Authors: Susan May Warren
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT
SUSAN MAY WARREN
“I'm proud of Susie; my friend gets better with every book.”
DEE HENDERSON, author of
The Marriage Wish
“Susan May Warren is an extremely gifted storyteller, always keeping her readers in suspense to the end. â¦ Susan's books are guaranteed to entertain, thrill, and inspire. Without question, they fall in the Can't-Put-Down category!”
“This author needs to write more books! I love her style.”
“Susan Warren is a writer to watch! â¦ Susan's characters are so real you can almost hear them breathe.”
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Escape to Morning
Copyright Â© 2005 by Susan May Warren. All rights reserved.
Cover photograph of man copyright Â© 2005 by Brian MacDonald. All rights reserved.
Cover photograph of woman copyright Â© 2005 by PicturePress/Photonica. All rights reserved.
Background cover images Â© by Digital Vision and Photodisc. All rights reserved.
Designed by Cathy Bergstrom
Edited by Lorie Popp
Scripture quotations are taken from the
New Living Translation, copyright Â© 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from the
King James Version.
his novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or publisher.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Warren, Susan, date.
Escape to morning / Susan May Warren.
p. cm. â (Team hope ; 2)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4143-0087-0 (sc)
ISBN-10: 1-4143-0087-5 (sc)
1. Missing childrenâFiction. 2. Search and rescue operationsâFiction. 3. Government investigatorsâFiction. 4. TerrorismâPreventionâFiction. I. Title.
Printed in the United States of America
11 10 09 08 07
8Â Â 7Â Â 6Â Â 5Â Â 4Â Â 3
FOR YOUR GLORY, LORD
Table of Contents
God is my portion and sustainer. And as usual, as I wrote
Escape to Morning
, He gave me talented people to encourage this project. My deepest gratitude goes to:
My Pinkie Promise Pals (You know who you are.)âI am so deeply grateful for your iron-on-iron friendships that keep me accountable, humble, and encourage me to walk deeper. You're all such gifts in my life.
The TwinklingsâJane, Michele, and Sharron. How I thank the Lord for giving me friends who are like-minded, passionate about God, and who make me feel like I'm not alone! God again answered my prayers when He gave me our group, and I can't wait to see what He's going to do.
Anne GoldsmithâThank you for knowing how to help me take
deeper and for believing in Team Hope. You're truly gifted in what you do. Thank you.
Lorie PoppâFor your gentle touch, your insights, and for catching all those errors I just want to cringe at. Your talents are a great blessing to me.
Curt and MaryAnn LundâFor enduring the Warren Family Canoe Trip with us and for your “Pots.” Your support and encouragement are huge to me.
Dannette LundâFor letting me name a character after you and then chop off half that name to Dani and loving me anyway.
David WarrenâThank you for letting me read aloud to you and laughing in all the right places.
Sarah WarrenâYou delight my heart with your smile. Thank you for liking Dani and Will and for your constant encouragement. My heart swells every time you say, “My mom rocks!”
Peter WarrenâFor your happy dance. No wonder all the girls like you.
Noah WarrenâFor learning how to make your own peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. I don't care what they sayâyou're much better than Ollie Herdman.
Andrew WarrenâYou're a daily reminder that God loves me. Thank you for walking this life with me.
