Shannon here: Inspirational author, Louise M. Gouge shares a romantic excerpt from her latest Contemporary Romance, Escape from Kikwit. Comment on any post dated August 5 – 9 to get your name in the drawing for an e-book copy. U. S. residents only per author request. Deadline: August 17th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Louise:
Excerpt from Escape from Kikwit by Louise M. Gouge:
Chief Corporal Jean-Richard Chanson watched the assembling throng of evacuees from behind his military facade. While some of his fellow soldiers stood at the perimeter of the airfield, Jean-Richard and several others guarded piles of baggage brought by the missionaries, Peace Corps volunteers, and businessmen. His stony expression belied his sympathy for the well-intentioned idealists who had come to this backward country to help and now had to flee for their lives.
Though always alert to the perimeter, he observed the missionary children. They stayed close to their parents and studied the faces of the adults. The adults busied themselves saying goodbye to the good friends who could not flee their own homeland.
A flash of blond hair caught Jean-Richard’s eye as a young woman strode toward the missionaries. Despite her load of a large suitcase and shoulder bag, she moved with ease in her blue jeans. A flicker of admiration for her bare, well-toned arms lit his eyes. Her broad shoulders suggested she must be a strong swimmer or active in some other sport. She approached her friends, and two tow-haired children left their safe haven near the luggage to fling themselves at her. She dropped her bags and embraced the boy and girl, murmuring assurances to them.
Then she straightened and surveyed the scene, flipping her long hair back from her face. It was a casual gesture, not flirtatious as Monique used to do. Her face was intelligent, knowing the danger they all were in but facing it with courage. Her expression was free of the pride Simone had always displayed, but not the beauty. Her form, though not that of a model like Arianna’s, was gracefully athletic. Her smooth, tanned complexion needed no makeup. Her large, blue eyes softened into a smile as her full, round lips parted to reveal perfect white teeth. Très séduisante! Very attractive!
Beneath his camouflage uniform, he felt a familiar tightening in his chest. Behind his disciplined mask, plans formed. He would try to sit near her on the plane. No! He would sit near her on the plane. His comrades would understand. After all, Jean-Richard was in love.
He strolled over to Chief Corporal Monteiro, who held the position next to him. “Fifty francs says I’ll have a date with the blond before we arrive in Brazzaville,” he murmured in French.
Monteiro casually surveyed the scene, then nodded. “She is a missionary. Too religious for an agnostic like you. I’ll take the bet.”
Jean-Richard stifled a grin. “I’ll have to return on the other plane with the evacuees.”
“I’ll cover for you,” Monteiro responded, pursing his lips to keep from smiling. Then his eyes now turned to scan the area. They were soldiers once more.
Yet Jean-Richard could not avoid the scene playing before his eyes. She was talking to the other adults. How her eyes flashed! She was angry about something. What fire she had! What passion! What a woman!
Jean-Richard’s attention was diverted back to responsibility as Major St. John approached and addressed Monteiro and him.
“The Peace Corps has two volunteers who are making their way here by motor bike. Their director just spoke to them by phonie. They should be here within the half hour. Until then, hold these positions and, above all, keep all the evacuees on the landing field.”
They acknowledged his orders and resumed their vigil. But as his eyes swept the crowd to find her again, Jean-Richard searched in vain. Among all the white Americans and Europeans, some of them blond, there was no glorious crown of gold like hers to be found. She had disappeared! He turned and studied the one small building that served as the airport terminal. A white four-wheel vehicle was backing out of the line of cars parked there and driving back toward the town. The unmistakable golden hair flashed in the vehicle’s open window. What fit of madness was taking her away from his protection?
“Monteiro! Someone is leaving. I will bring her back,” he called over his shoulder as he began to sprint after the car.
But Chief Corporal Monteiro’s attention was drawn to two motorbikes entering the airfield, and he did not hear his friend’s call.
About Louise: Award-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes inspirational historical fiction for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical imprint. The spiritual life of her characters is always an important part of their journey to a happily-ever-after romance. In addition to numerous other awards, Louise is the recipient of the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award for her 2005 novel, Hannah Rose (first place), and her 2011 Regency novella, The Gentleman Takes a Bride, (second place). With her great love of history and research, Louise has traveled to several of her locations to ensure the accuracy of her stories’ settings. When she isn’t writing, she and her husband love to visit historical sites and museums. Please visit her Web site at http://blog.Louisemgouge.com
About the book – Escape from Kikwit:
Lost in the Heart of Darkness!
Abandoned in the Heart of Darkness during a deadly rebellion in the western African nation of Zaire, missionary school teacher Jenna Grant misses the only plane to safety and finds herself left behind in the company of a French Foreign Legionnaire. The only thing more dangerous to Jenna than the rampaging rebels out to take her life is the handsome young soldier who attempts to steal her heart. At last Legionnaire Jean-Richard Chanson has found the fulfillment of his quest for happiness: a beautiful missionary teacher he must rescue from violent rebels. But how can he win her heart when she has already given it to an invisible rival, a God whom Jean-Richard has long ago rejected?
Come back August 12th for Darlene Franklin!