Collin was prepared for anything, until he met her…
Collin spent fifteen years leading a team of operatives renowned for their zero failure rate of disrupting the horrors of human trafficking. Struggling with PTSD, he was ready to retire after one last mission. He had to stick to the mission and any distractions could lead to lives lost. His attraction to Madeline was instantaneous, a future filled with warm nights now possible. Meeting Madeline made him want to let life happen and she was the woman he wanted to share it with.
Madeline couldn’t believe her luck meeting Collin on her first vacation ever. She knew she was a workaholic, but she had to in order to be a successful business owner and overcome the stigma her parents had left behind. The more time spent with Collin, the more she wanted him to keep on looking at her for the rest of her life. .Kidnapped, Madeline has trouble believing she can survive the abuse of her captors. Remembering who she used to be, Madeline retains hope the one man she loves will rescue her.
Neither will stop at anything until they can hold each other in their arms again.
Real life situations from human trafficking to PTSD. This story is about not giving up on life. Doing all things impossible to survive one more day.
Blood Oath by Sabrina Rawson
Six sets of testosterone laden eyes stared back at him. They were professionals and he had no problem with any one of them having his back, as it should be. He’d give his life for the man next to him without a second thought. He knew each man felt the same way about the person next to them.
“Tonight we nail down this mission then we meet up here. Same as always, we go in hot and heavy and leave light for the flight,” he spoke clearly, feeling lighter having repeated the same motto before each mission discussion for the past ten years.
He continued, “Let me map it out for you. We are leaving Houston at 0400 hours direct flight to Monterrey, Mexico. From there we will secure ground civilian transportation, inauspicious as possible. From there we’ll travel northwest to Nuevo Laredo where we will catch the sights before continuing on later that day to a town called Del Rio. We will have car trouble and need to change vehicles. More rugged terrain vehicles, which our handler said, will be arranged and waiting for us once we arrive at the local car rental place. We sightsee while paperwork is being processed to maintain our cover. We eat, but keep an eye out for any followers.”
“You expecting trouble, Collin?” questioned Wall.
“No, but I wouldn’t put it past someone to have watchers at every entry point of the country. We don’t necessarily pass as the average college boys wanting to vacation, despite what you may think of our acting abilities. We are too hardened and look the part. We are going to have to really put effort into this first part, because the type of arms that our intel suggests are potentials we do not want the Middle East to get their hands on, not to mention the men who already possess it.”
“We get it, Collin. Where to after Del Rio?” Wall prompted.
Sighing, he was glad he’d been interrupted because he was headed towards ranting, letting his doubts creep up on him. Shoving his fear down with the equivalence of an emotional hammer, he continued.
“From Del Rio we head to Big Bend National Park. Gunner has identical maps in case we have trouble at any point in this trip. The meeting point in the park will be where our ammunition will be hidden, provided as a courtesy by the Mexican government and the US. Seems their collaborative efforts will enable us to bring down the cartel they have had trouble capturing the past two years. If all goes well, we can load up and head directly to Cuidad Juarez.”
“Let’s say all goes well and it’s a clean shot to Cuidad Juarez, remind me, what are we there for?” Slick chimed in, looking like he wasn’t feeling the normal excitement of the adventure of a mission, which further instigated his doubts.
A few snickers were heard around the group.
“What? It’s an honest question,” Slick mocked innocence looking around the group of men. “That is more travelling than we normally do, given any cartel. We will be travelling through one third of the country, which three quarters of that trip has the potential of serious opposition. We’re talking criminals, murderers, and assassins. That part of the country is Mexico’s breeding ground for disaster and just happens to be our target destination. Look, I’m not trying to overrule your opinion on this mission, Collin, but something doesn’t sound right about this.”
“I have to admit hearing you say it out loud and with Slick’s comment there is something I wanted to bring to the table,” Gunner asked quietly.
“I’m listening,” he replied, ignoring Slick’s question.
“Why are we landing five hundred, give or take fifty, miles away from our weapons cache?” Gunner pointed out.
“Given the cooperation of the Mexican government, I was told by our handler that this was their compromise. Our country supplied arms months ago and we are receiving that cache in the Big Bend National Forest.”
Gunner flipped the toothpick he had in his mouth to the other side and just stared at him. Whenever they were on mission it seemed there was an endless supply of toothpicks in his pockets to keep him stable. It was distracting as all get out, but he wouldn’t have his buddy worried and if that meant he sucked on a toothpick, then there it was. He sucked on a damn toothpick.
“Look, I don’t particularly like this idea at all, but it’s not like we haven’t taken on missions in the past where we were put at risk of exposure. I think we could all pick out some very interesting things while we sightsee along the way. Specific merchants are to be stationed along our route specific for our sightseeing eyes. All has been arranged for our discreet weaponry acquisition by Handler,” Collin said as he looked around at the men.
