Thursday, 1 July 2010

Excerpt Day - Eye Of The Storm © Monette Michaels


Iguazu River, Argentina, the Triple Frontier

Keely Walsh stopped to rest. Even with the shade from the rain forest canopy, the heat was oppressive. Tipping back her broad-brimmed hat, she wiped the sweat out of her eyes, then took a deep drink of water from the canteen she carried. So far, according to her portable GPS, she'd traveled two klicks from her landing site. If her coordinates were correct, and they always were, she should see the village in less than another kilometer. Right now all she could see were trees, low-growing foliage, and more trees.

After she'd landed the chopper in a small, elevated clearing, she’d followed a faint path leading down and away from the landing site. She surmised the path had been cleared a day or so ago, then just as quickly overgrown. It led in the general direction of the village. She'd seen marijuana growing in the clearing, so it made sense the locals would need a path to get to their cash crop.

Shrugging her backpack off, she let it slip to the ground. She knelt and pulled out the white cotton shirt she'd worn on the plane, then put it on over her tank top. It was way too hot and humid for any covering, but she couldn't have her brother go nuts if he saw the bruises on her shoulders and upper chest. Time enough for explanations later, after they were safe in the hotel suite she'd booked in the Iguazu National Park before securing transportation and her weapons. She sighed, imagining how good the air conditioning would feel after this steam-bath hike. The hotel had a pool and a pool bar. She could almost taste a large Pepsi with ice as she dangled her legs in the cool water.

God, she hated heat, humidity, insects and snakes, all of which jungles had in abundance. Only for her favorite brother, Stuart "Tweeter" Walsh, would she do this--plus there had been no one else. Her father, Marine Corps Colonel Kennard Walsh, was on a training mission. The call to her other four brothers had not produced the instant response needed. The twins, Loren and Paul, were on a SEAL mission and the other two, Devin and Andy, were Marines searching Afghanistan’s caves for terrorists. By the time their emergency leave was approved, Tweeter would be dead. And she couldn't trust anyone else but her mother Molly--and her Dad would kill her if she involved her mama in this mess.

She was it--the only person who could warn her brother about the trap. She couldn't stay safely in Massachusetts while Tweeter was in danger. He'd protected her over the years, and she could do no less for him.

She let the shirt tails hang over her baggy khakis. She slid the knife she'd bought from a wizened little man named Bazon in Puerto Iguazu into its sheath, then clipped it and the holster holding the Bren Ten she'd purchased onto the belt at the small of her back. Nothing like a Bren to make your point. She’d taken the finding of the rare gun as a sign that her mission would be a success. There'd only been fifteen hundred made and the odds were astronomical against her finding the gun she was most comfortable handling. Her dad had taught her to shoot with a Bren. It was highly accurate and had hitting power. She checked the magazine and found it fully loaded with all ten .45 caliber rounds. She locked the hammer back to the “condition one” setting; a flick of the safety and she would be good to go for single shot or automatic fire.

Satisfied she was as ready as she could be, she headed once more in the direction of the village where Tweeter, along with his Security Specialist International team, were allegedly meeting an informant.

SSI was a security firm specializing in international troubleshooting for private corporations and governments who would rather not use their own intelligence personnel. Ren and Trey Maddox, both ex-special forces, had established their headquarters and training facility in Sanctuary, Idaho, a SSI-owned town at the edge of the Nez Perce National Forest. SSI's current mission had been arranged through the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Clandestine Service or NCS; the classified report she’d come across while working on a project for the government had outlined the mission as an information-gathering on a reputed al Qaeda organization operating out of the Argentinian section of the Triple Frontier.

What it really was? A specially designed trap for Ren Maddox and anyone who accompanied him.

If the trap hadn't been sprung by the time she made it to the meeting place, they'd hoof it out and head for the helicopter she'd also rented from Bazon. In the Triple Frontier, it was easy to find weapons and drugs--and to rent military-equipped helicopters. She hadn't asked the old man where he'd gotten the Kamov KA-60, kitted out with belly guns and air-to-ground missiles. She never looked gift battle-ready helicopters in the mouth.

Bazon even had ordnance for the belly guns. For double the rental price, she'd had him load the ordnance, checking his work as he did it. She might not be able to lift the ammunition, but she knew how it should be loaded.

She'd been surprised when the man hadn't tried to gyp her. When she'd asked him about it, he'd given her a mostly toothless smile and said, "For you, pequena muchacha de oro, it is a pleasure." Then Bazon had winked at her, and his flirtatious manner had her choking back laughter. The Argentinian had to be old enough to be her grandfather.

It probably hadn't hurt that she'd paid him five thousand USD in traveler's checks. Say what you want about the economy and international relations, the almighty dollar was still the currency of choice in the world’s hellholes.

Now, if the trap had been sprung--well, she'd cross that bridge when she got to it [….]

Read rest of Chapter one HERE

© Monette Michaels


Eye Of The Storm
Author: Monette Michaels

Genre: Romance Suspense

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Keely Walsh has three doctorates, five older brothers and has never met a situation she couldn't handle. While consulting with the NSA, she discovers sensitive government information indicating her brother, a private security operative, is in danger. Keely travels to the dangerous Triple Frontier in South America to warn him and his colleagues and finds the last thing she expects--a man who sends icy shivers down her spine even as he lights every one of her fires.

Ren Maddox, co-owner of Security Specialists International, a security firm that works for large corporations and governments, is on an intelligence-gathering mission for the US government when a petite strawberry blonde armed with a Bren Ten and an attitude ten feet tall pops out of the Argentine jungle with a warning of imminent danger. The fact she is one hundred percent correct shocks him to his socks. The fact she is Tweeter Walsh's baby sister and can fight like the fiercest Marine is beside the point. No one who looks like Keely should ever be in danger. And once he gets her out of the current situation, he’ll make it his life's work to protect the feisty, sexy, little woman from any and all danger.

One alpha male. One determined and independent female. One hot, tumultuous relationship.

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