Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sneak Peek - KICK START: Dangerous Ground 5

Here's a little (completely unedited) peek at the opening chapter of Kick Start, which should be coming your way probably 1st week of November.


One minute everything was fine. The next minute the job was going south. Fast.

The limousine with Dragomirov hurtled down the mouth of the alley where Taylor waited. Not unprepared -- Taylor was never unprepared -- but unsuspecting. Taylor would be occupied watching for threats to Dragomirov. It would not occur to him that Dragomirov was now a threat to him.

So Will reacted, he responded to the threat to Taylor. That’s what partners did, right? Even as Will dropped down onto the top of the limousine, he was mentally justifying his decision to Taylor -- justifying it because before he ever hit the roof, he knew he had made a mistake.

Problem Number One: There was nothing to hang onto. Had the car windows been rolled down…maybe. But the windows were not rolled down, and Will began to slide. The instant the limo braked or turned the corner, he was going to go flying -- at thirty-plus  miles an hour. Problem Number Two: Problem Number One was moot, because even if Will didn’t go flying, which he would do any minute now, he had no way of stopping the vehicle. And Problem Number Three: If he did survive, MacAllister was going to kill him.

The rush of garbage scented air blasted against his face, blurring his vision. The alley was nicer than some alleys in Los Angeles, meaning there were no bums to run over. Orange and green and purple graffiti bled into a long smear of chain link fence topped by coils of barbed wire, old brick walls and metal roll up doors. A couple of phone poles with sagging lines flew by, interspersed with several dumpsters. The alley opening -- and the busy cross street beyond -- was coming up fast. With only seconds to spare, Will wrapped his arms around his head, and rolled, launching himself at a fast-approaching blue dumpster.

He missed.

There was a sickening moment of flying through thin -- very thin -- air, and then he crash-landed on a mountain of cardboard boxes and black and white garbage bags.

It wasn’t like the movies. Will landed hard and heavily, the bags giving way, the boxes not so much. It hurt. It hurt a lot. But without the boxes and bags, he’d probably have been killed. He reflected on that for a stunned second or two while he listened to the screech of tires fading into the distance, the pound of approaching footsteps.

Brandt?” Taylor splashed through a puddle and skidded to a stop. He sounded winded, though the entire alleyway was only a block long. “Will?”

Will opened his eyes as Taylor bent over him. Taylor’s eyes were black in his white face, his jaw set. Ready for the worst.

“Right here,” Will said.

Life came back to Taylor’s face. “Oh, you bastard. Don’t do that to me!” He expelled a long, shaken breath, and began to check Will over with a swift, anxious hands. “What the hell was that supposed to be?”

Will gave a weak laugh and raised his head. “Everything still attached?”

“Shut up. Don’t move.”

“I’m fine.” Will waved him off. “I’m fine! Oww!” Yeah, fine was possibly overstating the situation. But he was alive and, miraculously, he seemed to be in one piece. One black and blue piece, probably. “Shit.” Painfully, he crawled out of the nest of garbage. Taylor moved to help him, removing a shoebox that had gotten stuck on Will’s elbow. Will climbed -- and it did feel like a climb -- to his feet.

“Jesus Christ, Brandt. You want to explain to me what you thought you were doing?” Taylor, sounding much more like his normal ornery self, punched him in the shoulder, and Will toppled back into the trash bags.

“Goddamn it,” Will said slowly and with feeling.

“Sorry,” Taylor muttered, hauling him out of the garbage bags once more. He brushed eggshells off Will’s shoulder. “Sorry. But what just happened? Explain to me. What the hell did you think you were doing?”

Will shook his head.

“Dragomirov tears out of here like a bat out of hell. With you on the roof of his car. His asshole driver nearly runs me over --”

“We’ve been laid off.”

“What?”

“Fired. Without the severance package, I’m guessing.” Will brushed orange peelings and what looked like -- and pray to God was -- raspberry jelly from the front of his leather jacket. The seat of his levis felt soaked with something he hoped wasn’t toxic. Or caustic.

