After thirty years, Brigadier General Carolyn McKenzie Marshall is retiring and leaving the US Army behind. She's proud of her accomplishments, especially the formation and training of the first women's jump program in the army. Though looking forward to a new life in Hawaii, she's sad to leave her sisters behind, including her replacement, Col. Dora Aimsley. The two have been through a lot together.
But just three days into retirement, one of Carrie's past exploits comes back to haunt her and her fellow sisters. Ten years ago, the Sheikh managed to escape destruction when Dora blew up the building in which he and his cohorts were hiding. Now, the Sheikh has returned to exact revenge on Dora and the team who caused him to lose money and face.
The Sheikh means business. Even so, Dora foils his hijacking attempt on the Pope's airplane, and the Sheikh retaliates by kidnapping Dora's twin daughters and Carrie. Dora's training kicks in and with the help of her fellow sisters tries to save her friend, her family, and herself.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)|
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SISTERS WITHOUT MERCY II: THE SHEIKH
By Clarence J. Moore
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Clarence J. Moore
All rights reserved.
The roaring sound of hundreds of heels clicking together rang out on the parade ground as the units were called to attention. The band struck up John Phillip Sousa's famous march, "Stars and Stripes Forever," and the color guard stepped off to the beat of the music. There was a bit of wind on this fine morning and the young Ranger who had been given the honor of carrying the colors had her hands full. The flag was snapping to and fro as if it had a mind of its own. Brigadier General Carolyn McKenzie Marshall stood as straight as she ever had as the color guard passed in review before the platform. Carrie snapped a salute just as she had some thirty years ago when she first entered the Army. After spectacular service in Viet Nam in which she was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the President of the United States offered Carrie a choice of assignment. She chose the Jump School at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. Carrie was allowed to set up the first women's jump program in the U.S. Army. She stood there remembering the beginning. Remembering too, the reasons she and so many others had fought and died for their country as the units passed in review. Chill bumps broke out on her arms. Then she spied the women's units she had trained. She was also thinking of the women who were sharing the platform with her today. Dora and Regina would be taking over from this day forward. Retirement was not something she looked forward to, but she knew that it comes to everyone sooner or later. It was time for her to move out. The Airborne had changed over the years. Her girls were now a part of the Rangers. She had trained a great bunch of women during her time, but none would ever measure up to Dora and Regina. They were among the finest soldiers to be found anywhere in the world—Black or White, male or female.
Carrie would be leaving today to take up residence in Hawaii. She had saved quite a bit of money during her stint in the Army. She had decided some years ago that she wanted to live where the warm breezes blew all year round and live out her remaining days in comfort. Carrie had bought a beachfront house sitting on an acre of land. It was all paid for, not too close to her neighbors, but not too far away as to be isolated. She knew that she would never be one of those so-called homebodies, but she did look forward to a new life just over the horizon. Her heart pounded with pride as the unit of her first command passed in review. Even those who were no longer in the service had been given special permission to participate in this retirement ceremony.
Eyes Right! All hands of the unit snapped to salute their former boss. She returned their salute in kind. Many of the women had tears in their eyes. Carrie was the woman who had sculpted them into the persons they were today. Words could not express the love shared by these women for Carrie and for each other. Her first command was very special and probably the best ever turned out. After all, Dora, Regina, Lydia, Elizabeth, Christine, Lola, Lil'Bits and others were members of that first unit. In her eyes, Dora was a descendent of the Greek gods, and would never be surpassed by anyone. In truth, Carrie thought of Dora as the daughter she never had. Racism between the two had never been a problem. Dora was one of the reasons Carrie could step down at this time. When Dora brought down the Cambridge Building against orders ten years ago, Carrie was certain that Dora would end up in jail. But the government had put her family in jeopardy. It was decided that morally and legally, they, the government, were at fault and that Dora was, at least morally, if not legally, within her rights to put an end to the people who had tried to murder her entire family.
Dora was reinstated, her record wiped clean. Both she and Regina had earned their present rank of Colonel. Regina was active duty. Dora would continue in her special ops—called on only when her special talents were needed.
Carrie's thoughts returned to the present. None other than, General Raymond Anthony, her boss was delivering the parting speech at her retirement ceremony. She heard him speak glowingly of her Army career, the unit of women she had formed, and the fact that she had rose through the ranks, through hard work and perseverance to the rank of Brigadier General. What he did not mention was how closely they had worked together in their special ops programs. At one time, the General was one of the most feared men in the service. That didn't mean that he carried no weight now, but as a general officer, one had to be more discrete. Carrie had always depended on him to help her protect her girls. Unknown to everyone except Carrie—this was a very sad day for General Anthony. He acknowledged her genius without saying exactly what he was feeling. But Carrie knew him well. She probably was the only person alive who could read his every mood.
