I’m delighted today to give you a peek inside Sunburst by Susan May Warren – and a chance for two of you to win a copy of your own!
SUNBURST by Susan May Warren
SERIES: Sky King Ranch #2
GENRE: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
RELEASE DATE: June 7, 2022
When former Navy SEAL and lifelong bachelor Ranger Kingston is called upon to take part in a rescue mission to save his brother Colt, who has been kidnapped by terrorists in Nigeria, he is shocked to find among the hostages a woman he knows and could never forget.
Noemi Sutton was attempting to return a young girl to her family in Boko Haram territory when she and the girl found themselves taken hostage, along with several others.
And while Ranger Kingston may be able to get the hostages away from their captors, he’ll need Noemi’s help if he ever hopes to get out of Nigeria alive.
Her solution? Pose as husband and wife. But when her uncle discovers the union, he insists on a traditional Nigerian wedding–binding Noemi to a man destined to break her heart. Worse, she’s discovered the real reason she was kidnapped, and anyone around her is bound to be caught in the cross fire. Including her so-called new husband.
She’ll need to figure out a way to leave the man she loves if she wants to save his life.
USA Today bestselling author Susan May Warren throws you into the thick of the action in this high-stakes, globe-trotting romance.
Forty- two seconds to freedom.
Noemi had done the math. Freedom lay just two hundred yards out of camp, buried in the thin shimmer of fading orange light caught between the thick-trunked Kuka trees and past the brown and yellow grasses, ramshackle houses, battered motorbikes, and the smoking campfire simmering rice in a pot.
Forty-two seconds away.
She’d have to run past the two guards who stood barefoot, smoking cigarettes, AK-47s hung on old belt straps over their bony shoulders. Clearly not devout adherents to the Islamic Haram, these terrorists who had kidnapped them three weeks ago. Not devout, but still dangerous.
“Is tonight the night?” The whisper came from behind her, from Blessing, the fifteen-year-old girl also hidden in the hijab and abaya their kidnappers had forced the women to wear.
Noemi didn’t care—the abaya kept her warm when the night closed in, protected her from the ants and moths that burrowed into the ground beneath her.
The costume also hid the assortment of weaponry she’d acquired. Like a dull-edged dinner knife she’d discovered near the firepit and had quietly honed to a fine point. And a shattered mirror, now wrapped in a piece of cotton and secured to the waistband of her filthy underwear.
But most importantly, it hid Freddie’s cell phone.
Either he hadn’t a clue that he’d dropped it last night or . . . or the twelve-year-old boy soldier who’d been assigned to guard them under the massive tamarind tree had finally become her friend.
She prayed so. No, more accurately, Selah prayed. Because her friend was under the illusion that God actually cared. Might even show up to rescue them. Nope—Noemi did the actual work of planning their escape and dearly hoped that she didn’t get found out.
She couldn’t bear another person getting hurt—or killed—because of her. Even if he might be a terrorist.
Now, she glanced at Blessing, her dark brown eyes the only thing she could see of her beautiful face. “I don’t know,” Noemi said to her question. Escape, tonight? “Maybe. Stay alert. If they—”
“Stop talking!” one of the guards shouted. She thought his name might be Jala. He was older, gray woven into his dark knotted hair. He wore a pair of tattered slippers and his ribs stuck out from his black threadbare T-shirt. She guessed him maybe a buck forty, sopping wet.
Sometimes Noemi pictured herself walking out of camp, daring Jala to follow her. She wasn’t a wisp of a girl, and her father had taught her skills. If not for Jala’s gun . . .
Noemi turned back to the rice she stirred. In it, she’d added wild onion and Kuka leaves, which she hoped might help Colt heal from his recent go-round with the real tough guys.
The ones who threatened, randomly, to execute him. It was a sort of evil game they played.
Smoke stirred up around the fire, filtering into the fading sunlight. Every night, the same war raged inside her.
Survive. Evade. Resist. Escape.
Master Chief Pete Sutton would never have been imprisoned this long—three excruciating weeks. She imagined her father looking down from heaven and shaking his head. “You’re not here to survive this. You’re here to take charge of it.”
