Lipstick & Danger

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Rescued by an Angel

What happens when you are lost and all alone in a place like Afghanistan? Our little Grass Valley commando found herself in just such a predicament several years ago when she made an unexpected stop in the most dangerous part of Central Asia. From what she told me during a previous meeting, Tessa agreed to rescue six little orphan girls north of Kabul. When her helicopter failed to return for a safe extraction, she found herself surrounded by a ruthless band of Taliban. Thanks to another unexpected turn of events, a tribesman from the Wakhan Valley rides in on a white horse and saves the day. Today we meet that man; Darya.

Thank you for joining me today to help readers get to know you better. From what Tessa tells me you are a knight in shining armor. What makes her think that way?

Thank you, Tierney. I am sorry if my speech is crooked, I mean wrong. I haven’t spoken English in a long time. Tessa and the little girls were trapped by a man named Massoud. He is evil and vile. Cares nothing for women and children. They are—how do you say—property. He would have sold them into the sex trade if me and my men stayed in the mountains that day. We ran them off. But I will tell you, Tessa Scott was a great deal of trouble at first. Stubborn. A fighter. Protective.

(I can’t resist a laugh.) Darya, you are smiling. You like these qualities in a woman? 
Yes. Yes. Very much. She has spirit like a wild horse. Unpredictable and beautiful, Tessa brought some purpose to my life. The little girls she protected became our children. We are a family—or at least we were until Captain Hunter showed up to take my brave Tessa, my wife, from me.

But, Darya, she had a family in the states. Captain Hunter was trying to help her. Wasn’t it true she’d lost her memory? Surely you want the best for her.

Captain Hunter only wanted me not to have her. He believed I was a terrorist, a traitor and would do Tessa harm. I could never do that. She was everything. The children needed me. He sent her away from me. But I found her again.

I’m sure there is much more to the story, Darya. I’ll admit, Captain Hunter did seem a little out of sorts with you.

Out of sorts? I do not understand.

He doesn’t like you either. But the fact is the two of you did work together to bring Massoud down, am I right? Didn’t he save your life?

I could have done it on my own—with my men at my side. But yes, he did save my life and he wishes he never did this. With me out of the way, he can take Tessa from that man she lives with now.

You mean Robert, her husband?

I will tell you this, Tierney James. Tessa is my wife. This Robert remains alive only because he is safer than Captain Hunter. I must go back to look for Massoud. I need to know for sure he is dead. There are rumors he is not. When I am finished I will come back for Tessa and her three children. We will go to Montana.

Montana. Does Tessa know about this plan? She never mentioned it to me. (Darya begins smiling again.)

There are many things she does not share with you. When we were in the Wakhan Valley, there was no mistake of who she loved. I will save her from this Robert, Captain Hunter. and the boring life she chose until I return. Make no mistake, she will go with me. And Captain Hunter best stay out of my way. She holds my heart in the palm of her hand. And I…(he stands) have no one else. I must go, Tierney James. It is time I called her. And so, both of us have many secrets you will never know.

Call her? I wasn’t aware the two of you were still in communication.

There is much no one knows about us. As it will remain until the proper time. I leave for Russia soon. There is still work to be done besides finding Massoud. She understands this. If I can get her there then—

Whoa there, Darya. It sounds like you plan to kidnap her again, just like in Afghanistan. Captain Hunter will never let that happen.

I never kidnapped her. I rescued her. I’m not like the Taliban. Captain Hunter will be dealt with and this time I owe him nothing. Take care, Tierney James. You must come visit us in Montana. Tessa would like that. Ask her. She will tell you all this I have said today. Goodbye.

I can’t believe it. Darya just left like a bat out of hell. Goodness. He certainly takes your breath away. I can see why he has messed with Tessa’s head. The mere mention of his name makes her blush. Now I realize she never mentioned he considered her his wife. Wonder what that was all about? And secrets? What secrets? I thought Tessa told me everything. Guess I need to call her and talk about her time in Afghanistan a little more in depth. In the meantime, I’m going to go over my notes in Rooftop Angels. Maybe I missed something.

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