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A sample of Trouble Starts, Pane follows

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message 1: by pop (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

pop ©2007 David and Linda Broughton




Prologue

Toronto, Canada,
Pearson International Airport

The airport is busy, not the craziness of a holiday weekend, just the usual workaday traffic. Dirk Johnson tugs at his cheap, ill fitting, knock-off of an Armani suit. He loathes having to wear such clothing. The days of real, custom tailored Armani suits are long gone, along with the padded expense accounts. The courier business is not what it once was, at least not for him. At one time, he had carried all kinds of valuable things to various points in the world. He’s carried state secrets, diamonds, corporate secrets, formulas, anything deemed too precious to be sent any other way. Now past fifty, he is relegated to escorting some old relic fiddle from Toronto to Los Angeles.
The courier company, World Wide Couriers Limited, claims that this old fiddle is worth twenty-two million bucks, in American dollars. Dirk doesn't believe that for a minute. He’d looked it up on the net. Even the cherished Stradivarius violins normally sell for a million or two, the most ever paid is five million. There’s no way this relic fiddle in the oversize fluted metal case cuffed to my left wrist is worth twenty-two million. Whoever paid that much has to be a fool.
Hell, they requested a pricey charter. Dirk needs all the cash he can get his hands on these days. He’s at the airport way early. He’s there early so he can get a cash refund on the charter then book a commercial flight. Even after the airline made him book an extra seat for the old fiddle, he still pockets a tidy sum making the change. He pockets more than he even stands to make in pay for this silly trip. This extra cash in his pocket makes him feel a bit better about the gig.
Probably, this will be Dirk’s last job for World Wide anyway. It’s time to do something else with what remains of his life. He has been forced to take bodyguard gigs for every musical act that’s came to town lately. If you can call the crap they do these days music. The courier gigs are getting fewer and farther between all the time. Maybe I should just stay in La-La Land to see what I can scare up out there, hell, at least the weather is better.
Dirk finishes his drink. He can't really call what this wannabe Starbucks at the airport serves coffee. This drink bears little to no resemblance to real coffee. This little shop bears no resemblance to a real Starbucks. Only the outlandishly high prices are similar.
Damn, Dirk has a problem now. He will have to take his Colt Commander pistol out to his car. He forgot that since 9\11, nobody is allowed to carry weapons on any commercial flight. His status as a high-class courier used to allow him this privilege. That’s another perk that no longer exists. Oh well, he still has plenty of time before his flight.
Dirk makes the trip out to the car in the VIP lot as fast as he can. Toting this oversize case makes it a bit awkward. The old Ford Crown Victoria he now owns looks out of place among the Cadillacs, Beemers, and Benzes. It is just an ex-cop car he bought cheap, after his money troubles forced him to sell his beautiful fully restored '59 Caddy that he so dearly loved. Dirk stashes the weapon and holster in the trunk. It should be ok. It is probably a short trip. The VIP lot is well monitored. Technically, since he is no longer taking the charter flight, his car shouldn’t be in this lot. Oh, well who’s to know?
Damn, now Dirk has another problem, he really has to pee. That stuff may not be coffee, however it seems to go right through. Of course, that is in addition of the pot full of decent coffee he drank before he left the cheap apartment he now calls home. Dirk hurries as quickly as he can back to the terminal entrance. Why the hell don't they put restrooms where they are convenient in airports?
Dirk consults the map-board of the complex near the entrance. There is a restroom nearby, a very good thing, at this moment. Taking a leak with a huge case chained to his left wrist will be difficult at best and slow him down. Dirk hurries into the men's room.
Had he been the kind of courier he used to be, he might have noticed the man dressed all in black, including gloves. He might have noticed the man dogging his tracks since he picked up the violin. Getting too involved in your own little world, not keeping watch on the rest of it, the man in black knows will be this fool's downfall.
Dirk is balancing the case on top of the urinal as he tends to the matter at hand. He takes little notice of the door opening, then being locked. Suddenly, he feels something around his throat, keeping him from breathing well. He reaches his right hand up to feel what must be a wire, or strong cord around his throat. Dirk flails wildly, trying to use the case to knock his attacker off him. To no avail, he swings the case, kicks his heels up, trying anything, desperately trying to free himself. Now, there is a knee in his back, hot breath on the back of his neck. A voice whispers, "Dasvedanya, fool." Dirk feels himself fading fast. He can no longer flail around. Dirk’s world goes gray, then fades to blackness.

