Forever, My Homeland: The Final Book in the All My Love, Detrick Series, p.1Roberta Kagan
FOREVER MY HOMELAND
The Final Book of the
“ALL MY LOVE, DETRICK,” Series
by Roberta Kagan
Copyright © 2016 by Roberta Kagan
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events are purely coincidental.
This is the last book in the “All My Love, Detrick,” series. It is hard for me to say goodbye to all of the characters in these books who have become my old friends. I’ve received several emails requesting that I write Dorothy’s story (Leah’s friend who went to America in Book One). I am not planning to do that right now, but I am considering it in the future.
This, the final book, is a very special book to me, because it is the last one. I had a lot of difficulty writing it, and I don’t think I could have done it without my editor Morris E. Graham. Morris wrote to me after reading one of my previous books and said he could help me better my work. He was right. He did help me more than I can ever express. He did endless hours of research to ensure accuracy in case I had missed or misinterpreted a fact and then polished my work beyond anything I ever expected. Thank you, Morris. Thank you.
I also want to thank my daughter and my husband. My husband was very sick when I was finishing this book. However, even though he needed my help in many ways, he always understood that I had to make time for my work. My daughter, as always, is my best friend and my rock. She took care of her father so that I was able to work. I could never have finished this book without her constant assistance.
Once again, and most of all, I want to thank you, the readers. You are the reason that I, with pleasure, devote endless hours researching and writing. It is my greatest desire that my work pleases you. Thank you for allowing me into your lives by spending your precious time reading my books. It is truly an honor.
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Nina Amsel ran as fast as she was able, with her swollen legs and the extra weight she was not used to carrying on her small frame. With sweat-slick palms, she held tightly to her distended, pregnant belly, hoping to ease the strain on the baby who huddled inside, trusting her for protection. She gagged as her heart thundered in her throat. The heaviness of her body combined with exertion and fear made her breath ragged and uneven.
The PLO had discovered the truth. She had no idea how they knew. Perhaps she and her husband, Elan were the reason they took the plane hostage in the first place. However, the PLO had now made it clear that they knew that she and Elan were Mossad agents.
They had escaped together, but then two terrorists had come toward them in the darkness. She’d ducked into a dark doorway, but when she looked for Elan, he was gone. The airport in Uganda was a like a maze, a dark web of passages and corridors, all of them looking alike, but all of them unfamiliar. Somehow, she must find her husband in this spiderweb of hallways. If the terrorists who’d taken control of the Airbus in France caught him before she could get to him, there was no doubt they would kill him.
The PLO hated Jews, but even more they hated Mossad, and she and Elan were Mossad agents. Nina was hyperventilating, gasping for air. She had to stop and hold on to the side of the building to try to calm herself, at least for the sake of the baby. Her hand left a print in sweat on the wall where she held on for support.
Elan, dear God, where is Elan? She could not cry out, or they would surely find her. Breathe, breathe…she gasped to herself. As soon as she was able, Nina began moving again. Hugging the wall, she tiptoed quietly through the corridors, searching each room, listening in the empty blackness for voices, for sounds that would give her any indication of either danger or the presence of her beloved husband.
Her fine-tuned hearing listened while her eyes darted from side-to-side. Even the slightest movement, the smallest of sounds registered in her mind. Still moving, still going forward, she must find Elan.
Then she detected the whispers. Stopping quickly, she stood perfectly still. There was no denying it, what she had heard was the sound of voices…the terrible threatening voices of the members of the PLO. Her throat felt like sandpaper as she approached the doorway. Hiding from their sight, she listened.
“Mossad? You son of a bitch, you are an agent with Mossad… Did you think we would let you live? You filthy Jew!”
She peeked inside. Elan was in the room. His hands and feet were bound with a thick rope to a chair. His mouth was covered with duct tape, but his eyes were defined. That was Elan. He would never back down, plead, or cry, even though there was no possible way that he could escape.
One of the terrorists was waving a machete. Did they plan to behead him? Oh God! She had heard about the beheadings. There are seven of them. She counted them twice to be sure. Seven! I could not fight them alone, and even worse, I am unarmed and pregnant, Nina thought.
