Tag: Free Fiction (page 1 of 11)

Blood Games – Episode 20



This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:  

I BIT MY LIP to keep from swearing aloud as I looked at my watch. It was time to cut my losses and get out of here.

How long before Reed’s men showed up? Five minutes, maybe ten?

This place would soon be crawling with them. It was frustrating to be so close but not have the time necessary to get to them.

The silence stretched on while I considered my options and adjusted to my disappointment.

I was so close.

The door would stop my bullets. The metal my knife had scraped along the inside wall reminded me of sheet metal, something I could shoot through. The kids were probably with him, so I couldn’t risk it.

Reed had taken a foolish risk by taunting me. If it hadn’t been for that, I would have checked this room, seen it was empty, assumed the doors were closets, and gone on my way. Maybe I would have stopped if I’d have noticed the deadbolt, but I wouldn’t have given it much time, assuming it was a locked utility closet.

I bit my lip, trying to figure out if this was something he’d done on a whim, thinking I wouldn’t find him so fast or if he had another angle. Probably the latter, considering how he’d been acting for the children.

I ground my teeth as I wished for the briefest opportunity to shoot him. One moment with him in my sights and this would all be over.

This terrible game of his—how else could he think of it? —had cost too much blood. I wasn’t so far from my roots to think so much death was a trivial thing.

Even I still had some limits. If not so much in what I did but in my ways of perceiving a situation.

Blood Games – Episode 18

This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:  

THINGS WERE QUIET ON the other side, but I came down expecting to shoot almost as soon as I landed, thinking for sure there would be guards.

As I spun with my pistol in hand, looking for trouble, I spotted what I thought was a camera and was halfway to it before I realized it was a burned-out light. After closer examination, I was left wondering why I’d thought it was a security camera because it looked nothing like one.

Shaking my head while taking a deep breath to calm my nerves, I ducked behind a tree while I waited for Kris to leave. I hadn’t given her an opportunity to argue and had made sure to not look back. She was left either doing as I suggested or getting out herself, something she was unlikely to do.

Despite her boldness, it was apparent she wasn’t trained for this sort of thing. Clandestine meetups with a set agenda in a controlled situation, she could handle. But walking into an unknown situation was not something she should do.

I’d thought her more experienced when I’d requested she accompany me. I should have taken Maxine up on her offer to send me with her more seasoned person. I’d made some assumptions about Kris and had learned the truth the hard way.

That’s why I’d put her in a position where she was forced to leave. I didn’t want to risk her life if I could avoid it. If I continued to accept Maxine’s help, I would try to keep Kris back at base where she belonged.

She wouldn’t see it that way, but she also hadn’t realized the risk she’d taken by parking so close to the DataRader headquarters. What other mistakes would she make?

Blood Games – Episode 17



This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:  

KRIS PULLED INTO THE spot I had indicated. I pushed my seat back as far as it went, tilting it so I had a lower profile and taking advantage of the rear tinted windows. The casual passerby shouldn’t notice anything.  

When Kris saw me staring at her, she muttered something under her breath while she rolled her eyes.

“My paranoia has served me well,” I said as she adjusted her seat.

“No wonder none of your friends came with you from Black Brick.”

The comment might have stung at another time, but it didn’t faze me. I was doing what I needed to increase our chances of not getting noticed. She could complain all she wanted if she followed suit.

I wasn’t looking for friends. I wanted to find a way to stop evil men from kidnapping children. I could worry about having a personal life once I’d taken care of that.

We sat in silence for a long time. I stopped checking my watch as time seemed to slow. After what I was convinced had been an hour and a half I checked my watch and found less than fifteen minutes had gone by. We still had over three hours before dawn.

I shook my head, trying to keep awake. The position of my seat put my neck at a weird angle while I watched the main exit.

“You should get some sleep,” I said, suggesting it because I wanted my monocular back. When Kris didn’t respond, I noticed she’d already nodded off. I took it from where it had fallen on her lap. It was good somebody could get some sleep. Perhaps it would put her in a better mood.

The monocular revealed what I’d already known with my naked eye. Nothing was happening at the exit.

Knowing that it was a risk, but also knowing I needed to stay awake, I pulled out my phone and turned the brightness down so low it was hard to read. It at least gave me something break up the monotony.

I positioned my phone so that if any car left the garage, I would notice the movement. Doing so increased the risk that somebody might see the screen of my phone but I didn’t care. The chance of that happening was small.

Just as Kris had claimed my video was published on every news site I checked. Most of the videos were posted along with the recent fake video. I plugged in my earbuds and watched my video. I’d done a fair job of it. My breathing had been regular and I’d been careful to keep my face lit by the overhead streetlight.

I watched the fake video again and shuddered at the details they’d got right. It was uncanny, almost as if they had recorded me right beforehand. Not only was my hair the exact right length and color, it even looked as though I wore the same clothes in both videos.

