Welcome! Indie Author Excerpts is a feature allowing indie authors the chance to showcase one of their books and allows readers to find their next favorite story. Each week, an indie author gets to promote a 1-2 page excerpt of their book here at The Bawdy Book Blog. This is a win-win for everyone! This feature was inspired in part by Indie Author Spotlight, a meme hosted by Beckie @ Bittersweet Enchantment and CYP @ A Bookalicious Story.
This is a special Excerpt this week; we’re part of Chris Allen’s Blog Tour!
Reaching the summit of a treacherous climb and cautiously stowing gear he’d need later, Alex Morgan pushed through a wall of coarse bracken that surmounted the sandstone cliff’s edge. It was pitch black, the light breeze that had accompanied his climb had become a strong wind and the high branches on the elms and oaks were beginning to sway. A storm was coming. The noise would be both a help and a hindrance: masking his movement while also impeding his ability to identify incoming threats. A situation only exacerbated by that other double-edged sword: darkness. Wasting no time, Morgan made straight for a long corridor of olive trees and, using them for cover, crept furtively through the shadows, edging closer to the house.
His mission had begun.
With his anonymity ensured beneath a black balaclava and his body wrapped in a sheath of combat fatigues, weapons and tactical equipment, he moved quickly, deep into the grounds of the secluded Villa Prinkípissa, which, for almost five years, had harbored his target. But there were no princesses to be rescued from this cliff-top hideaway. The villa was a jumble of aging yet well-restored buildings of Mediterranean design, located in the north-east of Corfu island beyond Agnitsini. It was remote, private and protected. With views across to Albania, the main house, stables and servants’ quarters were surrounded on three sides by huge stone walls topped with fat fingers of jagged glass set into cement. The fourth side of the compound was wide open, totally exposed but for a sheer 60-foot drop straight down to Ipsos Bay. That had been its weakness. Complacency had allowed them to believe it was impenetrable. It wasn’t.
Morgan’s target, Milivoj Šerifović, was a former senior officer and counterintelligence specialist of the State Security Service of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia. The old Serbia, circa early 1990s. Born in 1950, Šerifović would now be sixty-two. According to Interpol and the arrest warrant issued by the ICTY—the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia—Šerifović, among others, had planned, ordered and personally carried out the execution of Bosnian Muslims—Bosniaks, Bosnian Croats and other non-Serbs—within Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. He was a killer on a grand scale, a very big fish, and had eluded authorities for more than fifteen years until the recent whisper of an Interpol informant reinvigorated the hunt for him. At that point, the intelligence analysts in Lyon had connected the dots and, in accordance with protocol, responsibility for the recovery of the fugitive war criminal was handed across to Intrepid: the Intelligence, Recovery, Protection and Infiltration Division – the ultra-secret, clandestine sword of Interpol.
Šerifović’s time had finally come. Morgan just hoped the man would survive the arrest so that he could be dragged in front of the ICTY and answer for his crimes. Personally, Morgan was happy to be the one doing the dragging.
Morgan’s point of access would be via the old servant quarters, which now served as a guest annex. It was connected to the main villa by a long, narrow passageway. Taking a final deep breath before committing to the breach, Morgan moved in from the olive trees. He crept forward in stony silence and, reaching out, tried the handle of the ancient wooden door. Then, just as his fingers closed around the handle, one of Šerifović’s bodyguards, a huge man, barreled out through the door. He hadn’t even known Morgan was there, but in that split second when their eyes fixed upon each other, the magnitude of their unexpected confrontation was grasped by both of them.
As the bodyguard pushed the door open into the quiet darkness, the light from within momentarily dazzled Morgan. Nonetheless, the Intrepid agent exploded into action. There was no other choice.
Fortunately for Morgan, the bodyguard’s gun, a Heckler & Koch 416 N, was slung across his back; convenient for carrying but totally useless if needed in a hurry. The weapon’s sling, belted tightly across the man’s chest, also impeded access to the automatic Morgan knew would be sitting beneath his left armpit. Sloppy. But he hadn’t been employed for nothing: the guy was a monster. Just shy of 7 feet tall, he was a good 30 pounds heavier than Morgan. From the instant the two predators engaged, their faces just inches apart, Morgan knew the monster wouldn’t get to his weapons in time. But that was no matter to this guy. He would default to brute force. Morgan, the apparent David in this David and Goliath scenario, knew it had to be quick and quiet. He could not lose time or, worse, attract the attention of others this early on.
