I'm here to announce the winner of the kindle copy of Counted Worthy by Leah E. Good!
And the winner is...... Anna Baber!!! Congratulations!!
"I will get him back.
But one sound could cost me everything.
I crawl on the thirsty ground, my dark fingerless hands scraping raw. My animal hide tunic clings to mingling sweat and blood. My eyes sting with dust as I watch the setting sun.
My limbs tremble with each silent movement. My bleeding legs quake as they push forward to gain an inch, knife-like grass cutting my face and arms.
Despite the burning sand I lie on, I feel a chill.
I do not think I can make it.
Too exhausted even to cry my dry tears, I lay there, wondering if my heart still beat.
Then, the desperate cries of the Nyamwezi’s captives and the sound of their binding chains pierce my heart as they trudged through this forsaken land.
As strength surges through my veins, I know one thing even as it pulsed through my very heart, even as I dragged in one more racking breath.
I will get him back."
Second place goes to... Ruth Newton!!!
One Word Could Cost Her Everything
There wasn’t any way around it. Usually I could come up with a compromise plan, some way to make the best out of a less than perfect situation. I couldn’t do that now.
I had read about this situation dozens of time. Dakota had even talked to me about it. What do you do, when the good of a few is weighed against the good of many? It’s easy enough to read about it and get upset when the hero decides to risk the lives of many by trying to save those close to him.
Yes or No.
One of those words was going to be my answer. Each of them represented two different things that could happen. And I had to choose which it would be.
“Take your time, Ms. Avery. Choose wisely.”
I knew that there was a slight possibility I could do what Nick wanted without causing something horrible to happen. Maybe I could get away with it, maybe I could protect my family and still warn the others in time.
I looked at the security feed playing on the computer screen. Tiry was holding Sean on her lap and letting him play with her necklace. The necklace I gave her for her birthday five years before.
Nick watched me from behind the desk. He seemed to be trying to read my face, trying to guess what I would say.
I could say ‘yes’, and help him get back into the system. Lives would be put at risk, people who were key players in the struggle could be killed. But my family would be safe. Nick wouldn’t lie about that, he wouldn’t hurt them if he didn’t need to.
Or I could say ‘no’. I didn’t even know how far he would go to make me do it. I didn’t know if someone else other than me could do it. The day of the speech was getting closer, and Nick needed to be ready for his plan at least two days before. I didn’t have any rescue or escape plan. Nick wasn’t the one to be cruel, but he would hurt my sister or even Sean if he thought he had to. I had seen what he had done to people before. Images of Will, shaking on the bed, suffering from the effect of whatever Nick has used on him, flashed through my mind.
I wanted so badly to make it where I could be the one who would be at risk. That way, nobody else would or could get hurt. I had to risk being responsible. I would have to be the one that lived with whatever decision I made.
I looked up at Nick. His feet were up on the desk, and he was running his hands through his light, blonde hair.
This is it. Right here, right now, I will have to take a risk. Strangely enough, I didn’t feel as panicked as I thought I should be. I knew that it was not in my hands anymore. The risk factor that Gabriel had talked about was in play. I can’t be strong without first trusting.
“Yes.” Nick swung his feet off the table in surprise.
“Really? That’s what you want to do?”
“I said yes.”
“Well, okay then. Let’s get started.”
As I walked out of the room, flanked by two security guards, I felt numb. What I was going to do wouldn’t be easy, but I knew I could do it. What would happen when I was finished? I didn’t know if it was selfish of me to feel that I wouldn’t be able to live with what I was about to do. But I had to risk it, I couldn’t let anything happen to Tiry and Sean.
Nick brought me into a large computer lab. The guard behind me shoved into a chair in front of one of the computers. As soon as I turned on the screen, I saw a file labeled “WinterToday.”
“Whenever you’re ready.” Nick said.
I put my hands on the keyboard. I had made the decision to take the risk. Now it was time to jump.
Thank you to everyone who entered!