At only age twenty-two, she’s the best Probie the Agency has ever had—until her past catches up with her, leaving her devastated and broken. Without hope.
No one knows what they’re made of until they’re broken. At the tender age of twenty-two, Hope Ali has finally joined the organization of her dreams, the Agency, an elite group of attorneys who go undercover to right wrongs the law can’t. The requirements are stringent, the training exhausting.
After seeking asylum in the United States when she was sixteen, Hope and her father, Sheikh Harun Ali, settled in a quiet Wisconsin town, hiding from those who had placed a price on their heads. Still, she excelled, finishing her university and law school education by the time she was twenty-one.
Now, after breezing through the Agency training program, Hope appears to be indestructible—until she is assigned a simple task during the rescue of an author among the disappeared in the UAE. The task? To distract the woman’s captors until she can be spirited out of the country.
Unfortunately, a member of MISix has other plans. In an attempt to disrupt the Agency’s mission, she tips off one of Hope’s enemies, alerting them to her location. Hope manages to lead the author’s captors on a merry dance, freeing others to rescue her, until she is unexpectedly confronted with a violent angry mob intent on harm.
She is left bloody and broken. No one knows whether Hope’s body or her mind will heal. Suddenly Hope is no longer just her name. It is also the one thing she must embrace to find her new normal.
Hope stared at the pit full of ice, then gazed at Dianna. “You want me to do what?”
Dianna smiled. “This is your new obstacle course. It’s called The Ballbuster. Obviously, the other one wasn’t challenging enough for you, so I thought we’d try something else.” She smirked. “What’s the matter, not up to it, Probie?”
Hope scowled. “I thought you were my friend.”
“When you’re on Agency grounds, I’m your trainer and mentor first. You know that, Hope. My job is to make sure that when in the field, you can overcome every obstacle. Failure isn’t an option. Failure could mean death.”
Hope snapped, “Don’t you think I know that? God, everyone seems duty-bound to remind me of that every damn day. I’m not a child. I know my limits. I know my weaknesses. You don’t have to bludgeon me over the head with a cudgel.”
Dianna’s expression hardened. “Here’s the thing, Hope. The second you begin to believe that you can overcome every obstacle put in front of you is the day you should quit. Confidence is one thing. Feeling that you’re omniscient is another. Out in the field, fear is what drives you, and it could very well be what saves you. I don’t need you taking stupid chances because you think you’re Wonder Woman, able to thwart every threat. I need you to calmly assess each situation and rationally weigh the risks. You need to know when to walk away. Just as you need to know when a risk is worth taking. You have no real superpowers, woman. And you need to remember that. That’s why you’re on probation until we’re confident you can survive, Probie.
“This job isn’t about physical skill. It’s about being able to clearly, quickly, and competently analyze the risks. What I see right now is a young woman without fear, willing to take on any roadblock. I need you to recognize your limits and work around them. There is no shame in admitting defeat. And there most definitely is no shame in asking for help. That’s why each obstacle has a kill bell. Hit that and the exercise stops.”
“And then what,” Hope muttered. “I get kicked out?”
“No, then we step in and help. This Agency leaves no man or woman behind, Hope. They proved that to me when I was sent to Bolivia. The minute I sent out the Bat Signal, they began putting together a team to extract me. They saved my life.”
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