Author Spotlight - Fled for Refuge by Kristina Hall
Tyranny. Betrayal. Risk. Tony Dorence works security for a little country church mostly untouched by America’s downward spiral. Untouched, that is, until a car smashes through First Baptist’s front doors and the driver threatens the congregation. Though Tony thwarts the driver’s intentions, this seemingly random event sets off a chain reaction that endangers his sister, Merri, and everyone involved with First Baptist. Merri Dorence, though not a believer, supports much of what First Baptist stands for. As Tony’s world is shaken, she too is dragged into the turmoil. As everything falls apart around them, will Tony and Merri crumble beneath the pressure or flee to the only One Who can provide them refuge?
About the Author
Kristina Hall is a sinner saved by grace who seeks to glorify God with her words. She is a homeschool graduate and holds a degree in accounting. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, arm wrestling, lifting weights, and playing the violin.
A black sedan slammed through First Baptist’s front doors and wrapped around the concrete pole supporting the ceiling.
Metal squealed. Wood squeaked. The sermon carrying through the entryway speakers cut off, and the door on the right teetered from its hinges and crashed to the ground.
Tony Dorence shoved away from the far corner of the entryway, pulse hammering at the base of his neck. Stupid driver, drunk on a Sunday morning. Couldn’t even keep it on the road.
And the last thing First Baptist needed was an influx of officers from the Federal Centralized Police Force.
He strode to the driver’s door. Of course the Honda would have windows tinted dark enough to conceal the idiot’s face.
But when he got that door open—
A sledgehammer crashed into his chest, and he slammed to the ground. Air rushed from his lungs. Another force punched his right arm. Two shots echoed around him, and black spots invaded the entryway.
Hit. He’d been hit.
He had to get up. Had to get to his gun. Had to—
The driver’s door swept open.
A man dressed in black stepped out, picked his way over plastic and splintered wood. Headed for the sanctuary doors, his back to Tony. And he gripped a handgun. “More. I need more.”
This wasn’t going down. Not on his watch.
Tony shoved to his feet and reached for his Colt .45. Fire ignited in his upper right arm, licked into his shoulder and down to his fingers. No way could he get it cocked with his arm like that.
And the guy was way too close to the sanctuary doors.
He fumbled his gun from his holster with his left hand, lunged, and slammed it over the man’s head.
The guy fell to the ground in a crumpled heap, gun still in his hand.
Tony kicked it out of his reach, then shoved his own gun into his holster. Warmth trickled down his right arm. He fought for a sip of air, and black wavered at the edges of his vision.
No. He couldn’t pass out. Not before he restrained this guy.
He dropped to his knees beside the man, secured his wrists and ankles with zip ties as best as he could with his left hand, and patted him down. No other weapons.
Steam hissed from beneath the car’s crumpled hood.
The car. Were there other addicts in it?
He struggled to his feet, pulled his gun, and jerked open the back door. A stupid move given his .45 was no more use to him than a club.
Yet the car stood empty of all but a few fast food bags and syringes.
He gasped a couple of hard breaths, and the pain in his chest morphed into a deep, pulsing ache.
Hit. He’d been hit. If not for his vest …
The entryway took a slow spin.
Not now. Not yet.
He walked close to the sanctuary doors. Muted voices seeped out, some heavy with panic. “Everything’s under control. I need a couple of guys out here while I check the perimeter.”
Shaking started in his gut and spread through his arms and legs.
Using the toe of his dress shoe, he shoved the man out of the way of the sanctuary doors.
Craig Lansky, First Baptist’s preacher, hurried out, followed by Wes, the older of the two deacons.
Wes closed the door behind them, and both men stilled in front of the doors, eyes wide.
The color washed from Craig’s face, and his jaw tightened. “You’re hit.”
Yeah, and blood soaked a good portion of his suit coat sleeve. “I’ll deal with it later. You got your 9 mil?”
Craig gave a short nod.
Tony extended his gun to Craig. “Cock that for me.” He took a slow breath and gritted his teeth. He’d have a bruise the size of his fist on his sternum come morning.
Craig cocked the gun and handed it back to him. “What happened?”
Tony tipped his head to the man restrained on the ground. “He drove his car through the doors, fired a couple of shots at me. While I was down, he headed for the doors. Think he’s some kind of addict.”
If he’d gotten to those doors …
He rounded the car. “Stay here. I’ll check outside.”
He stilled at the edge of the doorway and turned. The entryway spun. “Yeah?”
Craig ran his hand through his brown hair. “One of the visitors called the police. They’ll be here in about fifteen minutes.”
The last thing they needed were government cops swarming the church.
“All right. I’ll check fast and get back in here. We’ll talk.”
Glancing right and left, he stepped into the all-too-peaceful spring day. No traffic whizzed by on the two-lane country road twenty feet from the church’s decimated doors. He rounded the corner. No black Hondas with tinted windows lurked in the parking lot among the ten cars belonging to the churchgoers.
The only suspicious car was a crumpled mess in the church entryway.
He should’ve seen that coming a mile away. His carelessness had almost gotten people killed.
He tightened his grip on his gun, and completed his circuit of the small church. Nothing differentiated it from any other old country church save for what Craig preached from the pulpit. Truth. A rarity when people had lie after lie shoved down their throats and clamored for more.
He stopped out of sight of the church doors. No use getting more lead thrown his way. “I’m coming back in.”
“C’mon.” Craig’s reply came clear and steady.
Tony strode into the entryway and slumped against the wall. Pain throbbed through his arm. The addict still lay motionless on the ground.
Craig smoothed his hand down the front of his suit coat. “You must’ve hit him pretty hard.”
He fumbled to engage his gun’s safety. No easy thumbing it on as he did with his right hand. “Everything’s clear outside.”
Craig pulled open the right sanctuary door, and Wes strode into the sanctuary. “I’ll get Merri to bring the first aid kit out if you think it’s safe for her.”
Tony nodded. “As safe as it ever is.”