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On the Lookout

By |2022-11-11T13:37:53+00:00November 10th, 2022|Comments Off on On the Lookout

Ryan Kaine is On the Lookout…

Alone on a hilltop, protecting the people he owes the most, a silent net is closing in on Ryan Kaine.

In an age of facial recognition and constant electronic surveillance, Kaine is struggling to keep a step ahead of the world’s security agencies.

But when a child, orphaned by flight BE1555, needs The 83 Trust’s help, Kaine has to find a way.

In deepest Wales, he and his team are the only people between a gang of violent thieves and the boy’s new family.

But while Kaine looks out for the boy, who’s looking out for him?

A pulse-racing episode in the compelling Ryan Kaine series.

Published:
Publisher: Fuse Books
Genres:
Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Monday 22nd May –Early Morning
Cardiff Airport, South Wales, UK

Kaine settled his Bergen more comfortably on one shoulder, descended the steps of the ESAPP Gulfstream G550,and stepped out onto the blustery apron of Cardiff Airport’s private runway. He hooked his long hair behind his ears to prevent the breeze blowing the curly strands into his unprotected eyes.
A trim fifty-something man wearing steel-rimmed glasses, a full peppered beard, and a smart UK Border Force uniform complete with its peaked cap, awaited him in the shadow of the airport building. The epaulettes on his dark blue dress shirt sported three silver pips, and he had the straight-backed, stiff-shouldered bearing of a military man.
Kaine braced himself, scanned the area, but found little to concern him unduly. Little apart from the prominently placed surveillance cameras and the border guard himself.

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Take it easy. Nothing to worry about here.

He’d crossed country borders often enough since the nightmare began. No reason to worry unnecessarily.
“Welcome to Cardiff, Major Griffin,” the man said, his flat accent marking him as hailing from the West Midlands rather than South Wales. “I’m Senior Officer Greenly. Do you have any baggage, sir?”
“Just this,” Kaine answered, patting the Bergen’s webbing strap, trying his best to adopt the aloof detachment of the well-heeled international jetsetter. “I like to travel light,” he added.
Greenly eased out a thin, patient smile. “Very good, sir. If you’ll follow me to the private lounge, we can expedite your entry into the UK.”
“Thank you. Has my wife arrived?”
The border guard nodded. “Mrs Griffin and your driver are waiting in the arrivals lounge, sir.”
“Excellent,” Kaine said, nodding absently, but surprised by the nervous anticipation rippling through his gut.
How would Lara greet him after he dumped her in Paris? He’d find out soon enough.

Deep breath, Kaine.

Greenly turned and led Kaine towards the shiny glass automatic doors marked, Private –Arrivals. “You do have your passport handy, sir?”
“Of course.” Not even multimillionaires with access to private jets could cross oceans and enter new countries without the correct paperwork. Fortunately, Kaine had landed in the UK with the best forged documentation money could buy. The passport he carried gave his name as William Griffin, a retired Major in the Royal Marines, and the platinum credit cards in his wallet suggested he could buy anything he wanted, no matter the cost. Who needed luggage when they could walk into any clothing store in the country and empty its shelves? His documentation had already passed muster at borders a number of times, but this would be the last time Kaine would use the Griffin persona. It was time to drop the middle-aged former marine permanently. This particular legend had outlived its usefulness.

Greenly stepped aside, gestured with an open hand, and allowed Kaine to enter the comfortably warm and pleasantly quiet confines of the private customs area first. No bullet-resistant screens required to protect the border guards in such rarefied and deep-pile-carpeted domain. A waft of scented air tickled his nose—sandalwood and spice—relaxing, calming. Subtle.

How the top one percent live.

Kaine’s guide marched to the far side of a polished-marble-topped counter and smiled almost apologetically. He held out a hand, adopting the pose of a waiter requesting a tip. Simulating bored disinterest but keeping his senses primed, Kaine removed the passport from the inner pocket of his crushed, faded denim jacket and passed it over the counter. Greenly opened the booklet to the picture page, studied the photo carefully and narrowed his eyes to peer directly at Kaine. Without taking his eyes from Kaine, he angled his head to one side and frowned, in what? Recognition?

Hell.

He’d become too blasé. Kaine’s heart leapt, his mouth dried, and the world closed in around him. His hand reached up to the strap of his Bergen, making ready to drop it and lighten his load if he had to take off. Slowly, without making it obvious, he glanced around the open space, searching for the fastest route of egress. To his right, automatic sliding glass doors led through to a thinly populated departures lounge and, eventually, to the sunny outside. Possible, but he’d have to run the gauntlet of airport security. Armed airport security.

Directly behind Greenly, a single unmarked door would lead into the bowels of the building, probably an office complex.

No escape there.

Turning back the way they’d entered would take him out onto the apron and the runway. He might be able to find a hiding place in the storerooms and hangars, but how long would it take an experienced search team to find him? And, at an airport, how many doors would be unsecured and unalarmed? Precious few.

Bluff it out, Kaine. He doesn’t recognise you. He can’t.

“Is there a problem, Officer Greenly?” Kaine asked, allowing impatience and a little anger to rumble through the words. Well-heeled travellers weren’t prepared to wait for anyone. Let alone a jumped-up jobsworth.
“Not at all, Major Griffin,” Greenly said, taking his time to answer. “It’s just that your photo—”
“Yes, yes. It’s different, I know,” Kaine interrupted, scowling, and raking his fingers though the unruly mop. “I’ve been out of the country for a while, and I don’t let anyone touch my hair except for Nicky.”
Greenly lifted an eyebrow. “Nicky?”
“Oh dear, really?” Kaine snapped, allowing exasperation to bleed into his voice. “‘Nicky’. As in, ‘Nicky C’. The man who happens to be the best hair stylist in the UK. Bar none.”
“Is he, sir?”
“Yes. The very best. I wouldn’t let anyone else near my hair with a pair of scissors.”
“And your beard, sir?” Greenly fingered his well-maintained facial hair.
Kaine scratched the fur on his chin. “A newly acquired fashion statement I intend to ask Nicky to tidy up the moment I reach London.” He raised an arm, tugged back the cuff of his jacket, and scowled at his watch.

Steady, Kaine. Don’t overdo it.

Again, Greenly took his time to do his thing. Kaine relaxed a little. The man hadn’t recognised him. Greenly simply relished his role as defender of the gates of the principality. He was the voice of the poor and the oppressed, doing what he could to rail against the rich and the self-absorbed.

Let him.

Greenly studied the passport photo again.
“Officer Greenly,” Kaine said, teeth clenched. “Do I really need to buy a pair of scissors and head for the restroom?”
Greenly showed Kaine a mirthless smile. “No, sir. Of course not, sir. That won’t be necessary. And it’s Senior Officer Greenly, sir.” He tapped the pips on his epaulettes with an index finger, wrinkled his nose, and held the passport under a scanner far longer than strictly necessary before handing it back. “Everything’s in order, sir.”
“Yes, I know it is,” Kaine grumbled. “Which way out?”
“That way, sir.” The rail-thin jobsworth pointed to Kaine’s right.
“Thank you, Senior Officer Greenly,” Kaine said, gracing the officious border guard with a forced smile. “Thank you very much.”

Dial it back, man.

Kaine turned towards the exit and released a pent-up breath. He stepped through the sliding doors and the nerves struck again. Unease rippled through his stomach. Not the unease driven by bureaucratic border guards, but something entirely different.

Pack it in, Kaine. You are an idiot!

In his time, he’d faced hordes of angry, evil men hell-bent on doing him nothing but mischief. He’d survived most encounters relatively unscathed, yet there he stood in the comfortable and fragrant customs office, quailing at the prospect of facing an auburn-haired woman who barely tipped the scales at fifty kilos. Although, this particular woman could slice open his innards and stop his heart with the merest hint of a disappointed frown.
What sort of reception would he receive? His last conversation with Lara—the video call aboard the Gulfstream high over a raging north Atlantic—had ended badly. She’d cut him off mid-apology and had refused to answer his repeated attempts to reconnect. She’d also failed to accept any of his ensuing satellite phone calls. It had been the first serious fight in their eight-month relationship, and he hated it. It left his world unbalanced. Yes, the blame for their quarrel lay firmly at his door. He’d ditched her in Paris under the protection of his longest-serving friend, Rollo, and had flown to Arizona without her, and without warning. In his defence, his only motivation had been her safety.
During their curtailed video conference, she’d objected to his decision and called him out on it. He could see her point, though. He really could, but should a similar situation arise, he’d make the same decision again. If Lara couldn’t get past his need to protect her, where did it leave them? She needed to understand that he only had her safety in mind. He’d dragged her kicking and screaming into his world of
6hurt and danger, and he would forever be responsible for her. If anyone ever deliberately hurt her, it would kill him—and he would kill the person responsible. No qualms. No second thoughts. Instant retribution.

Kaine strolled forwards, following the arrows. The double doors slid silently open to reveal a smartly appointed lounge and bar that wouldn’t have disgraced the foyer of a five-star London hotel. After a brief scan of the few people sitting in the heavily upholstered chairs revealed nothing to raise his hackles, he spotted his two-person welcoming committee on the far side of the room. Neither smiled.

Uh-oh.

Rollo, playing the role of the paid employee, stood dutifully behind apo-faced Lara. She, in a smart, navy blue business skirt suit, stepped forwards to greet him.
“Good flight?” she asked, ice cool, emotionless.
“Very good, thank you,” he answered, matching her aloof manner. If necessary, he could play it cool, too. She offered her cheek, which Kaine duly pecked. When he reached out to pull her into a gentle hug, she stiffened and backed away. How much of the display was an act for public consumption and how much a legacy of their ongoing fight, only time would show.
“Let’s go,” he said. She nodded, turned back the way she’d come, and he strode after her. Once alongside, he crooked an arm for her to grasp, but she ignored it.

Not an act, a legacy.

Kaine sighed. So many fences to mend. Rollo led the way through to the car—a top-of-the-range BMW 7 Series with a cherished plate, E5APP—which he’d parked in one of a few spots reserved for VIPs. He pointed the key fob at the car and pressed a button. The central locking double-clicked, and the indicators flashed. He pressed another button and the boot lid powered open. Rollo stepped forwards and opened the nearside rear door. Lara slipped inside, ignoring Kaine’s outstretched arm and offer of support. Kaine shook his head sadly, slipped the Bergen from his shoulder, and headed for the far side of the car. He paused long enough to lob the Bergen into the open boot, before carrying on to the offside passenger door. He opened the door all by himself and climbed inside.
“That’s a demarcation issue, that is,” Rollo grumbled, barely able to stifle his smile.
“What is?”
“It’s my job to open and close doors for you, sir,” he explained, sounding hurt, but adding a sneaky wink.
“Cut that out, Colour Sergeant,” Kaine snapped. “I’ve had a long flight.” Rollo cracked the driver’s door and slid behind the leather-clad steering wheel. He pressed a button on the dashboard. The boot lid lowered, and the lock clicked.
“A long flight in the lap of luxury,” Rollo said, staring through the rear-view mirror, and staring hard. “We should all suffer such privations. How was the king-sized bed in the Gulfstream, by the way?”
Kaine grinned. He could always rely on Rollo to cut him no slack. “An absolute delight, thanks.” “Egyptian cotton sheets?” “Eight hundred thread count at least.” Kaine shot a sideways glance at Lara, but she kept her head turned away, apparently staring through the passenger window and studying the shadows of the clouds sliding over the distant runway.
“Nice,” Rollo said, continuing the conversation. “Beats the heck out of a military sleeping bag, eh?”
“Yep, they had a thread count of about twenty—and each one static-charged nylon.”
“Decent galley?” Rollo asked, still pushing.
“Better than the usual airline food, thanks. Although I did have to serve myself.”
“Oh dear. Poor you.”
“I’ll survive.”

Rollo pressed the ignition button on the dash and the big diesel engine whispered into life. He lowered all four windows before rolling slowly out of the parking spot and heading for the exit road.
“What’s with the windows?” Kaine asked.
“Doctor’s orders.” Rollo jerked a thumb towards Lara, who finally turned to face them.
“Any symptoms?” she asked, referring to the short time he’d spent in the Doomsday Creed’s infirmary, and to his brief but potentially dangerous exposure to an exceptionally virulent form of typhoid.
“None. I’m good, thanks.”
“Raised temperature?”
“None so far.” He smiled and double hitched his eyebrows. “Although being this close to you has ...” She scowled and he let the remains of the trite sentence fade into oblivion.

Still scowling, Lara tugged a medical bag from her footwell and rested it on the seat between them, using it as a barrier to keep them apart. She opened the bag, removed an infrared thermometer, and pointed it at his forehead. “Hold still.”
“Anything for you, my guardian angel.” In the front, Rollo snorted. He waited for an automatic barrier to rise before gunning the Beemer’s engine and filtering his way into heavy exit traffic. They tucked in behind a white panel van and ahead of a compact Fiat. The Fiat driver—a long-haired youngster smoking a cigarette—blared his horn. Rollo stuck an arm through the open window and waved in apology and thanks. Shaggy blared the horn again and closed the gap to danger levels.
“Bloke’s an idiot,” Rollo said. “There was plenty of room.”
Kaine nodded. “Doesn’t know who he’s messing with.”
“I told you to keep still,” Lara snapped.
“Sorry, boss.”
“You will be.”

No doubt.

Seconds later, the thermometer bleeped. Lara read the temperature displayed and returned the device to her bag.
“Normal?” he asked.
“So far,” she answered. Noncommittal. The way of all medics. She fished around inside the bag and removed a blister pack from one of the internal pockets. “Take these with plenty of fluids. You need to stay fully hydrated.” She handed him two tablets and a one-litre bottle of still water.
“What are they?”
“Antibiotics. Five hundred milligrams of ciprofloxacin. You’ll take them twice a day for the next five days. It that clear?”
“Yes, doctor,” he answered in his most serious voice. To confirm his promise, he popped the pills into his mouth and eased them down with half the bottle in three long pulls. “Where are we heading?” Kaine asked, still looking at Lara.
“A place called Glyn Coes,”Lara answered.
“Hmm,” he said, nodding. “What’s at Glyn Coes?”
“Becky and Gwynfor Cadwallader, and their two children, Dewi and Myfanwy.”

Cadwallader?

The surname didn’t ring any bells.
“Members of The 83?” Kaine asked and she nodded. “I don’t recall seeing a Cadwallader on the list. I’d have remembered a name that distinctive.”
“Gwyn’s widowed sister, Sharon, was ... on the plane,” Lara said, finally making eye contact. “Her surname was Pierce.” Lara’s voice softened in deference to the sensitive nature of the subject matter. They were, after all, talking about the eighty-three innocent people who had lost their lives on Flight BE1555. The eighty-three innocent souls Kaine had killed.
“I see,” he said, forcing out the words. “And the Cadwalladers are Sharon Pierce’s nearest next of kin?” Lara glanced at Rollo through the rear-view mirror. Something passed between them. Something Kaine couldn’t read and didn’t understand. They were holding out on him. Unwilling to interrogate either the woman he loved or his longest-serving friend, he let it pass. They’d tell him what he needed to know, and when he needed to know it. “What’s the issue?” he asked.
“Sheep rustling,” Rollo said. “Amongst other things.”
“Sheep rustling?” Kaine asked, again looking at Lara, trying not to appear dismissive.
“There’s more to it than that, Ryan. Much more.”
“Rollo, how long before we reach Glyn Coes?”
“About ninety minutes.”
“But we are breaking the journey, right?”
“Of course.” Rollo indicated right and made the turn. “Services on the M4, Junction 33. We’ll do without the coffee.”
“How long?”
“Thirty minutes in this traffic.”
“Okay, that should be long enough to make a start on the briefing. Fire away, Lara.”
“Oh no,” she said, shaking her head. “From now on, I’m Annabelle Hallam. Annie. Rollo is Adrian Bennett, my older brother. I’ll give you our full bios later.”
“Okay, Mrs Hallam. And who am I?”
“You are Peter Sidings.”
“Sidings again? Got it,” he said, trying not to smile. He did push out an extended sigh, though. “How the mighty fall.”
“Sorry?” she asked. “An instant demotion. Major Bill Griffin one minute, Staff Sergeant Peter Sidings the next.”
“No more than you deserve, sir,” Rollo announced from his perch in the driving seat. Forever sniping. Rollo eased the Beemer into the outside lane and added more pressure to the throttle. The big saloon’s rapid acceleration forced Kaine deeper into his plush leather seat. Within seconds, the Fiat and its floppy-haired tailgater had faded into the distance, unable to match the 7 Series’ superior performance.

