To give you a flavour of my book Global Raider here is an extract from Chapter 2. Extracts will continue every Tuesday and Friday.
Extract from CHAPTER 2
Jake brooded as the Sikorsky helicopter juddered its way towards Cape Cod, its turbulent frame stimulating memories of Iraq and Afghanistan. A time he remembered when a soldier knew his duty, knew the meaning of patriotism and endeavour, a time he considered the most important in any man’s life, a time of war. Ten minutes after his call from the mortuary, he dialled Wat Wash on their personal link. Jake dispensed with pleasantries.
“We have ourselves a situation. Max Crawley’s chief admin officer, Luke Perry, got himself run over by a truck; dead and gone.” Jake listened to the silence of shock, then Wat’s gravelled voice came over the transmitter, no hint of African origins, just moneyed New England.
“Does his family know, does Max know?”
“Nothing out yet. But when the police found Perry’s security pass they called the FBI who called Walsh Securities on account of his briefcase. Inside were copies of classified documents.”
“You check their grade?”
“They originated from somewhere high. Looks like we got enemy in the compound.”
“Shit. Has Max Crawley been informed?”
“I’m about to relay the news.”
“If the FBI are onto this, we need to contain damage. I suggest we put the towers on maximum security.”
Jake imagined the dapper little man pacing his Philadelphian mansion, his fists clenched, his eyes closed as he calculated the cost to his bank balance.
“Negative, Wat. Let’s keep this wrapped. Maximum security would have the media on our ass. I’m putting the doctor and his department under twenty-four-hour close watch surveillance. If we can identify an accomplice, we can interrogate.”
“God damn, this had to happen right near completion. Where’s Juliet?”
“The tracker bracelet puts her heading for Humarock after a visit with Lucas. She’s safe, but I think we need her in deep cover, at least until Raider is handed over.”
“Agreed, but I can’t force her. She’s determined to stay and her liaison with Lucas is important.”
“Kids sometimes need direct persuasion,” Jake said, and looked out into the darkness.
“Get a meeting set up with Max, my office 0800 hours,” Wat said.
Jake listened to the contact go dead and knew he’d torn the great Mr Walsh apart, divided between the safety of his two loves, GR4, unmanned stealth bomber extraordinary and Juliet his daughter, an exasperating female. Jake pressed buttons for Dr Max Crawley, wondering if the little faggot was lying on pink satin.
“Bad news, Doctor. Your chief exec just got himself run over, dead.” Jake smiled down to the scattering of lights two thousand feet below and heard Crawley gasp in disbelief.
“How in God’s name?”
“Tripped on a kerb. Now he’s slabbed out in the city morgue with a head like a pancake.”
“This is awful.”
“Worse, he was carrying classified documents from your department. We got a meeting in Wat’s office at 0800 hours tomorrow. I know you and Perry were close,” he paused. “That will mean awkward questions. I’ll be in my office from 0700 hours if you want to look in, it may save you grief.”
Jake switched off and returned the mobile to his pocket whilst smiling. Across the cockpit, Navro jockeyed the craft through the glow of silver moonlight. “You know,” Jake said. “I think I upset the guy.”
“Are we rolling, sir?” Navro asked.
Jake felt real pleasure in his smile as he looked to his subordinate. Navro was a sculptured mass of muscle who kept the light in his eyes hidden behind dark glasses. Ex-marine captain and expert in martial arts, he was the kind of man Jake trusted. A good soldier, from a good army. Jake took pride in hand picking his men. No one would push Walsh Securities, not even Delta Force. “We will be, Navro,” he said. “I’m just about to apply a little direct persuasion.”
“Stop!” Juliet’s scream came the same instant she saw the flash of feline eyes, then the Mercedes was over it. In reaction, Lisa swerved into the emergency lane, stopping amidst a squeal of brakes and rubber.
“Did I hit something?” she asked. They were stationary beneath a high, concrete rampart. Juliet was out of the car even before it stopped, running from Lisa’s frantic warning.
“For Christ’s sakes, get back into the car. We’re on the fucking freeway.”
Juliet ran twenty metres before she found the cat crouched under a cable duct. It appeared in a state of bewilderment, its belly down flat, its teeth bared in retaliation to fear. She was unable to judge if it was hurt. The animal hissed warning.
“Come on little thing,” she coaxed, keeping her voice gentle, her hand in offering, not touching. “You’re going to get squashed out here. Come to Juliet.” Taking a chance, she tentatively stroked the animal’s head.
“What the hell are you doing, girl? Will you get back in the car!” Lisa came beside her waving a Glock automatic.
“Don’t yell, you’ll scare the cat,” Juliet said, trying to maintain gentleness in her voice.
“Fuck the cat. You’re in a high-risk zone. You want me fired?”
“I don’t think it’s hurt.” Juliet slowly reached and carefully scooped the frightened creature into her hands. Lisa was on one knee, automatic at arm’s length, threatening any passing traffic which slowed.
“Return to the car, Miss Walsh, or God help me, I’ll strap your ass so hard you won’t sit for days.”
“Take no notice of her, she’s only bluffing.” Juliet gently turned the cat to cradle its back. “Maybe it’s sick. Do you think it’s sick, Lisa?”
“Are you listening to me, girl? For Christ’s sakes, move it.” Juliet was grabbed by her arm and dragged upwards. The cat seemed content to remain cradled as both were marched back to the Mercedes. Fifty metres ahead, a second car had stopped, its driver leaning on the roof, looking towards the approaching traffic. In the darkness, the myriad of passing lights flickered his silhouette. Lisa only took her eyes from him during the seconds she checked the abandoned Mercedes and thrust Juliet inside.
