It’s Beta Reader time!

 

Group Tinted

For those of you who have been awaiting the sequel to

The Gamma Sequence,

IT IS HERE!

ROGUE ELEMENTS

The Gamma Sequence Book 2

is available NOW for Beta Readers!

That means YOU can read and enjoy this amazing sequel before anyone else.

Well, before most people; you’d be getting it at the same time as the other beta readers. (Actually, that’s not even true. My sister got it yesterday. But, hey – maybe she didn’t start reading yet.)

Anyway, it’s a full and complete amazing sequel to my amazing story The Gamma Sequence (which, you may have noticed, is NOT available in ebook yet. That’s coming soon; more on that later.)

 

Here’s the tag line

The past doesn’t die. It waits to be forgotten.

 

Here’s the blurb

After completing the biggest case of his career, private detective Hank DeShear returns home to start treatment for a disabling genetic condition that could end his life, but he learns his partner on the prior case has just been murdered. Was he wrong to conclude the secretive killer known as The Greyhound had declared a truce? Or have disciples of The Greyhound surfaced to carry on with the murders?

DeShear is able to attach himself to an overseas goodwill mission headed by the U. S. Vice President, enabling him to pursue leads in foreign hospitals he thinks could be offshoots of Angelus Genetics’ illegal organ harvesting programs and human trafficking operations. Determined to pursue the truth wherever it leads, DeShear must also keep a low profile so he doesn’t become the next murder victim—but the onset of his debilitating condition may kill DeShear before the murderer gets a chance.

 

HERE’S THE FIRST CHAPTER! – below, at the end of this email.

Honestly, who else does that for you?

Are Michael Crichton and Robin Cook emailing you with their stuff?

No.

Because, well, it seems Michael Crichton passed away quite a while ago, and Mr. Cook is probably very busy and doesn’t have your email.

BUT I DO.

And now you have been alerted to the news! ROGUE ELEMENTS will continue the journey we started in The Gamma Sequence. It is a stand alone novel AND is part 2 of a 3-book series that I plan to finish writing by January 31, just a few short months from now.

While book 3 is planned on being a stand alone, odds are you’d want to read books 1 and 2, so here’s your chance.

What you need to do:

  1. CONTACT ME and say, I WANNA GO ROGUE!

  2. Tell me what e-version of the book you’d like: PDF, Mobi or Word document; I will send you a copy;

  3. YOU read and send me your thoughts when you’re finished.

Pretty easy, I’d say.

The book will be released as part of the multi-author medical thriller set “PULSE,” but you get it free from me right now.

Awesome, right?

And just think: there’s a third book coming.

 

Okay, if you’re in, CONTACT ME and tell me.

Meanwhile, here’s chapter 1.

Chapter One

The assassin backed his stolen car into the parking space, exactly three rows from the target vehicle where the device would go. He tapped his fingers on the wheel. This was a good spot. Close enough to see his victim in the parking garage, but far away enough to not be noticed by her. He glanced at this watch for the third time in two minutes. Two twenty-seven A. M.

Taking a few deep breaths, he lowered all four windows of the sedan, letting the icy Minnesota winter rush in. The frigid air made his eyes water and dried the inside of his nose.

He ran his hands back and forth over his thighs, tapping his heels as he checked out the other cars. The nearest one had a light dusting of snow on it, compliments of the strong winds that blew nonstop through the airport garage’s second floor.

Okay, I have something for that.

The assassin reached across the car and hauled a gray duffel bag from the floor and onto the passenger seat. White clouds formed with each rapid breath as he inspected the objects inside. His gaze darted past the magnetic metal box that would help kill his victim. Next to that, a homemade transmitter rested. Some clothes acted as cushions between the other objects, with a can of artificial spray snow and a can of spray-on window frost completing the inventory. They weren’t technically necessary in the near-zero temperatures, but appearances mattered. He needed his stolen sedan to look as if it had been sitting in the parking garage for a while.

He swallowed hard and jumped out of the vehicle, shaking the can and spraying a fine layer of fake snow onto the car’s hood and roof, then lightly coated the windshield with the fake frost. He glanced over his shoulder at the elevator.

Nothing yet.

With shaking hands, he leaned close to the glass, spit onto the driver’s side, and cleared away a baseball-sized spot with the heel of his hand.

Midway up the glass. Just about perfect.

Another glance at the watch. Two-thirty. She’d be here soon.

His heart was racing. The chosen parking space was outside the field of view of the security cameras, but his victim’s car was not. Grabbing the duffel bag off the passenger seat, the assassin dropped the cans inside and slipped the strap over his shoulder, walking towards the black Audi.

Walk normal. Walk normal.

As he passed the victim’s car, he zipped up his jacket and pretended to drop the duffel bag. Bending to retrieve it, he snapped the magnetic box onto the underside of the car frame and shoved a remote stopper inside the exhaust pipe.

