Stain on the Earth book Two of the MIT2 Series

Stain on the Earth book Two of the MIT2 Series

By:  Louise Dawn  Completed
Language: English
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Lizette Steyn is searching for her place in a dangerous world. Tired of betrayals, she runs from the one man who craves her love. The Kenyan bush and a new job as a flight attendant is a reprieve from reality - until reality hunts her down. Professionally, James “Johnny” Cane is a military beast, but his personal life is a mess. After Lizzy walked away, he pined from a distance. When fate throws them together, Johnny rushes to his challenging woman’s side. It could mean getting his heart broken again—and protection isn’t enough. When a mastermind terrorist captures Lizzy, Johnny and his MIT2 team race to find her before it’s too late. (Preferable to read Book One first - Siren in the Wind.)

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49 Chapters
Chapter One
Somewhere near the South Sudan/ Uganda border The black stallion skittered sideways, and the rider brought him harshly back into line. He couldn’t blame Atheas. Temperatures soared into the mid-forties and they’d been here too long. He patted the sweat-soaked stallion’s coat and called out to one of the men.“The horse needs water. How long does it take to clear a damn village?”“We’re almost done, master. I’ll find something.”“Fuck it. We’ve gone too far north. We’ll backtrack to the church we passed.”The church they’d ransacked. The Scythian adjusted his soaked hood, feeling perspiration chafing his already raw skin. This was the price he paid for being the most notorious extremist on the African continent. A woman started wailing, and her shrieks added to his already irritated mood.“Someone kill the bitch.”The
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Chapter Two
Peshawar, PakistanSeven months later Lizette Steyn disengaged the slide, pulled up the door handle and swung the aircraft door outward. Frigid air swept in and she barely repressed a shiver. “Freezing fudge buckets,” she muttered before greeting the ground agent at the top of the stairs. The miserable structure that was Bacha Khan International Airport looked archaic—with all the developing nations Lizzy had visited in the past five months, that was saying a lot. Peshawar, the wild west town of Pakistan, felt as cold as a dead man’s nose.“Well isn’t that just grand,” Brianna muttered, stepping out of the wind. “All I bloody packed was a vest and a sleeveless shirt.”Lizzy refrained from rolling her eyes. The two other cabin attendants had as much sense as two rolling hamsters. Brianna, a hardy Irish girl who started flying for JetHaven around the same time as
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Chapter Three
The rickshaw dropped them off in Clock Tower Square. Brianna scurried into the first rug stall and the other girls followed. The locals seemed friendly, and the store owner immediately offered them a traditional green tea. Lizzy loved the sweet tea native to Pakistan so she gladly accepted. Suzie turned her nose up and Lizzy quickly drank it to ease her companion’s faux pas. Lizzy had brought her digital Canon along and snapped photos along the way. The expensive camera had been a gift from her father on her last birthday and she loved it, thinking maybe someday she’d write a travel book.The narrow streets crammed with wares were an overload on the senses. Donkeys clattered among bearded men in turbans selling their textiles. A pakol hat maker tried to sell her a hat as she dodged a moped bike. The decaying Sikh architecture littering the gray and brown streets was fascinating. Unstable wooden buildings were stacked together in grimy colors. Wires, phone lines an
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Chapter Four
Cold seeped up from the rough cement floor, and Lizzy wiggled her toes, trying to warm up the ice blocks that were now her feet. She shivered like a tuning fork, and her body thrummed as a cold breeze shifted the air. The sun had set hours ago, and the shouts outside the barred window had finally fallen silent.The women were placed in separate rooms. Lizzy hadn’t seen anyone since the phone call to John. That seemed like hours ago. Lizzy ignored the scuffling in a dark corner of the room—not wanting to know which critters crept in the shadows. Instead she focused on the grimy wall in front of her. Aside from smaller scrapes, her thigh throbbed in time with her racing heart. A well-placed kick from one of the attackers would result in a bruise the size of a plate.She’d allowed them to call him, and if he came, he’d see her like this—weak and dirty. That was not how she’d imagined their next meeting. Instead, she’d imagined run
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Chapter Five
Not much got to Johnny. He liked to think he was a balanced soldier who’d seen a lot in his military career. Any challenging experiences in the field usually got resolved by physical work when Johnny returned home to his Wyoming cabin. The empty solitude had a way of flushing away the blackness of war from one’s soul.Looking into those troubled blue eyes and the sound of Lizzy’s sobs echoing in that dingy room had him wanting to put a fist through the wall. Johnny paced the hallway, waiting for the local men to liberate her from their obsolete confinement.Javid Ibrahim watched him carefully from down the hall. Johnny paused, then approached him. “Thank you for rescuing them.” He swallowed before continuing. “Without your help, they would’ve been stoned or beaten to death.”Javid nodded once. Johnny reached into his back pocket. “If you ever need any—”“I need you to look after Miss