“Don’t you like cats?” Juliet adopted her best little girl smile, watching Lisa climb in opposite before slamming her door.
“Don’t you butter me up. You had me shit scared.” Lisa returned the automatic to its holster then swung back into traffic, checking the parked car as they passed. The driver was out of sight. “You might have got run over, snatched, shot. Did you see that guy watching? Jesus, I’m going to give you such a spanking.”
“I think I’ll call him Lucas,” Juliet said.
“It’s probably got fleas. Anyway, how do you know it’s a boy?”
“Because he’s smiling at me.”
Lisa answered with silence, increasing speed, continually swapping lanes and checking her rear mirror for a tail.
“Sorry,” Juliet said finally and touched her arm. “Didn’t mean to upset you.”
“You forget young lady, you’re the most precious thing in your daddy’s life. If he ever hears I let you out on the freeway, my butt will be down the road and you confined in your gilded cage.”
Juliet stroked the cat, not looking at Lisa as she held up the tracker bracelet locked around her wrist.
“I’ve never been out of my gilded cage; not since Momma died.” She heard Lisa’s protracted sigh of resignation and knew she’d won. She stroked the cat and took comfort from its acceptance of her while lights from other people’s lives and houses passed in the night. She let silence calm Lisa’s mood.
A month previously her father had rented a summerhouse overlooking the ocean near Humarock, Massachusetts. It was, he said, a place of her own to entertain friends. But her friends were all hand picked from the empire, approved by security and never allowed to break the rules of conduct. If they did, they were out, whether Juliet liked it or not. Neither did she believe the house was hired for her personal benefit but to allow an exchange of visits between herself and Senator Lucas Kean far from New York’s social gossip.
In truth, she liked the place. The views were magnificent while the grounds were surrounded on three sides by forest. She frequently swam in the ocean, trying hard to ignore the flotilla of ex-navy seals who bobbed around in diving gear or high-powered inflatables. On the estate, ex-Delta men patrolled the woods and hid in the shrubbery when she strolled through the grounds. The only place outside in which she had privacy was an enclosed courtyard containing the pool. To rebel against those beyond the wall she had taken to swimming naked, waving if any patrolling helicopters infringed her air space. She enjoyed the sense of wickedness in deliberately exposing herself to those who guarded her vulnerability. Lisa scolded her, but Juliet just pouted and encouraged her to do likewise. At least Humarock provided a measure of freedom and peace to organise herself. She had space to research, to write her thesis and more important, escape the tension smothering her father and Walsh Towers, tension emanating from Jake Hammerton and his Draconian security. She kept the rules, stayed obedient under the dark memories of her mother’s death and saw no reason why Jake Hammerton should send her to England. The cat began to purr and Juliet switched on the radio, searching the stations until she found a Mozart concerto.
“Love seeketh not to please, nor for itself to bare, but in another give its ease, and build a heaven in hell’s despair,” she quoted to the cat.
“What? You say something?” Lisa asked.
“William Blake; I was quoting a poem,” she said.
Lisa activated a hands-free mobile over the dashboard then eased the Mercedes off the expressway to a state highway. “This is J one,” she called base. “We’re heading route one hundred, twenty-three, towards Green Bush junction and ocean, ETA thirty minutes.”
“Would you please ask them to ready some milk and a little supper for Lucas.” Juliet stroked the cat, which purred in contented lethargy, its eyes closed, its body snuggled between arm and lap.
Lisa grinned final forgiveness. “You’re some blossom, Sweetpea. Medensky,” she called back over the mobile. “We picked up a casualty. Ask the kitchen to rustle up some milk and fish paste for our return.”
Juliet twisted in her seat as Lisa checked the rear-view mirror. From the darkness of the open countryside the screech of sirens and flashing lights gave shrill and urgent demand to their right of way. Lisa slowed and pulled over, allowing three police cars and an ambulance to pass in a tight-packed convoy.
“Must be a bad one,” Juliet said, calming the cat which had tensed its body.
“The way they’re driving they’re going to cause a bad one,” Lisa said, returning the car to its former speed. She leant to switch on the mobile. “Medensky, give me a situation status, highway one, twenty-three.”
“Nothing on that. Want me to check with County Sheriff?”
Juliet fidgeted, waiting to speak, feeling she could delay no longer. “Lisa, we’re buddies, we’re close.” She briefly touched Lisa’s hand. “I got to tell you what I’ve planned, because you might be upset. I’ve rented a cottage up in Vermont. When I next see Lucas I’m going to ask him to spend three days there with me, alone.”
“Baby,” Lisa looked across and shook her head. “You can’t do that. Do you know the problems that would cause?”
“Less problems than if I married without doing it. I want him to fuck the hell out of me, see if there’s good sex, then move on to see if there’s friendship and love.”
“Juliet, how do we deal with security?”
“I’ll make him wear a condom. And you can snuggle up outside with his bodyguard. The two of you, deep cover.”
“Sweetpea, that cat will fly before your Papa lets you do that.”
“I won’t tell him. I ain’t going to England, Lisa. I’m going to show Lucas what I expect of him. My question is, do you want in?”
“I’d follow you to the end of the earth, you know that.”
“Thanks.” Juliet lingered with her touch. “I want Lucas to do the same.”
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