#3 EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT from Sanctuary by Lindsay McKenna!

Sanctuary by Lindsay McKenna
Delos Series, Book 8
Release Date: 2.1.18

Pre-order now!
Paperback, ebook and audio

Tucking her phone into the white straw purse hanging over her right shoulder, Teren nodded. Again, women here never led the way; rather, they followed the men. She was curious about Nolan having been in Sudan before. He walked like he owned the place, but it wasn’t arrogance. It was utter male confidence of the finest kind. She’d seen that same type of confidence in Captain Taban, the man who had won her deepest respect. It was quiet authority that no one dared breach or challenge. And yet, when Nolan barely turned his head, she saw his profile, felt his protectiveness envelop her even though she was a few feet behind and to the left of him.

Farida, Kitra’s director, had been urging her to leave and go stateside, back to her family home in Somerset, Kentucky, but to do that, Teren would have to revisit her past. She’d grown up in the small town, mostly full of devout Christians, and their set of morals and values were strong and unwavering.

She’d honestly tried to live up to that impossibly high bar of expectations but had failed. Not only had she paid for it personally, she’d also lost the baby she’d been carrying. Teren had been profoundly shamed by her family, who had lived in that area for over a century. The generations before her had been hardworking farmers, plowing the land, raising cattle, and keeping their large families fed. To go home was to resurrect a past between her and her parents and the townspeople who lived there. None of them ever forgot-or forgave her for-the sin she’d committed.

Teren had tried to go home once, but after a few days, she felt the shame, the guilt, the horrible grief of loss, and she’d had to leave. And all the friends she’d grown up with were now married and had housefuls of children.

And here she was: single and alone-and lonely. But not lonely in all ways, because Kitra soothed her wounded heart and scarred soul. Her family loved her. They had tried their very best to move beyond their intractable beliefs to forgive her. Some days, Teren believed they had done it. Other days, it was painfully clear that the people in the community had not forgiven her for her actions. She was the town’s “bad girl” and her reputation was forever ruined. It was a sin that kept on giving, and kept resurrecting itself every time she was home. It was just too much for her to deal with.

As she passively followed Nolan, her mind lingered painfully on the past. Could it be that this crazy feeling had taken over because she hadn’t been home for the last three years? Talk about confusing! Teren had her life all sorted out, organized, every hour accounted for. She was needed, respected, and loved at Kitra. In fact, the village would plunge into chaos if she weren’t there with the magic of her computer skills, her knowledge of electronics, and the world at large, far outside the country of Sudan. Here, she had a sense of purpose and knew she made a positive difference, and that meant everything to her. She worked closely with women who had been badly abused, raped, or kidnapped and forced into sex slavery or marriage. Teren felt lucky in comparison to them. All she’d received was abuse and the loss of her baby. These Sudanese women, with fear embedded beyond their eyes, had fled to Kitra to heal, to be protected from abusive husbands and families, to learn a trade and then be able to confidently start their lives all over again.

Their children would not starve. The women would not be beaten again, or end up with a nose or ear cut off, or have acid thrown into their faces because they were “bad wives” to their husbands, or worse, stoned to death.

The village of Kitra was Teren’s life preserver, just as it was for the Safe House Foundation, whose entire reason for being here was to act as a protective haven for such women, no matter what tribe, skin color, or nationality they were. If they came to the gates of Kitra, small children or babies in arms, Farida’s team took the young mothers in. Then they were fed and received medical care, as did their children. Each woman was given a hut of her own, clean and with rugs on the hard-packed clay floor, and mats, mosquito netting, and sleeping bags for all. She was then taken to Samar, the female psychologist, who was thirty-five years old, but seemed like she was a thousand years old to Teren. Samar had even helped her sort out much of her own guilt and shame.

Her mind moved forward as they left the escalator, and she saw Nolan read the overhead sign written in Sudanese Arabic, telling him which carousel would be dumping out his luggage.

Teren again noted how few women were here at the airport. She disliked certain Sudanese traditions and longed for the freedom not to wear a tob or other concealing garments. Instead, she longed to throw her leg over a horse and wear her beloved jeans and sleeveless tees. She could do that at Kitra, but not outside the walls of the village, where she again adopted the bearing of a meek, subservient woman. It was the only part of working in Sudan that she rebelled against. On most days Teren could handle it, but on other days, not so much.

At least she had the freedom of American clothes and she could move freely about the huge, enclosed, thriving village. It felt wonderful. Right now, she longed to be back within the embracing walls of Kitra, wanted to tear this tob off her body, and toss it aside. But to do something that stupid would land her in Sharia court, and more than likely she would be publicly whipped or stoned to death for her insult to Islam.

There was just something about Nolan Steele that made her feel rebellious and want to throw off the trappings of her soiled past so she could feel free once more.

Nolan turned and eased the handle of his laptop bag into her hand. “Hold this for me for a moment? I see my luggage.”

Her fingers curved, closing around the canvas and leather handle. “Sure.”

He smiled at her then, that same deep warmth gleaming in the depths of his eyes, nurturing the spark of hope he seemed to bring her. Hope for what, Teren wasn’t sure, but there it was. Nolan walked toward the baggage carousel where she saw two green canvas bags. Vaguely, she remembered Ayman’s having had one too. They were called duffel bags by the U.S. military, if she remembered correctly. She watched as Nolan easily pulled them off the carousel, one in each hand.

“You okay carrying my laptop if I carry these?” he asked, halting in front of her.

She smiled faintly. “If I can wrestle a hundred-pound sheep to the floor of the shearing shed, I think I can handle a ten-pound laptop. Let’s go out those doors to your right. The parking lot is just across the roadway, and my hafla is nearby.”

“Sounds good. I’ll lead the way.”

Teren realized Nolan knew what a hafla was: a minibus that had a flatbed component, the most prevalent vehicle in and around Khartoum. She hadn’t been looking forward to teaching her security contractor about Sudanese customs after he arrived, and it was a pleasant surprise to know that he knew Sudan and its conventions.

Often, she had to drive into Khartoum to pick up items that required a flatbed truck. Kitra had no fancy cars, and her hafla had no air-conditioning in this ninety-five-degree Fahrenheit heat.

Teren breathed another sigh of relief as Nolan moved out of the cool air-conditioned terminal and into the dry, scorching sun overhead. She wondered what else he knew. How often had he been in Sudan? And why? Teren had lots of questions for him.

The corners of her mouth curved as she held the lightweight, floaty hijab to her head. It would be a sin in this country to have it slide off, revealing her hair.

http://delos.lindsaymckenna.com/book/sanctuary/

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s