Staff Sergeant Peter Sidings.

Kaine ran through the bio in his head. Having used the Sidings legend many times before and since the disaster that changed his life forever, he didn’t have to work too hard. Staff Sergeant Peter Sidings. Retired2 PARA veteran of two Gulf Wars, registered bodyguard, advanced driver, and long-serving employee of Conqueror Security Services, one of the largest and most well-respected private defence consultancies in the UK. Physical characteristics: dark hair, blue eyes, badly broken nose.

Uh-oh.

Becoming Peter Sidings required a couple of cosmetic props. “I’ll need blue contacts and something for the schnozz.”
Lara reached into her capacious bag, pulled out a contact lens case, and handed it across.
“Thanks, love. I’ll wait until we stop. Last time I tried fitting contacts in a moving car I nearly poked my eye out.” He tried a cheery grin, but again, she dismissed his attempt at levity.
“No need for the putty, though,” Rollo announced. “Staff Sergeant Sidings recently went under the knife. Cosmetic surgery. The doctors rebuilt his nasal bone. Straightened his nose up a treat, apparently.”
“You updated his bio?” Rollo dipped his head in a nod but kept his eyes on the road. “Sure did. At least, Corky did. The doc asked him to work his magic last night. She thought you’d find sticking a tissue up your nose for days on end a little uncomfortable. Isn’t that right, Doc?”

She does still care.

He turned to face her. “Thanks, Lara. I appreciate it.” “It’s ‘Annie Hallam’, remember.” Another frown furrowed her forehead, this one less defined, less severe. Signs of a thaw? Kaine’s shoulders relaxed and the tension in his stomach eased.
“Okay, Annie. Why not spend the time telling me all about Glyn Coes and the Cadwalladers.” “Okay,” she said. “Pin your ears back. I don’t want to repeat myself.”

Uh-oh. The ice is still crackling.

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About the Author:

#1 Amazon bestselling author with the US-based Lucky Shores thriller series and the Ryan Kaine military action thrillers, and creator of the popular DCI Jones Casebook series of crime novels, Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. A citizen of the world, he currently lives in a stone cottage in the heart of rural Brittany, which he took five years to renovate with his own gnarled and calloused hands. The cottage is a pet-free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and a family of red squirrels). He has three children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the modern miracle of video calling.

Home For Good

By |2022-10-23T09:47:41+00:00May 17th, 2022|0 Comments
Book Cover: Home For Good
Part of the Lucky Shores Series series:
Editions:Kindle: $ 4.99
ISBN: B09Z2TPKLL
Pages: 338
Paperback: $ 14.99
ISBN: 979-8359572118
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Pages: 308

The long-awaited third book in Kerry J Donovan's growing Lucky Shores series.

Recently qualified doctor, Chet Walker, and his newly pregnant fiancée, Josie Donoghue, are finally on their way home to Lucky Shores to start their exciting new life together. At the final rest stop before home, they pick up hitchhiker, Sergeant Nate Starling, an army vet, and soon strike up an unlikely friendship. When they drop their new friend off at his destination, instead of a hot cup of coffee, they discover a devastating tragedy.

With emotions running high, Chet and Josie trek through the mountains into an oncoming storm to protect their new-found friend and chase justice for a former solider and his wife, only to be stopped dead at gunpoint.

After the local police department closes the case on his former army buddy’s untimely death with surprising haste, Nate Starling smells a rat. He lets Chet and Josie head for home, before settling down to the real work of identifying his friend’s killers … and learning more about the intriguing deputy, Silvia Solis.

With time running out in a town full of Good Ol’ Boys and corrupt cops, can Nate find the missing link before more of his friends end up dead?

Published:
Publisher: Human Vertex Publications
Genres:
Excerpt:

Chapter 1

The High and Mighty — Dwight Singleton

Hidden in the brush at the edge of the trees, Dwight Singleton snickered and smiled to himself. He’d found the perfect view of the farm house.
He unscrewed the top on the bottle, took another deep pull, and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Sure as hell the last one. He needed to go easy on the sauce. After planning his move for days, he had to concentrate. The primary target was tough, competent, and needed careful attention. But the secondary?

Hot dog, man.

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She was gonna be the pudding after the savory main course.
Dwight licked his lips in anticipation. The bitch might be part squaw, but she’d always made him drool. The boner pressing against the crotch in his pants showed the effect she had on him, always had on him. Curvy in all the right places, and firm, smooth legs that never ended. Weren’t no doubt about it, the woman was a pure fox. Her appeal far outshone any attraction Dwight ever had for Dolores. He’d been with the woman twenty-two years. Poor, dumb, dumpy Dolores couldn’t compare with the leggy squaw. She never did, even in her prime. Not that Dolores ever had much of a prime. Poor old Dee wouldn’t never have made no glamor model, but she did have one thing going for her. Her dowry.
Dwight snickered again.
Dee the Dumpling inherited her daddy’s farm, such as it was, and back in the day, Dwight had a silvery tongue on him. Not that he only used it to talk with.

Ha!

Dwight allowed a slow smile to form.

Oh yeah, man.

He used that silvery smooth tongue on the frumpy young Dolores and got exactly what he wanted—the farm. Not that it turned out as anything more than a Goddamned deadweight hanging around his neck. Two thousand acres of useless scrubland and woods that never did pay its way. And then they found oil in the valley, or the chance of it. With the discovery came the promise of wealth and a life of ease and endless booze. But the promise was taken away, stolen by all them selfish do-gooders that cared more for the wildlife and the scrubland than they did for the people in the county.

Damn their conservationist hearts.

They’d pay. And two of the assholes would pay right now.
Whenever he and Dee paid the soldier and the squaw a neighborly visit, the squaw played it all prim and cool, but Dwight knew what a whore she’d be when he eventually warmed her up. Might take some time and a real hard beating, but the bitch would beg to please him. Them full, round lips would pleasure him good. Real good.
Something Dee could never do. Not in all them twenty-two long, hard years.
The woman just lay there in bed like a sack of potatoes, saying and doing nothing while he had to do all the Goddamned work. Had to keep her sweet, but it were getting more and more difficult to play the part of the loving husband. And the issue that “blessed” their union, Floyd, weren’t worth the food on his plate. Damned boy was as useless as his momma. Nothing but a drain on Dwight’s dwindling resources.
Still, after he’d completed his morning’s activities, things would work out the way Dwight always wanted.

Yes siree, Bob.

He raised the bottle to his chapped lips again and drained the last of the whiskey in one long swallow. The fiery liquid no longer burned his throat on the way down, and the buzz it provided no longer gave him pleasure, it only filled a need. The same need the squaw would fill afore long.
As for the gimp—the high and mighty war hero—the stubborn damn fool wouldn’t see another sunset. Big man came back from the army all busted up, and missing part of a leg, but still came across as all superior, despite the shell-shock. Although they didn’t call it shell-shock no more. Called it something fancier these days—post-traumatic something or other.

Bullshit.

Back in Granddaddy’s day, they used to call it cowardice in the face of the enemy, and they used to shoot the assholes as deserters.
Yeah, well things was different nowadays, more’s the pity. Everybody’d gone all soft an’ sensitive. But the fake drama bullshit had given Dwight an idea, and when he ran the idea past “The Almighty”, he’d been given the sign, the go-ahead. So long as Dwight played it right and left no blowback on him, The Almighty was cool with the plan.
There weren’t nothing better than an official sanction handed down from The Almighty, and Dwight couldn’t wait to get moving.
Since he’d been given the go-ahead, Dwight had spent days in the planning. He’d run through the operation in his head dozens of times, ironing out all the wrinkles.
Far as plans went, it was totally foolproof. Dwight would get rid of the war hero, have his long overdue fun with the squaw, and clear the way for progress. And progress fueled the world. They’d all be rich. Dee and the dumbass boy would be happy with the result, although they’d never know what Dwight had done to make it happen. No one would know but Dwight and The Almighty hisself, and that made sense. Had to keep a low profile after doing the deed. Be real stupid to brag about it to no one.
Dwight stuffed the empty bottle into his backpack—he didn’t intend on leaving no evidence of his loitering—and set the bag to one side. He’d be back for it a little later, after the show.

Not for the first time that morning, he checked the load on his rifle. Full. This time, he racked a shell into the breach. When it came to it—despite the alcohol flooding his bloodstream, a half bottle’s worth of courage courtesy of Mr. Jim Beam himself—he wouldn’t miss. Dwight never missed, not at the kind of range he intended to shoot from.
First though, he needed the setup.
Dwight pulled in a deep breath of the cold morning air to clear his head, and stood and waited for the headrush to pass. Didn’t take long. He turned away from the farm, pulled the rifle butt to his shoulder and fire twice, aiming at nothing but the leaves in the trees. Then he sat back down again, cross-legged with the rifle resting on his thighs, and stared at his wristwatch—the only thing dear old Daddy left him. Worthless pieces of crap. Both the watch and Daddy.
Thirty minutes passed slowly. It allowed the worst effects of the whiskey to drain away, and gave Dwight plenty of time to play dress-up. He pulled a bright orange safety vest over his head and cinched it tight around his waist. From his backpack, he took a vial of deer’s blood and tipped its contents over the front of the vest, allowing it to drip over his pants. He confirmed the effect looked real. Everyone in the whole valley knew Dwight was a messy hunter. Some had complained about it for years.

“Time for some fun.,” Dwight chuckled to the bushes and any critters within earshot, and stepped out into the sunlight, trying to minimize the stagger as he made his way across the open field.
Horses whinnied in the paddock and the dog barked, announcing Dwight’s arrival. Damned mutt never did settle when Dwight was around. Good job the squaw and the gimp kept it in its kennel overnight.
The clamor had its effect.
The back door to the farmhouse opened and the screen door squeaked on unoiled hinges. The squaw, in cowboy boots, cutoff jeans, and a plaid shirt, filled the doorway. Her pretty face showed disappointment, not fear.
The fear would come, and it would come soon.

Yes, sir.

Despite the dulling effect of Mr. Beam’s premium product, Dwight’s pecker twitched at the promise of what was to come.
“Morning, Dwight,” she said without emotion. “Haven’t seen you or Dolores for a while. Everything okay?”
Dwight kept his distance and lowered the rifle, making sure to point it well away from the house. He didn’t want her taking fright and screaming. Not yet awhile.
“Howdy, ma’am,” he said, pleasant as any neighbor should be while paying an unexpected visit. “Ain’t nothing wrong. Been out hunting and bagged myself a ten-point buck.”
She nodded, said, “Thought I heard shooting earlier. Pretty close to the farm, though,” then looked toward the frantic dog, running around his pound, searching for a way out.
“Bandit,” she shouted. “Quiet down, now. You’ve seen Dwight before.”
The barking stopped instantly, but the dog continued eyeballing Dwight and growling. Pity the plan didn’t include killing no stupid mutts or the squaw’s beloved Bandit would meet the same end as its owners.
Dwight kept up his act. He smiled but made sure to hide his rotting teeth. First thing he’d do when the oil money started rolling in was head to the dentist and get ’em fixed up good.

“Sorry if I startled you, honey. Been tracking that goldarned buck all morning. Finally caught up to him on the west ridge. I gutted him already”—with his free hand, he pointed to the bloodstained vest—“but I could do with a hand lifting him onto my quad bike. Hubby around?”
She paused for a moment before answering. “In the office. I’ll go fetch him. Come into the kitchen for a coffee, but take your boots off first.”
Dwight tipped his hat and climbed the steps leading to the covered back porch.
“Thank you kindly, ma’am. Coffee would hit the spot right well.”
She turned her back on him and moved to enter the kitchen.
Dwight darted forward, hefted the rifle, and cracked her hard on the back of the head with the butt. The squaw collapsed to the floor in a crumpled heap, blood pouring from an ugly-assed gash. The dog started up its frantic baying and straining at the gate to its pound.
“Shut the hell up,” Dwight muttered, aiming the rifle at the dog’s head. “Plans can change, you stupid hound.”
As he stepped over the squaw, she groaned. Still alive. Excellent. He’d be back for her later.

#

Dwight’s plan allowed for two hours but, in reality, the whole thing only took less than ninety minutes, including his fun with the squaw. He stared up at the thing swinging from the roof truss and grinned.
“Ain’t so high and mighty now, is you, boy!” Dwight said, then he chuckled. “Well, maybe you is! Maybe you is. High, at least.”
Still chuckling, he turned his back on the carnage and loped towards his hidey-hole, accompanied by the wild neighing of startled horses and the frantic howling of a stupid hound dog.

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About the Author:

#1 Amazon bestselling author with the US-based Lucky Shores thriller series and the Ryan Kaine military action thrillers, and creator of the popular DCI Jones Casebook series of crime novels, Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. A citizen of the world, he currently lives in a stone cottage in the heart of rural Brittany, which he took five years to renovate with his own gnarled and calloused hands. The cottage is a pet-free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and a family of red squirrels). He has three children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the modern miracle of video calling.

The Long Road Home

By |2022-10-23T02:50:05+00:00May 17th, 2022|Comments Off on The Long Road Home
Book Cover: The Long Road Home
Part of the Lucky Shores Series series:
Editions:Kindle: $ 4.99
ISBN: B09BZQJDZM
Pages: 291
Paperback: $ 14.99
ISBN: 979-8828261352
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Pages: 268

Can love survive revenge?

After nearly four years away at medical school, recently qualified doctor, Chet Walker, is only hours away from returning to Lucky Shores and his fiancée, Josie.

When a quick coffee break at a rest stop diner turns into a desperate race to save a young girl's life, Walker stumbles into something much more sinister and much deadlier. Walker's Good Samaritan act sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to tear his world apart and forces him to choose between his medical oath and his love.

Josephine Donoghue has a secret. Between fleeting, long-distance video calls with Chet and the town medical centre needing him to start work the minute he arrives home, she hasn’t found the right time to tell him.

But when Chet is called away to another medical emergency by Sheriff Boyd, Josie’s time might be running out.

Will a dangerous man hell-bent on revenge separate the unlikely lovers permanently?

Published:
Publisher: Human Vertex Publications
Genres:
Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Wyoming Pit Stop

The curvy waitress in the tight uniform held up the carafe and leaned over the stainless steel counter, making sure Chet Walker didn’t miss her guaranteed-to-increase-the-tips assets.
“Top off that coffee for you, honey?”
Her smile appeared genuine, and the setting sun through the plate glass windows brought a sparkle to her dark blue eyes.
Despite the location—a diner attached to a gas station—and the lateness of the hour, she looked fresher than she had any right to be. A homespun, woman-next-door type with a clear complexion to match the freshness of all outdoors and easy on the makeup. If the woman’s welcoming smile said anything, Wyoming had to be a great place to set down some roots.

