A Sneak Peak at Another Day Another Deception
I hope you enjoyed book one and I’m excited to share a sneak peak of book two. Understand that this is still being edited and does not contain the final print version. That being said it will give you a nice look into what the future holds for the world of Another Day. Also please sign up for the newsletter and get part two before anyone else.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Being up twenty stories has a way of skewing the view, being 20 stories up on the side of a building changes everything. Rachel Ricks took a moment to look across the night skyline. Her heart was beating hard enough that she could feel it. Joe Suthers had been training her for almost six months. She’d been working out twice a day and put on ten pounds of muscle. But even with her new found strength her muscles were fatigued from the climb. She stopped and looked at the skyline. For a moment, all the pain melted behind her as she smiled. It was an amazing view. One that six months ago she would never have imagined enjoying. Anyone could have rode up the elevator and looked out the glass, there was something much more exciting enjoying the view from this side. She looked back up at the glass wall. Three more stories to climb. The fatigue returned.
She clicked her ear-piece mic, “Joe, this is a great view, but what the hell am I doing up here again?”
“You want to be the best? The best can climb walls and still complete the mission. Think of it as high altitude hazing. You finish this, and you’re a part of the club.”
“What club is that?” She said as she unhooked a suction cupped hand and reached higher.
“The elite spy club,” Joe said.
“The elite spy club can shove my membership application up its collective ass. If I’d taken the stairs could I have been a part of the regular spy club?”
“Yes but they don’t last as long.”
“Of course, because climbing the sides of buildings is a great way to make a long life,” she said as she hooked in her foot. “I’m going to be here till sunup.”
“I told you not to have the cake.”
“It’s not the cake holding me up, it’s these suction cups. Did you buy them from a spy yard sale? Where’s the cool James Bond gear? Where’s the high tech gloves that Tom uses?”
“He almost fell off the building with those.”
“Well, how about you update your gear before we do this again, I’m sure there’s something better out there.”
“How about you talk a little less and climb a little more.”
She gave a hmph.
“Fine. Bye Joe.” She moved her left hand up and locked it in, “How about you talk a little less, how about you scale your old ass up the building?”
“Your mics still on,” Joe said.
Rachel felt her face flush, “Sorry. So sorry dude.” She clicked it off and reached up and pushed her hand against the glass. The suction cup didn’t lock. She pulled herself up, and it popped off.
Her body swung out. Her heart accelerated.
“Oh shit, oh shit,” she said as her body arched back. Her left foot and hand held. She took in a breath as her back smacked the glass. The suction held tight. She pushed off with her right foot to arc back over to the glass. The heaving breathing fogged up the glass by her mouth. Calm down, I’m not dead yet. She took one more cleansing breath and continued to climb. Maybe seeing the view from the inside wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
Six months ago when she met Joe this was not what she had in mind. The plane ride to Los Angeles had been the most difficult decision she had ever made. Even when she walked off the plane, there was a strong pull just to turn around at the ticket counter and get back on the next flight to Idaho. But when she saw Joe holding the sign with her name on it she pushed forward to see how deep the rabbit hole was. It was bottomless.
She pulled herself up another two feet and attached the suction cup.
“Good to see you moving again. That hand-me-down gear works just fine when you set it right,” Joe said.
Rachel clicked her mic on, “I could have died up here.”
“I think you would have fallen from up there but you would have died down here.”
“Dude, not funny.”
“You’re almost there. Just another story.”
“Easy for you to say down there watching. Sitting there in a Barca lounger with a tall glass of Scotch.”
“I call this climb a dull Wednesday. And I do not own a Barca lounger, its a lazy-boy, and sometimes it’s nice to kick your feet up after a long day. Radio in when you’ve reached the top and are proceeding to the target.”
“You got it dude,” Rachel said as she clicked the mic off.
Each pull of the arm brought her that much closer to the end. Another step closer to putting Melissa Vanders in the ground. The thought of her brothers laying there in the Salt Lake City morgue brought her courage, but it was Melissa that put the fire in her belly to find the strength to keep pushing every day.
She reached the top and checked in with Joe. She dumped the climbing gear into a small backpack and slung it over her shoulder. She moved to the roof access door and plunged her hand into her cargo pocket. The little black case she brought back out had several hooked picks and three tension bars. Every night if she had wanted to sleep in a bed she had to pick her way into the room. Several nights had been spent out under the Los Angeles night sky.
This door only took 36 seconds to unlock.
“Asher, I’ve got the door ready,” she said.
“Wait. Three, two, one. Go,” Asher said.
She opened the door and moved in. No alarms. Thanks, Ash.
Her target was two more floors up. Four guards patrolled the upper floors. They didn’t seem very diligent. From what she had found during the surveillance was most of them watched movies on their phones all night. Once every two hours they made a cursory round of halls. She looked at her MTM watch. It was a quarter after two. They’d be engrossed in their phones.
She made a left and went down the hall. The stairwell entrance was just around the corner. She moved like a cat on the prowl and stopped low just before the turn. No noise. The halls were quiet an eerie switch from all the traffic noise that had wafted up from the street outside. She moved again and made her way up the two flights of stairs.
