Tag Archives: Suspense

Concrete Clockwork Blitz

 

 

The Philanthropist, Book 1

 

Suspense

Published: March 2021

Ex-military operative Lottie Nightshade is enjoying civilian life helping her widowed sister raise three teenagers. When a last-minute job interview turns out to be blackmail, her peaceful days are over. Lottie is given two choices, and the least deplorable of them is doing wetwork for an eccentric millionaire.

Philanthropist Dane Harrington has no option but to blackmail Lottie Nightshade. Dane was contracted to terminate a bomber who threatened to level a new arena in St. Paul, Minnesota. The stakes are too high to trust the time-critical mission to anyone but a skilled operative, and Dane knows Ms. Nightshade will not do the job willingly.

When the bomber realizes he’s been targeted for extermination, the hired killer is already closing in on him. The only way he’ll live to trigger the arena’s destruction is by stopping Lottie Nightshade.

Lottie feels the bomber’s cold stare watching her every move as the timer ticks closer to detonation. When he sets off a series of explosions and people begin to die, Lottie realizes she may need to give up her own life to end the bomber’s.

Excerpt

Loud ringing jerked Lottie out of her dream. The papers on her chest slid onto the bed as she sat up and looked around for the source.

The sound came from her backpack. One of her burner phones? Lunging for the bag, she dumped the contents on her bed and picked up the live one.

Hello?”

Is this the woman who handed out pictures of the old man?” The female voice sounded jittery. “I have information for you, but you have to meet me right now.”

Lottie stood; the phone pressed to her ear. It had to be one of the hotel or restaurant staff she’d given Balfour’s photo to.

Can you just tell me…”

You promised money.” Was she crying? “Meet me at the RestRight motel downtown, room 528. I need the cash. Right now.”

Okay, I’ll meet you, but not there.” Lottie checked the time. 9:15 PM. She couldn’t risk losing the contact, but she wouldn’t walk into a trap. “No hotel, though. Meet me inside the train station on Kellogg. You know where that is?

The woman sucked in air three times “Um, yeah, okay, where?”

Inside the front door, to the left side there are bathrooms. The women’s room. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

Hurry. Please.” She ended the call.

Lottie jumped off the bed and used her phone to call the security team. “I need a car. Right now.” She grabbed the tactical bag with her phones and guns, the rucksack with her disguises, and the cash Harrington had given her, and stuffed it all into her backpack.

Got it.” A woman’s voice. “Head west down the alley to the fourth garage after yours, the one with the green lightbulb.”

I need a body cam and comms.”

Roger.”

She relayed the meeting place. “Get a team there now, the security crew. Low profile but armed.”

Already on their way.”

She ended the call. Harrington’s team knew exactly what was happening. Did they listen in on every call she made and received?

Why hadn’t Harrington told her? Why hadn’t she realized that earlier? She should have known he’d keep her under a microscope.

Lottie stopped and breathed for a minute, checking off everything she needed to bring, everything she needed to do. Walking toward the root cellar exit, she dialed Harrington’s number on one of the disposables. After their confirmation routine, he asked, “Yes?”

I got a tip off one of the photos. I’m going to meet her now.”

Details.”

Lottie gave him the info as she walked down the dark alley toward the green light.

Your body cam, they’ll feed it live to me. I have to jump.” Harrington ended the call.

Lottie stepped into the open side-door of the garage. Stone held a small device which he attached to Lottie’s waistband. “When you enter, turn full-circle to scan the room so we get the lay.” He tipped his head. “I didn’t need to tell you that, did I.”

Lottie held back a smirk.

A woman approached. “Earpiece.”

Lottie put the tiny speaker in her ear and held out her hand. “Car fob.”

Lottie slid into the driver’s seat of the pantyhose-colored car and rolled down the window. “What’s the team’s 20?”

Five minutes out.”

The garage door rolled upward.

Stone leaned close. “We’re right behind you.”

Lottie shifted and drove out of the garage. She needed to go. Fast. Before the caller had a chance to change her mind.

