.
As the door closed behind them, Kendra couldn’t contain her puzzlement. “Suddenly we’re the enemy?”
“Our young Jelnic is Airborne. I recognize his insignia.”
“Oh brother! I'll bet he thinks we're here to get another scoop that will make them look bad.”
“You’ll have to figure out a way to win his trust.”
She leaned across the aisle so he could hear her whisper. “Why does it always fall on me?”
He shifted in his seat to give his long legs more room to stretch. “You’re the woman.”
She reached across and punched him in the forearm with her fist.
“I’d hit you harder if I could.”
All at once the compartment shook as the Antonov’s engines revved, making a deep throaty growl. Their deafening roar numbed Kendra’s ears. The plane jerked and rolled forward.
Kendra laid her head against the seat rest. Without windows, she had no sense of the Condor’s increasing speed. Instead, it seemed to taxi forever. The engines strained, and the plane rumbled forward. She sucked in her breath. At any moment she expected to feel lift-off, but the rumbling carried on and on, until she thought her breath would burst. At last, she felt the massive aircraft harness its energy and let the wheels go. It sucked up their huge load into its belly.
She heaved a tremendous sigh of relief. “How many times do we have to go through this?” she yelled to Ben.
He mentally considered their route. “At least two more,” he yelled back.
“Good grief!” she cried, and sank deeper into her seat for comfort.
Aloft, the hum of the Condor’s engines relaxed.
She looked across at Ben. He was already snoring. She marveled at his ability to fall asleep so easily. Within her, adrenaline stirred, and her mind tuned up. No matter how upsetting this assignment might prove to be, she was prepared to risk everything to investigate the story of her career. On her gravestone, she wanted etched: She sought the truth and made a difference. But, for the moment, the critical question was: To whom?
Next ... Chapter Four