The faithful love of the L
never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The L
is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”
If you are receiving this letter, then you know that I'm already worshiping at the throne of Jesus. And that's how I want you to think of me. Finally with my Savior. I know this is hard to accept, sweetheart, but we talked about it so many times and I need you to be strong. For the girls. Because of the hope we have that we'll be together again
I want you to move back to Cotter. It's a good town, and the Strong family will look out for you. I know it is what you really want also. You've been a wonderful wife, and I know life with me, a soldier, hasn't been easyâthe moves, the absences, raising our daughters as if you were single. A man couldn't ask for a better wife. Or a better friend. Because, Bon, you are my best friend. Ever since seventh grade
I pray you find someone to keep you safe and cherish you as I have. You deserve it. And know that you gave me the happiest years of my life. From the moment I bumped into you in English class and scattered your books onto the floor (yes, that was on purpose, I now admit), I was lost in your smile. Being your husband made doing my job worth it
I've asked Will to watch out for you. Mostly because I know he'll need some task to hang on to. He doesn't have our faith, and he'll be lost. He's so close to salvation; I just know that one of these days he's going to be swept into the arms of Jesus. And when that happens, he'll need a friend, someone who can support him. God has been good to give me a buddy like Will. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't have made it out of Iraq. Remember that when he shows up at your door, smelling like tequila or the back forty. Underneath that swagger and wild smile is a good man who has the potential to be used by God
The days away from you are getting harder. Or maybe it's because the tension here feels as thick as a South Dakota windstorm. People in camp are on edgeârumors of attacks and fears about the future weigh conversations. I feel it and even though we're here to maintain peace, I sense trouble. Or maybe this is just my natural reaction after 9/11. It seems the whole world is anxious â¦ waiting. Holding their breath for the next attack. Even here, among the nations who fight for peace, there is fear. Mistrust. I sometimes wonder if the terrorists planned it this wayâfor us to suspect each other and weaken us from within while they plot to destroy us from without
I look back to my childhood and know I was blessed. Will our children feel the same? Will they know endless, carefree summer nights, cozy winters in a sleigh? I don't know. I do know that whatever the world looks like on the outside, our faith in God is the only thing we can depend on. Only He knows a person'sâ even a leader'sâheart. Only He can heal our world. I have depended on my faith â¦ and because of that, you can trust I am happy. Safe. Because, Bonnie, God is my portion
I pray He is also yours, sweetheart. Please tell the girls I love them
Your best friend and husbandâalways,
TODAY, MORE THAN any other, reporter Will Masterson prayed that his lies would save lives. Starting with his partner's, Homeland Security Agent Simon Rouss, aka Hafiz Tarkan.
Please, God, be on my side today
. Will raced on foot down the two-lane, rutted, forest-service road, cursing his stupidity as well as a few new souvenir bruises. He smelled rain in the air as the wind shivered the trees with a late-season breeze. His nose felt thick and caked with clots. He should have known his sympathetic commentaries in the
Moose Bend Journal
toward the recent immigrants flooding over the Canadian border would draw blood with the locals. Blood that would hopefully protect Simon while he embedded deeper into the terrorist cell in the hills.
Because Will knew the men who'd hijacked him and hauled him into the forest to beat the tar out of him over his recent op-ed piece weren't actually disgruntled rednecks but rather international terrorists.
The lie that had just saved Will Masterson's hide, the lie perpetuated by the boys toting 30.06s and wearing work boots, was the only thing keeping Simon from being brutally murdered. Which would only be the first in a hundredâmaybe a thousandâmurders by the Hayata terrorist cell hiding in the northern Minnesota woods.
If only Will hadn't been ambushed by the double-edged sword called failure sitting in his PO box. A letter from Bonnie. He'd opened it, and the words knifed him through the chest:
Bonnie Strong and Paul Moore invite you to a celebration of life and love in our Lord Jesus Christ
He should have dropped the invitation to his floorboard and crushed it under his foot. Instead, he'd let the memories, the grief, the failure rush over him and blind him to the three men lying in wait like a nest of rattlers. He should have done better by Lew's wife, protected her, made sure she was safe. Who was this Paul?
A year of undercover work, of slinking around this hick town, praying for a way to destroy the Hayata cell, and it all had to come to a head the same day his mistakes rose from the past to haunt him.
Tell Bonnie and the girls I love them.”
Lew's words, hovering in the back of Will's mind could still turn his throat raw after three years. If Simon bought it, Will would be sending yet another letter home to a wife and loved ones.
Soldiers had no business getting married.
Will's breath felt like a razor inside his lungs. A branch clipped him, and blood pooled inside his mouth. Ruts and stone bit into his cowboy boots as he ran, and sweat lined his spine. The sky mirrored his despair in the pallor of gray, the clouds heavy with tears. How long had he been unconscious after they'd thrown him off the four-wheeler?
Better questionâhow much did they guess about his alliance with Simon? Obviously, the good ol' boys who snatched him as he'd sat in his truck, waiting for his contact, knew Will's habits.
habits. They'd found them, despite the fact that he and Simon had picked the backwoods gravel pit for its remoteness.
let them believe my lies
â¦ which would mean maybe Simon's cover hadn't been blown.
Maybe there wouldn't be another unnamed star embedded in the wall of honor at Langley â¦ like Lew's.
Thunder rolled overhead when Will burst from the road onto the gravel pit. Yes, thank you, the thugs/terrorists/angry readers hadn't damaged his wheels. Probably, however, they thought his 1984 Chevy wasn't worth their time.