“Gunner and Wall, you will both be given lists once Handler has given me names. We will be armed with the usual body armor but the noticeable heavy artillery, machine guns, grenades, and launchers will be in our cache within the forest. If need be, Slick here can outfit us with some homemade juice. Once armed, we will again split into two teams driving two vehicles travelling direct to our final destination, Cuidad Juarez. Our cover story is that Cuidad Juarez will be the last stop before wrapping up our vacation heading back to the US via El Paso.”
“Remind me again, what’s our cover story?” Tank questioned, looking around at the ‘what the fuck’ faces his friends were sporting. “What? I need to know what to pack,” he smiled wide.
“You better bring underwear, man. I’m not going to haul your gungy ass all over the sweaty terrain with you delirious with fever again. You better keep your shit in your shorts,” Wall declared, pointing a finger in his direction.
“Will you ever let that go, man? I’m telling you she slipped me a mickey,” shrugged Tank, with hands up on his chest. “I can’t help it if ya’ll can’t handle the sight of Tank a la natural.”
“Seriously?” questioned Hunter, looking at him for support.
“My memories could use another dose of bleach,” Gunner groaned, rubbing his eyes.
“Dude, you better bring the shorts,” reminded Slick, shaking his head.
“You will be one ball less if any of us have to experience that shit again, Tank.” Chance replied solemnly hushing up the banter between the men.
Collin flashed on the memory with them dragging Tank through the Thailand streets trying to maneuver him around, while his drunk ass disrobed in a crowd filled with tiny Asian people. His big ass had created quite the scene. It wasn’t a pretty site any of them wanted to experience again.
Never needing to raise his voice to get his point across he stared down the smiling gorilla of a man. “You will accommodate our request or I will let Chance have some play time with his knives starring your balls for the main event. We clear, Tank?”
Tank visibly swallowed casting a quick look over at Chance before turning back nodding at him. “You guys are no fun.”
“Awwwh, Tank. We can always practice when we get back home,” smirked Chance.
Gunner threw his toothpick at Chance, “Man, keep it real. I’ve got to get transportation set up and get some shut eye. Let’s wrap this shit up.”
They all banged their fists on their thighs four times indicating they were paying attention and focused as a team. It was one thing they all agreed upon when they first got together. They had to be one in the same when it came to communication. One person with their own agenda and everyone could end up dead.
“Alright,” he solemnly replied to their thundering fists, looking each man in the eye.
He ascertained he had their undivided attention. “Our target is in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico, along the US El Paso Boarder, holed up in a cargo area on a plantation according to our Handler’s intel. The owners are rich enough to have access to their own chopper pad. We will charter a flight as grad students out for a vacation before returning to school a few weeks later, hence the long tour to our target. You all know the drill. Once we have access to our cache then we will rig up our transport to conceal our prize and head to our target’s location.”
“Chance, you are in charge of arrival and departure. My only request is our departure be from the outskirts of El Paso, close to the boarder, and we have a Knighthawk as our mode of transportation. Something tells me we are going to need to leave hot and heavy once we cross the border. I want it mapped out in the next two hours.”
“Roger that,” winked Chance, with a nod of his head. “And if things go south?”
“We make use of the aircraft provided by our neighborhood drug lord. I trust you will have all the information you need form the file I gave you.”
“That I do, Collin. Just wanted your OK to commandeer said aircraft.”
“Yeah, you and your commandeering,” he muttered, trying not to laugh as he recalled the last mission where Chance acquired a helicopter, but forgot to check the back cargo hold for stowaways. Now, Chance never commandeered anything without a thorough check.
Knowing his air support would be completely taken care of, he turned to the man sitting on the other side of him, “Tank, I need ground transportation set up from three different locations. You good with that?”
“Roger that. Sightseeing tour, two vehicles starting point Monterrey, Mexico. Car trouble, two vehicles so we change vehicles in Piedras Negras where two retrofit capable rugged terrain vehicles should be available, provided by one Handler. From there, I am assuming said ammunitions will be made available with the vehicles Handler will be providing. If not, I always come prepared. Last, but not least, the third set of vehicles is for our alternative escape plan and our ears only. Question is, where will said rendezvous be and where are we heading to?”
Again, six sets of eyes turned and looked right at him. Damn Tank for pointing out the obvious. For him to have a backup plan to the backup plan meant that he did not think the mission was a safe bet. Tamping down the seeds of doubt in his mind, he needed to keep the mission’s main focus on disrupting the arms deal. It looked like he was going to have to spill the beans about what he suspected and then do what Gunner had wanted him to do from the beginning. They were going to have to take a damn vote.
Sabrina is a cancer survivor who recently published works with Survivor’s Review and Titan InKorp Online eMag. She has published two novels within a New Adult Urban Fantasy series called A Novel of four Realms and a new Contemporary Romance Suspense Novel series called An Eagle Operatives Novel. She enjoys life happily married to a supportive husband. You can always find her reading a book or cooking a meal for her multitude of children.
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