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After spending the better part of two days driving through a dust-dry Midwest, tasting nothing but rest stop food and road grit, Walker appreciated both the change of scenery and the aroma. Through the recently -polished windows, the foothills of the Rockies promised his journey’s end.
He couldn’t wait.

“Thank you, ma’am. Can’t remember the last time I refused a decent cup of java.”
He pushed his near-empty cup forward.
She poured and ran a red-polished nail over the name embroidered on the pocket of her apron. “People hereabouts call me Shirley.”
Shirley had a good smile, too. It improved his mood, and no doubt the mood of all her patrons. Walker returned it with as much interest as a road-weary traveler could muster.
“Well, Shirley. You do make a fine cup.”
Although not quite the best he’d ever tasted, her coffee was pretty good. If he kept a personal Billboard Coffee Hot 100, it might have made his top ten. It would definitely make the top twenty.
The top dog, number one status in the coffee charts, belonged to a different diner altogether. If things panned out as expected, it would be the place he’d take his next breakfast. A diner owned by the most beautiful woman on the planet—bar none—and looking out on perhaps the third prettiest view in the world. Not that Walker was biased in its favor, of course. Oh no. Not a bit of it. His decision happened to be scientific in its scope and permanent in its nature.
Without doubt, the proximity of the Lucky Shores Diner had everything to do with Walker’s current state of being—his growing excitement and optimism. Dang it, his happiness.
Inwardly, Walker smiled, but made sure to keep it from his face. Smiling too much in a public place might draw too much attention.

Yep.

He’d make Lucky Shores by morning even if he had to drive through the night to do it. Hence the additional cup of coffee.
Before leaving Shirley’s Place—the name hanging in lights over the rest stop eatery—he’d get her to fill his two-pint thermos, and the emergency reserve would see him through the final leg of his journey. After that, he’d pick his way along narrow back roads and make it safely home.

Home.

It sounded so good in his head.
Although he’d only lived there for a few months—winter months at that—Lucky Shores was his home. Home, both spiritually and emotionally. It was where his heart lay. His Josie.
While nursing his drink, Walker continued to stare through the window at the gently rising foothills of the Colorado Rockies. They started a few miles out back of the gas station and cast an imposing shadow over the diner.
The thought of seeing his Josie again, this time without a ticking clock to mark the end of her brief holiday visits, made his spirits soar. The three-year wait would soon be over. The years had flown by in a whirl of antiseptic white walls, purple scrubs, and medical textbooks. But it had also dragged past in agonizing, super slow motion—especially the times when he crawled, exhausted, into his lonely bed. No one to hug. No one to hold. No one to share his life with. At least not in person.
Video calls could never make up for them being apart so long.
Walker cast his mind back to that early spring morning. The morning he broke the news and damn near broke his own heart in the process. He’d made his decision weeks earlier, but had chickened out of telling her, growing more anxious with each passing day. He found his opportunity when they made their first pilgrimage to the burned out cabin on the shores of Little Lake.

#

The log fire crackled and spat in the grate, but it gave out more light than heat. Walker sat on a folding chair inside the ruins of the burned out cottage , huddled close to the flames. He waited for the sun to climb over Tooth Mountain and give life to a new day.
Josie’s justified desire to scatter Mickey’s ashes over the quiet waters of Little Lake was as good an excuse as any and an early spring thaw the third weekend in March gave them the opening. Walker had an added reason to make the trip. He needed Josie alone.
Josie’s recovery from the bullet wound had been nothing short of miraculous. She’d been on her feet in a week and had returned to the diner within two weeks of leaving the hospital. Although Aunt Jean said she wouldn’t be able to work at the saloon until Christmas, Josie made it back behind the bar by Thanksgiving.
Ornery girl wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Walker’s run as the saloon’s resident singer went pretty well. He wrote a bunch of new songs and debuted each one to a supportive if hugely biased audience.
His relationship with Josie flowered into something really special, forged in the fires of adversity. They worked hard, played harder, and adopted Millie—Doc Matthews’s dog—by default. No one else in town wanted to offer a new home to the high-maintenance pooch.
Deep down, though, Walker knew it couldn’t last. He couldn’t live out the rest of his life as a busboy-cum-singer, tied to the apron strings of the beautiful woman who happened to be one of the richest people in the county. It didn’t sit right with him.
Not a bit of it.

The trip from Lucky Shores to Riley’s Cove—normally around six hours using the direct and waterborne route—had taken them ten. To Josie’s huge annoyance, Walker had insisted they take fifteen-minute rest stops every hour to avoid risking her recovery, and they reached Riley’s Cove in a late evening drizzle. They scattered Mickey’s ashes over the icy black water, pitched the tent, and turned in after a hurried supper of cocoa and fruit cake—a tribute to their first breakfast at Vantage Point.
Despite the warmth and relative comfort of the tent, Walker spent a restless night listening to Josie’s gentle breathing and remembering the first time they’d visited the cove. The memory of her bleeding to death in his arms put paid to all hope of sleep.
At 4:50 a.m., Walker gave up on rest. He rebuilt the fire, sat in a camp chair, and fought the cold, with a rifle lying across his lap—just in case. Millie replaced Walker in the tent, and lay beside Josie, snoring and chasing butterflies in her dreams.
Despite his increasing nerves, Walker smiled.

Dumb dog.

The stars blinked out one by one, a gray light bled into the eastern sky, and the birdsong built into a rousing dawn chorus. The moment the sun said a bright and cheery hello to the day, the tent flap moved, and Josie popped her head through the opening.
“Morning, sleepy head,” he said and pointed to the pot suspended over the fire. “Coffee?”
“Please.”
She crawled from the tent and stood, back arched, and threw her arms overhead in a glorious yawning stretch. Her thermal undershirt lifted to expose the Z-shaped scar, still red, but fading by the week. She shivered and ducked back into the tent for her fleece.
Walker handed her a large mug of coffee—black, no sugar. Still standing, she blew over the top before taking a sip. “Couldn’t sleep?”
“Things on my mind. We need to talk.” He patted the seat of the spare camping chair.
She threw a hand to her breast. “Oh my God, that sounds ominous. You’re not pregnant are you?”
He laughed. “Idiot. Come sit down. You need to hear this.”
“Can it wait ’til I’ve watered the shrubbery? I’m bursting.”

Five minutes later, she returned and took her seat. “What’s up, Chet? You’re scaring me.”
She took a hankie from the pocket of her jeans, soaked it in water from a canteen, and wiped her hands and face.
“You know I can’t stay in Lucky Shores forever, don’t you? It’s not working for me. I hate being a kept man. Everything I own can fit in a backpack and guitar case. You deserve so much more than that.”
The speech he had planned in his head for so long didn’t come out right. He reached out to hold her, but she slapped his hands away, jumped up, and marched to the water’s edge. Millie growled, leaped from the tent, and raced to Josie’s side, yapping like the demented mutt she really was at heart.
“Go then,” Josie shouted, arms crossed, back to him.
“Damn it, Josie. Please don’t be like that. You know I can’t live as your kept man, your pet. It wouldn’t work. We’d end up resenting each other. I need to bring something more to our relationship than a few unrecorded songs. I need to earn a proper living, and ….”
She turned slowly, eyes brimming. “And?”
The word came out so quietly, he could barely make it out.
“… and … that’s why I’m leaving town next month.”

Tears spilled, rolling down her cheeks. “You’re going back on the road, to search for that elusive song?” Her words spilled out in a plea. “If so, can I come too?”
He closed the gap between them. He’d screwed things up completely. She had it all wrong.
“No, that’s not possible.”
“Why not? I can sell the diner. Buyers are queuing up now the holiday resort’s definitely going ahead. We can live off the money and use it to rebuild the cabin and put in a recording studio. Ship in a generator for power. You’re a wonderful singer, Chet. Everyone loves you. And your songs … they’re brilliant.”
Walker sighed. “No. Don’t you see, it would be the same thing. You’d be keeping me fed and watered. I need to ….”
He stopped talking for a moment. His whole carefully choreographed plan had gone hideously wrong. Josie’s tears were tearing him up inside.
“No, Josie, I’m sorry. I’m not explaining myself very well. Listen. I’m never gonna make it as a singer. I’m not good enough. I know that now. Okay, I can hold a note and write a half-decent song, but there are tens of thousands of singer-songwriters in America who’ll never make it big and I’m one of them. We both have to face that.”
“I thought we were good together.” She stepped back. The water splashed at her ankles. “I thought you loved me.”
He grabbed her upper arms. She resisted his pull.
“Silly girl, I do love you. I love you more than anyone … anything I’ve ever loved in my life. I want to spend the rest of my days with you. And that’s why I have to go back east. It’s because of what I did in the mine.”

“The mine?”
“Yes, the operation. When my hands stopped shaking it was sort of a revelation. They … the AMA, I mean, said I can carry over my credits, but still need to sit all the exams again. One year. That’s all it’ll take. One year, and three more years of residency. After that, I’ll take my board certification.”
Josie looked up at him, frowning in confusion. “You’ve lost me, Chet. What the heck are you talking about?”
“You know my mom’s a surgeon, right? Well, she’s pulled some strings at Johns Hopkins, and I’m going to retake my final year.” He broke out a huge smile. “I’m going to become a doctor, Josie. And I plan to hang my shingle in Lucky Shores, if the town will have me. I’m also going to marry you. Again, if you’ll have me.”
Josie’s brows knitted together.
“I … I …”
Walker grinned. “Wow, now that’s a first.”
“What is?”
“Josie Donoghue, stuck for words.”
She shook her head as though she was having trouble taking in all he’d said. Then she stopped and looked up at him, anger blazing in her dark brown eyes. She punched him hard in the chest.
“Ow,” he said although it didn’t hurt much.
“Chet Walker, don’t you ever do that to me again.”
“Do what?”
“Frighten me like that.”
“I’m so sorry. Been planning what I was going to say for weeks, but screwed it all up. Forgive me?”
“Yes, to both questions.”
“Sorry?”

“Yes, I forgive you. Just this once, mind. And yes, I will marry you.” She tilted her head up for a kiss. As usual, he complied and took plenty of time doing it.
After a long, long hug, they returned to the cabin, arm in arm.
“Now that’s all settled,” he said, smiling wide, “how about you making good on your promise to cook me breakfast for letting you come up here?”
She faced him square on, hands planted firmly on hips.
“You let me come up here? Listen up, Chester Walker. Nobody lets me do anything. I do what I want and when I want. Get me?”
“Yes, Josie,” he said, trying to look suitably downcast. “But you were under doctor’s orders.”
“You aren’t a doctor yet.”
“True enough, but I will be soon.”
“Hmm.”
“So, what about some grub?”
“If I make breakfast, what do I get in return?”
He pointed to the guitar case. “I’ll provide the background music.”
She grinned. “It’s a deal, so long as you help with the dishes. I’m not doing all the housework in this marriage.”

“Marriage,” he said. “Yep, I like the sound of that.”
While she prepared breakfast, trying to fend Millie away from the food, Walker freed Suzy, his handmade, six-string, semi-acoustic guitar from her case and flexed life into cold fingers. He picked the opening to his latest tune, On Lucky Shores, and sang it to Josie for the first time.
Judging by her reaction, the song met with her approval.

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About the Author:

#1 Amazon bestselling author with the US-based Lucky Shores thriller series and the Ryan Kaine military action thrillers, and creator of the popular DCI Jones Casebook series of crime novels, Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. A citizen of the world, he currently lives in a stone cottage in the heart of rural Brittany, which he took five years to renovate with his own gnarled and calloused hands. The cottage is a pet-free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and a family of red squirrels). He has three children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the modern miracle of video calling.

Poster Boy

By |2022-05-17T09:24:58+00:00December 10th, 2021|Comments Off on Poster Boy
Book Cover: Poster Boy
Editions:Kindle: $ 2.99
ISBN: B09J92Z7RT
Pages: 420
Paperback: $ 10.20
ISBN: 979-8772965276
Pages: 418

A dead cop. A brutal murder. A dangerous game.

DCI David Jones is no stranger to murder cases. But when DS Charlie Pelham is found dead in a dirty, disused house in Birmingham, Jones is shocked by what he sees and disturbed to be faced with the murder of a former colleague.

Brutally butchered and stripped naked, Charlie’s body is only recognisable by the tattoo on his forearm. There isn’t much in the way of evidence but a St Christopher medallion left at the scene could have belonged to the killer. The last time Jones saw Charlie, he had him sent to a desk job working on cold case files. Could this also be a vital clue?

Worryingly, Charlie isn’t the only person to die in mysterious circumstances. Fortunately, new Forensic Scene Investigator Dr Robyn Spence is on hand to assist with the investigation. With her help, Jones might be able to crack the case. But can he do it before the death toll rises?

The next tense novel in the DCI Jones series, from bestseller Kerry J Donovan

Published:
Publisher: Fuse Books
Genres:
Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Sunday 14th May – Evening
Near Shipton Village, Shropshire, UK

DCI David Jones drained the wine glass and contemplated returning to the kitchen for a second refill but said no to the call of the slippery slope. No heavy solitary drinking for him. A small glass or two with his meal would suffice. He settled back into his comfy chair to review the end of another case. Hopefully, Melanie Archer would be able to live the life she deserved, free of the fear she’d endured for more than a decade. He’d done a good thing and allowed a satisfied smile to work its way onto a face he usually kept dour.
Seconds later, or so it seemed, the burping rattle of the mobile vibrating on the side table woke Jones from a light doze. He groaned.
Give me strength.

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He snatched up the mobile and hit the “accept” option after briefly considering the alternative.
“Jones here. This better be important.”
“Evening, David. It’s me, Phil.”
“Yes, I know it’s you. I can read a caller ID when I see it.” He tried to make his voice gruff, but it wasn’t working.
“Sorry, boss. This isn’t a social call.” Phil sounded tense.
Jones sat up straighter, his senses prickling. Passing up the third glass of wine turned out to be a good idea—it meant he didn’t have to wait for a lift into the city.
“Okay, Inspector. What’s wrong?”
“Suspicious death in Bordesley Green. The Orchard Towers Estate. By all accounts, the body’s been there a few days.”
“Are you on scene?”
“Not yet. On my way there now.”
“Any identification?”
“Vic Dolan’s there with one of his newbies. He didn’t want to say anything on the radio, but he asked me to call you out right away. Sounds serious.”
Jones shot to his feet. Sergeant Victor Dolan happened to be one of the most reliable uniformed officers in Birmingham. He’d never hit the panic button and have Phil call in a DCI without justification.
“Vic’s there now?”
“Yep. He’s holding the fort until I arrive. The FSIs are on their way in.”
“You mean the SOCOs,” Jones grumbled.
“They’re called Forensic Scene Investigators these days, boss.”
“Not by me they aren’t. We’ve been calling them SOCOs for years, and I see no need for the change of title. Their role’s still the same, isn’t it?”
“It is.”
“Good. Text me the address. I’m on my way.”

To read more, buy the book in Kindle or paperback format, and to be the first to know about new David Jones books, join The Friends of David Jones newsletter.