As she raced along side streets, she tucked a gun into her waistband and one in her boot. She put a disposable phone in her pants pocket.

She pulled into a Security Only parking spot in front of the station and walked up the steps to the huge front doors. Running through her prep, she cleared her mind, and pinpoint focused.

Stealthy at the front door.” Stone’s voice in her ear bud. “Caller already in the designated room.” The woman was here already.

By the time she stood outside the women’s room, she was a rock. She pushed the door open and put her foot out to stop the door from closing. She looked behind it. Nothing.

On the far side of the room, a short woman with dark, shoulder-length hair gestured Lottie into the room, her movements jerky, her eyes wild, red, like she’d been crying. She wore a baggy t-shirt and shorts, flip-flops on her feet.

Lottie went on full alert. “Pull up your shirt, turn in a circle. All the way up to your neck.” Lottie needed to check her for explosives and weapons.

She did as she was told, stumbling once, then froze and stared at something.

Around again, please. Slower.” She performed the turn again. Her shorts were too tight to conceal anything. “Pull up your hair now and turn again.” She was clean.

Turning her body, Lottie let the camera see what she was looking at. Two toilet stalls, empty. Further into the room, two sinks on one side and on the other wall a plastic baby changing table that held a small, propped-up tablet.

No window, drop ceiling, the flimsy kind.

Lottie stepped into the room and let the door close behind her.

You called me?”

The woman stood in front of the changing table looking at the tablet. She nodded, not looking at her.

Tell me what you know.” Lottie kept her voice soft to calm the woman.

He.” The woman pointed to the tablet, her hand shaking.

Shit. Was she saying the man in Lottie’s photo was someone online? This would be a waste of time. Lottie spoke slowly. “Where is the man?”

I’m here Lottie.” A deep male voice. From the tablet.

Chills ran down her spine.

Concrete Clockwork phone


About The Author

Laura Breck


I’ve written more than 40 books in my career, and I’m very excited to have a new pen name, and a new genre – Suspense! My hot new series, The Philanthropist, features books that bring you Gripping Suspense Outside the Law. I’m sure you’ll find them as unique and interesting as I do.

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Thieves Tour

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Thieves cover

The Obscurité de Floride Trilogy

 

Suspense

Date Published: March 1, 2021

Publisher: Épouvantail Books

From Tropea, Italy to Michigan and Florida, the thieves Molly and April Danser are on the run, trying to escape from an enraged ex-US Marshal. He is hell bent on stopping them once and for all, his twisted black heart fired up for revenge and their total destruction. Will the sisters elude his blood-soaked hunt? They have their smarts and resource but have never faced a pursuit like this.

Can they somehow put an end to his blood lust?

What will they have to do to save themselves from his powerful and deadly claws?

The hunt is on…

Thieves tablet

EXCERPT

Chapter Twenty-Nine

 

A Day to Do

  

April woke at first light, seeing she had slept on top of the bed instead of climbing in under the blankets. After putting the coffee percolator on the burner, she went and checked the boat’s position at the lower helm. Starting the engines, she steered southeast in the northward Gulf Stream and watched the blue swells until the boat was pretty much in the same location as the day before.

            “At least eat,” she instructed herself, it being twenty-four hours or more since her last meal. Opening a can of stew, she ate it cold with a spoon while sipping coffee. Looking at the closed laptop at her elbow, she hesitated to reach for it.

            “Only one way to deal with fear.” She opened the lid and started the computer.

Her fingers unsteady above the keys, the vision from the previous day’s nightmare came fully into view. The big dark doorway at Klave’s. Her imagination ran with and gave her the rolling door crashing down and up fast like steel teeth chomping, chewing.

“Back off.” Her shoulders shuddered, and she barked at the vignette.

Opening a secure internet browser, she launched the messaging application.

After addressing an email to Allison, she froze for a minute, her fingertips quivering. The three hardest words she ever typed displayed.

 

AprilDid she die?

 

Hitting send, she stared at those three words, waiting for the reply that she couldn’t will Allison to answer.