Taylor looked stunned. “What are you talking about? After ten days? What the hell happened?”

It was a fair question. Will was trying to figure that one out himself. “Gretchen Hart is what happened.”

“Who?”

“Gretchen Hart. New Mexico. Two years ago?” Will prodded. “You remember Victor and Victoria?”

Taylor blinked. “Yeah, but…are you telling me…? What are you telling me?”

“Gretchen Hart apparently now works for Glukhov. She walked into that meeting, recognized me, and gave Dragomirov her version of what happened in New Mexico.”

“Which was what?”

“Pretty close to the truth,” Will admitted.

Taylor opened his mouth but couldn’t seem to find the words. Will knew the feeling. He said wearily, “As predicted, Dragomirov doesn’t like feds. A lot. Even ex-feds. So we’re off the case. I guess he thought we were trying to set him up in some kind of sting operation.”

“What sting? We’re doing low level security work. Mall cops could have handled this gig.”

“I never said Dragomirov was a genius.”

Taylor was silent. Then he said, “How the hell would that bitch recognize you?”

Will shook his head.

Taylor’s face screwed up in anger. “Fuck!” He turned and kicked a white and blue mostly deflated child’s ball that had rolled out of the pile of trash bags. The ball shot to the left, bounced off a green brick wall and landed on the pitted pavement with a flat, angry smack.

Will said nothing. What could he say? Taylor had not wanted to take this job in the first place. But they had needed the money and Will had talked him into it. End result: they had put in ten days working a bodyguard detail for a guy who, though maybe not a crook, was certainly a scumball -- and they would not be getting paid for the privilege.

He opened his mouth to apologize, but no. He was already on defense over the Paris thing; not smart to further weaken his position. Anyway, he wasn’t going to apologize for being a realist. They were not in a position to pick and choose clients. How was he supposed to have known their arch nemesis would show up? He hadn’t realized they had an arch nemesis until he’d watched Gretchen Hart freeze in recognition and then morph into the Borg Queen’s.

Taylor turned back to face him, fists planted on his narrow hips, eyes glinting the same shade as a Mojave Green. “Fuckin’ A. What now?”

“Find a new client, I guess. Shower. Sleep.” They were short on sleep these days. It wasn’t helping.

Taylor bit back whatever he started to say. This unusual restraint was almost worse than hearing him voice his feelings.

“Look,” Will said. “I couldn’t predict this. Nobody could predict this. We’re independent contractors now, and sometimes things are going to go wrong.”

“Does that mean sometimes they’re going to go right?” Taylor inquired. “Because so far…not so much.”

Now it was Will’s turn to hold his tongue. He said shortly, “We’re done here, let’s grab our gear and get the hell out of Dodge.”

38 comments:

  1. Very, very nice. Thank you. I'm waiting anxiously foy more Taylor, since I'm pragmatic I tend to prefer character who are the opposite! And not to appear greedy, even if I am a little, but 'The boy with the painful tattoo' is palnned for this year or the next?

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    1. Good! Glad you enjoyed the snippet. :-)

      BWTPT has been postponed to next year, sorry to say! The year got away from me. :-(

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  2. Sorry, I meant 'planned'.

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  3. Oh that was such a tease. I have missed Will & Taylor and will so be looking forward to this. Good luck and may the writing muses keep smiling fondly on you (translation that was excellent, write fast, lol).

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    1. It's enjoyable spending time with Taylor and Will again, I must admit!

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  4. Thanks god! Scratch that. Thank you, Josh. That sucks to see the boys being out of job but the Dangerous Ground is one of my favorite series. I've been waiting for series five for ages...finally...you made my day! LOL

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  5. Not fun to see them struggling with their business, but loved the sequence at the beginning...and the leap into the garbage. So real you had me holding my breath. I think that's why I love these two. My SO is a retired cop. I remember him coming home all scuffed and messy one day. He said he had jumped onto a moving train to catch a suspect. They ran along the top of the cars like you see in the movies, only without the stunt doubles and without someone to yell 'Cut!' He said the getting on wasn't hard, it was getting off that was the trick. LOL. Glad to see Will timed the jump close enough. Looking forward to November. :)

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    1. That reminds me of a line I meant to put in there!
      :-) About it not being like the movies!

