Year 2047, City of Samarra, capital of the Republic of Islamic Provinces & Territories
Fifteen American travelers have vanished. Surrendering to Mayor Aamir’s demands, Captain Sharif becomes the reluctant keeper of his city’s bloody secret – and the witness, Eliza MacKay. The devout Muslim cop knows that if his loyalty is in doubt, he’ll be buried alive.
The CIA has the lying Sharif in their cross hairs. Sharif’s only hope is to prove his country’s government is free of guilt. Secretly, he hunts forensic evidence. Cryptic messages, backstabbing informants, and corruption threaten Sharif’s resolve to see justice served. When he discovers the shocking truth, he and MacKay become the targets of a ruthless killer.
Sharif is tortured by his attraction to the impetuous Eliza MacKay. In spite of her struggle with PTSD, he’s drawn to her vivacious personality. Islam forbids the intimacy he craves. In desperation to save Eliza, Sharif plots an act most forbidden and fatal.
Excerpt from Forbidden
Two hours later, a constable escorted her to Captain Sharif’s office. Sharif’s glum expression dashed her hope for freedom. She sat on the edge of the guest chair in front of his meticulously organized desk.
Bloody smudges on the wall reminded her of the woman she tried to save. Downy feathers from the bullet holes in her coat still fluttered on the floor. Some were trapped in the corners.
He sat in his old, wooden, swivel office chair taking a moment to observe her. He pulled off his dark aviator glasses and set them down. She noted his posture – dominant and rigid. And yet, his demeanor lacked arrogance.
The wooden chair Eliza sat in creaked as she leaned forward. Impatient and anxious, she trapped his eyes with a direct stare. He remained unaffected by her boldness. “Bad news? Give it to me straight.”
She spoke in English. If the captain’s men were in earshot, she would have spoken Arabic. At this moment, she needed to hear and speak in the language that would ensure no misunderstanding. The captain’s English, even with his highbrow British accent, was a blessing.
His scowl deepened. “My government has confirmed you are to remain here until the organization responsible for the massacre has been identified and apprehended.” The gruff tone of his deep voice echoed the frustration written on his face. “It is for your protection.”
God, he thinks I’m stupid. “You expect me to believe that? I heard your boss. He’s cooked up a goddamn cover-up. If you think …”
His hand flew up to silence her outburst. He continued in a dispassionate tone. “Don’t interrupt. You will continue to follow my rules. You must remain inside my apartment. Brief periods for walking within my compound is allowed but only after receiving permission from me or the day shift captain, Captain Khizar. You must wear a police uniform so that it appears you belong here. And the walk is only on condition a police officer is available to watch you.”
“Captain, haven’t the terrorists – .”
“You must be dressed modestly at all times. If you’re taken outside these station walls, do not draw attention to yourself. And, do not speak to anyone regarding what happened to your companions. Is that clear, Miss MacKay?”
Eliza narrowed her eyes. “Quite clear. Surely I have the right to call a Canadian consulate or a lawyer?”
“No, not at this time. My government –” he paused and inhaled as if attempting to remain calm. “Chief Ganem’s orders are absolute. It’s for your safety.”
“Right,” she sneered. “I know your gutless boss is worried about protecting his ass,” she said through clenched teeth. She regretted the disrespect. I have to get along with this disagreeable man. My fate rests on his shoulders, and his conscience, if indeed he has a conscience. If I piss him off, he’ll give me up to his boss. Her fingers gripped the seat of her chair.
She decided to present a more cooperative demeanor and softened her face. “My apologies for my impatience, captain.” Her voice sounded calm, confident. “Evidence will be forthcoming soon and this will be over. I mean, given the magnitude of the assault. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“Not soon enough,” he muttered and grabbed his pen.
The remark stung. She gasped. “Look, I’m trying my best. If your government had more integrity, you wouldn’t have to share – .”
Captain Sharif tossed his pen at his keyboard. It ricocheted and fell at Eliza’s feet. She picked it up and tossed it back toward him – more forcefully than intended. He grabbed it as it landed in his lap.
He placed the pen on his desk with great care, as though it might break. “Miss MacKay, your situation is dire. Do you understand that?” A distinctly ominous tone in his voice made her catch her breath.
Eliza stood, shoulders back and chin raised an inch. With firm, deliberate speech she said, “Yes, captain. I know your superiors want me dead.” She glared at him. “They just don’t want to get bloody. At least, not today.” She turned, marched out of his office and returned to his apartment.
About the Author
After one year into nurses training, I bolted. Bed pans and chronic diseases pushed me to a career of dealing with drug addicts, murder, suicide, fatalities, and biker gangs. In 1983 I graduated with honors as a paramedic and worked in the City of Edmonton’s Emergency Services.
For the next twenty years, I came face to face with scenes most people would rather not think about. I loved it. Having experienced life in the most deadly and gut wrenching events, and work alongside the police service, I gained the fodder for creating intense novels.
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