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  • The Defiant Hero
  • Written by Suzanne Brockmann
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  • The Defiant Hero
  • Written by Suzanne Brockmann
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780345464286
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Written by Suzanne BrockmannAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Suzanne Brockmann

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On Sale: June 03, 2003
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-345-46428-6
Published by : Ballantine Books Ballantine Group
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

In The Unsung Hero, award-winning author Suzanne Brockmann dazzled readers with her remarkable cast of tough and tender U.S. Navy SEALs. Now her daring men in uniform return for THE DEFIANT HERO—a thrilling novel of steadfast courage, intimate passions, and the profound risks that are taken in the name of love. . . .

"The United States refuses to negotiate with terrorists." Meg Moore remembered the warning from her job as a translator in a European embassy. Those same words will spell out a death sentence for her daughter and grandmother who have been kidnapped by a lethal group called the Extremists. Meg will do anything to meet their unspeakable demands; anything—even kill—to save her child.

When Navy SEAL Lieutenant, junior grade, John Nilsson is summoned to Washington, D.C., by the FBI to help negotiate a hostage situation, the last person he expects to see holding a foreign ambassador at gunpoint is Meg. He hasn't seen her in years, but he's never forgotten how it feels to hold her in his arms. John could lose his career if he helps her escape. She will lose her life if he doesn't. . . .

Excerpt


Meg didn't understand at first.

The man was smiling, and his pleasant expression and
tone of voice didn't match his words. "We've taken your
daughter hostage."

She was in the parking garage beneath her condo, hauling
a box of files from the back of her car, when he approached
her. She wasn't even a hundred feet away from Ramon, the
building's security guard.

The smiling man must've seen the confusion in her eyes, be-cause
he said it again. In a Kazbekistani dialect. "We have your
daughter, and if you don't follow our orders, we'll kill her."

And this time, Meg understood. Amy. She dropped the box.

"Everything okay over there, Ms. Moore?" Ramon was
down off his stool, starting toward them. There'd recently
been a rape in another parking garage in this part of Washington,
DC.

"Tell him yes," the smiling man murmured, opening
his baseball jacket, giving her a flash of a very deadly
looking gun.

Oh, God. "Where is she?"

"If I don't make a phone call to my associates within the
next hour, she's dead," he told her as he bent down to pick up
the box. "My associates are Kazbekistani Extremists."

Terrorists. But not just regular terrorists. The Extremists
were religious zealots, capable of terrible violence and cruelty,
all in the name of their god. And they had Amy.

Oh, God.

"Everything's fine," Meg called to the guard, her voice shaking
only slightly.

"We're old college friends." The man turned his friendly
smile on Ramon. "I thought I recognized Meggie. I didn't
mean to appear before her like the ghost of Christmas past,
though, and scare her half to death."

Ramon's hand was on the gun holstered at his waist. He
smiled politely, but his dark brown gaze was on Meg. "Ms.
Moore?"

Help.

She'd prepared for situations like this, back when she was
working at the American embassy in Kazbekistan, an Eastern
European country also know as K-stan or "the Pit" to
the Americans who served time there. During her stay, she
was reminded regularly that the United States didn't negotiate
with terrorists. The best solution was preventive--stay
safe, stay secure, stay away from dangerous persons and
situations.

It was a little late for that now--although who would have
thought a K-stani terrorist would show up here in Washing-ton,
all these years later?

Meg knew what she should do in this situation. She
should enlist Ramon's help while this man held her box of
files, while his hands were full and he couldn't easily reach
for his gun. She should be a strong American and refuse to
negotiate with terrorists. She should seek help from the FBI.

Who, no matter how good they were, wouldn't be able to
find her ten-year-old daughter within the next sixty minutes.

After which time Amy would be killed.

Meg forced a smile. American be damned. She was playing
this one out as Amy's very frightened mother. "It's all
right, Ramon," she lied. "We're . . . old friends."

"How about I carry this upstairs for you?" The man continued
the charade. His English was remarkably good--he
had only the faintest of accents. "We could talk about old
times over a cup of coffee."

"Great." She smiled again at Ramon, who watched them
all the way over to the elevators.

"Where is she?" Meg hissed from behind her frozen
smile. "Where's Amy? And what about my grandmother?"
Amy had planned to take her great-grandmother, Eve, to the
Smithsonian while Meg picked up these files she'd been
hired to translate. Meg hadn't been sure exactly who was the
baby-sitter--the ten-year-old or the seventy-five-year-old.

"The old lady's your grandmother." He nodded as he
pressed the elevator's call button. "I thought she was too old
to be your mother. We've got her, too."