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Chapter Six
Standing awkwardly, Lizzy tried to ignore the larger-than-life operator and concentrated on drying her hair. That steamy water had felt like heaven—she’d never felt so grateful for a warm shower. She considered herself the luckiest person in Pakistan that night. Which made her think of Brianna and Suzie. They were the unluckiest. She should’ve stayed with them, but Max was right. She’d have just gotten in the way. Worry for their safety sat heavy on her heart.“Do you want me to leave?”Lizzy shook her head. “I’ll probably be asleep in five.” She pulled damp locks over her shoulder and dried them with a towel.“I’ll bring you some food. It’s all local—”“I like local. Thanks.”John turned to leave.“I knew you were watching me,” she said.He paused, and she climbed on the bed and continued.“You were at a market in
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Chapter Seven
At six in the morning the streets were quiet. Two vehicles pulled out; Lizzy sat in the back of the truck next to Johnny, and Max sat up front as Ryker drove. The rest of the MIT3 team trailed behind in a black SUV. Their plans had shifted. Lizzy would be flying back on the MIT2 transport with Johnny and Max.They’d take off from a private airstrip, land in Mogadishu to drop Max off to meet up with the rest of the team and, once refueled, Johnny would head on to Nairobi with Lizzy.She’d snuggled up beside him, and dainty snores filled the subdued space as her head lolled against his arm. Itching to wrap that arm around the tiny blonde, Johnny turned instead to stare into the dawning light.Peshawar and its neighboring war zone wasn’t Johnny’s favorite place. Too many violent memories, losing team members over his earlier years in Afghanistan. He hated that Lizzy was here. He wanted them gone.“Thanks for the escort.” M
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Chapter Eight
NairobiTwo days later Lizzy loved the view from her balcony. The small apartment on the second floor of the complex looked out onto manicured gardens and a field. City buildings and treetops spanned the horizon beyond the perimeter wall. Kids played soccer below. She took a sip of coffee and yelled out a greeting, feeling once more like a functional human. A human with a date—with a significantly larger human. It wasn’t technically a date, just two friends going for lunch and treading carefully around the minefield of their past.The trip back to Nairobi had been an awkward one. After takeoff, as Lizzy internally celebrated her successful release from the Peshawar nightmare and John snoozed in the corner, Max had slipped into the seat opposite.“As far as Johannesburg goes, I’m sorry you were caught in the middle, but I wouldn’t have done anything differently. We removed a dangerous terrorist,
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Chapter Nine
The flame tree was in bloom and Lizzy couldn’t resist walking out of the front gates of her apartment complex and plopping down beneath the scarlet tree. She crossed her legs and picked up a bright flower as she waited for John.Lizzy loved people-watching, and this was the perfect spot for it. Locals ran for the bus stop, mopeds sped by, and cars negotiated through the morning bustle.The previous day had been a pleasant surprise. After a quick walk around the children’s home, Lizzy excused herself, helping in the kitchen by chopping up vegetables for the evening meal as John thoroughly walked the property, listing potential improvements.It shouldn’t surprise her; John took everything in stride, and his easy adaptability was one of the star qualities that attracted her to the man.By the end of the day, he’d accrued a workforce of teenage boys as a gang of wide-eyed little girls trailed his every move, peppering him with question
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Chapter Ten
The next day, Lizzy decided to swing by the hospital to see Valentino. She waited until John was free, and they headed to Nairobi’s central hospital.Kenya had some of the most advanced medical facilities in Africa—private hospitals that rivaled those in the West. This selection of impressive hospitals was available only to those who can afford it, with fees beyond the means of most Kenyans.In contrast to the millions who relied on severely overcrowded and under-resourced government facilities, the central hospital tried its best to cater to the hundreds of patients who sat in the waiting rooms every day, under tremendous pressure to meet the needs of the Kenyan people.John seemed as saddened by the overcrowded wards as Lizzy was.It was times like these when Lizzy regretted not finishing her nursing degree. Every bit helped. Standing on the periphery didn’t feel natural or very helpful.Little Valentino sat in a sea of chaos on
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