Impeachable Offense: The Conspiracy Grows (Left Behind Political Series #2)

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Overview

MILLIONS VANISHED, LEAVING THE WORLD IN CHAOS.

White House Chief of Staff Brad Benton grieved the loss of his family in the cataclysmic event he now knows was the prophesied rapture of Christians. Strengthened by his newfound faith in God, Brad and the others left behind search for answers.

Washington is abuzz since the meteoric rise of United Nations Secretary-General Nicolae Carpathia, whom Brad believes is the Antichrist. That belief—coupled...

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Overview

MILLIONS VANISHED, LEAVING THE WORLD IN CHAOS.

White House Chief of Staff Brad Benton grieved the loss of his family in the cataclysmic event he now knows was the prophesied rapture of Christians. Strengthened by his newfound faith in God, Brad and the others left behind search for answers.

Washington is abuzz since the meteoric rise of United Nations Secretary-General Nicolae Carpathia, whom Brad believes is the Antichrist. That belief—coupled with his knowledge of the White House press secretary’s apparent murder—seems to have placed Brad in the crosshairs of a deadly conspiracy. He escaped a sniper’s bullet and a horrific explosion, but if he cannot identify his enemy, the next attempt may find its mark. More than ever, Brad needs close friends as

THE CONSPIRACY GROWS.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781414300382
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Series: Left Behind Political Series , #2
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Pages: 8
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Impeachable Offense

Based on the best-selling Left behind series
By Neesa Hart

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2004 Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-4143-0036-0


Chapter One

Rumor had it that White House Chief of Staff Brad Benton was a hard man to kill. And after the second failed attempt on his life in the last three days, even Brad wasn't going to dispute the rumor.

He was learning to be very, very careful.

As he gingerly pushed open the door of the Shiloh Baptist Church in northwest Washington, D.C., he wondered how he'd reached a point in his political career where someone-anyone-wanted him dead so badly.

For that matter, he wondered how he could have lived through the events of the past few days. He'd survived the Rapture, which had claimed his wife and three children as well as nearly a third of the world's population. Then he had surrendered his life at last to Christ, only to land in a minefield of death and danger. He'd seen evidence that pointed to the murder of the former White House press secretary. He'd witnessed the horrifying rise to power of a man whom he believed to be the biblically foretold Antichrist. And then the assassination attempts: a shooter had missed him and wounded his closest aide instead. And tonight an explosion had blasted his Alexandria apartment to bits less than an hour ago.

by the grace of God, he was still alive. He had a few cuts and bruises, though nothing major. He was lucky. That explosion had been meant to kill him.

Brad looked around the building but saw nothing out of place. He drew a weary breath. From where he stood in the foyer, he could see a light on in the back of the church, but the sanctuary seemed to be deserted.

"Hello?" Brad's fear began to mount as he surveyed the empty church. Marcus, at least, had promised to meet him here. Maybe Brad wasn't the only person in trouble right now. Brad had lost too many friends already. He began praying silently.

Brad entered the sanctuary. The only source of light in the room came from the platform area, where a warm glow emanated from the baptistery, which was mounted high in the front wall. The room was peaceful, in stark contrast to the chaos he'd left behind at his Alexandria apartment.

During the cab ride he'd realized just what could have happened to him. The tremors in his hands had spread to his entire body as shock began to set in. After the initial adrenaline rush from being on the edge of the explosion had faded, he'd felt weak and shaken.

But now the adrenaline came surging back.

"Mr. Benton?"

Brad turned to find an elderly black man watching him. He wore jeans and a work shirt with the name Solomon embroidered over the left pocket. He was leaning on the handle of a push broom. Brad wondered why he hadn't seen him at first.

"Yes?" Brad's eyes dropped to the embroidered pocket. "Were you expecting me, Solomon?"

"Yes, sir." The man grinned. One of his front teeth was missing. "That's me. Solomon Grady." He patted the pocket that featured his name. "I used to work as a mechanic for the Metro system before I retired. I just never got out of the habit of wearing my name on my shirt."

"Brad Benton," he said, holding out his hand. Even in emergencies, Brad's long-ingrained political manners held sway. "Thank you for letting me in tonight. Do you know where Marcus is? Is he all right?"

"The reverend told me to expect you," Solomon said. "He's on his way. He's fine."

Brad swayed slightly with relief and exhaustion. "Good. Great, in fact. I'll wait here."

Solomon frowned. His face crumpled into a mass of wrinkles while he surveyed Brad. "I think maybe you'd better sit down, son. Looks like you've been through a lot tonight."

"Marcus told you?"