Without hesitation, Morgan launched himself inside the guard’s immediate space, driving his cupped hands upward and inward, managing to strike both ears simultaneously, bursting the man’s ear drums with the ferocity of his attack. The bodyguard wailed in agony, staggering, momentarily disoriented, amid the howl of the winds high in the treetops. Morgan made the most of it, grabbing the bodyguard by the lapels of his leather jacket and pulling him down while driving a knee into the man’s crotch. Once, twice, three times Morgan mercilessly pounded with everything he had. The big man was teetering like a large, mortally wounded animal but he was not going down easily. His huge arms were swinging blindly around in the darkness, each with the power of a wrecking ball on the end of a crane arm. Morgan dropped, narrowly missing one arm, then another, then side-stepped awkwardly around to the side and managed to get his right forearm up around the man’s neck and chin. Clinging to the bodyguard’s back, avoiding the slung weapon and fighting hard to bring him down, Morgan went for the classic blood choke, or sleeper hold, maneuver. Using his left hand, he pushed his right arm tight into a narrow V, compressing the carotid arteries and jugular veins on both sides of the guard’s tree-trunk neck.
Enraged but weakening, the big man dug in hard and stood to his full height, lifting Morgan from the ground. With all his weight and strength, he pushed backward, slamming Morgan hard into the wall of the outbuilding, crushing the air from his lungs.
The Intrepid agent’s grip on the blood choke loosened and the tables turned. The bodyguard clawed for Morgan’s forearm with both hands and when he found it, held firm, then violently jerked his head backward, headbutting Morgan and splitting the agent’s eyebrow. Snapping his upper body forward, the man flipped Morgan over his right shoulder to the ground.
Morgan slammed into the hard ground like a thrown safe, only to be grabbed by the throat, lifted off his feet and pinned against the wall. The monster’s massive hands closed hungrily around Morgan’s throat. Giant thumbs crept expertly across his flesh like blood-fattened slugs until they found just the right spot to squeeze. Morgan fought desperately to wrench the G-clamp hands from his neck. For seconds that seemed like minutes, Morgan went like hell for the other guy’s eyes, nose and ears but his attempts were all in vain. The man had him.
Finally, with just a gasp left in his rapidly failing lungs, blood streaming from a deep gash above his left eye and the physical exertion of the affray threatening to conquer him, Morgan reached for the SIG Sauer P226. The big man’s massive thumbs were closing down on the Intrepid agent’s windpipe with the power, precision and finality of a hydraulic press. A victor’s grin split the man’s battered features. Morgan could sense rather than feel himself lifting the SIG the last agonizing fraction of an inch clear of the thigh holster. But his fingers were numbing. There was no power in his hands. The oxygen supply to his limbs had depleted. He fumbled. The thumbs around his throat tightened more. The gun was slipping. His lungs were screaming for air. Every bit of the man’s weight was behind the squeeze. Morgan knew the gun was going. He felt his life draining from him. Then disaster – the SIG fell from his grasp. The grim reality that his last vision on earth was to be the hideous face of a gangland thug flashed through some still-functioning corner of his subconscious.
A surreal euphoria overwhelmed Morgan, taking control of the last moments of his life. Sight and sound were abandoning him. His body became a dead weight under the crushing assault of the bodyguard’s pressure.
The monster saw the transition washing over the face of the dead man in his hands. He’d seen it before – strangulation had been his signature and even though the exhaustion of this particular struggle had taken an equal toll, he had finally prevailed. This guy was done.
With a final, utterly exhausted expulsion of air, he released his grip.
Alex Morgan felt himself falling, descending headlong through an endless tunnel of brilliant light, slowly at first, gently rolling and tumbling without a care. Then the hammer fell. He was hurtling at breakneck speed. On and on – the momentum intoxicating. Flashes of his death struggle with the bodyguard raced past as he plummeted down, down, down. Yellow teeth. Black eyes. The stench of putrid breath. The animal sounds of survival in the midst of brutal hand-to-hand combat. He submitted to the power of his primal subconscious.
