I just returned to San Diego after a successful assignment to return a missing teenager to his anxious parents in Florida. Those outcomes are always gratifying, but I’ve had my share of failures, too. You see, I’ve been an agent with the International Retrieval Organization for fifteen years. We don’t always locate the missing person, or free the hostage, or keep the witness safe, but we always give one hundred percent to every case.
Over the years, I’ve fulfilled many roles in the organization. For the past five years I’ve been the chief training officer for recruits. Many rookies these days enter the program thinking they’re going to be the top dog in no time. It’s my job to teach them what an agent needs to know, but I also gauge whether or not they’ll make the cut. Being an effective agent is more than completing course work. Agents must have the inner strength to forge ahead with the assignment no matter what is happening around them or to them. They must be intuitive, trust their partners, and trust their instincts. I can’t teach them that.
I’m sitting at my desk in the office, reading the application form from the newest recruit, a woman named Kitty Claire Briggs who has an appointment with me in fifteen minutes. She seems to have all the necessary prerequisites. The boss had slapped a sticky note on her application. Hold on to your cap. This rookie will surprise you. I wonder what he meant. Oh, well. I’ll soon find out.
I open my desk drawer and remove a file where I keep a list of all the agents I’ve trained thus far. During the time I’ve been in charge of the program, I’ve updated the coursework and hands on training assignments. I’m proud of the improvements I implemented. I rock in my chair and think back to my rookie period. As a former small town sheriff with a college degree in criminal justice, I thought I was going to sail through the course and impress the shirts off those in charge. Not quite. I did have it easier than some, but I had a lot to learn too.
Those early years were hard but fun. Until the accident. Since then, I’ve had to remind myself numerous times why I left the sheriff’s department to become an agent. Unique cases. Extensive resources. Superior technology.
I shift in my chair and check my watch. The recruit will be here any minute. Compose yourself, Cooper. If you’re going to ask her why she wants to work for IRO, remember your reasons for applying.
After taking in a deep breath, I open her folder. A knock on my door. I stand and call, “Come in.”
Whew. I can’t believe I’m this nervous. Applying to be an agent with IRO was a risk for me. Sure, I want to help people in traumatic situations, but what if the bigwigs discover the real reason I applied? I’ll have to be extra careful during my training and later, if I make it. Who are you kidding, girl? Of course you’ll make it. Top of your class in any physical course you took. You hit the target every time you fire a gun. You’ve overcome so much in your short life. You’ll be an agent before you know it.
I’m parked outside the office building, and although I have an alarm set on my phone, I keep an eye on the dashboard clock. I sip my iced tea then set the bottle in the cup holder and check the vanity mirror. Why, I’m not sure. Habit I suppose. I don’t wear lipstick and my hair is, well, I’m bald. Shave my head every morning. My parents often ask me why I continue although I’m cancer free, and I have no ready answer except maybe in rebellion. Not toward them. Never. I love them as if they were my birthparents. I might be a rebel at heart, though. As a kid, I always wanted to do everything contrary to what was expected. Learn to cook. Nope. I chose to fix our bicycles with my brothers. Help Mother with her scrapbooks. Not when the boys were building a tree fort.
A bus rumbles by the parking lot. I look in the mirror again. Maybe I should dab on some lipstick. Or blush. My honey-toned skin is flawless, for which I’m grateful, but I need more color. I pinch my cheeks. Better. I wipe at a smudge of mascara under one eye. Gray eyes. Unusual for sure. Did my birthmother have gray eyes? I knew she was Caucasian, but that’s all.
The feeling of abandonment is never far from my soul. I clutch the jacket over my heart and blow out a breath. If I become an agent, I will find out what happened to her.
The alarm beeps. Time to go. I climb out of my car and smooth my skirt. Shoulders back, I stride toward the office door. Watch out world, here comes the next IRO agent.
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Our Story Title: JUSTICE AT DAWN
Our Story Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Our Story Releases: July 30, 2021
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American Christian Fiction Writers\’ Genesis Award winner Valerie Massey Goree resides on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.
After serving as missionaries in her home country of Zimbabwe and raising two children, Glenn and Valerie moved to Texas. She worked in the public school system for many years, focusing on students with special needs. Now retired in Washington, Valerie spends her time writing, and spoiling her grandchildren.
Novels include: Deceive Me Once; Colors of Deceit; The Stolen Lives Trilogy, Weep in the Night; Day of Reckoning; and Justice at Dawn. Set in Australia, Forever Under Blue Skies, is now available from Amazon.
Valerie loves to hear from her readers.
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WHERE can our book be purchased?
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Justice-at-Dawn-Stolen-Lives-ebook/dp/B08V5L4Q91/
- , an imprint of Pelican Book Group: https://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=37_47