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About the Author:

#1 Amazon bestselling author with the US-based Lucky Shores thriller series and the Ryan Kaine military action thrillers, and creator of the popular DCI Jones Casebook series of crime novels, Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. A citizen of the world, he currently lives in a stone cottage in the heart of rural Brittany, which he took five years to renovate with his own gnarled and calloused hands. The cottage is a pet-free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and a family of red squirrels). He has three children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the modern miracle of video calling.

On the Outside

By |2022-05-16T23:22:54+00:00August 3rd, 2021|0 Comments

Ryan Kaine is on the outside…

When the neo-fascist group The Doomsday Creed kidnap Sabrina Faroukh, Ryan Kaine gets the call.

Sabrina was the IT expert who helped Kaine in his early days and as the granddaughter of an influential arms dealer, her life has more value than most to the terrorists.

In the Arizona wilderness, up against a fanatical group hell-bent on creating a dirty bomb, Kaine needs more than luck to rescue Sabrina. And he could do without the trigger-happy local law enforcement speeding to the scene.

With so many lives riding on a successful outcome, Kaine is at his limit, when things take a desperate turn for the worst.

If you like Lee Child, Mark Dawson and Robert Ludlum, you’re going to find the Ryan Kaine series compulsively addictive.

Published:
Publisher: Fuse Books
Genres:
Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Wednesday 17th May – Sabrina
Camp Pueblo, Arizona, US

Daylight cut through the oppressive darkness, carving through the gap around the only outside door in her cell. It painted three bright stripes on the concrete floor and forced Sabrina up from the blessed comfort of sleep. She turned over, and the springs on the ex-military cot squeaked in aggressive complaint. The wafer-thin foam mattress provided little protection against the metal that tried, throughout the night, to slice her to ribbons.
Reluctant in its lethargy, her mind swam against the flow, battling the tide of despair, arms pulling, legs kicking, until she finally dragged herself to the surface, into wakefulness.
Counter to the hopes promised in her dreams, she awoke in the same grimy dank place—her cell.

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Each time she moved her hand, the iron manacle that attached the chain to her wrist chafed her skin a little more. The protective cloth she used—a piece torn from the sleeve of her nightshirt—had fallen loose during the night. The wound felt as bad as it looked. It wept blood and a yellow-green pus. Assuming she lived long enough for the wound to heal, it would leave a scar.
Sans doute. No doubt.

The questions remained. Why had the colonel kept her alive? He did not usually spare the lives of those he believed worked against him. Ruthlessness had been his modus operandi.
Clutching the coiled chain tight to her thigh, Sabrina arched her back and tried to ease the tension that had formed between her shoulder blades. The movement did nothing but allow a biting cramp to attack her muscles. Every muscle in her body ached, cried out for warmth. The warmth of food, of nourishment.
Grit scratched her eyes and crunched when she ground her teeth. She tried to swallow, but a dry throat made it a near impossibility.
All her own fault. Such an idiot. As grand-père Mo-Mo often said, one day, arrogance would be the end of her.
Sometime during the past few weeks, she had spoken to the wrong person. Greed had turned that person against her. Or maybe the betrayer came from closer to home.
But who?

Sabrina sighed.
Identifying the individual responsible for the treachery would be a challenge for others. As a task, it fell outside her capabilities. At any moment, she expected a member of the Creed to drag her away to her death. Hopefully, it would be quick. Quicker than the slow death of dehydration or starvation.
Why had it taken her so long to discover the cause of the missing inventory? The clues had been there from the very outset, but her covert investigation had been blocked at every turn. Only by pure luck did she stumble upon the first crack in the fortress of silence. One fissure led to another, and eventually they coalesced into a canyon. Death and destruction became a trail leading to the colonel, the Doomsday Creed, and this very place. She had only lacked the evidence to convince the authorities to move in and close down the band of home-grown terrorists.
One day. Perhaps two. That was all she required. But it was not to be.
In the dead of night they came for her. They overpowered and drugged her, and they spirited her away to this grubby cell. Three nights and two days ago.
Merde à leurs cœurs noirs! Damn their black hearts!

The hours stretched out interminably and each moment, the death she expected failed to materialise. All she had were her thoughts, which turned relentlessly in on themselves, becoming more and more distorted as the hunger and thirst took effect. Her stomach tightened, grumbled, rebelled against the deprivation, and her throat constricted in pain from the lack of drink.
L’eau. Water.
What would she give for a tall glass of cool, clear water? A drink to extend her life for one more day.
No. Think of something else.

The treachery.
Who had turned against her? Who had turned her over to the Creed?
The names on the list were many, and crossed at least two continents. Too numerous to determine in her weakened state.
Why had they acted against her?
The obvious answers came easily enough. Either greed, or a belief in the cause espoused by the colonel, or both. Greed seemed the more likely option, since the cause was hopeless—the dream of a lunatic. The missing weapons and ammunition were worth millions of dollars on the black market, and the colonel possessed very deep pockets.
Sabrina, sitting on the edge of the bed, doubled over and clenched her belly against the next attack of raging cramps. More and more, thirst and hunger dominated her waking thoughts, making it difficult to think logically.
She cast her eyes to the ceiling. One solitary lightbulb suspended from a cable attached to a rafter. She had never seen it alight.
Time passed evermore slowly. Her mind wandered.
Concentre-toi, Sabrina. Concentrate.

Tex might arrive at any moment, and she did not want him to see her weakness, or to see her cry. Not that tears would actually form. Dehydration would not allow it.
Yes, she needed to concentrate on Tex and his slack-jawed partner, George.
Focus upon Tex. Use anger as a driver. Fight. Stay alive for as long as possible. Help will come. Please God, help will come.
The first time she saw the blond-haired mountain of a man, he slammed open the door to her filthy prison cell and stood in the opening. So tall, he had to stoop when passing through the doorway to avoid striking his head. Shoulders so wide they almost blocked the opening, and his huge silhouette stood out dark against the blinding sunlight. Behind him, head poking through the gap, stood a squat, ugly young man. He had an underslung jaw, a shock of uncombed hair, and carried a pump-action shotgun pointed at his toes.
When the big man stepped inside, sunlight seared her eyes so painfully she had to close them tight and turn her head away. He stood inside the threshold, unmoving while she recovered enough to look up at him.

“Hey there, little lady,” he said. His soft Southern drawl made him sound almost friendly. “My name’s Tex. I sure am glad to meet you, ma’am.”
When he made the greeting, he touched his forehead as though tipping his hat to her.
Still shielding her eyes, she stared up at the man who remained well out of reach. The youngster with the shotgun hovered just outside the doorway.
Tex leered at her, taking in her state of undress. The men had snatched her while she slept, and she sat on the cot barefoot, wearing only a silk nightshirt and shorts. The translucent cloth left little to his imagination.
“I said, ‘Hey there, little lady’,” Tex snapped, teeth bared, all pretence at civility disappearing in an instant. “Answer me, damn you!”
Sabrina swallowed and tried to speak, but she could not drive any words through her parched throat. Instead, she looked up at him and nodded.
Once satisfied he had her full attention, Tex smirked. He took a set of keys from the pocket of his dusty jeans, selected one, and used it to unlock the only other door in her cinderblock cell—a door she had tried, and failed, to open since the start of her incarceration. She assumed it to be the door to another cell. Many times, she had knocked upon it but had received no response.
Tex turned the handle and pushed. The door creaked inwards to reveal a toilet and a washbasin.
Tex ducked low and entered the closet. He rested a hand on the tap.
“Thirsty?” he asked, still smiling.

Again, she could only nod.
From the moment Tex entered the cell, the ugly one with the shotgun had not taken his eyes off her. His lower lip glistened with drool and he wiped it dry with the back of his free hand.
Ensuring she could see his actions clearly, Tex fitted a plug into the drain and twisted the handle of the tap. It squeaked open and clear water trickled into the bowl, filling it slowly. She couldn’t tear her eyes from the flow, which sparkled in the sunlight streaming through the small, frosted glass window on the far wall of the closet.
Miraculously, her mouth watered at the sight and allowed her to swallow.
“Yes,” she croaked.
His smile grew even wider. Brilliant white teeth stood out against his dark suntan.
“Well, come get some, honey,” he said, beckoning with a hand as large as a shovel.
She stayed put—sitting on the edge of her cot. Wary.
“What’s wrong, Frenchie? Scared o’ little ol’ me?”
Sabrina stared him down. She said nothing.
“Aw, honey. There ain’t no need to be afraid of ol’ Tex. I ain’t gonna touch you none. Here, I’ll prove it.”
When the water reached the lip of the bowl and started to dribble over the sides and puddle on the filthy concrete floor, the huge man turned off the tap.
He said, “Go on, honey. Help yourself,” bowed gracefully, and backed out of the cell, locking the door behind him.

Sabrina jumped up from the bed and raced to the closet. She reached all the way past the inner door before the chain stretched taut and the manacle tore into the flesh of her wrist. It brought her up short—short of the basin, but not the toilet.
She screamed out in pain and frustration.
Outside, behind the locked door, Tex let loose a huge belly laugh.
“What’s wrong, Frenchie? Chain too short? Shame that. A cryin’ shame!”
The cell door opened, and once again, Tex blocked the sunlight with his huge frame.
Sabrina backed away to her cot, hugging her injured arm tight to her chest.
His braying laugh echoed throughout the cell and drove deep into her head. The one with the shotgun shifted his gaze from her to Tex and back again as though he was struggling to understand the joke.
“Serves you right for bein’ so eager, Frenchie.”
“Why am I here?” she croaked.
“That’s what happens to people who work against the Creed. You brought it all on yourself, honey.”
“What do you plan to do to me?”
“Gonna tenderise you a little, then you’ll find out.”
Still laughing, he backed out of the cell, barged the smaller man out of the way, and locked the door again. She sat on the cot, crying silent, dry tears, listening to his footfalls crunching on gravel and disappearing into the distance.

To read more, buy the book in Kindle and paperback format, and to be the first to know about new Ryan Kaine books, join The Friends of Ryan Kaine newsletter.

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About the Author:

#1 Amazon bestselling author with the US-based Lucky Shores thriller series and the Ryan Kaine military action thrillers, and creator of the popular DCI Jones Casebook series of crime novels, Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. A citizen of the world, he currently lives in a stone cottage in the heart of rural Brittany, which he took five years to renovate with his own gnarled and calloused hands. The cottage is a pet-free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and a family of red squirrels). He has three children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the modern miracle of video calling.

On the Hunt

By |2022-05-16T22:56:14+00:00February 10th, 2021|Comments Off on On the Hunt

Ryan Kaine is on the hunt…

Setting out to teach an abusive husband a lesson, Danny Pinkerton quickly finds himself surrounded by a crime family that stretches back to Győr in Hungary.

Outgunned and outnumbered, Pinkerton turns to his closest friend, Ryan Kaine.

In a story that travels across Europe and pushes Kaine and Pinkerton to the very edge of survival, On The Hunt is a test of friendship and bond that neither man is prepared to fail.

Even if the outcome is fatal.

If you like Lee Child, Mark Dawson and Robert Ludlum, you’re going to find the Ryan Kaine series compulsively addictive.

Published:
Publisher: Fuse Books
Genres:
Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Wednesday 3rd May – Danny Pinkerton
Chequer Way, Amber Valley, Derbyshire, UK

Danny had only seen the woman for a few seconds. At the time, he didn’t know her name or anything about her, but her bruised and bloodshot eyes and the fear expressed in them drew his attention.
She’d been in the front passenger seat of a white Range Rover stuck in traffic, two miles from the Aspire Hospital, Nottingham—a traffic jam caused by the failed attempt on Melanie Archer’s life.
In those few brief moments, the injured woman’s plight had touched Danny’s heart.
He’d been trudging along the side of the road, dressed like a vagrant in ripped jeans and a grubby polo shirt, covered in someone else’s blood, but when she’d looked at him through those bruised and swollen eyes, he couldn’t let it go. The metal splint taped to her nose confirmed her as a woman in discomfort.

READ MORE

At first, he assumed she’d just left the Aspire following a nose job, but the way she reacted to her driver’s aggressive proximity fired off warning bells in Danny’s head. Then, after a brief exchange of words, the driver had raced away in the Range Rover, ignoring Danny’s request for a lift and leaving him standing in the driving rain. But as the driver made the turn, he showed Danny the SUV’s tailgate and the cherished licence number it carried, RNP 111.
During his sodden jog to the hospital, Danny contacted Corky, and it had taken the talented hacker mere seconds to identify the SUV’s registered owner, one Robert Neil Prentiss. Corky also provided the man’s home address and the name of his wife—Marian Jennifer Prentiss.

#

Deep in the Amber Valley, twenty miles northwest of Derby, Chequer Way stood pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but Danny’s slow, overnight drive-by had shown him plenty.
The security wall running along the front of the pretentiously named “Prentiss House” stretched out for a little over one hundred and fifty metres. The only gap in the brickwork allowed for a grand entrance, flanked by stone pillars that were crowned with prancing horses carved from white marble. Recessed from the road by a short gravel driveway, a pair of electrically-operated wrought iron gates protected the opening, defending the floodlit home from whatever rampaging hordes the owners most feared.
Behind the gates, Prentiss House—more a mansion than a working farmhouse—stood in all its glory. Sandstone walls shone bright under the orange floodlights. Imposing and expensive.
Pompous or what?
Danny didn’t need to be hit over the head with a lump of sandstone to recognise valuable real estate when he saw it. No doubt about it, Robert Prentiss was loaded.
Didn’t give him the right to beat his wife, though.
No bloody way.
So, Danny asked himself, now he’d made the trip, what was he going to do?
He couldn’t exactly breach the fortress, knock on the front door, and ask the householder how long he’d been beating his wife. No way. There could only be one response to such a question.
Prentiss would refute the charge and dismiss Danny from the grounds. The bugger might even call the police and try to have Danny arrested. And where would that leave the possible victim? No, such a bumbling, half-arsed approach might even make the situation worse for Marian Prentiss.
Danny needed proof.
Not the same level of proof required by the UK’s stodgy legal system. Oh no. He just needed enough to convince himself of the rich man’s guilt. Then, and only then, would Prentiss receive his lesson.
Only then would the bastard learn what it felt like to be on the receiving end of a thumping.

Danny parked his leased, mid-range BMW 3-Series in a layby two miles to the north, returned on foot under the cover of darkness, and completed a surreptitious circuit of the defensive wall. He found another opening at the rear barred by a pair of solid wooden gates, which he scaled with ease. Keeping to the deep shadow, Danny skirted around to the front of the house and found a row of rhododendron bushes where the wall formed a corner, then dropped to his haunches.
Inside the wall, landscaped gardens to the front, rear, and sides showed the intensive work of someone with green fingers. Mainly set to lawns and with well-stocked herbaceous borders, the grounds at the rear contained numerous outbuildings, including a detached triple garage, a large greenhouse, and two small wooden sheds.
Danny’s hiding spot gave him a good view of the house’s frontage and most of the rear. He settled in for the long haul, his back propped against the cold brickwork. He grew colder by the minute, but the memory of Marian Prentiss’ bruised and battered face warmed him and drove him on. What was a little discomfort compared to her injuries?
He rolled his shoulders, stretched his neck, and pointed the Zeiss Victory SF 8x42 binoculars—the one piece of surveillance equipment he hadn’t forgotten—at the front of the house, making the most of the floodlights’ illumination.
The entrance portico—two white-painted columns supporting a triangular canopy—aimed for impressive but only hit excessive and ostentatious. Two steps led up to a semi-circular floor covered in black and white tiles laid out in a chessboard pattern. Double doors, panelled and painted black in a high-gloss finish, wore wrought iron furniture. Two huge lionheads with thick metal rings in their mouths acted as knockers. Two more formed the handles. Raised iron rivets fastened enormous wrought iron hinges into the woodwork, trying to give the impression of a drawbridge.
Fuck’s sake, what a mess.
Danny raked the binoculars across the façade, looking for security cameras or motion-activated spots, but found none. He returned the binoculars to his small rucksack and settled back to wait.
At 01:30 hours the floodlights powered off, plunging his world into blackness. It left Danny blind and immobile until his natural night vision took over. While waiting for the house to sleep and before venturing out of his obbo point to take a closer look, Danny replayed his most recent conversation with Corky.

