Rescue Me

By: Cherry Adair


Cherry Adair, Lora Leigh, Cindy Gerard

Tropical Heat


Chapter One



Central Africa

The brilliant lights of the operating room glinted off the scalpel being held to Doctor ElizabethGoodall's slender throat.

Flat on his belly in the main air-conditioning duct directly above them, SamPelton aimed hisSig Sauer between the soldier's expressionless eyes. The state-of-the-art, multi-million dollar operating room wouldn't have been unusual if it had been in a large hospital in a major city anywhere in the world. But this OR was smack in the middle of the jungles ofCentral Africa .

"Obviously I was brought all this way for a reason," Beth was saying a little desperately. "Just tell me why

. There's no need to threaten me with the scalpel." When she got nothing more than a blank stare, she dragged in a deep breath, held it, then let it out slowly. "Who's in charge? You?" she asked the guy with the blade.

Yeah. I'd like to see the asshole in charge, too, Sam thought, watching them through the small holes he'd pierced in the metal duct. This top-secret compound, deep in theHuren jungle, belonged to PresidentSiphoNkemidilm . What was so damn urgent that he'd had a prominent physician kidnapped from a bustling metropolitan hotel and flown thousands of miles to his hidden compound?

Something big. The compound was crawling with heavily armed,camo -clad soldiers. More of them than had been reported here a week ago. It didn't bother Sam that there were twenty trained soldiers in residence. Twenty to one weren't insurmountable odds. He had an arsenal of weapons on him and a heavier pack, fully equipped, concealed several clicks away in the jungle. Another smaller pack was hidden just outside the compound. He was loaded for bear, with skills and determination to use either his weapons, or whatever else was at hand. Whatever it took to expedite this rescue mission.

One of the men shoved a handful of blue fabric at Beth's mid section. It drifted to the floor as she made no move to accept it, and instead, glanced around the brightly lit room without moving her head. "Does anyone here speak English?" she asked with admirable calm.

They didn't. Or pretended they didn't.

Her red-gold hair, pulled up in its customary simple pony tail, wasdisheveled , and her amber freckles stood out in sharp relief on her pale skin. Her eyes flickered between the man holding her at blade-point and the three stony-faced, AK-47-wielding soldiers flanking her.

Two more uniforms were stationed at the door. A seventh man, presumably theanesthesiologist , stood hunch-shouldered and mute at the head of the operating table, clearly trying to make himself as unobtrusive as possible.

Wasn't going to save his sorry ass. Sam was ready, willing, and freaking able to blow the place to smithereens at the first opportunity. Once he had Beth. Once she was safe. Dropping down now, guns blazing, while personally satisfying, might get her killed. That was a risk he wasn't willing to take.

The son of a bitch with the scalpel at her throat would be the first to die.

They'd snatched the wrong doctor. His doctor, goddamn it. At least that's what Sam believed. Beth was a general practitioner, and while he, and the entire town of Brandon, Montana, thought she was extra special, as far as he knew she didn't have any more skills than the several hundred other GPs in attendance at the symposium she'd been attending in Cape Town. He suspected the tangos thought they'd snatched plastic surgeon Lynne Randall. And the second they realized their mistake, Beth would be dead.

And before they killed her she'd be begging to be dead faster .

He had to get her the hell out of here sooner than ASAP. People said SamPelton didn't have a nerve in his body, that ice water ran in his veins. But right now he was as scared as he'd ever been. Everything was different about this op because Beth was in thecenter of it.

Scalpel-dick jerked his head, indicating that one of the men pick up what Sam presumed were scrubs.

The pulse at the base of Beth's throat pounded her stress level, yet she still refused to accept the clothing.

Her sangfroid was remarkable. But that was Beth. Always cool, calm and collected.

That's it. Keep your head, sweetheart I'm right here.

Ignore the scalpel indenting her skin, Sam told himself savagely. Ignore the way her fear, and the stark white lights, leeched all thecolor from her face. Ignore the smudges under her eyes. Ignore the rapid pulse hammering in the hollow of her damp throat.