Blood Games – Episode 16



This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:  

KRIS WASN’T HARD TO find, but I had to circle the DataRader headquarters to do it. I had become antsy, and just as I was about to take out my phone, I spotted her SUV.

Within a stone’s throw from the entrance to the parking garage.

She shouldn’t have parked so close. I shook my head, muttering under my breath before I thought better of it. I looked around, in case somebody was close enough to have picked me up on Spectrum, and was relieved the nearest man was a block away.

Kris couldn’t have chosen a closer or more prominent place to monitor the entrance of the parking garage. She might as well have hung a sign. I’d been careful at the DataRader compound to park several blocks back to decrease the chances of us being spotted. It should have been a given she do the same here.

Perhaps fatigue was affecting her decisions.

More likely she just doesn’t believe Reed is involved in all this, I thought. Or worse she has less experience with this sort of thing than I’ve given her credit for.

Now that was a scary thought.

I was glad I’d taken the time to fix my disguise before coming to find her. I’d even added a piece of latex to my chin in hopes of fooling FaceRec. I’d done a bad job of it but hadn’t wanted to waste time to fix it. I figured the dark would cover up most of it. If anybody noticed they’d assume it was a scar. The goal was to throw off FaceRec. I planned to put a bandage over it once the sun came up.

Letting out a quiet breath, I stepped into the shadows while I observed Kris. Even with my disguise, I didn’t want to get any closer. I located the security cameras. The most obvious were at the entrances, but a place as big as the DataRader headquarters would have them all over. The cameras I saw were focused on the parking garage entrance. There was a chance she was far enough back to not be on video, but it was slight.



Blood Games – Episode 15



This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:  

I SHIELDED MY EYES with a hand as I came around the corner and took in the scene before me. I had expected to come face to face with a wall of flame but found the explosions were blocked from view because they were coming from the far end of the compound. The crashing thunder echoed through the city street causing my hands to go to my ears.

The people in the parking lot ran as the explosions moved closer. The guard was late in swinging open the gate and a handful had begun to climb. Most hopped off when they noticed it was moving, but one man continued to the top and went over. Through the chaos I could barely hear a horn as cars came up behind the people.

I feared a large pickup truck in the front was about to run over a large swath of people but at the last second, those in the rear noticed the driver wasn’t slowing and got out of the way. One of the men could have had a hip clipped by the truck as it sped by but I wasn’t certain.

I shook my head as I watched from my place of safety. At least the guard hadn’t run and was trying oversee the evacuation, little good though he did. The fool should have listened to me and sounded the alert when I warned him. By the looks of things I assumed he had run a fire drill, that would explain why the people had congregated in the parking lot. It had at least given them a fighting chance of outrunning the explosions.

The guard had his rifle out, but it was pointed in the air as he waved his free hand at the truck while it zoomed out the gate. The vehicles behind came next, heedless of the guard but most taking care to avoid those on foot. 

Even with my hands over my ears, I could tell the explosions were coming closer. They’d been going for a full thirty seconds and didn’t show any signs of slowing.

 

Blood Games – Episode 14



This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show: 

AS I STARED OUT at Reed’s compound something clicked in my mind and it all came together. I understood why Reed was having the fake me target DataRader.

It was about the kids.

He was trying to convince them they were my next targets. It was so obvious I wondered why I hadn’t put it together before. Reed had probably planned on this from the beginning, he’d just escalated the timing after I’d shot Sam.

Reed had been only too happy to turn Sam into a martyr. Even though I’d taken one of his best men out of play, I doubted Reed saw it that way. My gut told me he’d just zeroed in on the opportunity Sam’s death had presented.

I took a deep breath and let it out. While Reed was a great Beltran admirer, it looked like he wasn’t following the playbook completely. The children knew they worked for DataRader.

Reed wasn’t repeating Beltran’s mistake of setting up a shell company. Perhaps he figured that trying to convert me to Diggon is where Beltran had gone wrong.

The problem with Beltran and Reed was that they didn’t understand the human connection. They thought they could move people around like pawns on a chessboard, never giving a second thought to what they were thinking or feeling.

They lacked empathy, the ability to view things from another’s perspective.

Blood Games – Episode 13



This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show: 

MY HANDS BURNED LIKE they were on fire. Ripping my eyes away from the children, I looked at them and realized I had balled them into fists and that they were shaking and numb. Even though my nails dug into the palms of my one hand and the edges of the monocular cut into the other, I barely felt them. I stretched them several times to get the blood flowing as the wind blew across my forehead, freezing the sweat that had formed during my run.

It took every bit of my resolve to not hop the fence and charge after the kids. It wasn’t just anger that drove me. No, it was also guilt.

I was ashamed that I’d let my focus be so drawn by Sam back at Reading Market that I’d hadn’t thought of the children until after they’d disappeared.

They’d been right there, within my grasp, and I’d let them escape. I sometimes tried to blame Sam for that, but it had been my mistake. Seeing them with Reed made me realize that in a way I had not yet been willing to come to terms with. 

