Saving Hope (Men of the Texas Rangers Series #1)
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Saving Hope (Men of the Texas Rangers Series #1)

4.0 287
by Margaret Daley
     
 

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When a teenager goes missing from the Beacon of Hope School, Texas Ranger Wyatt Sheridan and school director Kate Winslow are forced into a dangerous struggle against a human trafficking organization. But the battle brings dire consequences as Wyatt's daughter is terrorized and Kate is kidnapped.

Now it's personal, and Wyatt finds both his faith and

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Overview

When a teenager goes missing from the Beacon of Hope School, Texas Ranger Wyatt Sheridan and school director Kate Winslow are forced into a dangerous struggle against a human trafficking organization. But the battle brings dire consequences as Wyatt's daughter is terrorized and Kate is kidnapped.

Now it's personal, and Wyatt finds both his faith and investigative skills challenged ashe fights to discover the mastermind behind the ring before evildestroys everyone he loves.

“Fan favorite Margaret Daley wows readers with Saving Hope, her new release in the Men of the Texas Rangers series. Intense, gritty, exciting, and with a compelling love story...this book has everything a romantic suspense reader could want!” Marta Perry, Vanish in Plain Sight, HQN Books

"InSaving Hope, prolific author Margaret Daley tackles a difficult issue with gritty realism and heart." Irene Hannon, author of the bestselling Heroes of Quantico series

"Saving Hope is a story straight from the headlines. Missing teens, a Texas Ranger Dad, and a woman who just wants to make a difference in the lives of the girls she loves, all come together in an explosive story that will make you turn the pages as fast as possible to get to the end—which has a nice twist that you won't see coming. Just make sure you have plenty of time to read because you WON'T want to put this one down. A fabulous romantic suspense." — Lynette Eason, best-selling, award-winning author of the Women of Justice Series.

"Through crisp writing, Daley paints life-like characters engaged in a believable struggle that kept me turning pages to the satisfying ending." — Richard L. Mabry, MD, Author of Lethal Remedy and the Prescription For Trouble series

"Margaret Daley's Saving Hope is a beautifully told story of second chances with very real characters who stayed with me long after I finished the book. I'll be looking for moreTexas Rangers stories from her!"~Robin Caroll, author of the Evil series and the Justice Seekers series

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Much published romance author Daley (Hearts on the Line) earnestly tackles child prostitution in this opener to the Men of the Texas Rangers series. Ranger Wyatt Sheridan, a member of the Child Rescue Task Force, is called when the body of a teenage girl is found in a field near a van belonging to Beacon of Hope, an agency that works to rehabilitate teenage prostitutes. Sixteen-year-old Rose, a promising client at Beacon of Hope, had “borrowed” the van after receiving a call from a distressed friend—another teen prostitute. Agency director Kate Winslow is determined to find Rose, and Ranger Sheridan, whose own daughter is 14, is an ally in the search. Daley has the talent to make things gallop forward, and her dialogue is crisp and engaging. Yet the story is exceedingly earnest, and the characterization is wooden: Kate is impossibly saintly, and the trauma in Sheridan’s past doesn’t ring true. Contemporary Christian fiction has risen above the agenda of getting saved by Jesus, but it is weighed down here by a social issue agenda, however laudable. Agency: Steve Laube Agency. (Mar.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426714283
Publisher:
Abingdon Press
Publication date:
03/01/2012
Series:
Men of the Texas Rangers Series, #1
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
378,050
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

Saving Hope

Men of the Texas Rangers Series


By Margaret Daley

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2012 Margaret Daley
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4267-1428-3


CHAPTER 1

Rose gripped her cell phone so tightly her muscles ached. "Where are you, Lily?"

"At—Nowhere Motel." A sob caught on the end of the last word. "Help—me." Lily's breath rattled, followed by a clunking sound as though she'd dropped the phone.

Rose paced the small bathroom at Beacon of Hope. "Lily?" Sweat coated her palms, and she rubbed her free hand against her jeans.

Silence taunted her.

What have you done? But the second that Rose asked that question, an image came to mind of her friend lying on the dingy gray sheets in the cheap motel, wasted, trying anyway she could to forget the horror of her life.

"Lily, talk to me. Stay on the line." Pulling the door open, Rose entered her room. When she saw her roommate, she came to a stop.

Cynthia's wide-eyed gaze fixed on Rose for a few seconds before the fourteen-year-old dropped her head and stared at the hardwood floor. Rose crossed to her dresser, dug into the back of the top drawer, and grabbed a small, worn leather case. She pushed past her roommate and headed into the upstairs hallway.