Meg felt a rush of relief. At least Eve was with Amy. At
least Amy wasn't alone and terrified and . . . "I don't under-stand.
I'm not rich, and--"

"We don't want your money." The elevator doors opened
and he stood back, politely letting her on first--the perfect
terrorist gentleman. "We want you to do us a little favor."
Oh, God.

"You frequently do business at the Kazbekistani embassy
across town, right?"

Oh, mighty God. The doors slid closed, but she kept her
smile in place. Ramon would be watching through the security
cameras.

"I only work as a consultant, a translator. It's never, I
never . . ."

He pushed the button for twelve. Somehow this man she'd
never seen before knew she and Amy lived on the twelfth
floor.

Meg took a deep breath and tried again. "Look, I'm not
allowed into any areas inside the embassy that contain confidential
information or--"

"We don't want you to spy for us. We already have an agent
in place inside the embassy for that purpose." He laughed and
it wasn't purely for the cameras. This man was enjoying him-self,
amused by her fear.

A fear that morphed hotly into anger as she turned her
back to the security camera. "Then what do you want, damn
it? How do I even know you've got Amy and Eve?"

The elevator doors opened at the twelfth floor. He stepped
back, again to let her go first. "If you like, we'll send you the
old lady's head in a box--"

"No!" Oh, God.

He laughed again. "Then I guess you've just got to trust
me, don't you, Meggie?"

Meg's hands were shaking so badly, she couldn't get her
key into the lock.

He shifted the box to one arm and a hip as he gently took
her key ring from her, opened the door, and pushed her in-side,
following her into her living room. "I'm afraid I can't
be as trusting," he continued, setting her box next to the
couch. "After we discuss strategy and negotiate terms, I'm
going to drive with you over to the embassy. I know it's after
five, but there's a function tonight. Nothing formal. You can
wear jeans. In fact, I want you to wear jeans. With those
boots you have. What are they called? Cowboy boots. Or
should it be cowgirl boots?"

"Negotiate terms?" Meg didn't give a damn what she
wore. "What terms?"

"Well, it's actually a pretty simple negotiation with only
one or two minor points. But the bottom line is that if you
want to see your daughter and grandmother again, you'll do
what we tell you to do. If you don't . . ."

"I do."

"Good." He crossed to the windows, pulled the curtains.

"Once you're in the embassy, our inside agent will keep an
eye on you. If you make any attempt to get help or to contact
the authorities at any time, we will kill your daughter. Have
absolutely no doubt about that."

His smile was gone.

Meg nodded. She didn't doubt him. After living and
working in Kazbekistan for years, she knew quite well what
the Extremists were capable of.

"What do you want me to do?"
Suzanne Brockmann|Author Q&A

About Suzanne Brockmann

Suzanne Brockmann - The Defiant Hero

Photo © Natalie Schlossman

Since her explosion onto the publishing scene more than ten years ago, Suzanne Brockmann has written more than forty books, and is now widely recognized as one of the leading voices in romantic suspense. Her work has earned her repeated appearances on the USA Today and New York Timesbestseller lists, as well as numerous awards, including Romance Writers of America's #1 Favorite Book of the Year (three years running), two RITA Awards, and many Romantic TimesReviewers' Choice Awards. Suzanne Brockmann lives west of Boston with her husband, author Ed Gaffney.

Author Q&A

Q: Where do your story ideas come from? Do you start with a plot, a character, a conflict?

Suzanne Brockmann: Usually I start with something I call a "story seed," which is a question that holds the beginnings of both plot and characters (and sometimes even theme!). For THE UNSUNG HERO, which was released by Ballantine/Ivy this past June, and recently was voted the Romance Writers of America's # 1 Favorite Romance of the Year, my initial story seed question was: What if a Navy SEAL spots an international terrorist in small-town New England while he's home on leave? The next question I asked was: "What if the SEAL is on leave because he's recently had a near-fatal career-threatening head injury?" Then, "What if he's suddenly uncertain if he's actually seen this terrorist, or if he's suffering from some weird paranoia or hallucinations brought on by his head injury?" The theme became "things are not always as they seem," and the entire book was filled with characters who hid--intentionally or not--behind all types of facades and labels.

THE DEFIANT HERO started with the question, "What if a woman's daughter is kidnapped by terrorists? How far would she go, what would she do to get her back?" Would she kill? Maybe. Would she lie? Definitely. And this book became one about deception in all it's various forms.

Q: How much does the finished product differ from the book you set out to write?

SB: I work from a very detailed outline. Some writers feel out the story as they go and revise heavily after they finish writing, but I plan it all out in advance, before I sit down to write. As a result, I write a very clean first draft. And the final product is very similar to the ideas that were in my head.

