Untold DevotionBy: Kennedy Layne
Red Starr, Book Four
Searching for the truth…
Kane “Gunny” Taylor has spent over a year searching for answers in his sister’s death. That time has culminated in the form of a land, air, and sea rescue operation conducted to save the lives of abducted schoolchildren in her honor. He thought he would find peace in this mission, but what he found was so much more.
Jade Amherst knows only too well the meaning of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She’s been held captive for over seventeen months and she’s counted every day, hour, and minute that passed. The rescue mission seemed surreal, the reason behind it so poignant, and the man who led the operation all too real—only she couldn’t move forward without putting her past behind her.
Gunny finally returns home after being gone for far too long, another successful mission behind him, and a potential future with a beautiful woman who was so much more. He should have known better than to think things would be easy. Jade’s past comes back with a vengeance and another hostage situation ensues. Will they be as fortunate a second time around?
The sweltering night was pitch black and filled with a deafening silence. Oppressive heat made it almost unbearable to stay perfectly still, but that was exactly what Kane “Gunny” Taylor had done for the past two hours despite the sweat running down his face. His muscles had become stiff a while back, alerting him to the fact that he wasn’t quite as young as he used to be. That small shortcoming wouldn’t prevent him from completing this mission successfully and seeing to it that all of his men made it out of Nigeria alive.
The mission? Rescuing eighty-seven schoolchildren from a ruthless warlord. The number of hostages was a major concern, and yet a third-world criminal who ruled over this remote northern region of Nigeria had managed to abduct the girls from their village in broad daylight as if he’d been out rounding up so many cattle. It was nauseating that the government forces couldn’t provide the village elders even the most basic level of protection from these marauders. His assignment was seventeen months in the planning and about to be executed effectively provided no major surprises presented themselves. It was time to end the reign of Agu Tumo Mykelti once and for all.
Gunny slowly shifted his neck away from the rough material of his battle dress uniform, cracking his upper spine to relieve the built-up tension before he gave the forward-motioning hand and arm signal to his team. They advanced as one cohesive unit toward the well-guarded compound with a five-meter spread between them. Red Starr HRT had been monitoring the camp for weeks via a combination of airborne surveillance and human assets on the ground. Each of the five team members was well armed for the forthcoming task and each had his specific role within this hostage rescue team that retired Marine Master Sergeant Catori Starr had assembled. Now she was a true badass when shit turned sideways, but Gunny would never say that to anyone outside their small group.
Daegan Murphy was Red Starr’s long-range shooter. He could button a man’s pocket at a thousand yards ten out of ten times. He was currently on higher ground performing overwatch and no doubt had his sights currently on the first Tango standing sentry duty on the left outer wall. Once that target was eliminated, Aaron “Stick” Scott would move fast and secure several breach charges to the mud-brick wall surrounding most of the outer perimeter of the enemy objective. The section Gunny had chosen to advance through provided the best access to the divided inner compound while simultaneously separating the enemy forces from the hostages.
Once their way was clear, John “Trigger” Dixon would be the first one through. His experience with close combat tactics was unlike any other. At his side was Diesel. The German Shepherd was trained to protect his master and act as a better set of eyes and ears for the team in defense. Neal “Doc” Bauer would be pulling up the rear and relaying additional information to Starr’s operations staff that Gunny’s mini-cam wasn’t picking up along his line of sight. Each of the team members had them installed on their night vision goggles.
The only light illuminating the path in front of Gunny was the vast number of stars above and the ambient reflection of that source off the objects in his path—not that it mattered with the equipment they were each outfitted in. One lone cloud had drifted across the moon, which gave his men the momentary advantage of hiking over the rough terrain without being spotted in the subsequent darkness by those posted as the lookouts in the towers. He ignored the bloodsucking mosquitos as he waited for confirmation from Daegan that his shot had hit its intended mark.