 

***

 

Sometime later, she opened a browser alongside the messaging application where her question to Allison still floated without an answer. The local television stations had previously recorded ‘on scene’ footage ripe with frightful images of Klave’s with the breathless voices of newscasters. There were no details of any worth.

            Opening the online Daytona Beach News-Journal, the story was in the banner.

 

Three Killed in a Possible Attempted Robbery

 

April read that David Klave was declared dead on the scene. She learned that Molly’s pal, Dennis, was also murdered, evidence suggesting that he was trying to cover and protect another victim. No other names were offered, pending notification of next to kin. One man had been shot twice and was expected to survive. He was being attended to in the ICU at Memorial Medical Hospital. There was nothing about the third victim. No mention of Molly or her status.

She saw her own name given as one of the ‘persons of interest.’

Klave’s employees were quoted as saying that the suspect had a long face that was injured. He had driven off in a late model red Corvette, heading north.

She read three more news reports in the Ormond Beach, Orlando, and St. Augustine newspapers, the body count making the story a headliner. There was no additional information, only a recap and worthless commentary.

She closed the browser and looked to the messaging application.

No reply from Allison.

She sent the text again and waited ten long and painful minutes.

Leaving the table for the flying bridge, she grabbed a bottle of water and a package of the saltines she had seen her sister snacking on. The light went out over the middle of the galley as she left, and she made a mental note to put in a fresh bulb.

Up top, the breeze was sweeping away the heat of the day. She checked her location, fired the engines, and spent the next hour staring at the ocean until she had the boat back in place.

Climbing down the ladder, she went inside and saw that Allison had not replied.

“My beautiful Molly…” she held her eyes closed, “… I’m still hoping.”

She spent the rest of that day at the lower helm, getting up every half hour to look for a message from Allison.

As the sun set at her back, she went inside to look again. The darkening galley reminded her to find a package of light bulbs and a step-ladder. She found both in the click-lock supply closet and had the dead bulb out and was poised to twist in the new one when it slipped from her fingers. It shattered, and she got a new one from the closet, along with the dustpan and broom. The second bulb went in easily, and she climbed down to sweep up the aluminum cone and shards.

The messaging application pinged.

Instead of hurrying to it, she stalled, fearful of the news. She finished up the sweeping and stepped to the table, the ball of her right foot landing on a stabbing missed piece of glass.

“Brilliant.” She felt the deep cut as she swung around on the bench and looked to the message screen.

 

AprilDid she die?

AliDon’t know.

AprilFind out.

AliI’m on it. It is a fuck storm here. Wasn’t here when it happened. Parts store.

AprilYou learn anything?

AliYes, of course.

 

About the Author

Greg Jolley


Greg Jolley earned a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of San Francisco and lives in the very small town of Ormond Beach, Florida. When not writing, he researches historical crime, primarily those of the 1800s. Or goes surfing.

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Sniper Blitz

 

Sniper cover

 

A Detective Al Warner Novel

 

Suspense, Thriller

Published: October 2020

Publisher: Gnd Publishing

A deadly sniper is killing people in groups of three. Miami Detective Al Warner hates senseless murder, but the second set of targets provides several possible motives. One victim is brain dead but alive, reliant on life support. The FBI ID’s the shooter as The Shadow, an elusive, nameless contract killer they’ve hunted for two decades.

Charles Seagrave and his lover, Kim, are on a desperate search for a rare blood type liver donor for his nephew, Hunter, who only has months to live. The Shadow’s brain-dead victim is a possible candidate, but his mother won’t accept her son will never recover.

The Shadow drops more victims, another coincidentally a donor match for Hunter. Warner doesn’t trust happenstance and a secondary investigation opens a door into a deadly black market organ ring. As the detective races to uncover the illegal labs and stem those patient deaths, he learns Seagrave is dogging the Shadow’s victims’ families in hopes of a private donation.

