Tempting Freedom

| January 31, 2019

cover

Christine Banks, a former US soldier, was just trying to do the right thing – but one little mistake sent her down the wrong path. She lost her job, her marriage, and she’s not even allowed to see her daughter anymore…

Now she has a chance to fix it all. Seven years after her service in Iraq, she is sent back to the Middle East on a spy mission. Only this time, she is caught completely off guard when the mission turns into an unexpected and forbidden love affair.

Excerpts

*1*
The Marines looked comfortable in their uniforms, even though the day was starting to get hot. For some reason she couldn’t figure out, their rifles looked much better than the rifle she’d gotten from the armory, even though most of them were the same make and model. Maybe it was because they were so used to carrying their arms around that they looked like parts of them, while she felt so clumsy carrying her M4 with the sling.

“So thanks to Corporal Banks who asked to shoot some rounds, we’re going to get to spend some ammo here today,” Said Jonathan to the group. The guys cheered and Christine wasn’t sure whether they were truly happy or just sarcastic.

Then Jonathan went on to ask Gomez to remind everybody of the gun range safety regulations. As the first round of guys took their place to start shooting, Jonathan came and stood by Christine. “You’re up in the next round,” he announced.

“Can I go last?” Asked Christine, almost shouting. Everybody was wearing earbuds so communication had to be loud.

“What’s the difference?”

“It’s been a while. I’m feeling a bit self-conscious… I want to see the other guys doing it first.”

“You have nothing to be self-conscious about.” He reassured her. “The guys said you wanted to shoot to have something to write about, so what do you care anyway?”

“True.” she shrugged. They remember my cover story better than I do.

“Need a reminder? Or you still remember how to shoot?”

“It’s been ages.” She said. “Let’s go with the reminder.”

“Okay.” He lay on the sand and signaled her to join him. They were very close, as they had to overcome the noise of seven rifles firing at the same time. Her heart was pounding. The noise, the smell of gunpowder, and the feel of Jonathan right next to her were too much to handle.

*2*
A few moments later, Abyan walked into the room, accompanied by her mother and two sisters. Indeed, she was beautiful. Even though she was wearing a loose flowery dress, her athletic figure was evident; her skin was glowing, and her big dark eyes seemed to swallow all the light in the room. She gave Abdel a quick look and then moved her eyes shyly, looking down at the floor. She did not resemble her family or any of the other villagers, who were all small and skinny, almost in a state of starvation.

As if he could read Abdel’s mind, Ghedi started describing Abyan. “She’s well fed. Half of the food of the family goes to her, and only after she is finished may the rest of her sisters eat. She is very healthy. She can bear many children. She is pure. No man has touched her.”

“What do you think?” Abu Hassan whispered enthusiastically into Abdel’s ear. Abdel said nothing. He was, indeed, very pleased with the sight of Abyan, but he didn’t want to let it show in the negotiation. He knew that Ghedi had been trying to marry his daughter off for two years already and that he probably could not get a better husband for her than Abdel, a rich officer in the new Iraqi government.

“Can she cook?” asked Abdel.

After the interpreter had translated, Ghedi confirmed.

“Can she clean? Can she do laundry? Is she good with the household? Is she a good and caring person?”

Ghedi nodded to all the questions before the interpreter had the chance to translate, as if he understood what was being asked.

“Does she speak Arabic?”

“Yes,” said the interpreter.

Abdel looked at Abyan, who was still staring at the floor.

“Okay, then. Let’s negotiate.”

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