I am so excited to share an excerpt from my latest novel, Actionable Intelligence! The book will be released this coming Monday, April 11, but I wanted to give you a taste of the action. Here’s the description from the back cover:
I’ll be posting the book link on Monday so that you can order it from Amazon. Here is your free excerpt! If you enjoy this or know someone who would, please pass it along. Thanks so much!
Keyhaven, South coast of England, Wednesday, 0405 hours
The lone man stood in the shadows, staring out over the water. The icy breeze blowing off the English Channel made it feel much colder than the eight Celsius that the thermometer in his car had indicated. Ruslan Raduyev wore a black stocking cap, a heavy jacket, and dark pants. He waited, his years as a Chechen militant having taught him much about patience.
Ruslan took a moment to make a slow 360 degree turn, making sure no one else was in the area. The night was dark but the ambient light from the yacht club a quarter of a mile away allowed him to confirm that he was by himself on the deserted stretch of coastline. A number of boats were moored five-hundred meters away in the small bay further to the east.
The Afghan was over half an hour late. Raduyev would give him another thirty minutes before leaving. The Chechen didn’t know his contact’s real name, but he had come highly recommended as one of the most successful smugglers in the UK. Smuggling people and drugs into the United Kingdom was big business and “Charlie” was reported to make over a £500,000 a month. Tonight’s payday wasn’t that large, only £50,000, but Charlie understood this mission was for a bigger cause than just padding his pocket.
Finally, at 0420 hours, the low rumble of powerful engines could be heard. A gray speedboat emerged slowly from the darkness. Ruslan withdrew a flashlight with a red lens from his left jacket pocket and flashed it twice. Two answering flashes of red came from the boat as it turned towards him. There was no beach here. The rocky ground simply dropped off into the water with no place for the boat to dock. This was where Charlie had suggested meeting, though, and he had told Raduyev that he knew the English coast like the back of his hand.
The vessel inched towards the shore, a figure leaning over the bow, whispering adjustments to the pilot. A second person. I wasn’t expecting anyone else, Raduyev thought. That complicates things. The boat slid gently up onto the rocks, the sound of the scraping hull echoing around them. The Chechen was already moving that way as a rope ladder was tossed over the front. Ruslan warily climbed aboard, hating the feeling of vulnerability but confident that he could take care of himself.
When he had met with Charlie two weeks earlier, this was the plan that the smuggler had laid out. By doing the exchange on his three-engine cigar boat, they could all escape together if the police showed up.
“You’re late,” Ruslan growled, his Chechen accent heavy.
Charlie shrugged and spat over the side of the boat. His English was passable but his Afghan accent was strong.
“We have to dodge Navy and police. I never see so many cops out on channel. What about man Navy caught last week? He yours?”
Ruslan ignored the question. “Where is it?”
“Right here,” Raduyev answered, withdrawing a white envelope from an inside pocket.
He turned it towards the Afghan so that his red light could illuminate the thickly packed bills. The smuggler jutted his chin towards his companion, a twenty-something male with a dark beard.
“Go get bag.”
As the other man disappeared, Ruslan slipped his right hand into the large outer pocket of his jacket, the suppressed Makarov ready to go.
“You not answer my question,” the smuggler said, irritation in his voice. “That your man that got arrested? He try to dump bag but it not sink. That why so many bastards patrol channel. You better hope he no talk.”
Again, Ruslan didn’t reply, as he watched Charlie’s companion half carry, half drag a black duffel bag. He placed it at the Chechen’s feet and took two steps back. Keeping his eyes on the two men, Raduyev knelt and carefully unzipped the duffel. He pulled the filter off of his flashlight and shone it inside. It was full of bricks of EPX-1 plastic explosive. The Egyptian-made explosive was stable, easy-to-use, and as powerful as any other on the market.
“Very good,” Ruslan nodded, drawing the Makarov as he stood
Charlie and his companion both reacted like seasoned pros as they saw the pistol, moving in opposite directions and reaching for their own guns. Ruslan swung the muzzle towards Charlie and fired twice, striking the Afghan in the abdomen and chest. With the suppressor in place, Raduyev could hear the bullets striking their target, along with the Afghan’s cry of pain. By the time the Chechen acquired the second man, the smuggler had managed to draw a 9mm Browning Hi-Power and was bringing it up. Ruslan pumped two 9x18mm rounds into his face, dropping him to the deck, a pool of red forming around his head.
Raduyev turned back to Charlie, who was still alive, lying on his back. Blood trickled out of the side of his mouth as he tried with his remaining strength to pull the CZ-75 out of his waistband, his eyes wide with pain and anger at being double-crossed. Raduyev leaned over and shot him in the forehead. He quickly searched both men, tossing their pistols and extra magazines into the duffel bag.
Ruslan carefully lowered the fifty kilograms of EPX-1 to the ground as he made his way down the rope ladder. He pushed the speedboat off the land back into the water, letting the current carry it away. Hopefully, when Charlie and his friend were discovered, the police would just assume an unsatisfied customer had killed the two smugglers.
The Chechen lugged the heavy bag the quarter mile back to where he had parked his car in the yacht club parking lot. Within minutes, he was on his way back to London and the next part of his mission.