Monday, June 19, 2017

Sneak Peek at Take the Bai Road

~Coming July 5th, 2017~
Preorder now for $3.99

I had just a fraction of a second to recognize the tall, bald technician who’d barred me from re-entering the elevator just minutes ago before he reached his arm back and loosed the knife in his hand, an excellent throw by all measures. I batted the airborne knife away with the hilt of my recovered knife and then threw it at him. I’m far from an edged weapons expert, but it was a pretty good throw, considering. At the very least it forced him to change directions at the last minute and take refuge behind a cubicle wall off to the right, which bought me a few seconds to catch my breath and formulate a strategy.

“You should really be careful playing with knives,” I said, squatting down to pick up the knife he’d thrown at me. It was steel the whole way through, six and a half inches from tip to hilt, give or take. The edge was honed to homicidal sharpness, which was both reassuring and alarming, and the tip was a little bent from where it had hit the metal stairwell door.

I heard rustling from behind the cubicle wall. Whoever he was, he was noisy, which meant no espionage training. Or too little training to have done him much good. He was a blunt instrument, no better than an attack dog left to guard the entrance. All I had to do was lure him with a steak and tie him to a fire hydrant and I’d be home free.

I kept my head down and ghosted up to the edge of the cubicle, which had desks to either side of the thin partition wall. The office chair at my elbow was about right for what I had in mind. I hefted it over my head with my arms and tossed it down into the neighboring cubicle where the knife thrower was hiding. “You could get hurt, buddy.”

The expected crashing sounds ensued, but none of the surprise or hurt sounds I’d wanted to hear. I chanced a quick peek over the edge and saw two overturned office chairs and a mess of paper, but no assailant. I had just enough time to duck before two more knives came zooming toward me to bury themselves hilt-deep in the cubicle wall in front of me.

He followed up his throws by charging me. With too little room to deflect him, I did the best I could to plant my feet and transform his momentum into a backward roll that sent both of us crashing through multiple workspaces. By some fluke of luck or skill, I managed to land with my left shoulder one inch shy of the throwing knives, which was small comfort as I scrambled to get out from underneath him.

He was almost my height, but built along more solid lines than me. What he lacked in my raw good looks, he made up for in heavily muscled arms he brought down to crush my throat.

The ferocity of his attack surprised me. He was either overzealous about protecting his mission or else he’d figured out I was a spy. Both options, however, didn’t seem to account for the vicious pleasure he took in bearing his weight down onto my windpipe.

With one of his knees pinning my ribs down and both hands wrapped around my neck, it didn’t take long for white spots to cloud up the edges of my vision. Blood pulsed in an angry rhythm against my temples as my lungs filled up with a sullen, burning ache. My brain shrieked its need for oxygen and flooded me with life-or-death adrenaline that slammed into my muscles and filled me with the kind of chilling surety and focus I’ve heard of but seldom experienced.

I wrenched my body to the side with my hips, digging in my heels for leverage, and reached back for the knife I’d dodged on my way down. He saw my arm moving and loosened his grip on my throat for just a second so he could reach out to stop me. I sucked in a gasp of air and brought the bent elbow of my other arm crashing into his nose. It broke with a satisfying crunch, and I followed it with a jab to his throat.

Blinded and in pain, he eased up on me for a second. It was all I needed. I yanked the knife out of the cubicle wall beneath me and tried to squirm out from under him. He blinked tears out of his eyes and brought both hands together above his head, set to bring them crashing down on my face.

I held the knife point up just below the bottom of his rib cage and let him impale himself on his downswing.

He shuddered away from me and fell to his side, gasping as his lungs filled up with blood. A little of it dribbled out the corner of his mouth and started soaking into the thin industrial carpet below him.

His last breath was a wheezy, wet-sounding gasp. As I watched, his eyes narrowed in my direction and then relaxed as the hatred in them was replaced by hazy disinterest.

Take the Bai Road

After the events of Bai Tide, CIA case officer Bai Hsu is safely tucked away at Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Bored and frustrated, he’s starting to doubt he’ll ever return to the field until he’s given a difficult new assignment: Track and investigate the mysterious Ghost Cartel, who may or may not already have hooks in our government.

With secrecy of the utmost importance, Bai accepts the mission even though he knows he’ll be out in the cold. With no official cover, no backup, and no resources, Bai has no choice but to infiltrate a shadowy organization few know anything about.

Tangled in a conspiracy that will pit him against warring cartels in Mexico, this is Bai’s most impossible mission to date. It will test him, make him question himself and the organization he works for, and ultimately rip away everything that’s ever mattered to him.

Preorder now at the Champagne Bookstore.

Fun in the Sun party code: Champagne2017

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