***

The man in black tightens the garrote a little more, holds it for a bit longer, making sure this idiot of a courier is dead. Now he works methodically, yet quickly. First, he uses a tool from his pocket to pick the locks on the cuffs. He tosses them into the trashcan. The man in black drags the corpse into the handicapped stall. Propping the body against the wall with one hand, he searches it with the other. He removes everything in all the pockets, including tickets and passport. He leaves nothing that will give the cops a quick clue to who he is.
Now he undoes the victim's pants. He leaves them around the courier’s ankles. Damn, the stupid courier released his bowels in death. The stink should make everyone stay away. The killer props the body on the toilet, as best he can with the body now limp. He locks the stall door then scoots under it. It’s just more delaying tactics. Maybe it’s not needed, but you never know.
He removes his gloves then runs his hand through his short blond hair, looking at himself in the mirror. He smiles a satisfied grin at himself. He picks up the case, unlocks the door, then struts toward the entrance.
The man in black stops near the entrance. He deposits the wallet, tickets and other items in another trash bin. He keeps the cash, of course. It is cash after all. Out front, he gets into a waiting limo, not waiting for the driver to come around and open the door for him. The limo departs quickly, taking the man in black and the rare Stradivarius away.


message 2: by pop (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

pop Ashling Pane is tense, as is everyone around her. She has been hunting this demented bastard for over a year. Now they have him surrounded in an old warehouse he has been using as a hide out. Ash isn’t so sure the bastard is surrounded. The infrared heat scanner only shows them somebody with body heat is in there.
Ash checks her weapon for the umpteenth time. The chromed .50 caliber Desert Eagle is still ready to rock and roll. The local SWAT team is almost ready to go. Some of them are planting a small door buster explosive on the steel door. The others are taking up their positions. The tension is so thick you can almost see it. You can certainly feel it, like it’s an extra dose of gravity, weighing everything down.
This bastard is not going to get away this time. He has killed thirty-four people that they know about. Two of those were Ash's very own parents. Nobody really wants to take this scumbag alive. No cushy mental institution for him. If the opportunity presents itself, Ash will put all seven of the rounds in her big hand cannon into him. If that isn't enough, she will reload and do it again. No way she will let him live if she can help it. As an FBI agent, she is weighed down by regulations. Not that she pays a hell of a lot of attention to them. No regulations will stop her from killing this bastard if she can.
A hand signal is given. Ash hunkers down, keeping her hand cannon aimed at the warehouse over the hood of her government-issued car. She pushes in her earplugs tighter. No way she wants to lose part of her hearing like a lot of people that shoot a lot do. She cannot imagine not being able to hear her music that soothes her when memories of her parent’s violent and nasty death haunt her mind.
A SWAT guy hand signals. Three.... Two.... One.... boom.... the small explosion knocks the door down and the SWAT team rushes in. Suddenly, a huge explosion rocks the world. The pressure wave knocks Ash on her butt. Her weapon is knocked from her hand as she hits the ground. Debris is raining down. Those that are still able are diving for any cover to be found.
Damn it, no, not this time! Ash is just sure he was inside. The bastard must have had the place booby-trapped. Is this his last hurrah? Probably not, in the year and a half she has spent tracking this bastard, she has learned he always leaves himself a way out.
Ash picks up her Eagle. She checks it for damage. She finds none, so she scans the area with her well-trained cop's eyes. The dust and smoke from the explosion makes it difficult. Out of the corner of her eye, Ash catches some motion, where there shouldn't be any. She levels her Eagle, as she looks hard. A manhole cover seems to be levitating. Suddenly, a man appears. "There he is!" Ash shouts so all can hear. She takes aim as carefully as the haze and smoke blurring her vision will allow. She aims for his head, knowing the bastard usually wears a bulletproof vest just as she is. The bastard raises a weapon, it’s hard to tell, but it looks to be an Uzi, or one of its kin.
Just as Ash fires, he lets go a burst. She feels a pain in her chest. The vest must have taken a round. She watches as her shot hits almost simultaneously with several others, some of them twelve gauge slugs from her partner's slug gun behind and to the right of her.
The bastard’s head is nearly non-existent now. Everyone is still pumping rounds into him, taking a little vengeance for their downed brother officers. It’ll be damn hard to say whose rounds killed the bastard. He is dead, just the same.
The pain in her chest becomes intense now. Ash reaches down. Her hand gets bloody. What the hell is this? Why am I bleeding? I am wearing a vest. Where is everyone? What the hell is that incessant buzzing in my ears?


message 3: by pop (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

pop Thats a little sample...please comment.


message 4: by Bree (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Bree (coffeebeanbookshelf) Sounds intriguing...I'd read it! :) I've added it to my to-read list. When is it being released?


message 5: by pop (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new)

pop It will be available Jan. 28th, at least to order from you fave bookstore. Getting them to actually put in on the shelves is another matter entirely.


message 6: by pop (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new)

pop I just checked, Amazon has it listed, though they don't have the cover art yet. Nobody else does yet.


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