Fifty feet away, in another section, a couple men walked to the edge of the dusty camp and fired off their weapons. Beside her, Blessing jumped, but Noemi took her hand.
“They must have seen a wild dog.” Selah came over from where she had been gathering firewood from the outskirts of camp. The men liked her better—probably because of her blond hair and the way she never snapped back at them. Selah was calm in the chaos, and at night when the darkness settled, she sang hymns. But it wasn’t enough to drown out the cacophony of the savannah at night—the high- pitched squeak of the gray hornbill, or the chipped whine of guinea fowl, or worse, the incessant cackle of a francolin.
But the real danger were the wild dogs that roamed the outskirts of the camp. Feral and bold, sometimes they ran right in toward the fire and she had to ward them away with glowing sticks.
She imagined the dogs retreating into the darkness where they waited to gobble her up.
If she didn’t run, they’d never be rescued.
Just forty-two seconds. She’d use the dusk to hide herself behind the massive tree, then scuttle through the brush and grasses, parallel with the dirt tracks that wound through the wild savannah plains of northeastern Nigeria, away from the lush and beautiful montane forests to the east.
Away from the city of Jalingo, toward rescue.
Except, after the raid of the school there, she probably wouldn’t find anything but fear in the community. No, rescue had to be somewhere else.
Maybe her uncle’s home in southern Nigeria. If she could get there.
Selah added a gnarled stick to the fire, one of the many fallen from the massive tree that imprisoned them at night. “Did you talk to Moses?” She gestured to one of the four men across the compound. They hadn’t bothered handcuffing Dr. Aaron Hanson—not with his gunshot wound slowly turning septic.
The sixty-year- old American had stopped moaning a few days ago. He mostly lay in the shade where Noemi and Selah had moved him, not even bothering to swat at flies.
He emitted a terrible odor, and the sight of him could make her weep. I’m sorry.
Moses, their translator, tried to bargain for medicine for him, early on, and had lost two teeth in the terrible wound one of their captors had delivered with the butt of his machine gun. His mouth had finally started to heal. But he sat, legs drawn up, head on his knees, humming, most of the time.
Moses didn’t deserve to die out here, not after everything he’d done for them.
The other two men, however, were bound hand and foot. Maybe because they’d been armed. Or because they’d fought back.
Because they were American soldiers who would, despite their injuries, grab the first chance to escape.
Noemi had a feeling that at least one of the two had been a SEAL. “Calm is contagious.” She’d heard the blond—a man named Fraser—say that as the truck had jostled them into the night. He hadn’t groaned, not even once, despite the terrible set of his arm, his broken wrist.
Reminded her way too much of another SEAL, the one who lived deep in her memory. Tough, his emotions carefully tamed, the kind of guy who could look pain in the face and not blink.
Ranger Kingston probably hadn’t a clue what he’d done to her heart, either, but it had been the right thing, letting him go, walking out of his life.
Her broken heart was her own stupid fault.
It was the darker one, the tougher one—ironically, Ranger’s brother Colt—who the rebels most feared. Which was why Abu, the big terrorist with the black eyes and the tribal scars down his face, hauled him out for sport, put a gun to his head, held up a cell phone to record his murder . . . and waited. Waited for him to sweat or swear or just shout at them.
He did nothing, and that made Abu angrier each time.
How Colt stood up to his beatings, she didn’t know, but Abu would drag Colt’s unconscious body back to the others, and by morning, Colt sat, huddled up with his fellow warrior, watching the camp with those unflinching brown eyes.
She might be a little afraid of him too.
The water in her rice pot boiled up, and she hooked the handle with a stick and took it off the fire, setting it in the dirt.
She just needed a distraction. Something to capture the attention of Freddie and Jala, and forty-two seconds to disappear.
Because if she didn’t escape, and soon, she had no doubt that one— or all of them—were going to die.
Take charge, Noemi.
Susan May Warren, Sunburst
Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2022. Used by permission.
for more of this excerpt, click HERE
Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 85 novels with more than 1.5 million books sold, including the Global Search and Rescue and the Montana Rescue series, as well as Sunrise. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan makes her home in Minnesota.
Revell is offering a print copy of Sunburst by Susan May Warren to TWO of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Sunburst by Susan May Warren?