bad feeling about the proposed church missions trip to Manila, Philippines. The
college-age church group plans to go to Manila and help victims of the
sex-trafficking industry. Stone’s lingering nightmare memories about the
sex-trafficking industry have him warning church leaders that the trip is a bad
idea. He knows all too well that it could end in violence, and those involved
aren’t to be trifled with.
missing, he has a sick feeling that he knows exactly who took her, and for what
purpose. The problem is, Wren isn’t just any other student. She’s someone he’s
close to, someone he cares about. Now she’s in the hands of cruel, evil men,
and Stone is the only one who can rescue her before the unthinkable happens.
THE MISSIONARY TEASER
She couldn’t move, couldn’t speak. She woke instantly, and this time the pain was what woke her. She was on her back, hog-tied. Voices spoke above her in rapid Filipino. His voice, and three others.
Her jaw hurt, and she realized she was gagged.
She couldn’t see, and she realized she was blindfolded.
She was dizzy, disoriented, sludgy. The drug was in her system, muddling her brain.
The four voices were arguing, angry. She tried not to let them know she was awake. Whenever they knew she was awake, they shot her full of that awful drug, and they hit her. Sometimes they fed her, gave her water. Never enough, though. And sometimes, the food had things in it that wriggled as she chewed. It was something in her belly, though, and that was better than nothing. She was so hungry. All the time. And so thirsty.
My name is Wren Morgan. She focused on that. Held on to it. It was all she had. All she knew.
A hand slapped her face, but she refused to give in to the pain, refused to give away the fact that she was awake.
The hand slapped her hard, again and again. “Up, American girl. Up.” The gag was removed.
“Okay! Stop hitting me, please…I’m awake.” Her jaw ached and her throat was raw, vocal chords scraping. Even her voice hurt.
“I tink you play games. You awake, play like you not. Stupid American. I know when you lie.” His voice. Dark and evil and slithering like serpents in tall grass.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Please. Let me go.”
He just laughed. “Oh no. I tink no. You make me pery rich.”
“My parents, they’ll pay ransom. Please.”
“I got petter idea.” He slapped her again, but perfunctorily. “I sell you.”
“Sell? Sell me? To…to who?”
“Dat we find out. Pretty American girl? You wort a lot of money.”
She felt something cold against her breastbone. She fought to remember what it was, that cold metal thing between her breasts. Her cross. Her little silver cross. Her mom had given it to her as an adoption-day present four years ago, and it was her most prized possession.
A hand grabbed her chin, pushed her face from one side to another. Fingers pried her mouth open, dirty fingers tasting foul. She twisted her face away, and a closed-fist blow rocked her to one side. Her cheek throbbed, and she fought tears. Hands groped her, poked her arms, felt her biceps, rubbed a strand of her hair. Squeezed her breasts cruelly, pinching, lifting, weighing. She fought this violation as best she could, fought, fought. Until a fist bashed her into stillness, and the hands continued to grope and pinch. Her shirt was lifted, her bra jerked down to bare her skin. Her breasts were examined. That was what this was: an examination. A perusal of goods. When the examination ended, hinges squealed and the voices moved away, discussing her in low, quick Filipino. She was left alone, tied up, clothes rucked and her chest bared. Her cheek throbbed, her skin ached. A tooth was loose in her mouth.
But they hadn’t drugged her again.
And they hadn’t raped her, yet.
It was coming, and Wren Morgan knew it.
She refused to cry.
Christine’s 4 STAR Review!
This was a very tough read about something realistic that is happening in our world today – sex trafficking. We live in our safe towns and homes and often times don’t realize that these things are happening and after reading this book last night in one sitting, it has been on my mind all day.
Wren Morgan goes missing while on a mission trip in Manila Phillipines. This story was told in the beginning in past and present tenses and I enjoyed reading about this character who seemed so innocent and wholesome – a girl with a big heart who just wants to help people. Stone Pressfield is an ex Navy SEAL and works at the church that Wren attends. I can sense off the bat that these characters are attracted to each other but Stone won’t allow himself to pursue her, not only because he is older than her but because he feels that he is not good enough for her after everything he went through while in the Navy. Stone argues with the church leaders not to allow these young adults go on this mission as he knows firsthand the awful things happening but against his wishes they go anyways. And thankfully Stone goes with them to act as security and try to protect them.
I will be honest and say I was sick to my stomach living in Wren’s mind while she was held captive. Being a mother, I am nervous, scared and want to jump into my kindle and save her. I can’t imagine this reality for some people and my heart breaks even thinking about it. There are really no words to describe all of my emotions while living this experience through Wren’s eyes.
Will Stone be able to find Wren in a country where on every corner you don’t know who to trust? And will Wren’s innocence be taken after all of the horrors she has to endure in the hands of her abductors who want to sell her for huge sums of money?
You will have to read this book to find out!
I enjoyed this debut novel by Jack Wilder. While the subject matter completely horrified me, it was a change to what I have been reading lately. I enjoyed learning about something that I was unfamiliar with and it completely opened my eyes to something that even affects us here in the US. I enjoyed the intensity and that it was packed with so much action…I really couldn’t put it down. What I enjoyed most of all is that even in the face of all of these horrors, that something as beautiful as love could surface and help to heal these two wonderful characters. Love provided that light at the end of the tunnel when there was so much darkness and I truly enjoyed the enlightening experience of reading this book.
Great job – look forward to reading more from you!
half of the writing team “The Wilders.” You might know his wife,
Jasinda Wilder, as the author of bestselling books such as Falling Into You,
Falling Into Us, Stripped, and Wounded, among many others. The Missionary is
Jack’s first solo work, but you can bet it won’t be the last. The Wilders live
in the suburbs outside of Detroit, Michigan with their five kids, a dog that
vaguely resembles a coyote,and a manny.