SWEAT BLINDED HIM as Jack pumped up the seven-percent gradient. Hilda was already at the top, standing next to her bicycle. She grinned at him as he stopped on the level top. His heart pumped from more than the exertion as he took in her tall, Viking figure, the high cheekbones, anthracite skin, and the fine, black hair protruding from her helmet in a ponytail. Continue reading


PRIVATE FIRST CLASS HILDA PAISLEY sat scrunched in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter, the newest member of Squad 2/3 of the second platoon, Bravo Company. Not that the designation mattered. The eleven soldiers in her squad were the only Americans on this mission, to escort a United Nations official to a new refugee camp that had sprung up in Sudan, just over the three-way border with Ethiopia and Eritrea. Continue reading