At the conclusion of his speech, Carrie was called front and center to receive her final decoration, the Distinguished Service Medal from the General. Her command flag was removed from the pole, folded and presented to General Anthony who in turn presented it to Carrie. The flag had flown over the home of the 75th Rangers, her last duty station for several years. Applause and cheers rang out across the parade grounds. It was the end of a legend.
The crowd began dispersing, all except the girls in Carrie's commands. They were all over her—hugs and kisses, hand shaking from everyone. This was a very emotional day for Carrie. She just wanted to head for the airport. At last, she was able to work her way over to Dora, who snapped a smart salute—then gathered her in her arms. They both had tears in their eyes.
"I'm going to miss you, you know. Miss all of you. I don't know how long it will be before I see you again," said Carrie.
Dora said, "Don't worry about it. I'm just a plane ride away." Dora stepped back so that others could say their good-byes. Finally, Carrie was escorted to the car that was taking her to the airport. She had asked to go alone. She took a last look around the base and gave a final salute to the folks watching her leave and climbed into the car. She took a deep breath to hold back the tears as the car swept through the gates. Carrie was on her way to begin a new life.
Dora was staying at Ft. Benning with Regina tonight, but she would be leaving first thing in the morning to get back to California and her family.
The two of them along with the other 'sisters' would spend most of the night gabbing. The girls were of two minds about Carrie retiring. They were happy for her. Happy—that she was finally putting the Army behind her and attempting to live a normal life. She had given much to her country and her loyalty had never been questioned. At Regina's house, the girls went over and over the events of the past years. Finally, Regina turned to Dora and the others and told them "Don't worry. Carrie will be okay. She will do well at whatever she decides to do. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if she doesn't end up running for public office. You never know."
"Now, let's kick back and enjoy our Margaritas. I offer a toast—to Carrie."
"Hear! Hear!" said the "'sisters'." Dora smiled. "The girl will never change."
David lay in his empty bed, wishing that Dora were home. He missed her terribly when she was away, even if it was only for one night. He wished fervently that Dora would give up the military, but he knew she wouldn't until she was ready. He had to admit, that in spite of the separations, they'd had a good life. He was fortunate to have finally gotten Dora to marry him. Then God smiled on him again when he gave them their beautiful twin girls. Destiny and Tiffany were very much like their mother and he knew he was blessed to have captured the heart of this beautiful lady. He also knew that Dora and her team members would be having a ball tonight. And he was right. The girls began challenging each other to Tequila shots. Regina warned them that they would be sorry in the morning, but they just laughed and kept on going. Then Elizabeth stood and offered a toast to General Carrie Marshall, the best boss anyone ever had—the 'cat's meow.' The girls snapped to attention and yelled, "To the General." This was only one of many toasts that continued throughout the evening.
Morning came fast. All around were the telltale signs of too much tequila on the faces of the 'sisters.' But headaches and hangovers notwithstanding, they all had to get back to work. Dora had a plane to catch. Regina chauffeured Dora to the airport. They hugged each other promising to talk later in the week. Dora boarded the plane for the three and a half-hour flight home and her family.
Carrie arrived at her new home on the island of Kauai. She still wasn't sure retirement had a place in her life as yet. She had salted away a lot of money over the years from both her military pay and various investments and she was a self-made woman. Using the Airborne as a cover, she had managed to infiltrate what was possibly the largest most sophisticated crime syndicate in the world and help bring it down. Dora and her team had played a big part in the decimation of the ring. Indeed, Dora had blown up most of the bosses in the Cambridge Building some ten years ago. Carrie had walked a fine line between good and evil in order to win the confidence of the bosses. They knew her as a killing machine; a hard-nosed woman who had trained other women to be just as hard-nosed as herself. They all believed they had recruited an extraordinary Army turn coat. Some of the bosses trusted her, some of them didn't. They were the wise ones.
Carrie worked behind the scenes for a few years to get the dirt on this organization. When the time was right, she brought Dora and her 'sisters' into the action without them knowing what it was all about. But the plan went awry when the bosses decided to involve Dora's family in their plot. Dora was known to her teammates as the 'wrath' of Mother Nature. Getting her on your case was the last thing you would want to do. However, the deed was done and many men lost their lives and a whole lot of money. Most of it was spirited out to the world hunger organizations. The few remaining bosses were never able to recoup that money and the hunger organizations never found out where it had come from, nor did they care.
Carrie decided to leave the unpacking until later. She donned a bathing suit to go sit in the sun for a while. She made a few phone calls to let her friends in Hawaii and on the mainland, letting them know that she had arrived safely. The conversations all followed the same line. What were her plans now that she had retired? Carrie felt that her retirement would be short-lived. Sitting around enjoying the sun day after day was not her style. She thought about opening a jump school. She figured she could get a few of the women who were no longer in the service to come in with her. Maybe even a couple of the guys would be interested. However, unknown to her, these plans would have to take a back seat to the whirlwind that was coming her way.
