Read an Excerpt
The moan was barely audible above the chatter of the birds greeting the dusk. Elena paused, key half-turned in the padlock, listening closely.
This time, she could hear the pain in the man’s voice. The sound came from the mass of tangled vegetation framing the gate of the clinic. She stuck the lock in her jeans pocket and tried to part the curtain of lianas that cloaked the young fir tree. The tough vines resisted, but she finally managed to tear them apart, exposing a clearing created by the tree’s drooping branches.
He lay on his back on the damp ground, gasping for breath. A doctor first, Elena immediately noted the terrible wound that ripped across his chest. The rough trousers that were his only garment were black with blood.
She crawled into the concealed space and knelt beside him, examining the awful gash more closely. The flow had begun to clot, but if she moved him, the bleeding might start again.
“Aye...” The man gave an inarticulate groan and struggled weakly to rise.
“No! Stay still!” Elena spoke to him in Spanish, hoping he’d understand. “You mustn’t move. You’re seriously hurt. Stay here quietly. I’ll get some of the village men to carry you to the infirmary.”
He grabbed her shirt, holding her back. His strength was surprising. “No, please! Don’t bring anyone. No one must know...”
“Then how will we get you inside?”