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The Defiant Hero

The Defiant Hero by Suzanne Brockmann
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In The Unsung Hero, award-winning author Suzanne Brockmann dazzled readers with her remarkable cast of tough and tender U.S. Navy SEALs. Now her daring men in uniform return for THE DEFIANT HERO—a thrilling novel of steadfast courage, intimate passions, and the profound risks that are taken in the name of love. . . .

"The United States refuses to negotiate with terrorists." Meg Moore remembered the warning from her job as a translator in a European embassy. Those same words will spell out a death sentence for her daughter and grandmother who have been kidnapped by a lethal group called the Extremists. Meg will do anything to meet their unspeakable demands; anything—even kill—to save her child.

When Navy SEAL Lieutenant, junior grade, John Nilsson is summoned to Washington, D.C., by the FBI to help negotiate a hostage situation, the last person he expects to see holding a foreign ambassador at gunpoint is Meg. He hasn't seen her in years, but he's never forgotten how it feels to hold her in his arms. John could lose his career if he helps her escape. She will lose her life if he doesn't. . . .

From the Paperback edition.
Random House Publishing Group; June 2003
ISBN 9780345464286
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: The Defiant Hero
Author: Suzanne Brockmann

Meg didn't understand at first.

The man was smiling, and his pleasant expression and
tone of voice didn't match his words. "We've taken your
daughter hostage."

She was in the parking garage beneath her condo, hauling
a box of files from the back of her car, when he approached
her. She wasn't even a hundred feet away from Ramon, the
building's security guard.

The smiling man must've seen the confusion in her eyes, be-cause
he said it again. In a Kazbekistani dialect. "We have your
daughter, and if you don't follow our orders, we'll kill her."

And this time, Meg understood. Amy. She dropped the box.

"Everything okay over there, Ms. Moore?" Ramon was
down off his stool, starting toward them. There'd recently
been a rape in another parking garage in this part of Washington,

"Tell him yes," the smiling man murmured, opening
his baseball jacket, giving her a flash of a very deadly
looking gun.

Oh, God. "Where is she?"

"If I don't make a phone call to my associates within the
next hour, she's dead," he told her as he bent down to pick up
the box. "My associates are Kazbekistani Extremists."

Terrorists. But not just regular terrorists. The Extremists
were religious zealots, capable of terrible violence and cruelty,
all in the name of their god. And they had Amy.

Oh, God.

"Everything's fine," Meg called to the guard, her voice shaking
only slightly.

"We're old college friends." The man turned his friendly
smile on Ramon. "I thought I recognized Meggie. I didn't
mean to appear before her like the ghost of Christmas past,
though, and scare her half to death."

Ramon's hand was on the gun holstered at his waist. He
smiled politely, but his dark brown gaze was on Meg. "Ms.


She'd prepared for situations like this, back when she was
working at the American embassy in Kazbekistan, an Eastern
European country also know as K-stan or "the Pit" to
the Americans who served time there. During her stay, she
was reminded regularly that the United States didn't negotiate
with terrorists. The best solution was preventive--stay
safe, stay secure, stay away from dangerous persons and

It was a little late for that now--although who would have
thought a K-stani terrorist would show up here in Washing-ton,
all these years later?

Meg knew what she should do in this situation. She
should enlist Ramon's help while this man held her box of
files, while his hands were full and he couldn't easily reach
for his gun. She should be a strong American and refuse to
negotiate with terrorists. She should seek help from the FBI.

Who, no matter how good they were, wouldn't be able to
find her ten-year-old daughter within the next sixty minutes.

After which time Amy would be killed.

Meg forced a smile. American be damned. She was playing
this one out as Amy's very frightened mother. "It's all
right, Ramon," she lied. "We're . . . old friends."

"How about I carry this upstairs for you?" The man continued
the charade. His English was remarkably good--he
had only the faintest of accents. "We could talk about old
times over a cup of coffee."

"Great." She smiled again at Ramon, who watched them
all the way over to the elevators.

"Where is she?" Meg hissed from behind her frozen
smile. "Where's Amy? And what about my grandmother?"
Amy had planned to take her great-grandmother, Eve, to the
Smithsonian while Meg picked up these files she'd been
hired to translate. Meg hadn't been sure exactly who was the
baby-sitter--the ten-year-old or the seventy-five-year-old.

"The old lady's your grandmother." He nodded as he
pressed the elevator's call button. "I thought she was too old
to be your mother. We've got her, too."

Meg felt a rush of relief. At least Eve was with Amy. At
least Amy wasn't alone and terrified and . . . "I don't under-stand.
I'm not rich, and--"

"We don't want your money." The elevator doors opened
and he stood back, politely letting her on first--the perfect
terrorist gentleman. "We want you to do us a little favor."
Oh, God.

"You frequently do business at the Kazbekistani embassy
across town, right?"

Oh, mighty God. The doors slid closed, but she kept her
smile in place. Ramon would be watching through the security

"I only work as a consultant, a translator. It's never, I
never . . ."

He pushed the button for twelve. Somehow this man she'd
never seen before knew she and Amy lived on the twelfth

Meg took a deep breath and tried again. "Look, I'm not
allowed into any areas inside the embassy that contain confidential
information or--"

"We don't want you to spy for us. We already have an agent
in place inside the embassy for that purpose." He laughed and
it wasn't purely for the cameras. This man was enjoying him-self,
amused by her fear.

A fear that morphed hotly into anger as she turned her
back to the security camera. "Then what do you want, damn
it? How do I even know you've got Amy and Eve?"

The elevator doors opened at the twelfth floor. He stepped
back, again to let her go first. "If you like, we'll send you the
old lady's head in a box--"

"No!" Oh, God.

He laughed again. "Then I guess you've just got to trust
me, don't you, Meggie?"

Meg's hands were shaking so badly, she couldn't get her
key into the lock.

He shifted the box to one arm and a hip as he gently took
her key ring from her, opened the door, and pushed her in-side,
following her into her living room. "I'm afraid I can't
be as trusting," he continued, setting her box next to the
couch. "After we discuss strategy and negotiate terms, I'm
going to drive with you over to the embassy. I know it's after
five, but there's a function tonight. Nothing formal. You can
wear jeans. In fact, I want you to wear jeans. With those
boots you have. What are they called? Cowboy boots. Or
should it be cowgirl boots?"

"Negotiate terms?" Meg didn't give a damn what she
wore. "What terms?"

"Well, it's actually a pretty simple negotiation with only
one or two minor points. But the bottom line is that if you
want to see your daughter and grandmother again, you'll do
what we tell you to do. If you don't . . ."

"I do."

"Good." He crossed to the windows, pulled the curtains.

"Once you're in the embassy, our inside agent will keep an
eye on you. If you make any attempt to get help or to contact
the authorities at any time, we will kill your daughter. Have
absolutely no doubt about that."

His smile was gone.

Meg nodded. She didn't doubt him. After living and
working in Kazbekistan for years, she knew quite well what
the Extremists were capable of.

"What do you want me to do?"

From the Paperback edition.