A chance connection finally leads Warner to the assassin. In a shocking twist of exposed identities and astounding revelations, The Shadow escapes. Has Warner finally met his match? The fight to save Hunter and Warner’s mission to apprehend The Shadow results in a battle that may prove deadly for all.

Sniper paperback

 

Excerpt

 

The time had come for people to begin dying.

I cracked open the door and my eyes swept the roof. Deserted. No surprise, considering the already intensified South Florida morning sun, as it arced above the distant palm trees. Mirrored sunglasses donned, I tugged the brim of a Marlins ball cap down to shade my eyes from the glare.

There, I spied what was needed near the eastern parapet . . . a three-foot-high steel mechanical box. Perfect. It offered a clear view of Bayfront Park, just across Biscayne Boulevard. I crouched and hurried across the roof’s black-tarred surface, my backpack and an oversized guitar case slung over my shoulder.

Shrugging off both, I removed a bedroll and spread it across the green top of the metal case. Latex gloves ensured I’d leave no prints or DNA. I flipped open the case and removed the pieces, taking less than a minute to assemble the rifle. A moment later, sprawled atop the flannel blanket and facing east, I loaded a 12.7mm round into the weapon’s breach, jacked four more into the magazine, and snapped it in place. More fire power than needed.

I arched my neck and took a quick preview of the landscape, then shed the gloves and pocketed them. A compact wind gauge set on the coping gave me direction and speed of the currently mild breeze.

I settled the weapon’s bipod on the metal surface. A gentle exhale quieted my heart before making preliminary adjustments to the telescopic sight. Right eye against the scope, I tweaked the focus and began a scan of the area.

There, the bus stop at NE 1st Street; and to the right, a path exiting the park. With a minor correction to the Leupold 5×25 scope, I swept the grounds, spotting the famous headless torso sculpture bordering the winding path.

Three joggers bobbed along the paths: a fit, thirty-ish woman coming toward me, a paunchy guy in his 50’s heading away, and a young jock—probably mid-twenties—on a crosswalk. Two kneeling Latino gardeners planted spring annuals along the trail. Drifting left out along Biscayne Boulevard, I located morning foot traffic striding along the walk, all apparent business-types on their way to offices in Miami’s financial district—a myriad of opportunities.

I sighed again, spread my legs a bit wider, and steadied my base as I fitted the butt of the TAC-50 snug against my shoulder. My clenched jaw required a wiggle to relieve tension as I sucked in a measured breath. This begins the first act, spawned from hours of scouting, detailed research, and the endless target practice at a remote ’Glades savannah: something very different from my usual contracts and using a new tool I’d come to love.

Now to initiate a reign of terror that will obscure my real motive. While I wasn’t the first at this scenario, mine was certainly the cleverest. No time for qualms, because as they say, the end justifies the means.

Been there, done that before, but this was the first time it was personal. Innocents sometimes perished to achieve a greater goal, but never before at my hand. That was about to change.

Starting now.

Who first? Ahh, the woman, just about to exit the park. I steadied her rhythmically loping body in the telescopic sight. Eleven hundred meters—an easy shot to baptize my deadly, new McMillan sniper rifle, acquired on the dark web. A soft breath eased from my lungs, and my lips tightened with resolve as I smoothly squeezed the trigger.

The sound-suppressed rifle emitted a quiet, high-pitched pop. The woman’s blond hair billowed out in a red-stained cloud, tossing her peaked cap away as the huge slug caught her left temple while in mid-stride. The impact slammed her to the ground as the exit wound blew half of her face away.

I blinked to moisten my eye and swung the scoped rifle left toward Biscayne Boulevard, searching for my next target. There, a guy hurrying along the walk, briefcase in hand, unaware of the mayhem just occurring behind him. I made a minor sight adjustment, exhaled, and squeezed off the next shot, catching him squarely between the shoulder blades. The big slug drove him across the walk, flattening him face down along the grassy border. Red spatter peppered the path in front of him. There was a loud yelp and a third victim, fifty-feet in front, tumbled over, clutching his shoulder.

I grunted and then pivoted my attention back to the park.

Hmm. Two with one shot. Unexpected consequences, but of little concern at the moment. One of the gardeners straightened by the flower bed. A hand shaded his eyes as he searched for the source of the sudden ruckus.

The rifle emitted a soft burp and my third shot pitched the kneeling man backward, arms flung wide, as he took the round on the breastbone.

No pause required to examine the results. I knew all three shots had been instantly fatal. The fourth, unplanned victim must have caught a ricochet of the super-sonic slug as it blew through my victim and bounced off the concrete walkway. Just some collateral damage. There’ll be a lot more of that soon enough.

I slipped off the steel box and pulled the rifle and bedroll down. Scampering around in a squat, I collected and pocketed the three still-hot spent casings and snatched up my backpack and guitar case. Duck-walking away from the tile-topped parapet of the tall office building, I reached the exit door. I hunkered in the shadows and folded the rifle’s bipod, removed the detachable scope and stock, and replaced them in my customized guitar case. Glancing up, I wondered if someone in the nearby taller apartment buildings noticed my activity. Speed now was essential.

I shrugged on the backpack with the bedroll already fastened on top. With the cased weapon slung over a shoulder, I hurried through the door toward the staircase. It would be a long trip down on foot, but no problem for someone aerobically fit as me. The stairs were an extra precaution, because a homeless musician might be remembered if spotted riding the elevator.

Reaching the ground floor, I eased open the door and searched the building’s lobby.

Empty.

Any possible onlookers would see an innocuous street guy taking a shortcut across the marble-floored foyer, headed for a rear door that exited to the parking lot. Hurrying between rows of cars and past the next building on NE 3rd Avenue, I strode north toward my beige Honda CRV. It sat at the curb with eight minutes still on the meter. My backpack and gun case found the floor in front of the back seat. A moment later, I slipped into the driver’s side, started the engine, and hustled north on NW 2nd Avenue, heading for Interstate 395.

It had begun.

The first move of many to come—Miami about to become the center of panic again, and it would stay that way until the completion of this mission.

Speculation would abound about my motive, but I doubted anyone would come close to my real goal. Even the famed Detective Al Warner was unlikely to make this connection.

I sighed. Time is in short supply, but I have to get it done. No excuses. The next round of kills will be the one that counts, but I can’t stop there if I’m to continue misdirecting the cops. This is different from anything I’ve ever done for hire.

I contemplated my next move as I sped north, now on I-95. After things cooled for a few days, I’d head for Hollywood in south Broward County. Its main library was one I’d not yet visited. I took obsessive care not to leave any pattern or Internet trail for some clever detective to discover.

A blond wig and a pair of uncorrected tortoise-shell glasses were in a small bag on the passenger seat. Every library required the use of a different disguise.

Once this is over, life should return to my new normal. Had it only been six months? I shook my head and breathed another sigh.

Such unreasonable schedule restrictions. I grunted. Careful planning and sharp execution would triumph, as always. I’ve been on a tight wire more than once. Anyone getting in the way would not make it out alive.

They never did.

About The Author

George A. Bernstein

George A. Bernstein, now living in south Florida, is the retired President of a modest, publicly held appliance manufacturer. He spent years attending writing seminars and conferences, learning to polish his work and developing a strong “voice.” George is acclaimed by his peers as a superb wordsmith and a crafter of surprise endings no one expects. He works with professional editors to ensure his novels meet his own rigorous standards, and all of his books are currently published by small indie press, GnD Publishing LLC, in which he has an interest.

“Sniper” is the fifth of his Detective Al Warner Suspense series, with the first four; “Death’s Angel;” “Born to Die;” “The Prom Dress Killer;” and “White Death” all garnering rave reviews. His Detective Al Warner has attracted many fans, with readers likening Warner to James Patterson’s Alex Cross.

Bernstein’s first novel, “Trapped,” was a winner in a small Indie publisher’s “Next Great American Novel” contest, and received high praise, gaining many mostly 5-star reviews, reaching “Top 100” status. His second novel, “A 3rd Time to Die” (A paranormal Romantic Suspense) has also garnered mostly 5-Star & 4-Star reviews, with one reader likening him to the best, less “spooky” works of Dean Koontz & Stephen King.

Bernstein is also a “World-class” fly-fisherman, setting a baker’s dozen IGFA World Records, mostly on fly-rods. He’s written the popular “Toothy Critters Love Flies”, the complete book on fly-fishing for pike & musky.

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Thieves Blitz

 

Thieves cover

 

The Obscurité de Floride Trilogy

 

Suspense

Date Published: March 1, 2021

Publisher: Épouvantail Books

From Tropea, Italy to Michigan and Florida, the thieves Molly and April Danser are on the run, trying to escape from an enraged ex-US Marshal. He is hell bent on stopping them once and for all, his twisted black heart fired up for revenge and their total destruction. Will the sisters elude his blood-soaked hunt? They have their smarts and resource but have never faced a pursuit like this.

Can they somehow put an end to his blood lust?

What will they have to do to save themselves from his powerful and deadly claws?

The hunt is on…

Excerpt

Detective Richard ‘Rick’ Ables, Jr. arrived at the Tropea apartment early the next morning, missing the Danser sisters by more than thirty-six hours. Not his fault, the incompetent and greedy airlines had once again dog-fucked his best-laid itinerary. Having flashed his revoked US Marshal badge, he had walked and examined the girls’ rooms with the Mrs. Gior-something trailing and complaining, her Italian sounding like tipsy Mexican. The rooms had been wiped and cleaned for new guests, and as he stood on the front porch looking down at the ancient and sun-stupid town, his lower throat gorged with the bile of frustration.

Descending the stairs to the street, he wiped sweat from his brow with the back of his hand, irritated further by the heat and air that felt mottled with sand and the smell of sea rot. He set the case binder on the roof of his pop can of a budget rental, unlocked the door, and climbed in behind the wheel. Syncing his SAT phone with his laptop, he opened the binder in his lap while a connection was made to his server back in Michigan. The first tab was the detailed chronology of the pursuit, which he updated with his pocket pen, characterizing the Tropea search as an empty gator hole. The laptop pinged, and he pulled it over from the passenger seat.

His slow-witted inside source had let him in on Molly’s strange motorcycle racing life. Details from the search launched before arriving in this ass-up Italian town appeared as red flag icons on a map display. One was in coastal China in a city called Yantai. The second was near the Bristol shores in Britain. Doubting the girls had the juice to get into communist slant land, he did a search on the UK event, skimming the summary deep enough to see that the race was in two weeks.

It smells right.” He allowed his thoughts to rewind to the last time he was in Britain. “This whole nut sack began there.”

About The Author

Greg Jolley


Greg Jolley earned a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of San Francisco and lives in the very small town of Ormond Beach, Florida. When not writing, he researches historical crime, primarily those of the 1800s. Or goes surfing.

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Twitter: @gfjolle

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Thieves Reveal

Thieves cover

 

The Obscurité de Floride Trilogy

 

Suspense

Date Published: March 1, 2021

Publisher: Épouvantail Books

From Tropea, Italy to Michigan and Florida, the thieves Molly and April Danser are on the run, trying to escape from an enraged ex-US Marshal. He is hell bent on stopping them once and for all, his twisted black heart fired up for revenge and their total destruction. Will the sisters elude his blood-soaked hunt? They have their smarts and resource but have never faced a pursuit like this.

Can they somehow put an end to his blood lust?

What will they have to do to save themselves from his powerful and deadly claws?

The hunt is on…

About the Author

Greg Jolley


Greg Jolley earned a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of San Francisco and lives in the very small town of Ormond Beach, Florida. When not writing, he researches historical crime, primarily those of the 1800s. Or goes surfing.

Contact Links

Publisher

Author

Facebook

Twitter: @gfjolle

Blog

Instagram

LinkedIn

email: gfjolle@sbcglobal.net

YouTube (book trailers) 

 

Preorder Today

Amazon

RABT Book Tours & PR

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