"Yes." He walked toward Brad, his steps stuttering on the wood floor as he moved in the rhythm of the very old. But Solomon's hand was steady and warm on Brad's shoulder as it eased him into a pew. "Why don't you sit, boy? After runnin' from everybody who's after you, you've got to be tired."

"Yeah." Brad knew he should say something more, but his mind was still reeling. He couldn't think of anything else to say that wouldn't take more explaining than he was capable of right now.

Solomon didn't seem to mind. "You just rest a minute, Mr. Benton, and I'll get you a cup of coffee. I put on a fresh pot when the reverend called."

Solomon shuffled away, leaving Brad alone in the sanctuary's semidarkness. If there had ever been a time in his life that needed prayer, this was it. Brad braced his forearms on the pew in front of him and dropped his head.

"Dear God," he whispered. The events of the last hours began to replay through his mind. "Thank You for saving my life." Had Brad not gotten that urge to check his mail tonight, he'd have been a dead man. Brad was pretty sure where that urge had come from.

That thought made him remember his daughter's letter. It was what he'd gone to the mailbox to look for. He slipped a hand inside the coat and retrieved the envelope from his pocket. Gently, he ran his finger over the elegant curves of his daughter's handwriting. Megan, his beautiful, artistic daughter who had been so much wiser than he. She was gone now, taken in the Rapture, but she'd told him last Thursday night that she'd mailed him a letter. Was it possible that so few days had passed since then? It seemed like a lifetime.

Brad carefully slit the seal on the envelope. This was the last tangible communication he would receive in this lifetime from his family. Grief and wonder washed over him as he prepared to read his daughter's words.

Dearest Daddy-

Don't know why I felt like writing. E-mail is easier, but I was talking to a friend today about 1 and 2 Timothy, and how intimate and personal Paul is in those two letters.

I realized that I hadn't told you how much we miss you. I know you're doing important work in D.C., but I really wish you'd come home.

It's selfish, I know, and I promise not to whine. Everyone's doing okay. Mom's having a hard time with you gone, but we're helping. Even Brad's not being too much of a pain, though he's taking this 'man of the house' stuff way too seriously. You never should have told him that.

My recital went well. Wish you could have been there. That stupid Middle East peace conference! Mom said she got the tape for you.

I miss you so much, and I want you to know that I pray for you every day. I pray that God will use you to do great and mighty things for Him. Stay strong, Dad. I know it's really hard. Mom tries not to tell us too much, but she lets things slip sometimes. It's got to be the pits being surrounded by people who are hostile every day. I can't even imagine what you must go through. Just know that we love you very much and can't wait until you're home.

by the way, I'm not sure if Mom told you, but I'm auditioning for a summer concert orchestra that tours the U.S. One of their stops is in D.C. If I make it, I'll be able to see you-and maybe you can catch the concert!

Love you tons, Megan

A rush of tears filled his eyes. One slipped past his lashes and rolled down his cheek as he rubbed the pad of his thumb over her signature. How precious his life had been, how wonderful his family had been, and-fool that he was-he hadn't even known it. He'd taken for granted that his loved ones would always be there for him, that his political successes and ambitions were important enough to spend the last year away from Christine and his three teenage children. Had he been the Christian man they had thought he was, the man he had professed to be, then he wouldn't be sitting here now-alone, tired, and on the run. He'd be with them, gone from this world, safe in God's hands.

Behind him, he heard the door creak open. He turned so fast that the letter in his hands floated to the floor.

But it was Marcus, not some new death threat. "Good. You're here."

Brad reached down and picked up the letter, waiting for his heart to stop racing and his breath to return before he could say anything. He folded the paper carefully, put it in his pocket, and looked up at his friend.

The preacher was carrying a grocery bag and a black duffel. Clad in a sweatshirt and jeans, the normally dapper Marcus looked disheveled, as if he'd barely taken the time to pull his clothes on before rushing out the door. He set down his burden on the back pew and hurried toward Brad. "How are you? Are you all right?"

Brad considered the questions. "Define all right," he said at last.

"Let's stick with healthy."

"I'm in one piece," Brad said. "It's more than I deserve."

Marcus looked him up and down. "You're sure you weren't hurt?"

"I'm sure. I think I'm falling apart mentally, but I'm fine physically."

"How far were you from the explosion when you called me?"

"Half a block or so."

"I don't imagine you were thinking clearly."

"I wasn't. But I was thinking. I'm rattled but fine."

"Thank God." Marcus dropped into the pew behind Brad. "I've been praying since you called me. Did you have any trouble getting here?

"I don't think so. I had the cab do some evasive maneuvers. Somebody might have been tailing me, but if so, I lost him. I got out a few blocks ago and walked the last bit. I didn't see anyone."

"Good," Marcus said. "I stopped to pick up some things I thought you might need. Sorry I'm late."