On the third day of her retirement, Carrie was sitting out on the lanai in back of her house. She loved her new home. She had always enjoyed every moment she could spend here since she had purchased it. Which she had thought at one it wasn't often enough. But now she could enjoy it unconditionally, until she decided she was tired of her own company. It was a shame that the special delivery she was about to receive would upset all that peace and tranquility.
The ringing doorbell started Carrie mumbling to herself—wondering who it could be. She wasn't expecting anyone. As she made her way through the sliding door, she saw the delivery truck in the driveway. It was a FedEx truck so she hurried to the door. Smiling, Carrie opened the door and greeted the young man who told her he had a letter for Brigadier General Carolyn Marshall.
"That's me," said Carrie.
The young man smiled and asked her to sign his clipboard, which she did. He handed over the letter, said 'goodbye,' got into his truck and drove away. Carrie headed back to the lanai with the letter. She noticed it was from Lisbon, Portugal. That set her wondering. Carrie had few friends in Portugal, mostly enemies. She checked the outside packaging to make sure it wasn't a letter bomb. Then she slowly opened the outer packaging to get to the letter inside. The envelope was blank. She opened it just as carefully and the color drained from her face as she read its contents. It read, "It is time to pay the piper. You betrayed the trust of those who had taken you in and given you everything. You will die and so will the members of the team involved in that ill-fated journey to Mexico. I will see you die a thousand times before I put you out of your misery. I suggest you say your prayers and prepare to meet your maker. You needn't be too sad; you will have plenty of company. Your girls will not be far behind."
Carrie read and reread the letter. Although it was unsigned, she had a pretty good idea who had sent it. She had never forgotten the note that she had found shoved in her pocket all those years ago at LAX when she and the 'sisters' were seeing Dora and David off on their honeymoon. The note indicated that the Sheikh was still alive. She had been extremely worried at the time that he would exact his revenge on Dora while she was on her honeymoon. But, after that one threat, the Sheikh just disappeared. He had been quiet for years. Another had supposedly taken his place, but without the clout that the Sheikh had. She was quite certain that this was his work. She wondered why he'd taken so long to get back at her. Though, once she had made General, killing her could have caused an even bigger stink. Relations between the Arabic nations and the United States would have become more strained then ever. It was a tenuous relationship at best.
It was difficult to believe that this curly wolf was, again, back in her life. Would he attempt to make good his threats? Of course he would. She would have to watch her step from now on. Carrie knew that he was quite capable of following through on his threats. She would have to be very much on her guard. Life had been good to Carrie. She intended to die of old age, laying in the sun, and drinking Margaritas. First, she would have to see if the letter could be traced. The origin of the letter would possibly shed some light on what's going on. Secondly, Carrie was not so 'over the hill' that she couldn't launch a counter offensive before he or they could get started. Carrie had retired from her position in the Army, but not so her killer instinct. She went into the house and pulled out the various weapons she had collected over the years as souvenirs of her wars. Weapons that were always kept in mint condition and ready for battle.
She laughed as she went about her arms check. This was the most fun she'd had in years. Being in logistics most of her later years in the Army, she didn't get to play very often. She kept her arsenal just because it was a part of her life. Now, here she was preparing to do battle yet again. Out loud, she said, "Whoever you are, you've got to bring ass to get ass. I intend to take good care of mine. You better be prepared to take good care of yours."
Carrie stopped in her tracks as a thought flashed through her mind. The Team. She wondered if any of them had received a similar letter. Should she wait to contact the girls until she determine if the letter was authentic or just a very bad joke? Panic was not part of her anatomy. She would think it through first, than act. She laid the letter on the table next to her bed and went about her business as if nothing had happened. However, "that ill-fated trip to Mexico" stayed uppermost in her mind. She was the one that set-up the sting operation on that island that included her girls, the Navy Seals, and the 101st Airborne undercover of the US and Mexico in training maneuvers. The bosses were able to escape the island, but all the mercenaries were killed or captured. Trouble was the bosses didn't go far enough. They went back to their headquarters, including the Sheikh. Dora blew up the building. In fact she almost blew up her husband-to-be. David, who was being held captive, unknown to Dora, just managed to escape as Dora pushed the plunger—demolishing the building. The more Carrie thought about it, she became pretty certain that her girls, especially Dora and Regina, would be at the top of the list behind her. "Yeah", Carrie thought, "I better check this out in a hurry." And she was right to do so. The man who wanted her dead also knew the type of woman he was dealing with so he decided to throw a few spanners into her downfall. If they worked fine, if not, she would live to suffer the death of the damned.
Excerpted from SISTERS WITHOUT MERCY II: THE SHEIKH by Clarence J. Moore. Copyright © 2013 Clarence J. Moore. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This sequel is as good as the first. Just had to wait too long for it. It is great.