Q: A lot of writers advise to "write what you know." Are your characters modeled after people that you know? Are you in your book?

SB: Hmmm. Well, I never was a Navy SEAL, that's for sure! My father was in the Army, but that was years before I was born. I can tell you, though, that when I was about twelve years old, I became fascinated with the history of WWII--I read every book on the subject in my library. I read everything from detailed histories of great battles such as Midway and the Normandy Invasion, the "Battle of the Bulge," Anzio, the Philippines, Iwo Jima. And I also read the smaller, more personal stories of the people who were there on
the front lines and on the homefront. I've got a long-standing respect for the U.S. Military.

There are certainly bits and pieces of my life thrown in. I'm really into pop culture--music, movies, books--and references to that will show up from time to time.

Q: Do you know how this series will end?

SB: To be honest, I'm hoping this series will never officially end! With an entire team of SEALs, I'll never run out of characters! If it proves to be popular, hey, I'll just keep it going!

Q: How attached do you get to your characters? Do they remain in your consciousness after you've finished writing them?

SB: Absolutely! That's what so much fun about writing an ongoing series like this one. The hero from THE UNSUNG HERO, Tom Paoletti, shows up in THE DEFIANT HERO and in September's release, OVER THE EDGE. Two characters, Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke first appear in TUH, then have a major heatwave of a subplot in THE DEFIANT HERO. They're part of the story again in OVER THE EDGE (although the main characters are the SEAL team's senior chief and a female Navy Reserve helicopter pilot), but even then, their story is far from over.

Q: How do you know when a story is finished?

SB: That's an easy one for me. I work off a detailed outline, and when I get to the last 200 or so pages of a book, the end of the story is so clear in my head, I make a list of scenes left to write. (It usually fills two pages of a legal pad, sometimes even more!)

When I'm planning the book, one of the first things I know is how it's going to end!


Q: You characters take great risks--and sometimes these risks are for love. Does love require risk?

SB: I believe it does. Love and trust are so intensely intertwined. And anytime you trust someone, you're taking a risk. Some people trust (and love) so effortlessly. For others, it's not so easy. But either way, the risk is still there.


Q: How did you spend Valentine's Day this year?

SB: This year I spent V-day furiously doing final revisions on the manuscript for OVER THE EDGE--which I promised to send to my editor before I left for a desperately needed vacation in mid-February. But my husband and I knew we'd be taking ourselves out to dinner in the very near future, so that was okay. (And our favorite restaurant in the world is down on Siesta Key, Florida, where we spent our vacation!)

Q: I read on your Web site that you are a singer and songwriter. How does this factor into your stories in the future? How does the fiction-writing process differ from song-writing? How are they similar?

SB: Music shows up in my stories in all kinds of ways. In THE DEFIANT HERO, there's one point when the hero and heroine communicate through a folksong! (And the hero can't sing to save his life!)

The most obvious difference between songwriting and novel writing is length! I've written some of my best songs in a matter of hours. My best books take just a little bit longer.

And then there's the word length! With a book like THE DEFIANT HERO, I use 130,000 words to tell the story. In a song, you've got to be a LITTLE more concise!

As far as similarities go, both are an intensely creative process and
extremely satisfying on that level.

One thing I can tell you--I can't listen to music while I write. I get
completely distracted by the music. But on the other hand, I've written a book after being inspired by a song!

Q: What songs have inspired you to write?

SB: There's one in particular that comes to mind called "Softer than a Whisper" by country singer Hal Ketchum. It's a song about the kind of love that grows on you, that kind of creeps up on you unaware (as opposed to bolt of lightning, love at first sight type love!). That song inspired me to write one of my Tall, Dark & Dangerous series romances called FOREVER BLUE.

Q: What are you working on now?

SB: Right now I'm plotting the fourth book in the Troubleshooters series, the follow up to OVER THE EDGE. And I'm also embarking on a publicity tour. I'm going to be in Memphis, Tampa, Sarasota, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas and Boston, giving writers workshops and doing booksignings. Check out my exact schedule on the Appearances page of my Web site at:
http://www.suzannebrockmann.com/appearances.htm

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

SB: Read. And really pay attention and learn to analyze every piece of fiction that you encounter -- whether it's a book, movie or TV show. Watch and read carefully and learn to identify why a certain book or movie worked for you. What did the author do so that you laughed or cried or got angry? In the same way, pay attention to books and movies that DON'T work for you. What did the writer do wrong?

And write. Write every day!


  • The Defiant Hero by Suzanne Brockmann
  • February 27, 2001
  • Fiction - Romance - Contemporary
  • Ivy Books
  • $7.99
  • 9780804119535

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