He stood up, bag in hand, and proceeded to the elevator. After pressing the button, the assassin waited, tapping his fingers on the side of his leg and holding his breath.

No cameras here.

An instrumental version of Jingle Bells played on the elevator speakers as he stepped inside. When the doors had closed behind him, the assassin pulled off his jacket and reversed it from gray to blue. His hands shook as he removed a knit cap from the duffel bag and placed it on his head, then reached into the bag for the glasses. The elevator doors re-opened on the second floor. He took a deep breath, stepped out, and took a different route back to the sedan. This time, he carried the gray bag low, at knee-level.

It was twenty long minutes before anyone came out of the elevator. At the sight of his victim, his adrenaline surged. He gripped the wheel and leaned forward, peering through the clean spot on his windshield as she headed toward her black Audi.

The woman tugged her coat around her as she walked, the wind blasting her black hair. Before she got to her car, she lifted the key fob, unlocking the doors and starting the engine. She opened the shiny black door and slipped inside.

His pulse pounding, the assassin lifted an electronic telescope from the gray bag, holding it to the cleared spot on the windshield. He swallowed hard as he reached out with his other hand and flipped the first switch on the transmitter.

Under the car, just behind the gas tank, the metal box’s red light came on.

The assassin sat back, releasing a long, slow breath.

When the Audi’s taillights came on, he started the sedan. When his victim pulled out of her parking spot, he drove out of his. A quick squirt from the windshield washers cleared most of the spray frost away, but left the window a little smeared. The second squirt finished the job.

He was right behind her, headed for the exit and the attendant. His heart raced.

Easy now. Take it easy.

The Audi slowed, and the driver shoved her parking card into the slot on the machine. When the screen displayed the amount due, she swiped a credit card across the protruding brackets. The striped arm of the automatic gate went up, and the Audi rolled out of the garage.

Pulling forward, the assassin paid as well—being careful not to lean too close and allow the security camera to catch his face.

The gate went up. He grabbed his phone, his fingers trembling. The screen was lit with a map of the city streets, a green dot blinking as his magnetic device relayed the Audi’s location on 34th Avenue South. In a moment, it should turn onto highway 494 and drive toward Lynnhurst.

He drew a deep breath, a knot forming in his stomach. Slipping the phone into a cupholder on the console, the assassin drove the stolen car out of the garage.

The dot on the screen did as predicted, pulling onto highway 494 and heading west. He pressed the sedan’s gas pedal a little harder, not wanting his prey to get too far away. Squeezing the steering wheel, he did his best to contain his nervous energy. He’d never killed anyone before.

Outside his window, snow-covered trees streaked by. Inside the car, the dot continued straight along 494. He drove past the on ramp to the highway and pulled behind the row of empty warehouses lining the street. Parking, he grabbed his duffel bag and slid the strap over his shoulder as he exited the car. He rubbed his hands as he headed to the big white tow truck that awaited him.

The cab of the truck was still warm, but the cardboard pine tree hanging from the rearview mirror wasn’t effectively masking odors in the cab any longer. He started the truck and placed the bag on the passenger seat, withdrawing his transmitter and his cell phone.

His finger hovered over the transmitter’s second switch. The device would work from this distance, he knew, but he preferred to be closer.

The dot on the screen moved steadily along 494.

Just a few more minutes and she would’ve been home.

Staring at the black night beyond the highway, he lowered his finger until it rested on the second switch. Around him, the world was silent. At this hour, in this part of the world, not much was happening. A blanket of white covered the trees and ground. Nothing moved.

The road was calm, wet from the melting snow and streaked white from the road salt. Highway 494—just a few feet away, really—was all but vacant.

All but for the one driver he was about to kill.

He swallowed hard and stared at the metal box in his hand. In a moment, it would all be over.

Gritting his teeth, he shoved the little switch forward.

His gaze darted to the highway, then to the phone. Silence. He held his breath. The green dot on the phone screen slowed and then stopped. The hush of the still night remained undisturbed.

Dropping the big truck into drive, he stomped the gas pedal and raced toward the highway on ramp.

The black Audi was on the side of the road. The hood was up, but only technically. She’d probably pulled the release from under the dashboard, but hadn’t released the second latch under the hood. Maybe she didn’t know where it was, or didn’t want to search for it in the cold.

His heart thumping, the assassin flipped on the truck’s yellow emergency lights and pulled to a stop behind her.

It was noticeably colder on the highway than it had been in the garage. The assassin shivered, the snow crunching under his feet as he crept toward the Audi. Flashlight in one hand and cell phone in the other, he shined the beam into the car. “Roadside assistance.”

Can’t have any surprises.

He kept walking, his pulse throbbing in his ears. The snow around the vehicle was undisturbed.

Good. She’s still in the car.

When he reached the driver’s door, the window powered down. “You certainly got here quickly,” the woman said.

“Yes, ma’am. We, uh . . . we keep an eye on the roads around the airport.”