Yes, they were going to behead him. She saw the man lift the machete and shove the blade in Elan’s face. They wanted to make sure that he saw clearly what they had in store for him. Thi
One of the terrorists, a skinny man, barely older than a boy, stood over Elan. He whispered something, but Nina could not hear him clearly enough to understand his words. Then, the boy spit in Elan’s face. One of the older terrorists, this one, a man perhaps twenty-five years old, took the machete from the younger man. His dark eyes glittered with anger and hatred as he held the blade high in the air. The light reflected in the steel as it slid through the air… When the knife had almost made contact with Elan’s neck, Nina awakened.
She found herself in her home, in her bed beside Elan, but she was sitting up and screaming. He’d awakened too and was holding her in his arms. These dreams had been reoccurring since they had escaped from the terrorists holding the Jews hostage in Uganda where they had hijacked the airline coming from France on its way to Israel. Nina and Elan had been returning from a vacation in Paris when the PLO had hijacked the plane to Uganda.
It was a terrifying experience, but in the end, it had all worked out very well. The IDF had planned and executed a marvelous escape. Although both Nina and Elan had been involved in dangerous missions before, now she was pregnant, and that very fact changed the way she looked at everything.
When she was younger, she’d looked at her Mossad missions as adventures, but now she saw them as the life-threatening terrors that they were. This pregnancy had not come to her easily. She’d had a difficult time conceiving. She’d prayed every day for five years to be blessed with a child. Now that she was pregnant, she and Elan both wanted to protect this new life in every way possible.
Once the escape was over, and they returned safely to Israel, both she and Elan retired from Mossad. That had been a difficult decision because Mossad was a job to which both of them had dedicated their lives.
Nina’s slender body was convulsing.
“Shhhhh…you’re all right. You’re here at home. You’re safe in my arms,” Elan said.
Nina tried to calm herself. She leaned her head on his muscular chest. Although he was twenty years her senior, he still had the strongest and tightest body of any man she’d ever known.
Elan rocked his wife in his arms like a baby. He was the only person who had ever seen his wife’s vulnerability. It had taken her a long time to let him get that close to her.
“Nina, Nina,” he whispered almost like a song into her long, curly dark hair.
“It was the dream again,” she said, her voice hoarse.
“I know,” he whispered, “but it was only a nightmare. It never even happened that way. I was never exposed as Mossad at Entebbe. We were just Israeli captives as far as they knew. You are here safe with me in our home, in our bed, in this quiet little village. We’re just far enough outside of Tel Aviv to avoid the crowds, but close enough for us to go into the city for a good meal, yes?” he asked, trying to make her laugh at least a little.
She nodded her head.
“Speaking of a good meal...” He tried to make his voice casual. But of course, he knew she still remembered the narrow escape from Entebbe. He understood because he could not forget the escape, and how he’d felt as he looked back through the window of the jeep that the IDF had loaded them into and saw the body of their dear friend Yoni Netanyahu lying dead, his blood pooling on the concrete. “Maybe,” Elan cleared his throat, “maybe we should go into the city tomorrow night and have a nice dinner?”
“We’ll see. I hate to leave here.”
It was hard to believe that once his Nina had been a special agent with Mossad. Together they’d taken unfathomable risks. He wondered if all women got this way when they became pregnant. Perhaps their hormones made them jittery, on edge, nervous. In a way, although he would never tell her, Elan loved Nina this way. She had been so independent before, and he’d been crazy with desire for that independent girl. But now, he felt like a lion, her protector. No matter what the future brought, Elan decided that he would not fail this woman who continually captured and recaptured his heart.
“Do you want some water?” he whispered into her hair.
“Ahhhh, how about some figs? Did you know that I brought you a bunch of dried figs when I went to the market yesterday?”
She laughed a little. Sometimes Elan could be especially thoughtful. He knew how much she’d come to love anything sweet since she’d gotten pregnant. “Yes, maybe some figs.”
He stretched out his long legs and stood up. In his white briefs, his muscular tan legs looked like the legs of an Olympian. Elan knew that he owed his well-honed body to years of discipline. He’d started a daily routine of running, weight lifting, sit-ups and push-ups when he first served as a young man in the IDF, and he liked the way exercise made him feel. In fact, after a full hour and a half of strenuous workout, he had a feeling of euphoria. So, he’d continued the routine throughout his life. “You stay here. I’ll be right back,” Elan said, as he leaned over and kissed the top of Nina’s head.