Brad marveled at the deep sense of kinship and brotherhood he felt with this man. Just as it was hard to believe that so much had happened in the past few days, so he found it incomprehensible that he'd known Marcus only a short time. Of course, Brad had met Marcus Dumont, a prominent black evangelist, several times at political rallies and events over the past few years, but it had taken the extraordinary event of the Rapture and the global terror that had ensued to bring the two of them together as friends and new Christian brothers.

Despite his profession and his reputation as one of the D.C. area's finest preachers, Marcus had never accepted his own need for Jesus and the grace of God. Only after the Rapture, only after he'd been forced to admit his rebellion against God, had the dynamic minister humbled himself to ask for God's mercy. Only then had he felt the peace that came from surrendering his life to Christ.

Brad understood. Despite their differences, he saw a lot of himself in his new friend.

"You look exhausted," Marcus told him.

"Yeah." Brad remembered being tired before the evening had blown up in his face. A flight across town later, he felt like he'd been hit by a truck. "I think the shock is setting in." He looked over his shoulder. "Solomon went to get coffee. He was waiting when I got here."

Marcus leaned back in the pew. "He's a good man. He's hurting right now. He lost his wife, his son, and his three grandchildren."

"Oh no." Brad scrubbed a hand over his face. A day's worth of whiskers chafed the inside of his palm. "That poor man. Sometimes I forget I'm not the only one suffering. There's so much grief out there now. You've told me that it's going to get worse. It's tough to believe that it can. I can't imagine what the next seven years are going to be like. I'm trying to brace myself for the battle, but I have to tell you-" he gave Marcus a look-"that I almost wish I'd been killed in that explosion. At least my suffering would be over."

"But not your mission." Marcus's smile was wry. "God's not finished with you yet. Sorry."

"Good point." Brad shook his head. "My mission. Did you ever wish God had picked someone else?"

"Sure," Marcus said. "And not just me. It's a bit of a paraphrase, but in his second letter to Timothy, Paul reminds his friend that not every person in God's service is designed for the same use. Some are set apart and refined for special purposes. Some are bronze, some are silver, some are gold, and some are just wood and clay." He chuckled. "There have been times when I was perfectly satisfied to be inferior workmanship-God's wood and clay. I never asked to be bronze or silver or gold. Nor did I want to be."

"I guess I'm not alone, then," Brad said. "Does thinking that make me a bad Christian?"

Marcus laughed. The sound was a balm to Brad's raw nerves. If Marcus could still find a reason to laugh right now, then surely everything was not as bleak as it seemed.

"Are you kidding?" Marcus asked. "Do you know how many men and women in the Bible tried to tell God to look somewhere else? Most of the great ones said it at least once. Moses, Gideon, Samson, Rachel, Paul. All of them wanted out of the bargain at one time or another."

A silence settled between the two men.

When Brad didn't respond to his comment, Marcus sighed. "I know it's hard, brother. I guess the real question is: If you'd known this was coming before you accepted Christ, would you still have done it?"

Brad thought that over. He considered the way his newfound faith had sustained and encouraged him, the way he'd found hope in the belief that he would see his family again. He was sure his loved ones were safe in the arms of Jesus. He thought about the deep bond he felt with his new Christian friends, about the courage he'd found over the past few days in the knowledge that God was protecting him and that God was with him always. Solemnly, Brad nodded. "Yeah. I would have."

"Then wanting to get out of the line of fire doesn't make you a bad Christian. It makes you normal." Marcus leaned forward and braced his arms on the pew. "Tell me exactly what happened tonight."

Brad paused for a second to gather his thoughts. Finally, he recounted how he'd driven his government-issue vehicle home, parked on his street in Alexandria, then unlocked the door of his apartment. As he prepared to go inside, he'd belatedly remembered that he was expecting a letter from his daughter, so he'd propped his briefcase in the door so he wouldn't have to fiddle with the locks again and headed back to check the mail. "I was pulling the mail out of my box when the apartment blew. I was out of the blast zone, sheltered by the foyer's enclosing wall and the building's elevator and staircase. If I'd been inside my apartment-"

"Hmm. It was meant for you then, not a blast meant to destroy something they thought might be in your place. Must have been on a timer triggered by the front door."

"That's what I figured, too."

"Did anyone see you on the street after the explosion?"

"Yes, but it was pretty chaotic. People were running out into the street to see what was going on. One man spoke to me at the mailbox, but I didn't recognize him."

"What did you say to him?" Marcus asked.

"That I was in the neighborhood visiting someone."

"Did you recognize him?"

"I think he lives three doors down."

Continues...


Excerpted from Impeachable Offense by Neesa Hart Copyright © 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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