I backed away until I was out of view of the compound. Once I was sure I wouldn’t be seen I booked it up a couple of blocks before running flat out to where I’d left Kris. Reed and the others were moving quickly, I doubted I’d make it back in time.

My foot caught on something and I went down. Hard. Luckily, my reflexes were good and I broke my fall with my palms and kept my head from slamming into the concrete. I slid on my side as I skidded forward. Grabbing hold of a bench that I’d narrowly missed, and ignoring the flare of pain in my hands, I leapt to my feet and pushed ahead, a little slower and watching more carefully.

 

Blood Games – Episode 12




This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show: 

THE SPRAWLING DATARADAR COMPLEX had a large footprint on the outskirts of the city. Several structures were more than ten stories high, but most were less than five. It was an industrial location with residences and office space starting up a handful of blocks to the left.

Kris had checked with Jolene ten minutes ago, and we still weren’t any closer to locating Reed’s home, so I had continued on our way here. I’d never been out this way and figured it was a good time to visit, especially since I had wheels. It wasn’t likely anything would turn up, but I’d been outside the DataRader headquarters numerous times, hoping to spark an idea of how to locate Reed. It was time for a different perspective on the company, perhaps it might help me figure out what I should do next.

I doubted Reed came to this site much but I was antsy to be doing something, if only to stay busy. I parked on the street with our car facing the complex’s gate. We were several blocks back to avoid both the guards and any cameras that might be connected to FaceRec.

Kris had barely spoken during the drive. What she had said had been short and clipped, but I didn’t care. If she had been more open to my claims about Peck, I would have told her about Reed weeks ago. Or if she would have looked into the kidnapped children she might have found something that would have facilitated the conversation.

She had nobody to blame but herself.

The awkwardness became worse after we parked. I could tell she wanted me to ask and even though I didn’t want to give in, if something were to happen I needed her to be ready to deal with it, not stewing in anger.

“What’s eating at you?” I asked.

Blood Games – Episode 11



This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show: 

THE TEMPERATURE IN THE room didn’t change after Kris had gone. Jolene looked at her tablet, pretending like the exchange hadn’t happened.

Maxine fixed me with a cold stare. “My employees know I like to be told when I’m being stupid, Jake.” She straightened her back and twisted her head to the side. “There is a reason why my business has been successful. I listen when I’m told I’m in the wrong.”

“I’m not in disagreement about speaking the truth. It’s the tone. Such conflict isn’t healthy. Not everybody will let your display of anger just wash off their shoulders. Some will harbor resentment.

“Those people don’t work here long.” She smiled. “You disagree with my methods.”     

“I shot my last boss in the head. I’m not a stranger to interoffice conflict.” That wiped the smug look off her face, but I could appreciate the fact she was trying to foster a work environment where people told her what she needed to hear. I wasn’t convinced it should be as conflict-filled as she made it, but I’d never run a business.

Maxine seemed content to wait for Kris’ return and opened a laptop that had been sitting on the table in front of her. Between her and Jolene, the temperature seemed to have dropped several more degrees as they both avoided eye contact.

I leaned back in the chair and rubbed my eyes, wishing I could spare a few hours for rest. It had been weeks since I’d had a decent night’s sleep. My mind was only working due to the adrenaline I had coursing through my veins and nothing else. I went to a window and stared at the fire which I could just catch a sliver of from up here, splitting my time between the muted television and the real thing, wondering if the fire had been contained.

I checked my burner phone and thought about sending a text to Shannon. I wanted to reassure her again that I’d had no part in this. I’d told her that night outside of Benny’s Diner and again this afternoon before the fire, but maybe she would need to hear it again considering all the damage that had been done.

Blood Games – Episode 10



This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

MAXINE FROWNED AS SHE tapped her nails in a fast-paced staccato, making me think of a snare drum cadence for soldiers marching to war. I couldn’t help feeling she was gunning for me because I hadn’t said a word about Reed and she was already skeptical.

Jolene attached a keyboard to her tablet and placed it on the table. I wanted to forbid her from taking notes but figured I’d already pushed my luck far enough.

I took a minute to gather my thoughts despite the tension in the room. What was my best approach?

Kris leaned back in her chair, wondering if I was going to answer her question.

I’d had countless opportunities to tell her about Reed but had not done so because she had never believed there was a connection between Peck and Beltran. As far as she was concerned it was a coincidence that they’d both worked for Diggon.

When Kris had spoken of DataRader outside the elevator, it was evident she respected the company. I had to overcome Reed’s squeaky clean image. Or at least prepare them to be surprised.

“I don’t have evidence that proves what I’m about to tell you,” I said. Kris looked ready to pull her hair. “The man behind all this is well respected and has gone to a lot of work to cultivate a reputation for him–and his company–that is at odds with who he really is and what he’s trying to accomplish.”

Maxine lifted an eyebrow. “I’ll try my best to believe you.”

“It will be difficult,” I said. “He’s been very successful–”

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