Suddenly, everything changed. His descent slowed, stopped and then, with the force of a medieval catapult, Morgan hit a bend in the tunnel and was fired with crippling speed in the opposite direction, called back by the siren cry of the storm. Back the way he had come. Back to the beginning of the tunnel. Back to life. Back, back, back, until his vision was consumed by nothing but the face of his killer.
The man had made a deadly mistake. He had assumed success rather than ensured it, releasing his grip on the Intrepid agent’s throat a moment too soon.
With his gun far from reach and clinging to life his only objective, Alex Morgan’s left hand closed around the SOG Force SE38 knife on his belt. His thumb popped the restraining strap across the top of the knife and his palm and fingers closed gratefully around the familiar serrated scales of the handle. With a sharp intake of air that momentarily stunned his assailant, Morgan’s body erupted in an explosion of adrenal overload.
The bodyguard’s face registered the transformation but it was too late. With the same animal ferocity that had beckoned him back to life, Morgan tore the knife from the sheath and drove it upward in one fluid movement, through the chest, deep into the man’s heart. Both hands clasped around the handle, he pushed with everything he had left and held the blade firmly in place. Except for a last wretched attempt to reach for Morgan’s throat there was no further resistance from the huge man. It was only a reflex. His knees buckled and the bodyguard crumpled to the ground, dead.
Morgan staggered, almost falling down with him, but he knew he couldn’t afford to. If he was to collapse, loss of consciousness would be a certainty in his current state. Swaying, he slowly extended to full height in primal triumph and sucked air back into his grateful lungs. After those ferocious, agonizing few minutes, all was quiet again.
With his breath rasping deep in his lungs, he looked down at the blood on his hands and tried to wipe it clean against the fabric of his combat fatigues. But there was no use. Blood never came off easily.
His gaze shifted an inch, beyond the hands to the body of the man at his feet. The heart had stopped and blood was oozing rather than pouring from the chest wound. Morgan checked his watch, the battered old Tag Heuer had sat on that wrist for years. Fuck! The man had had to be killed, there’d been no alternative. The clash had only been brief, but still he’d lost precious time. Time he could ill afford.
Mechanically, Alex Morgan retrieved the knife from the chest of the dead man and, wiping the gore across the man’s jacket, returned it to its sheath. He reached with bloody fingers into a pocket of his combat trousers and withdrew a small GPS tracking device, which he clipped to the body. The GPS unit would guide the local Interpol liaison officer, along with the Greek police, straight to the location of the body when Morgan remotely activated it. Of course, his intention had been that the device would be attached to a live body, not a dead one.
He found his SIG, checked it, and headed for the door.
About the Author
Chris Allen was born in Perth in the 60’s, the son of a Welsh bus-driving father and Australian choir-singing mother.
Joining the Australian Army aged 18, Allen qualified as a paratrooper in Australia, England and France; undertook attachments to the New Zealand Army and the British Army; deployed with his ment to South East Asia, Africa, and Central America; once drank champagne with Prince Charles after the 50th anniversary of the Arnhem Jump in Holland.
Exiting the Army with injuries, Allen studied at Edith Cowan University in Perth and undertook humanitarian aid work for CARE International during the 1999 East Timor emergency.
In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks Chris became involved in government protective security responsibilities. He joined the Australian Federal Police Protective Service, providing top-level advice to Commonwealth agencies, diplomatic residences throughout Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne, even leading Counter Terrorist First Response measures and Sydney airport.
Chris was recruited by the then-NSW Premier Bob Carr to oversee the unprecedented security upgrade of Australia’s most iconic landmark, the Sydney Opera House, after ‘No War” was painted on the sails in 2003.
From 2008-2012 he was appointed Sheriff of New South Wales, one of Australia’s most historic appointments.
After self-publishing his first novel in 2011, Defender: Intrepid 1 (released 1 November 2012 by Momentum Books) became eBook sensations, rocketing to the top of the charts on iTunes and Amazon, while Hunter: Intrepid 2 (released 1 December 2013) became an iTunes #1 Crime & Thrillers Best-Seller. Avenger: Intrepid 3 is due for release end-2013.
Chris Allen lives with his wife Sarah and their two boys on Sydney;s North Shore as he writes, consults, and progresses a US film franchise based on his novels.
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