Elan put several figs on a small plate and poured a glass of water. Nina, she was so young and beautiful. Every time he looked at her, he found it hard to believe that such a woman would choose to marry a man twenty years her senior. Whenever they went anywhere, he watched the faces of the younger men as they stared at him with envy. He had to admit he enjoyed the feeling, but at the same time, it threatened him. He wondered if she would lose her attraction to him and find another man when he grew older. The very idea sent a chill of insecurity down his spine, and Elan Amsel had never before been insecure in his life.
“Here you go, sweetheart,” he said, placing the plate on her lap and the water glass on the small table next to the bed. Then, he went to the bathroom and got a wet washcloth. Gently he patted the sweat off of her face.
“I cannot believe how nervous and sensitive I’ve become. Suddenly, I am going to be a mother, and now everything bothers me…”
“I know, I know…it’s all right. Soon you’ll have the baby, and you’ll feel much better. Your hormones will get back to normal.”
“I suppose everything is just going so well…you know? It makes me afraid to lose the wonderful things I have. That makes no sense, I know.”
“It does. It makes all the sense in the world. As much as I miss working with Mossad and all of the excitement, I feel that I would not want to put myself at risk because finally someone loves me and really needs me.”
“Elan. I do love you… Thank you for trying to understand me, even when I don’t understand myself.” She kissed him, and the figs spilled on the blanket. He pushed the blanket out of his way and took her into his arms. She melted into him, into his strength. Nina let herself be lost in the security of Elan’s strong body. Then gently, slowly, and carefully…he made love to her.
The baby was due in early spring, but by the middle of January, Nina was huge. Meat, vegetables, fruit, and milk tasted strange to her. She could not bear to eat healthy food, only sweets and she’d gained eighty pounds. That was a lot of weight on her small frame. Her ankles and legs began to swell. Her breasts were large, tender, and uncomfortable. The wedding ring she wore had to be cut off at the emergency room at the local hospital because it was digging so deep into her swollen finger that it became painful.
But more importantly, her mind was not stable. Most of the time Nina was fearful, sometimes edgy and agitated, other times quiet and almost comatose. She would catch imaginary glimpses of the people she’d been forced to execute during her missions in Mossad. Intellectually, she knew that these visions were not real. These people were dead, but sometimes she would see someone moving in the corner of her vision.
One morning she was boiling water for tea when she heard a noise outside the kitchen window. She glanced out but saw nothing. Then in her peripheral vision
But then she noticed that the branches of the olive tree in her front yard had come alive, and were reaching in desperation for Heaven, their silver leaves trembling with fear. She became so frightened that she accidentally knocked the glass cup off the countertop and into the sink. It broke into shards that looked like icicles. Nina began to clean the mess, but the glass felt cold. For a minute, she thought that perhaps it was ice and not glass at all. Could she possibly have imagined breaking a glass?
Nina looked out at the tree again. It was no longer alive. Everything was as it should be. Was all of this a dream, but she was awake? What was happening to her? Elan had heard the breaking of the glass and came into the kitchen where he found her with her hands bleeding. He looked at her with such concern that she thought she might cry. Then Elan took both of her bloody hands into his own brought them to his lips and kissed them.
He escorted her out of the kitchen and sat her down on the sofa in the living room. “I’ll be right back—stay right here,” he whispered to her. Then, he got the first aid kit that they kept in the bathroom and gently cleaned her wounds. She sat quietly and stared at him.
When he had finished, he did not speak, but took her into his arms and held her until the pot of water that she’d left in the kitchen was boiling. Then he kissed the top of her head and went to make her a cup of tea.
Elan was worried. Nina did not look good. She was not glowing with health the way he’d always been told that a pregnant woman should. Every night she had trouble sleeping, not only was her body heavy, but she had to urinate constantly through the night. Nina had constant heartburn and adamantly refused when Elan tried to convince her to eat fruit or vegetables. Her once thick lustrous hair was now dry and frizzy. But the worst of it was that she’d seen spots of blood on her underwear. This pregnancy had not been easy to achieve. It had taken the couple five years and a trip to France for Nina to conceive. If she lost the baby, Elan knew, Nina would be devastated.
Forever, My Homeland: The Final Book in the All My Love, Detrick Series by Roberta Kagan / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes