The paperback proof is here, the Kindle pre-order is up ($0.99 until Jan 20, when it goes up to $3.99), and here is Chapter 2 to whet more appetites.
The unimaginatively-named “Road-House” lay just off the highway, about twenty miles from the nearest town. It didn’t get a lot of traffic, except for the occasional motorist stopping in to grab something to eat, either at the gas station attached to the “Road-House” or at the restaurant and bar itself.
John Brannigan nearly filled the doorway as he stepped inside. Six-foot-four, broad-shouldered, he retained the leanness and power of a man much younger than his nearly fifty years. His hair was going gray, as was the thick handlebar mustache he’d grown since he’d retired—not entirely willingly—from the Marine Corps, some years before. Deep lines surrounded his icy eyes as he swept the interior of the restaurant with a practiced, professional gaze. This was a man who had never stepped into a room without knowing the layout, who was in it, and how to get out.
It wasn’t that he was paranoid. It was simply a fact that twenty-three years as a Marine, both enlisted and commissioned, had hard-wired certain habits into him. And his most recent work hadn’t served to dull those habits any, either.
Hector Chavez was waiting by the bar, sitting on a stool with one elbow on the bar and the other hand on his knee, so that he needed only turn his head to see the door. He grinned a little as he hitched himself off the stool and stepped toward Brannigan, holding out his hand.
“Good to see you again, John.” Chavez was getting a little heavy, his gray hair thinning. He still moved well, for a man whose heart didn’t quite work right anymore.
Brannigan shook the other man’s hand. Chavez’ ticker might need a pacemaker, but his grip was still strong. “Did you let Mama Taft intimidate you last time, Hector?” he asked, with a half-smile.
Chavez chuckled. “No, though that is certainly an intimidating woman.” He sobered. “I just figured that establishing a pattern of life might not be the best idea. If we keep meeting in the same diner, with different clients, somebody might start to think that you’re working as some kind of consultant. And then they might start wondering what kind of consulting a man like you does.”
Brannigan nodded. The reasoning was sound. The last job that Chavez had brought him, his first as a mercenary, had been high-risk and highly illegal. That it had been the right thing to do wouldn’t matter if the wrong people got wind of it.
He looked around for his new client, but Chavez appeared to be alone. Noticing the look, Chavez inclined his head toward the back of the restaurant and said, “Come on. And John? Try to keep an open mind, all right?” Continue reading “Burmese Crossfire Chapter 2”