He shined his flashlight into her eyes. She recoiled, squinting into the brightness. “Is that necessary?”

He raised the cell phone to the window, trying hard not to let it shake in his hand. The face on the screen matched the one behind the wheel. He lowered the beam of the flashlight, staring at the woman he was about to kill.

She huffed. “I’m sorry, but that’s very rude.”

The assassin slid the phone into his pocket and reached for the .45 holstered on his hip. “You’re right, Lanaya. Or Dara Han—whatever name you’re going by today.”

Her mouth dropped open and her eyes went wide. He yanked the weapon free and raised it, pointing it at her chest. The woman pushed away from the open window, turning to run, to flee somehow, but her seatbelt held her—the shoulder strap moved freely, but the lap band kept her hips in place. Her hands flew to the clip, crushing the button as she strained to run away from the man outside her car.

He froze, staring at her, unable to pull the trigger. She screamed as she clawed at the seat belt.

“Stop,” he said, stepping back. He dropped his flashlight and gripped the gun with both hands. “Stop trying to get away!”

The seat belt came free. The woman leaped to the passenger side of the car and grabbed the door latch.

“Stop it!” he shouted, his gun shaking. “Stop!”

The first gunshot boomed through the quiet night like a cannon. It ripped the shoulder of the woman’s jacket, sending a tuft of white material upwards in a little cloud. The muzzle flash lit the Audi’s interior. Blood splattered onto the shiny dashboard.

The gun bucked in the assassin’s hand as he fired a second and third shot into his victim’s back. She cried out as the rounds pounded her, ripping through her insides. She slumped across the console, gasping and groaning. The assassin stared at the dying figure, her back moving up and down as she fought to breathe.

He shook his head, reaching in and grabbing her jacket, yanking her upright. “Did you really think we wouldn’t find you?” His voice quivered. “Did you?”

Blood dripped from the side of her mouth, her head sagging. Her eyes drifted in the direction of her killer, half open and unfocused.

He stepped back and forth on the snow, leveling the shaking gun at her chest. “This is a gift, to die so quickly. I’m giving you a gift! You—you should be thanking me.”

He clenched his teeth and fired two more times, her body jerking with each impact. A trail of blood painted the back of her seat as she slid sideways, her eyes staring ahead at nothing, but he kept firing. He stepped forward, pulling the trigger over and over until the hammer clicked and the magazine was empty.

The Audi was now red inside, its owner dead and nearly unrecognizable from the amount of blood covering her face and body.

He stared, gasping, unable to move or to remember what he was supposed to do next. In the distance, over a long, grassy field, an airplane approached the runway. Its engines grew louder and louder, waking the assassin from his trance.

The card.

Tugging off a glove, the assassin shoved his hand into his pocket and withdrew an Angelus Genetics business card. He thrust himself into the Audi and jammed the card into the corpse’s open mouth, then sprinted back to the tow truck. Jerking open the door, he flung the empty gun onto the blood-stained body of the first victim on the night—the tow truck driver, whose fat corpse now lay on the floor of the passenger seat. The click, click, click of the emergency lights were the only sound in the cab of the truck as they cast their yellow glow over his murder scene.

Cursing, the assassin slapped at the dashboard buttons until the flashing lights turned off. Then his knees buckled.

He put his hands on the seat of the truck and lowered his head, fighting back the urge to vomit. He closed his eyes, spitting to get the bile out of his mouth. A few deep breaths cleared his head. There were details to take care of.

He took off his jacket and heaved it onto the corpse, then stared at the dark, empty road.

What else?

After retrieving his flashlight and removing his equipment from under the dead woman’s car, the assassin pulled a clean sweatshirt from the duffel bag. He gazed at the inside of the cab, remembering the plan, unable to let his eyes wander back to the black Audi.

Light filled the inside of the tow truck. The assassin gasped, whipping his head around. The headlights of an oncoming car lit the horizon. The killer crouched beside the open door of the truck, holding his breath.

There’s nothing wrong. There’s nothing wrong.

The car came closer. He forced himself upright and wiped his hands on his jeans.

Cross the road. Go to the car.

There’s nothing’s wrong.

He yanked the clean sweatshirt over his head and grabbed his duffel bag, running across the road and waving.

The car slowed to a stop and the driver’s window went down. “Everything okay here?”

Reaching the far side of the car, the assassin opened the door. “Like clockwork.” He thrust his bag over the headrest and plopped down in the passenger seat. “Let’s go, Mika! And call Fuego. Tell him phase one is complete.”

The driver nodded, made a wide, slow U-turn, and drove her car back the way it came.

img_2351-23I know, right?

I amaze myself sometimes.

So contact me and tell me you wanna go rogue and I’ll send ROGUE ELEMENTS on over. Limited quantities, and as a special treat for reading all the way to the bottom of this email, if you’d like an e-copy of The Gamma Sequence, tell me that, too, and I might hook you up with both.

Thanks, gang!

Dan

 

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