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  6. Yay! I have missed these two sooooo much. Am eager to see what this installment brings.

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    1. Excellent! I find I'm feeling very affectionate toward them as I revisit them.

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  7. Thanks for the action-packed snippet! Glad to see these guys are staying out of trouble as usual ;) The garbage kind of terrified me, lol. I know rolling off a car is probably the scarier part, but landing in garbage! (゜д゜). Guess I'm not cut out to be a special agent, haha. Can't wait to read the rest when it's out next month :)

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    1. Considering the stuff that people toss away, yeah, landing in the garbage could have been the most dangerous part of that scene!

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  8. :) I'm so happy they're coming back. May have to reread the others to get in the groove. Thanks for the teaser.
    ~Whitley

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    1. Thanks, Whitley! I didn't realize how much I'd missed Will and Taylor until I started writing them again.

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  9. What do we say about not getting into business with your best friend? :-)

    I have the impression that Taylor is less concerned about money than Will?

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    1. I'd say that's basically right. Or at least his financial worries are from a different perspective.

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  10. Definitely my favorite series of yours. Can't wait!!

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  11. Thanks for the tease - I'm so happy to revisit these two! I admit it: Taylor's my favorite. No, wait, Will. I mean... I'm just glad we get the story from both of them because I love seeing the different ways they perceive the world and each other. November can't get here fast enough. :)

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    1. They kind of go together like salt and pepper or chips and salsa. :-)

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  12. Oh, Josh! You have so developed the art of the Sneak Peek! And another angonized wait begins! But I love it. I've missed these two. Thanks for the snippet. :-)

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    1. I'm glad though! It's good to know you've missed them!

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  13. Oh my god, best birthday present ever! I can't believe it! You really made my day (or the day to come :p). I don't think I've ever wished October to leave so eagerly.

    BTW, I just planned to drop by to tell you how much I enjoy listening to the audio version of the Perfect Day. Could you tell me who the narrator is? He practically made the story alive! So did the guy who narrated In Sunshine or In Shadow.

    And oh, suddenly the 1st week of November seems so far away!!

    Savanna

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    1. Thank you, Savanna! I believe the narrator of Perfect Day is JM Badger. I agree he does a very good job! And In Sunshine or In Shadow is Adam Chase, who also does an excellent job -- he's got terrific timing, doesn't he?

      I'm very pleased to know Will and Taylor have been missed. ;-)

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    2. Thanks for telling. I love their timing and tempo. JM Badger at first reminded me quite a lot of Chris Patton, but I like his tempo more, though he's not so skilled in narrating in different voices as Patton.

      Taylor and WIll are my favorite of your story, so of course any story of them are eagerly expected! Thank you for bringing them back again! :D

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    3. Their voices are somewhat similar, yes. Now that you mention it! :-)

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  14. Kick Start, indeed! My motor's revved and raring to go. :-D I love Taylor and Will...looking forward to the 1st week in November.

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  15. Great opening - it's wonderful to get more Tay & Will! I love these guys! Can't wait to get the whole story, and see how the family interactions go :)

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    1. Safe to say, it will not all be slaying the fatted calf and rejoicing. :-D

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  16. When I first read the blurb for Winter Kill, I thought it sounded like a great story. My second thought was to wonder if the Deputy knew Will's dad. That is when I decided I should get out more. Anyway, I really enjoyed the excerpt and am eagerly awaiting the finished product!

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    1. HA! Now that would be a small world. ;-)

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  17. Can't wait! Thanks for this, it was much appreciated :)

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  18. Love these guys & so happy I don't have to wait too much longer for this!

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    1. I'm glad. I know I'm having fun revisiting them.

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