#

Behind the wheel of the BMW on his way towards Amber Valley, Danny cleared his throat before tapping the comms unit in his ear.
“Hi Corky, what you got for me, over.”
Plenty, Danny-boy. Plenty. Whatcha need first?
Danny grinned. If he hung around for Corky to comply with correct comms protocol, he’d be waiting forever.
“Names and bios will do for a start, over.”
Corky sent them to your mobile half an hour ago.
“I’m driving. Can you give me the bullet points, please? Over.”
Yeah, okay. Sure. Like, why not. After all, it ain’t like Corky’s not got a million other things to do, is it?
“Sorry Corky,” Danny said, slapping some life into his cheeks. “I appreciate all your efforts, mate. I really do. Hoped you’d save me a little time, is all—”
Nah, just joshing, Danny-boy. Corky’s happy to oblige. Just a sec.
To Danny’s surprise, the active map on the dashboard’s GPS screen shrank into a corner, and Corky’s round and bearded face took its place.
Jesus!
He nearly lost control of the BMW.
How the tech genius achieved the trick, Danny would never know. Corky was able to do things beyond the scope of even the most gifted military techies.
Apart from the small-scale map, the screen behind Corky showed nothing but a white wall, which made a change from the usual panoramic view of sea and sky he preferred.
“Whatcha, Danny,” Corky said, his cheeks fattening into a grin. “Much better speaking face to face, yeah?”
Danny returned the grin. “Sure is.”
“This way, we don’t need none of that ‘over and out’ bullshit, neither.”
“If you say so, Corky.”
The GPS map indicated a left turn in eight hundred metres, and Danny slowed to make the manoeuvre.
“Didn’t know these consoles had built-in cameras.”
Without bothering to indicate—no cars about to make it necessary—Danny turned left, straightened the wheel and fed more fuel into the engine. The big BMW surged ahead.
“You’d be surprised what the manufacturers hide inside their ‘infotainment systems’, Danny-boy. These days, Big Brother is always watching you.”
Big Brother and Corky!
But at least Corky was benign.
“Okay,” Dany said, moving things along, “so who exactly is our target?”
“Robert Neil Prentiss, aged thirty-six. Owns Prentiss Haulage Limited, and operates from a distribution centre on the outskirts of Derby. Likes to call himself, ‘Robbie P’. That’s the geezer on the screen right now.”
Corky pointed over his shoulder and a colour headshot of a man emerged on the white background. Strong face, square jaw, light brown eyes. Some might say good-looking. Danny tried to match the image with the driver of the Range Rover from the previous afternoon, but it didn’t really work.
In the headshot, Robbie P had short hair, was clean shaven, and the smile reached his eyes. The headshot made him seem warm and friendly, but looks could be deceptive.
“How old’s that picture?”
Corky shrugged. “Dunno when it were taken, but that pic were uploaded to the company’s website three months back. Why?”
Danny sniffed. “Bloke I saw driving the Range Rover had long dark hair and a beard. Didn’t get a clear sight of him through the tinted windows, though. Might be the same guy, I guess. You couldn’t find anything more recent?”
Corky pinched his lips together and shook his head. “Nah, not really. Corky found a few publicity shots of Robbie P when he opened a distribution centre in Hungary eighteen months back, but the quality’s poor and there aren’t none any newer than that online. By the way, his hair were short in them pics, too. And he didn’t have no beard.”
“Find anything interesting on the wife?”
“Nothing much. Marian Jennifer Prentiss. Maiden name, Turvey. Aged twenty-eight. They’ve been married five years. No kids yet. She’s got herself a degree in Fine Arts from Nottingham Trent University.”
“Anything worrying in her medical history?”
“Didn’t find nothing in her NHS records.”
“No emergency admissions for unexplained injuries? Broken bones? Facial trauma?”
“Er, nope.” Another headshake.
“What about the damage I saw to her face yesterday? No record of that on the Aspire’s records?”

Corky scrunched his mobile face into a wince. He almost seemed embarrassed. “Yeah, now that’s where Corky’s had a little bother. As you know, for some reason, the Aspire’s computer systems fell over last night.”
“You don’t say.” Danny couldn’t prevent the irony invading his voice.
Danny knew all about the Aspire’s computer troubles. He knew, because he’d asked Corky to disable their IT infrastructure long enough for him to break into its dental clinic and “liberate” Melanie Archer’s replacement ceramic crown. The same ceramic crown she’d been paroled from prison for the day to have fitted.
“What happened, Corky? You didn’t break their IT system, did you?”
“Nah, ’course not. It ain’t nothing to do with Corky, and it ain’t permanent, neither. The hospital’s IT service provider is running a system-wide diagnostic sweep on account of the unplanned shutdown. Just means that Corky can’t interrogate the system right now. At least, not safely.”
Danny relaxed into his seat.
“How long are you going to be locked out?”
Corky’s wince transformed into a deep scowl. “Now listen here, Danny-boy. What part of that explanation said Corky were locked out? Corky ain’t never been locked out of a computer system in his life! Bloody insulting, that is.”
Keeping a straight face and concentrating on the road ahead, Danny raised a hand in apology. “Sorry Corky. Didn’t mean to upset you.”
“Locked out! Ain’t no way Corky’s locked out. He’s keeping his distance for security purposes, that’s all. Get it? Any outside interference on the Aspire’s systems at this stage will lead to questions Corky don’t want no one asking. Is that clear?”
“Yes, Corky. It’s clear. I get it. And again, I’m sorry. Any idea how long the systems are likely to be inaccessible?”
“The idiots are taking their time over the security scan. They say it’ll be down ’til at least midday. Typical. If Corky were running the systems check, it would already be done.”
Danny nodded. “I understand. Can’t be helped. Until then we’re blind, yes?”
The chubby hacker’s cheeky grin returned. “On the other hand, Corky did discover who provides the Mr and Mrs Prentiss with their medical insurance. It’s a company called Notts Private Health Services. Seems they agreed to cover the costs of ‘emergency treatment’ at the Aspire Hospital under Robbie P’s account. Apparently, two nights ago, she tripped and fell down the stairs. Broke her nose and right cheekbone.”
Yeah, right.
Danny clenched his fists and tried not to grind his teeth. “The bastard hit her.”
Corky tilted his head to one side in agreement. “Looks that way. What you gonna do?”
Good question.

“Corky hates wifebeaters. You gonna give the guy a good thumping?” the hacker asked, excitement shining bright in his eyes.
“Probably, but I need to do some obbo first. I want to be certain of my facts.”
“The facts seem clear enough to old Corky.”
“Maybe, but I’m not in the habit of turning people over without proof. Before doing anything serious, I’ll try to get Marian on her own. It would be good to hear her side of the story. You never know, her injuries might well have been accidental.” Danny tried to sound convincing, but failed miserably. He happened to be as certain as Corky of Robbie P’s guilt.
“So, anything else you need from old Corky?”
“A layout of the house would be useful?”
“More ‘bullet points’?”
“Please.”
Corky coughed into his hand. “Okay, here you go.” His gaze slid to the left and he started reading, probably from another monitor. “The architect’s plans are online and Corky’s been taking a shufti. Robbie P started renovating the house six years ago, right after they moved in and renamed the place. The house has two storeys and an attic. Ground floor’s got three receptions, a home office, a sun room, and a kitchen with utility room. First floor has four bedrooms, two with en suites, and a family bathroom. The attic has planning permission for a granny annex, but the work stopped three years ago. Dunno why. Maybe the bugger ran out of money.”
“Can you find out?”
Corky winked. “Next thing on the to-do list, Danny-boy. Corky reckons Prentiss Haulage Limited might have stretched their finances a bit thin when they opened that satellite hub in Hungary. Seems to be something fishy going on there. Like, who chooses chuffing Hungary for their base of operations? Hardly the epicentre of the European haulage trade. Ain’t that many routes to and from the major agriculture or manufacturing centres, you know.”
“You’ll keep searching, I imagine?”
“If there’s anything iffy going on, Corky’s gonna find it.”
The BMW’s headlights dipped automatically as its sensors registered the dazzling full-beams of an approaching vehicle. Danny squinted and waited for the ignorant prick to pass before speaking again.
“Don’t suppose Prentiss House has a burglar alarm or surveillance system you can hack into?”
Corky shook his head and his expression turned glum. “Nah, ’fraid not. They got an alarm and a CCTV setup, but it ain’t hooked up to the web, at least not yet. Corky can’t give you ears or eyes inside the house without splicing directly into the system. And there ain’t no way that’s happening any time soon.”
“Okay, mate. I’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way. Thanks for everything. I’ll find a spot inside the grounds and lie doggo for a while. If and when Robbie P heads out to work in the morning, it’ll give me a chance to ask Marian about his behaviour. Assuming he leaves her home alone.”
“Good luck with that, Danny-boy. Corky’s off now.” He chuckled, faded away, and the GPS map expanded to fill the screen again.

#

Slowly, one by one, the stars blinked out and a pale dawn washed away the darkness of night.
Danny shivered, the morning dew had long since soaked through his clothes, and the chill had worked its way into every joint of his body. Should have come better prepared. A groundsheet would have helped, but no point crying about that now. Wasn’t as though he could call on anyone for help, either. For the first time in years, he was operating solo, which felt both good and bad. Good, to have no one questioning his actions or monitoring his performance. Bad, to have no one to bounce ideas off, not even the captain.
What had originally seemed like the most obvious thing in the world—save the girl, punish the arsehole—had turned into hours of waiting in the perishing cold. Hours of double-guessing and doubt.
Earlier, his post-floodlight searches hadn’t added to his small pool of knowledge. Peering through windows and pressing his ear to the glass achieved nothing. Heavy curtains hid the view inside, and double-glazed windows on the ground level prevented all sounds filtering through into the night. A complete bust.

He’d been deaf and blind to whatever was going on inside Prentiss House and had failed to add to Corky’s intel.
A thermal imaging camera might have told him how many people were in the house and where they slept, but he’d forgotten to pack one in his haste to “save the damsel in distress”. Another bloody mistake. One of many. No groundsheet, no parabolic microphone, no infrared or night vision glasses, no nothing. Damn it, he wasn’t even armed.
What did Rollo used to say? “Fail to prepare and you might as well prepare to fail, laddie.” Yep, the team’s quartermaster wasn’t averse to spouting the odd platitude or three.
And anyway, why the hell would he need a weapon?
Danny faced nothing but a wifebeater. A bully and a coward, not a Taliban insurgent, and Danny knew how to handle bullies.
Around him, the dawn chorus welcomed the onset of day and the temperature rose with the sun. With the minimum of movement, Danny loosened his joints and warmed his muscles in preparation for whatever the morning would bring.
Before him, Prentiss House remained silent. The curtains hid what went on behind the ground floor windows, and shutters covered those on the upper two floors.
Once again, Danny waited.

#

The middle of the three high-security garage doors rolled up to expose the gleaming white and ludicrously expensive Range Rover 5.0 V8. Brand new, the top-of-the-range beastie would have set Robbie P back more than £130,000. The powerful monster’s engine growled in smooth anger. White exhaust fumes spewed from the tailpipe, and the SUV pulled slowly out of the garage and into the daylight, some thirty-five metres from where Danny hid amongst the rhododendrons.
Finally, after damn near seven hours freezing his nuts off, Danny had movement.
He allowed himself a little fist pump.
Here we go!
The Range Rover rolled forwards and stopped outside the grand front entrance, purring, waiting for release. Behind it, the garage door rolled down and clunked into place. The driver’s door popped open and a swarthy man with long wavy hair and a trimmed beard climbed out. Slightly below average height but powerfully built, the man wore a dark business suit, white shirt, muted brown tie, and polished leather shoes. He bore a striking resemblance to the driver from the previous afternoon.
Yep, the same guy he saw driving the Range Rover yesterday afternoon.
Robbie P?
Danny raised the binoculars, focused them on the man. Pale blue eyes shone out of a weather-beaten face.
Blue eyes?
Can’t be right.
Danny tweaked the knurled nut of the binoculars’ focus adjuster to sharpen the image further. Yep, the driver’s eyes were definitely blue.
Shit!
Definitely not Prentiss.
The headshot Corky had thrown up on the BMW’s infotainment screen showed Robbie P with light brown eyes, not blue, and Corky’s bio confirmed it. The bio also stated that Robbie P stood at nearly six foot two, but the driver was no more than five nine.
What the hell was going on?
The swarthy man, Driver, glowered at the closed front doors and peeled back the sleeve of his jacket to reveal a heavy gold watch. He all but tapped his foot on the gravel in his impatience.
Driver waited another thirty seconds before shouting something guttural in a language Danny didn’t understand. Moments later, one of the front doors opened and a second man in a business suit stumbled out, propelled by the stiff-armed punch of a third man.
The man in the suit bunted into one of the columns supporting the portico’s canopy and fell to his hands and knees.
The third man stayed in the open doorway. He wore blue jeans and a white T-shirt under a sleeveless denim vest. Squat with a shaved head, his muscular arms and thick neck were covered in black ink—prison tats.
Tats shouted, “Idióta,” and coughed out a harsh laugh.
With his back to Danny, the fallen man scrambled to his feet. He raised his hands to Tats, shouted, “Don’t hurt her. Please don’t hurt her again!” and spun towards Driver, finally showing his face to Danny.
Robbie P!
Fuck.
In that instant, Danny realised his mistake. Robbie P was no more a wifebeater than Ryan Kaine was a terrorist.
What the flaming hell had he stumbled into?

To read more, buy the book in Kindle and paperback format, and to be the first to know about new Ryan Kaine books, join The Friends of Ryan Kaine newsletter.

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About the Author:

#1 Amazon bestselling author with the US-based Lucky Shores thriller series and the Ryan Kaine military action thrillers, and creator of the popular DCI Jones Casebook series of crime novels, Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. A citizen of the world, he currently lives in a stone cottage in the heart of rural Brittany, which he took five years to renovate with his own gnarled and calloused hands. The cottage is a pet-free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and a family of red squirrels). He has three children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the modern miracle of video calling.

Sweet Revenge

By |2022-05-17T00:14:39+00:00December 19th, 2020|Comments Off on Sweet Revenge
Book Cover: Sweet Revenge
Editions:Kindle: $ 4.99
ISBN: B081S7TMXS
Pages: 200
Paperback: $ 15.99
ISBN: 979-8578908231
Pages: 340

Sometimes fairytales turn to nightmares…

When fugitive Ryan Kaine asks DCI David Jones to reopen the case against a missing prisoner who escaped from custody, Jones is intrigued to know more.

Melanie Archer was awaiting trial for the murder of her husband when she disappeared without a trace. Kaine knows where she is but he’s also confident that she isn’t a killer. James Archer, multi-millionaire and invalid, drowned in his hydrotherapy pool in suspicious circumstances. The Archers’ marriage was far from a happy one and Melanie certainly had a motive: get rid of an abusive husband and get rich in the process.

But Melanie has been given the chance to run and she hasn’t taken it. She swears she is innocent and is desperate to prove it. If anyone can expose the truth it’s DCI Jones. And the deeper he digs, the more secrets and lies he discovers...

DCI Jones: a series of page-turning crime novels with unexpected twists from bestseller Kerry J Donovan.

(This book was previously published as 'A DCI Jones Casebook - Melanie Archer')

Published:
Publisher: Fuse Books
Genres:
Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Wednesday 3rd May – Early Morning
Outside Shipton Village, Shropshire, UK

Detective Chief Inspector David Jones stepped outside. He had to raise an arm to shield his eyes from the bright sunlight slicing over the eastern hills. Although welcome after three days of incessant rain, the sun had yet to add its warmth to the morning. Jones coughed as the cold air hit the back of his throat and chilled his lungs. He pulled the heavy front door behind him and smiled as it closed easily against the jamb and made a satisfyingly solid clunk.
During the previous weekend, he’d found time to take a smoothing plane to the door’s leading edge and removed remove the sliver of wood that had been scraping against the frame, causing it to rub slightly. The new and smoothly efficient operating satisfied his unending and inexplicable desire for perfection.

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If he couldn’t find perfection in his work, then he could at least strive for it in the travesty that was his private life.
Jones stood back and took a moment to admire the front elevation of his nearly-finished home. It had taken close to fifteen years, but he could finally see an end to the self-imposed challenge. The painstaking rebuild was complete and, apart from the decorating and furnishing, nothing but snagging remained. No more than a summer’s part-time toil, even for a man with his eye for detail and limited free time.
Not that he would be satisfied with the result, not fully, but at least the first phase of his ‘work in progress’ was over. Plenty remained for him to do. The outhouses, the garage and workshop, would need an upgrade, pretty soon. And as for the garden …
Don’t go there, Jones.

He could have hired a team of skilled builders and landscape gardeners and finished the work long ago, but that would have defeated the object. Before buying the rundown cottage in the middle of nowhere, Jones had never owned his own home. This would be his first and his last. His final resting place. It had to be perfect and, no matter their skill levels and their speed, hired builders would never be able to give it the same care and attention as Jones.
He sighed. If he played it right, there would always be something to do, something to occupy his mind. In truth, Jones didn’t really want to finish. If the refurbishment work ended, he’d have nothing to fill his head with, not after the brass hats finally tolled the dreaded retirement bell and sent him out to grass. At least he’d had a reprieve recently. Following the years of austerity and the loss of an untold number of experienced officers, a new directive had provided a voluntary five-year extension to the mandatory retirement age for senior officers. Jones had jumped at the offer. The last thing his wanted was to be put out to grass.
He stepped back. Sunlight flashed on the roof tiles, highlighting the natural slates’ ripples and distortions. The imperfections of nature held no fear. In fact, those particular blemishes were essential. Glorious. Jones revelled in them. Okay, so the windows were filthy, but he could fix that easily enough. He’d attack them with the steam cleaner the next time he was home in daylight, although his day job didn’t allow that to happen often.
His job. His work. His life.
What the hell was he going to do when it ended in four years?
Chin up, Jones. You’ll work something out.

He sighed, spun around, and set off along the path running around the cottage, enjoying the coarseness of its recently re-laid flagstones as they contacted the soles of his walking shoes. He turned the corner at the gable end, heading towards the garage at the rear of the house and paused.
There is was. The blemish. The only major flaw in the picture. The dark blue Skoda parked next to the garage at the end of his drive.
Ugly modern monstrosity.
What would it do to him this time? Blink its flashers angrily? Bleep a warning alarm because he’d parked to close to a wall or reversed to close to a bloody pebble?
Damn it.
He’d been driving for decades without the need for ‘impact collision alarms’, ‘reversing cameras’, and ‘automated parking control’. And, damn it again, what the hell was wrong with changing gears manually, for pity’s sake?
For the second time that morning, Jones sighed. His life wasn’t all that bad. He had plenty to be grateful for. He had his health and his freedom, and he wanted for nothing. So many others had it far worse than him. Some people, innocent people, lived their lives as fugitives, on the run, hiding from the authorities, fighting for their lives. Innocent people like Ryan Kaine.
Ryan Kaine. Where are you, my man?

Jones shuddered. He could think of nothing worse that living with such uncertainties. Never knowing who to trust, and never knowing where he’d be sleeping from one night to the next.
Purgatory.
“Come on, then,” he mumbled. “Where are you?”
He held his breath to listen hard and allowed his gaze to quarter his small property, searching for any anomaly.
Nothing.
Jones approached the rounded white monstrosity with some unease. What would it do this time? He pointed the key fob at the driver’s window and pressed the unlock button. The beast’s amber hazard lights flashed twice and, with an orchestrated hum of electric actuators, the locks fuzz-clicked, the horn tooted in welcome, and the wing mirrors spread out from the door columns like petals in search of the sun.
Nice. Almost balletic.
Will it breakdance next?
“That’s it. I’m off,” he mumbled to no one.
Jones approached the driver’s door, half expecting it to open automatically for him. Thankfully, it remained steadfastly closed until he hooked his fingers under the handle and pulled. The door opened quietly, solidly, allowing the waft of air containing the aroma of new leather to filter around him.
Perhaps new cars weren’t that bad after all.
He removed his jacket, opened the rear passenger door, and placed it carefully on the back seat.
A shadow darkened the brilliant white paintwork. The shadow of a man.
Jones tensed. He raised his fists and spun around. A man’s black silhouette stood directly between Jones and the blindingly low sun. He stood straight and still, arms out from his sides, hands open—empty.
“Morning, Mr Jones,” the silhouette said quietly. “What happened to the Rover?”
Jones circled to the side, keeping his distance from dark outline, heading for the gentle shade of an oak tree. The silhouette moved in time with him, its profile turning towards the sun.
Slowly, Jones’ eyes attuned to the light, the image cleared, and the man’s rugged, handsome features became clear.
“Ryan Kaine,” Jones said without emotion. He released his breath, lowered his arms, and relaxed his hands. “Wondered when you’d show up.”
“You were expecting me?”
Jones tilted his head to the side a fraction but said nothing. Kaine had made the approach. The onus was on Kaine to make the explanation, not Jones.
“Sorry to arrive unannounced,” said Ryan Kaine, “but I need your help.”
“Again?”
Kaine smiled and dipped his head in a nod. “Again.”
Jones tore his eyes away from the man who used to top the UK government’s terrorist watchlist, and searched the landscape behind him. Expecting … what? Armed men in camouflage clothing? Snipers?
Get a grip, Jones. He’s a friend.

“Can’t you call ahead like a normal visitor?” he grumbled.
“Sorry, Mr Jones. Couldn’t take the risk you’d turn me down.”
“So, you come barging into—”
“Barging? I’d hardly call it that. I barely made a sound.”
Jones punched the side of his fist against his chest. “Damn nearly gave this old man a coronary.”
“You’re not that old, sir. And there’s nothing wrong with your heart.”
“How would you know that? Has Corky been digging into my medical records again?”
Kaine shook his head. “Nope. Our hacker friend’s been busy on other, more important tasks.”
“I won’t ask. Don’t want to know.”
“And I wouldn’t tell you even if you did ask.” Kaine smiled and shot out a hand. They shook, hand to forearm. Firm friends.
“So, what do you need this time?”
Kaine pointed to the cottage. “Mind if we take this inside. I’m gasping for a cuppa.”
Jones checked his watch, 06:59. Although he usually beat his team into work, they wouldn’t raise the alarm. Not today.
“Am I going to like this?” he asked, brushing past Kaine and leading the way through the back garden to the rear entrance.
“No, David,” Kaine said with a resigned tinge to his tone. “I really don’t think you are.”
Yep. Bloody knew it.

To read more, buy the book in Kindle format and paperback, and to be the first to know about new David Jones books, join The Friends of David Jones newsletter.

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About the Author:

#1 Amazon bestselling author with the US-based Lucky Shores thriller series and the Ryan Kaine military action thrillers, and creator of the popular DCI Jones Casebook series of crime novels, Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. A citizen of the world, he currently lives in a stone cottage in the heart of rural Brittany, which he took five years to renovate with his own gnarled and calloused hands. The cottage is a pet-free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and a family of red squirrels). He has three children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the modern miracle of video calling.

On the Wing

By |2022-05-16T22:54:16+00:00May 23rd, 2020|Comments Off on On the Wing
Book Cover: On the Wing
Editions:Kindle: $ 4.99
ISBN: B07XSP1NST
Pages: 383
Paperback: $ 12.99
ISBN: 979-8646122095
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Pages: 333

Ryan Kaine is on the wing…

When alleged murderer, Melanie Archer, is violently assaulted and left for dead by unknown attackers, she reaches out to the only organisation who might be able to save her life, The 83 Trust.

But before Ryan Kaine is willing to help her and put his team in danger, he wants to determine her guilt or innocence — in person. Against the advice of his closest allies, he and his insistent partner, Lara, con their way into the lion’s den — the last place he’d ever be expected to go willingly.

Unarmed and with no eyes or ears inside the prison, Kaine and Lara are trapped, with only a hasty disguise and a false identity preventing them from taking a permanent holiday at Her Majesty’s pleasure… or worse.

Is Kaine willing to risk everything to save her?

If you like Lee Child, Mark Dawson and Robert Ludlum, you’re going to find the Ryan Kaine series compulsively addictive.

Published:
Publisher: Fuse Books
Genres:
Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Monday 11th April – Melanie Archer
HMP Falston Manor, Derbyshire, UK

A thumping, grinding blow. Back of the head.
Flashes of bright light. Darkness. Fog.
White tiles, wet and harsh, raced up. Smacked her in the face. Another blow, a kick. Heavy shoes, the toecaps cracked bone. Her bone. Bones.
“You’re gonna die, bitch!” the voice hissed in her ear.
“The killer’s going down,” another voice, deeper, guttural.
Oh God!
Someone laughed.
“Don’t need no pay for this. Do it for free, me.”
Another kick landed.
Added to the pain.
“I’ll have your share.”
“Fuck off. What’s mine’s mine.”
Agony.
Wall to wall.
Floor to floor. Total, encompassing. Nothing but agony.
Head, eyes, jaw, ribs, stomach. Every movement screamed pain. The ribs hurt more on the left side.
Why?

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Someone whimpered, cried. Close by, high-pitched and feeble. Melanie Archer felt the sounds inside her head. Another groan, this one louder.
Her cries.
Her whimpers.
What’s happening?
She tried to open both eyes, but only the left lid reacted, letting in the searing agony of white light. Too bright, too much to suffer. She squeezed her lid closed and the ache lessened. But not by much.
Sunny? It’s sunny?
The sun gave off little heat. Her skin was cold. Sweaty cold. Clammy. Somewhere close by, water splashed. Dripped. The sound echoed off hard, reflective surfaces.
The shower block. Another kick, to the back, this one barely noticed. Barely felt.
Darkness closed in. Restful darkness. Peace.
Relax, Mel. Let it end. End now.
Shouts.
Raised voices.
Female voices, but sharp and guttural, high-pitched.
In the distance, way off, an alarm bell rang. Too far away. No safety there. No help.
Melanie lay on her side, curled into a foetal ball. That much, she could tell. The unforgiving surface she lay on—stiff, cold, gritty—it smelled of urine, caustic bleach, and … decay.
Another blow, this one to her head.
She retched. Gagged. Vomited.
Blackness rushed up to swallow her and end the pain.
Please.
End it.
Thank you, God. Thank …

#

Quiet peacefulness.
Softness. Scratchy softness.
Murmured voices in the distance, talking over the subdued, tinny music expelled from a radio. Mel didn’t recognise the song, but it was peaceful, relaxing. She smiled—or tried to. Her lips were swollen and split. Pain, the stinging pain of lemon juice driven into a cut, shocked her fully awake.
Mel lay on her back, the rough grit of tile and grout beneath her had been exchanged for the firm, intermittent lumpiness of an old, well-worn mattress. The smell had changed, too. From urine and corrosive bleach, to lemons and something else. Something sharp.
Starched sheets tucked in around and over her.
She tried to lift her head, but it was heavy, far too heavy, as though a concrete block was pressing against her forehead.
Her heartbeat thumped inside her head. Pounding. Adding to the cluster of pain.
She tried to swallow, but her mouth was too dry.
Mel moved her tongue, trying to generate some spit, some moisture. The tongue found a hole. A gap where her upper front tooth used to be. No pain though. An old injury. One of many. Years old. Nearly a decade. The missing front tooth, had been replaced by a ceramic implant. A perfect match to the original in shape and colour, but not in feel.
In the gap, something sharp—the implant’s metallic head protruding from her gum—cut the side of her tongue. Made it bleed. The blood seeped into her mouth, tasted of old pennies. She swallowed. Gagged. Swallowed again. Coughed.
Fresh, exquisite pain blazed though her side. The jagged edge of a rib bit deep. She yelped.
The distant conversation stopped. Footsteps approached. Heels clicked on a hard floor.
Metal rattled. Keys on a chain.

“Try not to move.”
“What?”
“You have a couple of broken ribs, a fractured wrist, multiple contusions, and a suspected concussion,” the woman said. Her voice was cool and unemotional, but carried the rasp of a long-term smoker. Her breath stank of cigarettes. “Try not to move. Wouldn’t want the ribs to pierce a lung.”
“Where … Where am …”
“The infirmary.”
“Where?”
Hesitation. “You don’t know where you are? Can you tell me your name?”
“Sorry? What?”
“You took a few blows to the head. What’s your name?”
Mel swallowed, blood mixed with saliva.
“Mel … Melanie Archer.”
“Good. Do you know where you are, in general terms?”
She tried to nod but, again, her head refused to move. Pain knifed behind her eyes, running between the temples, pulsing along with the rapid beat of her heart. Her neck seemed pinned in place, as though held in a vice. Something restricted her movement, stopped her from dipping her chin. A neck brace. She recognised its softly restrictive force. She’d worn one before.
“Falston,” she answered, “Falston Manor?” Her voice sounded as dry and cracked as the other woman’s, but Mel had never smoked a cigarette in her life.
Wouldn’t have dreamed of it. He wouldn’t have let her.
“Yes, that’s right. Memory’s unimpaired. Good,” the woman said, but didn’t seem particularly relieved. “Means we won’t need to send you for a scan. Paperwork for a transfer on medical grounds can be a nightmare. Expensive.”
Mel tried opening her eyes again, but her lids wouldn’t move. The right was being held in place by something soft but unforgiving—bandages. The lids of her left eye were stuck, gummed together.
“Oh God, I-I can’t see.” Even though she fought the panic, Mel’s voice rose in pitch and volume.
“Calm down, Archer. Far as I can tell, there’s nothing wrong with your vision. Heavy swelling and a deep laceration to the right side of your face needed bandages. I’ll clear the left in a second. Hold still.” The last words were barked in an order.
Footsteps clicked again, these ones moving away.
In the near silence that followed, broken only by the ticking of a clock and the tinny music, the seconds stretched into minutes. Mel tried to stay calm, keep her breathing shallow and slow. Panic wouldn’t help. She’d learned that the hard way, over decades.
Think.
Plan.

Stay calm and subservient on the outside, cool and determined on the inside. The only way to survive.
How much damage had they done? What could she move?
Head? No, the neck brace and bandages handled that.
Hands and arms? She could make a fist with her left hand, but when she tried moving the fingers of her right, a fireball of pain exploded. Broken. Probably at the wrist. Again, not for the first time.
Hips, knees, and ankles? All moved normally, and without excessive discomfort.
Now for the important part, the one kept for last, the chest and stomach.
Mel moved slowly, testing each area gently by tensing and relaxing the necessary muscle groups.
Broken ribs were a given. She already knew that, and the bones would heal. Doctors didn’t bandage damaged ribs anymore. Not worth the time or effort. Pain would restrict movement well enough, and the patient needed to breathe. But what about her stomach?
Mel held her breath and tensed her abdominal wall. Sore, bruised, but not seriously. In the past, she’d suffered worse, much worse. The damage was superficial. Damage to the belly didn’t matter. No chance of her ever being pregnant again. He’d seen to that seventeen, no, eighteen years ago.
Oh God. Little Bella.
Gone, and without having had a chance at any sort of a life.
Bella would be doing her A levels this year. She’d have been smart, like her mother, but more worldly wise. Better prepared for what life could throw at her. Mel would have seen to that. Bella would have had none of the naïve ignorance of her teenage mother, and absolutely none of her father’s cunning evil or his vileness.
Tears formed behind gummy, gritty eyes.
She would have protected little Bella from his scheming, his anger. Mel would have done anything to save her daughter from the fear and the misery.
So many years of guilt and suffering had led to … where? Her Majesty’s Prison, Falston Manor.
Overcrowded cells and strip searches.
Inmates.
Why? What had she done?
Nothing.
Why wouldn’t anyone believe her? It wasn’t fair. Life wasn’t fair. It never had been.
Returning footsteps broke into Mel’s drift into self-pity.
“By the way,” the woman with the gravelly voice said, “I’m Dr Milliner, the Chief Medical Officer here. You might remember me from your orientation.”
Orientation?

Ritual humiliation, more like.
It started before Mel had even arrived.
Blurred, fractured memories crawled through her head, unwanted. An hour-long ride in a prison van with blacked out windows. Sitting handcuffed on a bench seat, safety belt around her lap. Two more luckless, pale-faced prisoners on the bench to her left. One, fat and brassy with hair bleached at the tips and a ring through her nose, kept leering at her, licking her lips and blowing kisses. The other, pale, skinny, and terrified. Hair cut in an angular bob and no more than a teenager, she cried throughout the journey and bit her nails.
Normally, inmates were allowed to wear their own clothes, but the guards deemed Mel’s were too expensive, too eye-catching. They stripped her, gave her a faded green tracksuit three sized too big, T-shirts, and plain, cotton underwear.
The so-called medical exam was cursory and performed by a wizen-faced fifty-something woman. She had short grey hair, horn-rimmed glasses, pale brown eyes, and a sneer. Presumably, the owner of the raspy voice and the harsh bedside manner, Dr Milliner.
For the exam, Milliner asked a few general health questions, ticked the answers on a form attached to a clipboard, and made Mel sign it. No stethoscope to the chest, no blood pressure test, nothing “hands-on”.

Medical over, the real horror began.
How long ago was that? Two weeks? Three?
The days blurred. They merged into one long, indeterminant routine, interspersed with threats and intimidation, leading to … here.
Metal scraped onto a hard surface close to Mel’s head. Plastic rustled and crumpled. A vacuum-sealed bag popped open. The lid of a plastic bottle clicked, its seal broken. Liquid poured into a small container.
“This will feel cold,” Dr Milliner said, her voice close, her breath still reeking. “Nothing but distilled water to clean your eye. Keep it closed until I’m done.”
Cool liquid from a cotton wool swab soaked her lids. The cold water ran down the side of her face and pooled in her ear. Tickled. The doctor’s touch was more gentle than expected. A dry swab dabbed the excess liquid and, two firm swipes later, Milliner pulled away from the bed, taking the smell of stale cigarettes with her.
“Okay, try now.”
Mel opened her eye, closed it against the sharp white light, and took a shallow breath. She opened the lid again, blinked two, three times, and waited.
Slowly, the fuzzy pictures cleared and the blurry images sharpened.
The hatchet-faced Dr Milliner pressed the tips of her fingers to Mel’s bandaged head and held up a brown-stained index finger.
“Follow my finger. Don’t move your head.”
The hazy digit moved, left and right, up and down. Mel followed it as best she could, keeping her head still. The migraine flared when she looked up and to the left. She winced and groaned but said nothing.
Milliner pulled away.
“You’ll have a headache for a while. If it gets any worse I might be able to prescribe some ibuprofen.” She paused, reading the time from her wristwatch. “Paperwork to do. I’ll be back to check on you shortly, maybe remove that neck brace. Meanwhile, try to get some rest.”
The doctor spun on a low-heeled shoe and marched away. Her footsteps clicked on the tiled floor once again, and the keychain attached to her belt jangled. She paused at one of only two doors in the three-bed ward, selected a key from the bundle, and turned the lock. She left the ward without looking back.
“Paperwork? Really. Fag break, more like,” Mel mumbled, struggling to form the words with damaged lips.
Someone turned off the radio. Apart from the continuous ticking of the cheap wall clock, the room fell silent. For the first time since entering Falston Manor, Melanie Archer felt safe.
But how long would it last?

To read more, buy the book in either Kindle or paperback format, and to be the first to know about new Ryan Kaine books, join The Friends of Ryan Kaine newsletter.

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About the Author:

#1 Amazon bestselling author with the US-based Lucky Shores thriller series and the Ryan Kaine military action thrillers, and creator of the popular DCI Jones Casebook series of crime novels, Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. A citizen of the world, he currently lives in a stone cottage in the heart of rural Brittany, which he took five years to renovate with his own gnarled and calloused hands. The cottage is a pet-free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and a family of red squirrels). He has three children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the modern miracle of video calling.

The Ryan Kaine Series: Books 4-6

By |2022-05-16T22:51:18+00:00March 11th, 2020|Comments Off on The Ryan Kaine Series: Books 4-6

Books 4-6 in the Ryan Kaine series:

On the Attack
An innocent woman is viciously attacked. An underworld kingpin and his brutal thugs close in. One man can deliver justice to them all.

On the Money
A member of The 83 dies in an apparent accident. The faceless leader of a drug gang rules his neighbourhood. One man will find the truth.

On the Edge
A medical training course in Denmark. The perfect chance to prove herself. One woman is on a mission to do just that.

From the pen of Kerry J Donovan, the Ryan Kaine series is heart-stopping, action-packed, and full of justice being meted out to the people who deserve it most. Fans of military action will love this series.

Ryan Kaine is an explosive addition to the great military action heroes in the tradition of Lee Child, Mark Dawson, and Matt Rogers.

Published:
Publisher: Fuse Books
Genres:
Excerpt:

Book 1: On the Attack

Ryan Kaine is on the attack…

When Angela Shafer’s stalker threatens to kill her, she is forced to call upon the services of The 83 Trust. Ryan Kaine vows to deliver justice in the only way he knows how.

After reaching Angela’s home too late to prevent a terrible atrocity, Kaine calls in reinforcements in the form of his most trusted men; Danny Pinkerton and William Rollason. But in order for Angela and her daughter to be truly safe, Kaine and his team need to dismantle an entire criminal organisation.

As an underworld kingpin and his brutal thugs close in, Kaine will need all the help he can get…

Book 5: On the Money

Ryan Kaine is on the money…

When a member of The 83 dies in an apparent accident, Kaine knows better.

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A faceless leader of a drug gang rules the dead man’s neighbourhood and Kaine and his partner, Lara Orchard, go undercover to discover the truth. Offering financial support to the dead man’s grandson, they draw the attention of the local crew. Before they can complete their mission, Lara is attacked, and all bets are off.

Kaine prepares to take on the gang alone, but Lara will not be side-lined by a bunch of street thugs. If Kaine needs her help, she’s sure as hell going to provide it.

Together, Kaine and Lara are about to serve justice to them all…

Book 6: On the Edge

Ryan Kaine is on the edge….

Lara Orchard is on a mission to prove herself.

Convincing her partner, Ryan Kaine, that she needs combat medical training, they fly to Denmark under assumed identities.

Kaine is on high alert, keeping a watchful eye on her throughout the course — but it’s not her medical skill he’s worried about.

Despite knowing the gunfire and the bombs aren't real, Lara struggles to control her fear, but leaves herself exposed to a threat she doesn't see coming. In a desperate attempt to protect her, and breaking his own moral code and a few bones, Ryan Kaine is pushed to his limits…

To read more, buy the book in Kindle format, and to be the first to know about new Ryan Kaine books, join The Friends of Ryan Kaine newsletter.

COLLAPSE

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About the Author:

#1 Amazon bestselling author with the US-based Lucky Shores thriller series and the Ryan Kaine military action thrillers, and creator of the popular DCI Jones Casebook series of crime novels, Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. A citizen of the world, he currently lives in a stone cottage in the heart of rural Brittany, which he took five years to renovate with his own gnarled and calloused hands. The cottage is a pet-free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and a family of red squirrels). He has three children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the modern miracle of video calling.

On the Edge

By |2022-05-16T22:48:19+00:00December 25th, 2019|Comments Off on On the Edge
Book Cover: On the Edge
Editions:Kindle: $ 2.99
ISBN: B0825FKZHY
Pages: 153
Paperback: $ 8.99
ISBN: 979-8664914054
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Pages: 131

Ryan Kaine is on the edge…

Lara Orchard is on a mission to prove herself.

Convincing her partner, Ryan Kaine, that she needs combat medical training, they fly to Denmark under assumed identities.

Kaine is on high alert, keeping a watchful eye on her throughout the course — but it’s not her medical skill he’s worried about.

Despite knowing the gunfire and the bombs aren't real, Lara struggles to control her fear, but leaves herself exposed to a threat she doesn't see coming. In a desperate attempt to protect her, and breaking his own moral code and a few bones, Ryan Kaine is pushed to his limits…

If you like Lee Child, Mark Dawson and Robert Ludlum, you’re going to find the Ryan Kaine series compulsively addictive.

Published:
Publisher: Fuse Books
Genres:
Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Wednesday 13th April – Lara Orchard
Aarhus, Denmark

Lara Orchard, in the guise of Dr Grace Sloane, sheltered under the dubious protection of a partially destroyed office block. All around her lay devastation—broken buildings, broken pavements, the suggestion of broken lives.
Bullets cracked and popped. Shells flew across a pale blue sky, crumped into the rubble somewhere ahead, and erupted with shocking and visceral ferocity. She ducked and flinched under each impact. If this represented battlefield conditions with any accuracy, she wanted no part of the real thing. What had she been thinking?
This isn’t real. It’s not real.
If she repeated the mantra often enough, she might actually start believing it again.
Lord, but it felt real. So darned real.
Her heart pounded. Breath caught in her dry throat.

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Dust found its way beneath her protective glasses and stung her eyes. She tried blinking it away.
Whoever set up the pyrotechnics had done a first-class job. If the shells landed much closer, she’d have considered turning tail and running away, but she’d volunteered for this and would darned well see it through. Assuming the explosions kept their bloody distance.
She’d been with Ryan for what, eight months? Heck. Only eight months? So much had happened since the day he’d crashed into her life, bloodied and dying. They’d faced danger so very often, they’d overcome so many challenges, mostly together, but she’d never been so bone-deep scared. And, to cap it all, she faced the current test alone.
Without Ryan’s comforting and powerful presence at her side, everything seemed so much more difficult, so much more dangerous.
Darn it, Lara. It isn’t real!

Not real? The detonations pounding through her gut, rattling inside her head, deafening even through the ear defenders, were real. Visceral. Powerful. Terrifying.
Cringing in the apparent safety of a flimsy hideout while bombs and bullets rained down from above, she certainly felt exposed and vulnerable enough. Something could go wrong at any time. These were real explosives, real bullets. Even in the most controlled of situations, accidents still happened.
Come on, girl. Get a grip.
Another shell, the ninth, whistled overhead, tracing a white trail of death in an arc across the sky. She’d counted each one, praying for the bombardment to end. She’d seen and heard enough to take the message on board. This shell landed in the rubble a short distance from where she and her partner for the day, Heinrich “Hardy” Krüger, hid.
Too close for any comfort.
A moment later, the ground shook with the force of an explosion so loud, the concussion actually drove the air from her lungs. The largest shell yet. Someone was having fun at their expense.
Close. Too close.
Ridiculous!

Grit and sand flew through the air, peppering her back, shoulders, and neck. Mercifully, the combat helmet did its job of protecting her head.
Lara coughed her lungs clear of the grime, but that was all she could do. Despite all the tutors’ assurances, despite all her logic, fear threatened to freeze her to the spot.
How could anyone handle such mayhem without being frozen to the spot? How was she supposed to treat a casualty under such conditions? She couldn’t think, couldn’t hear, couldn’t breathe.
This isn’t real. It’s not real.
Hardy crouched beside and slightly behind her, nostrils flared, breathing shallow and fast, eyes wide and shining. Lara couldn’t tell whether the big, blond South African was as scared as her or having the time of his life. She wouldn’t have been surprised to discover it was a little of both.
He smiled his slick, animal grin.
Heck. He was getting off on the mayhem, the noise, and the destruction. Lara shivered.
When they’d first met, Hardy had seemed okay. A bit of a loudmouth with a barbed wit and a sharp tongue, but okay. Superficially, he was a cheery soul with an eye for the women on the course—just like so many military men she’d met—but underneath lay something else. The occasional sinister remark. An insult framed as a joke and hurriedly laughed off. Then came the boasting. The casual aside that showed him as a braggart. Apart from Lara, no one seemed to notice the viciousness, the veiled sexism and racism underlying the thin veneer of friendliness. She should have reported the way he treated the others—his taunts, his threats, his racist jibes couched as gags. She should have made a complaint, but she didn’t want to focus anyone’s attention onto herself. Then, Murphy’s Law kicked in and they’d lumbered her with Hardy as her partner for the final assessment.
Suck it up, Lara. You can do this.

After the latest billowing cloud of dust settled, Hardy focused his gaze on her. He bared his set of perfect white teeth, grinned his creepy, supercilious grin, and winked. The Afrikaner played the brave warrior, forcing the smile, but a darkness behind his eyes showed another emotion. Not fear. Not excitement. Something more primal, more primitive. Euphoria? Madness?
Again, Lara shivered.
Get a grip.
Ryan had warned her of the effects a heavy bombardment could have on the mind of the unprepared. Perhaps she was just imagining things.
Still grinning inanely, Hardy leaned closer.
“Fucking great, eh?” he shouted over the chattering gunfire. “This is why we’re here. What it’s all about.”
A tenth shell blew the heck out of another piece of already pulverised blockwork. Surely it couldn’t last much longer?
And to think, she’d chosen to be there. She’d actually been excited by the idea.
Silly, silly woman.
Why? Why had she done it?
From the peace and quiet of their villa in Aquitaine, with its beautiful coastline and protective, sound-absorbing dunes, it had seemed like a good idea. But now …
Lara, get a grip. You can do this.

“Can’t wait to get some of that action. Been looking forward to this.”
“Fool,” she mumbled, perhaps a little louder than she’d intended.
He sneered at her, again displaying a set of teeth that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the gaping maw of a shark, and shrugged his backpack into a more comfortable position. Normally, the tall, blond, and blue-eyed Afrikaner wore a healthy tan, but what little skin showed through the battledress and the camouflage makeup, shone with sweat and had paled a dozen shades.
Darn it, the braggart was scared, terrified even, but trying to bluff it out. At this rate, she’d have to carry the fool’s dead weight or they’d both fail the assessment and fail the whole darn course.
No, not happening.
No matter how scared she was, Lara would step it up. If she failed, Ryan would be really disappointed in her. Failure was not an option.
Breathe, Lara. Breathe.
She had to control her breathing, make it slow and steady, the way Ryan taught her to cope under the stress of battle.
The whole thing was her own darned fault.
Yes, she’d actually volunteered to be part of this mayhem. She was the one who decided to improve her skills in trauma medicine, no one else. She wanted, needed, to help Ryan and the others more effectively. And, yes she’d been excited about becoming a more valuable member of the team, while sitting out on the deck watching another stunning sunset in Ryan’s arms.
So naïve. Such an idiot.
She looked across at Sergeant Jensen, the on-field exercise supervisor. He knelt beside Alpha Team, monitoring their activity. They were treating their designated “casualty”. He’d been hit in the stomach. A gaping tear had ripped open his midriff. Cosmetic blood pumped from a realistic-looking wound, and sausage-like intestines erupted from a pack that had been strapped to the volunteer by the makeup team. The man screamed and writhed in apparent agony—overacting for all his worth.
While Hardy and Lara waited for their turn, Lieutenant Diakos, a doctor in Greece’s Hellenic Army, doused the wound in sterilised water and dressed it loosely. His partner for the day, the quiet Norwegian, Nils Ohnstad, set up a drip to pump meds into the casualty, who slowly relaxed. All the while, Jensen fired questions Lara couldn’t hear and added notes to the form on his clipboard.
Jensen gave Alpha Team the thumbs up and backed away, still crouching low. All the while, the bullets flew and the ordnance exploded in the distance, but now, some of the detonations were mere sound effects—not the percussive real thing.
Thank the Lord.
Lara allowed her shoulders to relax, but not by much.
Diakos and Ohnstad strapped their casualty onto a stretcher. They took the strain and, keeping low, hurried him towards the evac zone, ready for their end-of-exercise debrief.
Not long now.

Jensen scuttled towards Lara and Hardy, Bravo Team, and took a knee alongside her.
When she’d been designated as Bravo Team’s leader for the exercise, Hardy hadn’t been able to hide his contempt for the course organiser’s decision. He’d waited until the instructors had left the briefing room before showing it, though. Although a sexist, racist pig, he kept his feelings from the course directors. Hardy Krüger wasn’t stupid.
Cunning and nasty maybe, but definitely not stupid.
“Ready?” Jensen called to Lara, shouting over the latest simulated explosion and the staccato crackle of heavy gunfire.
Lara nodded, unable to speak for fear of squeaking her response.
“Hell, yes,” shouted Hardy, rabid enthusiasm itself.
From the moment they’d entered the battlefield, Lara had been studying their nominated casualty. Dressed in camouflaged battledress and over fifty metres away, the man lay face-down with a wooden rifle strapped across his back. He was part-hidden behind a burnt-out Humvee. According to the pre-exercise briefing, she and Hardy were to be pinned down, unable to move until instructed to proceed by Sergeant Jensen.
Since the start of the simulated bombardment, their casualty had been lying on his front, head resting on his folded arms, apparently oblivious to the noise of mock battle. He actually appeared to be sleeping.
Jensen turned to face the casualty. He took a referee’s whistle from the breast pocket of his shirt and blew it twice.
Action!
Immediately, their casualty snapped awake. He punched a button on the battery pack next to his left hip and started writhing.
“Medic! Medic!” he screamed, his voice betraying fear and pain, but growing weaker.
The battery pack activated a pump and the pump pulsed blood through a nasty-looking wound on the casualty’s left thigh, up near his buttock. A nicked artery at least. He’d bleed out in minutes. He’d die without immediate treatment.
The setup was so realistic, Lara gave herself over to the moment.
She took up a sprinter’s stance, down on one knee, hands to the ground. She held her breath.
Wait. Wait for it.

Jensen held out his arm, his dark skin glistening with sweat mixed with dirt from being showered in rubble since the start of the shelling. He was the only thing stopping her from darting across the open ground and exposing herself to the artillery noise and the flying bullets.
The sleeves of his military uniform bore the inverted sergeant’s stripes of a reservist in the Danish Army. Dark green, they blended in with the camouflage.
Jensen spoke perfect English, albeit with a strong Scandinavian accent. From the start of the course, he’d singled her out for special attention, encouraging her to work smarter, not harder. For a reservist, the man could be more of a military hard-case than some of Ryan’s associates. Although Jensen didn’t know it, he’d been trying to instil military discipline into a civilian medic, who wasn’t even a real doctor. Although Lara’s veterinary background gave her enough crucial medical knowledge, she shouldn’t be treating humans. Not really. Not even in simulation.
Stop it, girl. You can do this.
She crept forwards, eager to get moving. So eager, she bumped into Jensen’s arm.
“Wait there, Dr Sloane,” Jensen ordered, half under his breath. “Wait … don’t you dare move, soldier.”
“But he’s bleeding out, Sergeant. He needs treatment now.”
Scowling, Jensen patted his hand towards the ground. He shook his head, trying to hear the instructions on the radio pressed against his ear.
“The bombardment hasn’t finished yet. Move into that open space and you’ll be targets. What good are dead medics to an injured soldier?”
A very good point.
Another rocket passed overhead. This one failed to explode when it hit the ground. What did Ryan call them? UXBs, unexploded bombs. Dangerous for a future clear-up operation, but far enough away not to give them any immediate concerns.
“He’s right, Doctor Sloane. Maybe we should wait,” Hardy said. “Why not stay here, where it’s nice and safe?”
The hesitation in his voice suggested caution, but she didn’t believe it. Not for a moment. He was goading her.
Manic excitement sprayed off him in a shower of sweat and pheromones. He practically dared her to break cover.
Darn you, Hardy.
Despite the ear defenders, her hearing still rang with the aftereffects of the ongoing high-intensity barrage. According to the pre-exercise briefing, this was warning fire, designed not to pummel the imaginary opposition into surrender, but to keep their heads down and give her and the other medics time to treat and evacuate the wounded.
Jensen clicked the button on his walkie-talkie.
“Messaged received. We’re clear to go. Tango One, out.”
Before Jensen had time to lower his arm, Lara ducked under it and scampered across the open ground, bent at the waist and keeping low, rushing headlong into apparent danger. Hardy let out an animal roar and darted after her.
He kept to her left and slightly behind, using her body for cover.
The heavy medical backpack hampered her movements, pressing her towards the ground, but its contents would save lives. She could put up with the discomfort—if her lower back survived the weight.
Jensen shouted something, but she ignored him. At her side but falling behind, Hardy whooped in air like it was in short supply. If the overbearing braggart stopped pumping so much iron and started working on his aerobic endurance, he’d be able to keep up. The man needed to stop smoking, too.
Useless piece of South African flotsam.
Ominously, during the previous fifteen seconds, their patient had stopped screaming, stopped squirming. Darn it. Were they already too late?
A rifle’s single report broke through her worries. Sniper fire. The bullet whistled high over her back and smashed one of the few remaining panes of glass in the building ahead and to her right.
For crying out loud, that was real!

A real bullet. Not a blank. When it came to realism, the course organisers didn’t skimp on the resources.
At her side and out of Jensen’s earshot, Hardy mumbled, “Fok hel! Fucking close, ja? This is brill. Better than a bloody safari.”
Ignoring Hardy as best she could, Lara prayed the shooter knew what he, or she, was doing. How ironic would it be if they were hit by “friendly fire” during a test?
Panting from the exertions and the tension, she reached the cover of the wrecked Humvee and dropped to her knees beside the casualty. A large puddle of a liquid that looked like human blood darkened the dusty concrete beneath him. It gave off an unfamiliar, sickly sweet tang. She unclipped his realistic-looking rifle and set it aside.
“Okay, soldier,” she said, leaning leaned close to the casualty and shouting over a storm of recorded small arms fire and mortar crumps. “I’m Grace, and this is Hardy. We’re here to help you.”
She pulled a pair of surgical gloves from her pocket and tugged them onto her sweaty, dirt-encrusted hands.
Her voice, weak and high-pitched with fear, was an embarrassment. Lara cleared her throat and dragged off her backpack.
“Can you hear me?”
Her patient groaned.
Alive. Good. Now what?
Jensen arrived at her side. He moved to the head of the patient and dropped to one knee, studying their every move, but saying nothing.
No help there.

She was the leader. Hardy wouldn’t help even if he did know what to do.
Lara unclipped the top flap of the backpack, broke open one of the medical packs, and jammed the absorbent dressing hard into the wound. The patient barely reacted to what would have been intense and shocking pain. The viscous red liquid soaked through the dressing in seconds. She added another on top of the first and pressed harder. The blood flow reduced a little.
Hardy shrugged off his backpack and placed it on the ground at his feet. After a moment’s hesitation while he whooped in air, he opened the backpack and unzipped the padded bag protecting a battery-powered combined cardiac and BP monitor. He sliced open the casualty’s sleeve with the scissors clipped to the bag’s inner flap, unfurled the monitor’s integral blood pressure cuff, and strapped it to the man’s arm. As instructed in the pre-exercise briefing, he didn’t hit the power button.
“What next?” Jensen asked, his voice calm and low, but carrying over the background noise of battle.
Good question, darn it.
The training. Remember the classroom training.
“Pack the wound and secure the dressing in place,” she answered, panting hard and searching for one of the webbing straps—smaller versions of the ones a haulier would use—in her pack. The glutinous, slippery blood smearing the fingers of her surgical gloves made her actions more difficult, slower.
Jensen nodded. “You’re the leader. Take charge.”
Okay, okay.

“Hardy, run the vitals while I check for other injuries,” she ordered.
She turned to Jensen. “After we turn him, we’ll force in some fluids to counteract shock and keep the blood vessels open. Then we’ll attach an oxygen mask. Should keep the casualty stable while we’re awaiting evac.”
As Lara spoke, she uncoiled the strap, wrapped it around the wound and over the dressing, and worked the ratchet until the blood stopped flowing. Not good for the leg over the long-term—restricted blood flow would compromise the tissue below the wound—but as a stop-gap, it would reduce blood loss and might save the casualty’s life.
Three rifle shots cracked overhead in quick succession. She flinched, but kept working.
After securing the strap’s locking mechanism, Lara simulated a search for other injuries, working from the centre out, vital organs first, then the extremities. No obvious signs of a headwound. The soldier’s helmet remained in place and was undamaged. No blood near the head or neck.
Lara mimed checking the alignment of the cervical and thoracic spine. No obvious signs of vertebral displacement. She glanced up at Jensen.
“No bones broken, no other external injuries. Agreed?”
Jensen consulted the notes on his clipboard. “Confirmed,” he said and added a few marks to his assessment form.
Hardy called out the vitals, reading from the cheat sheet pinned to the machine.
“The patient is … tachycardic and hypotensive,” he said, “No response to questions, probable loss of consciousness.”
“Numbers please,” Lara demanded—she needed to know how fast the heart was beating and how dangerously low the BP was.
“Er …” Hardy ran a forefinger down the cheat sheet.
“Now, Hardy!”
“Alright, vrou,” he snapped. “Keep your panties on … Heart rate one-thirty-seven. Blood pressure”—he consulted the notes again—“seventy-five over thirty. That help at all, woman?”
The insufferable fool grinned again, treating the exercise like a game.
Bloody idiot.

She tried pulling in another deep breath, but her lungs already burned with the stress of working hard and breathing real dust.
Take it easy, girl.
If she let the fool get to her, Hardy would end up becoming a real casualty in a simulated war. A casualty from her boot up his backside.
While she assessed the patient, Lara took a second to run a self-evaluation. Breathing hard, sweating freely, sticky, blood-soaked fingers shaking. A total wreck. She finally had an understanding, a minor inkling, of what it might have been like in battle. How could anyone survive the real thing and stay mentally intact?
Ryan and his men had done this for real so many times. It didn’t bear thinking about.
Lara shuddered and, while the explosions boomed all around her, she drove the thought to the back of her mind. Analysis would come later, when things were quiet. When she could think clearly and examine her reactions.
“Of course it matters,” she said, gritting her teeth once again. “Thank you.”
“In short,” Hardy added, goading her, “you’re losing the patient, vrou.”
“We’re a team, Doctor Krüger! We are not losing this patient. We need to turn him. Get a better assessment,” she said, looking up at Jensen again, once she’d finished drilling Hardy with a scowl. “We need at least one more for the turn. Are you allowed to help?”
Jensen nodded and signalled to one of the crewman from Charlie Team, who scampered towards them, carrying a stretcher. He dropped it on the ground next to Hardy and raced back to his team.
Bravo Team would have to turn the casualty with only three people. Not ideal, but possible and, in this scenario, essential.
“I’ll take the head and call the actions,” Lara said.
“That’s right, Gracie-girl,” Hardy said so quietly that Jensen, with his back turned as he crawled to the patient’s feet, might have missed it. “You take the head. Bet you’re real good at that, vrou.”
Hardy’s accompanying snort and double eyebrow hitch annoyed Lara as much as anything he’d ever said. If his antics cost her the assessment, she’d slap the smirk off his smug face.
Somehow, his improper use of her fake given name added injury to the intentional insult.
Stroppy arsehole.

Lara stabilised their patient’s head. Jensen straightened the man’s legs carefully. Hardy did the same with the casualty’s chest and right arm only—the left being pinned beneath the body and inaccessible.
After a brief lull, the firing started up again, and a cascade of rifle bullets flew overhead. They smacked into the dirt and the sandbags around them. Impossibly, dangerously close. Hardy’s smirk disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. Even he could see the very real danger.
All the while, Lara kept talking to the patient, explaining what they were doing.
“Just relax. We’ve got you. Going to turn you onto your back now. Try to relax.”
The casualty groaned.
“Ready?” she called to her team.
Hardy and Jensen nodded.
“Rotate to the left on three. One, two, three.”
She took the weight of the patient’s head and concentrated on maintaining its alignment with the shoulders all the way through the one-eighty-degree rotation. Working in concert, they had the patient on his back without incident. Hardy moved the casualty’s left arm to the side.
Throughout the turn, Jensen kept his eyes on Lara, making sure their movements were correctly synchronised. His skill at handling the dual role of turning the casualty while monitoring the exercise impressed the heck out of her.
“Stretcher please, Dr Krüger,” she shouted over another concussive roar.
“Yes, boss.”
Hardy grabbed the stretcher, freed the multiple retaining clips, and turned back, hovering over the casualty. Almost in slow motion, a huge splodge of sweat dripped from the tip of Hardy’s nose and dropped onto the prone man’s lips.
The patient grunted and wrenched his head from Lara’s hands. He turned to the side, and spat into the concrete at Hardy’s knees. Hardy yelped and fell backwards, landing backside-first onto a jagged pile of rubble.
“Damn it all to hell, man,” the casualty shouted, spitting again. “That’s rank, so it is.” He coughed and spat for a third time, splattering the thigh of Hardy’s camouflage trousers.
Something about the cod Irish accent broke through the pounding artillery fire. She recognised the voice. Would have recognised it anywhere.
“Oh, for pity’s sake,” Lara shouted, sitting back on her heels.
Ryan.
Her Ryan.

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About the Author:

#1 Amazon bestselling author with the US-based Lucky Shores thriller series and the Ryan Kaine military action thrillers, and creator of the popular DCI Jones Casebook series of crime novels, Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. A citizen of the world, he currently lives in a stone cottage in the heart of rural Brittany, which he took five years to renovate with his own gnarled and calloused hands. The cottage is a pet-free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and a family of red squirrels). He has three children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the modern miracle of video calling.

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