Striding toward the staircase, Rose dismissed her roommate's startled expression and focused on the crisis at hand. "Lily, are you still there?"

A sound as though someone fumbled the phone and caught it filtered through the connection. "Rose, I need—you."

"I told you I would come if you wanted to get out. I'll be—"

A click cut off the rest of Rose's words. No, Lily. Please hang on.

Rushing down the steps to the first floor, she quickly redialed the number and let it ring and ring. When she approached the program director's office, she finally pocketed her cell, took out her homemade tools, and picked the lock, a skill she learned to give her some sense of control over her life. In the past she'd done what she had to in order to survive.

Guided by the light through the slits in the blinds, Rose entered Kate's darkened office and switched on the desk light. A twinge of guilt pricked her. If Kate found her in here after-hours, how could she explain herself? Especially with what she was going to do next to the woman who had saved her and taken her in.

Kate's gonna be so disappointed in me for stealing—no, borrowing—the van. She's put so much faith in me. But I've got to save Lily. I promised her. When I bring Lily back here, Kate will understand.

Rose used her tools to open the locked drawer on the right. Pulling it out, she rummaged through the papers to find the set of keys at the bottom, then bumped the drawer closed with her hip.

I have no choice, Kate. Please forgive me.

The memory of the words, I need you, spurred Rose to move faster. She had to get to her friend. Get her out ... finally. Bring her to Kate.

Clutching the keys in one hand, she turned off the lamp and carefully made her way to the office door. She eased it open a few inches and peered out into the short hallway. The empty corridor mirrored the feeling inside her.

When would it go away? When will I feel whole?

After she checked to make sure the office door was locked, she hurried toward the side exit of the building that housed the residential program for teens like her. Outside the summer heat blasted her in the face even though it was past midnight. Her heart pounded as hard as her feet hitting against the concrete. Sweat beaded on her forehead as she rushed toward the parking lot to find Beacon of Hope's van. The security light cast a yellow glow on the vehicle at the back of the building. Visions of her friend slipping into drug-induced unconsciousness, no one there to care whether she died or not, prodded her to quicken her steps.

I won't let you down, Lily. She was the reason her friend was where she was right now, stuck in a life that was quickly killing her.

As Rose tried to unlock the white van, her hands shook so badly the keys dropped to the pavement. Snatching them up, she sucked in a breath, then another, but her lungs cried for more oxygen. With her second attempt, she managed to open the door and slip behind the steering wheel. Her trembling hands gripped the hot plastic. After backing out of the parking space, she pressed down on the accelerator and eased onto the street in front of Beacon of Hope. With little driving experience, she would have to go slower than she wanted. She couldn't get caught by the cops. This was her one chance to save her friend. If all went well, she could be back here with Lily before morning.

She tried to clear her mind and concentrate totally on the road before her. She couldn't. Memories of her two years as a prostitute tumbled through her mind, leaving a trail of regrets. One was having to leave Lily behind.

Nowhere Motel—her and Lily's name for one of the hellholes where they'd had to earn their living. A place—one of several used when they were brought to Dallas—near the highway on Cherry Street. A place where inhuman acts happened to humans—young girls who should be dressing up for their prom, not their next trick.

She'd escaped only because she'd been left for dead on the side of the road when a john discarded her like trash. But the Lord had other plans for her besides death. A judge had seen to it that she came to the Beacon of Hope program, and Kate had given her a glimpse of a better life.

And I'm gonna start with rescuing Lily. I'm not gonna let her die. She's gonna have a chance like me.

Rose slowed as she neared the motel, two rows of units. Bright lights illuminated the front rooms, which maintained an appearance of respectability, while the rooms in the back were shrouded in dimness.

After she parked across the street from Nowhere, she sat in the van staring at the place, its neon sign to welcome travelers taunting her. Sweat rolled down her face, and she swiped at it. But nothing she did stopped the fear from overwhelming her to the point of paralysis. Memories of what went on in the back rooms of the motel threatened to thwart her attempt to rescue Lily before it began.

I owe her. I have to make up for what I did to her.

She pried her hands from the steering wheel and climbed from the van. After jogging across the two lanes, she circled around to the second building that abutted the access road to the highway.

The sounds of cars whizzing by filled the night. People going about their ordinary life while some were barely hanging on. A loud, robust laugh drifted to her as she snuck past the first unit, heading for room three, the one Lily always used at Nowhere. Someone opened a door nearby and stepped out of a room ahead of her. Rose darted back into a shadowed alcove at the end, pressing her body flat against the rough cinder block wall. Perspiration drenched her shirt and face. The stench of something dead reeked from a dumpster a few yards away. Nausea roiled in her stomach.

Two, sometimes three, of his guards would patrol, making sure the girls stayed in line. She wasn't sure this was a guard, but she couldn't risk even a quick look. She waited until the man disappeared up the stairs, then hurried toward the third unit. With damp palms, she inched the unlocked door open and peeked through the slit.

Dressed in a little-girl outfit that only underscored Lily's age of fifteen, she lay sprawled on the bed, her long red hair fanning the pillow, the sheets bunched at the end. Her friend shifted, her eyes blinking open. Groaning, she shoved herself up on one elbow, only to collapse back onto the mattress.

Footsteps on the stairs sent a shaft of fear through Rose. Her heartbeat accelerated. She pushed into the room and closed the door, clicking the lock in place. She almost laughed at her ridiculous action as though that would keep anyone out. But she left it locked.

The scent of sex, alcohol, and sweat assailed her nostrils and brought back a rush of memories she'd wanted to bury forever. For a few seconds she remained paralyzed by the door as memories bombarded her from all sides. Hands groping for her. A sweaty body weighed down on top of hers. The fog she'd lived in to escape.

She shook them from her thoughts. Can't go there. Lily is depending on me.

Turning toward her friend, she started across the room. Lily's glazed eyes fixed on her. For several heartbeats, nothing dawned in their depths. Then a flicker of recognition.

She tried to rise, saying, "Rose, so sorry ..." Lily slurred her words as she sank back. "Sor—reee."

"I'm here to get you out." Rose sat on the edge of the bed. "You've got—"

A noise behind her and to the left cut off her next words. She glanced over her shoulder as the bathroom door crashed open, and he charged into the room.

"Did you really think I'd let you go?"

His gravelly voice froze Rose for a few seconds. King never came to Nowhere Motel. Too beneath him. He should be—

Finally, terror propelled her into action. She scrambled off the bed and ran for the door. She grappled for the lock, her sweat-drenched fingers slipping on the cold metal.

King slammed her against the wall beside the door—her only escape route. He pressed her back to hold her pinned, the scent of peppermint sickening her. He loved to suck on peppermint candies, and she'd come to hate that smell. The aroma enhanced her desperation.

Words from her street days spewed from her mouth. She twisted and tried to buck him off. He thrust her harder against the wall until she couldn't catch her breath. Lightheaded from the lack of air, she went still.

"You'll always be mine. That john paid for losing you." Her pimp threw the lock on the door and opened it. "Tony."

Oxygen rushed back into her lungs and with it returned the frantic need to get away.

But before she could make a move, King's fingers clamped around her upper arm so tightly she thought he would break it. A six-foot-tall guard appeared in the doorway as King dragged her across the room and flung her on the bed. One of her arms flopped then bounced on the mattress near Lily. Her friend's head lolled to the side. Her eyes closed.

"Hold her." King withdrew a syringe, filled with a clear liquid, from his pocket.

"No," Rose screamed and scrambled over Lily's body. She had to get away. She wouldn't go there again.

Tony lunged across the bed and grabbed her leg. His fingers dug into her ankle. Inch by inch he hauled her to him. Lily moaned as Rose slid across her, but Lily's eyes stayed closed.

Can't give up. Rose kicked free and launched herself at the guard, raking her fingernails down his cheek.

He struck her face with his fist. Pain radiated outward from her jaw. Her vision blurred. A metallic taste coated her tongue. The room tumbled through her mind, as if she'd been stuffed into a dryer in the middle of its cycle. The ringing in her ears drowned out what Tony said. Throwing his body over hers, he trapped her on the bed.

Can't—

Her pimp loomed over her. Through the haze, she saw the malicious grin as King gripped her arm and yanked it toward him.

When he held up the syringe, her heart beat so fast she thought she would pass out from the hammering force against her ribcage. She gasped for a mouth full of air, but it wasn't enough.

"No, please not that," she whimpered as he jabbed the needle into her arm.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from Saving Hope by Margaret Daley. Copyright © 2012 Margaret Daley. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
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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Meet the Author

Margaret Daley, an award-winning author of eighty-five books, has been married for over forty years and is a firm believer in romance and love. When she isn’t traveling, she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread and corralling her three cats that think they rule her Tulsa, Oklahoma household. To find out more about Margaret visit her website at www.margaretdaley.com.

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