Melissa had made a big mistake when she decided to ruin her brother’s life. She should have killed the entire family. All of the sweat, all of the late nights, learning to shoot, learning to fight unarmed, the calluses, the bruises, the cuts, all of the metal fatigue, every single treacherous moment had helped to prepare Rachel for the moment when she would be able to stand in front of Melissa and put a bullet in her head.
She moved out of the stairwell. Turn right go down to the next hallway, turn left and the office is on the right. She jogged down the hall. The end was so close she could taste it. She made her turn. Her heart jumped.
“What the fuck!” a guard said.
She stopped short in front of the security guard. They looked at each other for a moment. The guard went for his pistol with both hands.
“Shit,” Rachel said.
She lunged forward grabbing his hand and pushing him forward with her shoulder. He outweighed her by at least a hundred pounds, but it was enough to knock him off balance. The pistol skittered across the floor and came to rest fifteen feet away.
Rachel stepped back and pulled his arm with her. He swung his free arm and struck her face. She stopped, and he froze as she stared at him.
“Not cool dude.”
Still holding his arm in one hand she brought her left knee up, swinging her body with it. The arm hyperextended, and the man screamed and dropped to the ground cradling his broken arm.
Rachel sprang behind him. And wrapped him up in a choke hold. He tried to fight it, he even tapped her arm to single her to let go.
“This ain’t training dude.”
She pulled tighter, and he went slack.
She jumped back in a defensive posture at the new voice. Her shoulders relaxed as she saw it was Joe.
“How did you get up here?”
“The elevator. Asher disabled the cameras.”
“Why couldn’t I have done that?”
Joe smirked, “You mean this wasn’t fun climbing?”
The guard stirred and opened his eyes. Rachel locked her arms around him again and choked him out.
“No, it wasn’t. I mean it’s a nice view but really how often should you be climbing if Asher can just get you in the elevator?”
Joe looked at the man and then at her.
“You need to finish him.”
Rachel was still holding the man.
“I just did. He’s out cold.”
“He’s seen you and possibly me. He’s endangering this mission and he needs to die.”
“Rachel, you need to kill him.”
FOX ISLAND, WASHINGTON
Mateo Miles first noticed the rabbits the fifth day after he moved in. He was out in his backyard having a liquid breakfast of Sailor Jerry when the little devil had popped its head out of the hedge. A second head popped out beside the first. Mateo had blinked his eye and refocused. He had been drinking since ten that morning, and he wanted to know he wasn’t seeing double. His eye was fine. The little bastards were eating his hedge. He had chased them off that morning, but they were there the next morning and the one after that and the one after that. Mateo’s neighbors told him to just enjoy the little fur-balls. Fucking hippies. If this home was what he had left, he wasn’t about to let a squad of rabbits destroy it.
This morning he was ready. He sat in an Adirondack chair. A bottle of rum in his left hand and a Glock 21 in his right. He’d like to see how the little beasts enjoyed washing down his hedge with some .45 caliber hollow points. He took a swig of rum and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He turned his head left and slowly swiveled it to the right and froze. A little brown haired rabbit was busy eating his hedge.
“Thought you could feast in my blind side? You little fucker.”
He extended his arm with the Glock. Took aim and pulled the trigger. A boom echoed through the quiet morning. The bullet split the air and impacted into the brown dirt three feet to the right of the rabbit.
“Damn, fucking, fucker.”
The rabbit had stopped eating and looked at him. Mateo pulled the trigger again. Another miss but this time the rabbit bolted. He fired again and again. Dirt exploded all around the rabbit but never touched it.
“What’s going on over here,” a woman’s voice came from behind Mateo.
He looked back to see who it was. Fucking hippie neighbor. A real ice queen dressed in fancy Banana Republic khaki capris and striped French sailor shirt. She’d been busting his balls since the day he moved in.
“Rabbits,” Mateo said.
“What? Are you carrying a gun?”
He looked back and grinned holding the gun up. She looked at him then looked away in disgust.
“They keep eating my hedges.”
She said, “So you think that shooting them will solve the problem? What if you miss and a bullet goes into someone’s house?”
Mateo stood and took a long pull from the rum. She threw her hands up.
“And you’re drinking too, why don’t you just save some time and shoot me right now?”
There was a movement to his left, and he spun. It was a white rabbit. He didn’t take the time to aim, it didn’t seem to help anyway, and fired four shots. The ice queen screamed, covered her ears and hit the ground.
“You fucking crazy son-of-a-bitch!” she said.
A man ran up to her and flashed a badge.
“Are you okay miss?” The man said.
It was Ray Donaldson. He helped her up. She nodded but kept her arms wrapped tight around her body.
“Get home and let me take care of this,” Ray said.
“You need to arrest him. He’s crazy,” she said over her shoulder as she trotted away.
Mateo waved goodbye.
“I see you’re making friends with the neighbors,” Ray said.
Mateo handed him the bottle, but Ray just shook his head.
“They all love me. Crazy one-eyed ex-FBI agent. What’s not to love?”
Mateo rubbed the hole where his eye had been.
“Oh shit,” he put on a pair of Oakley wrap around black sunglasses, “I guess that’s why she wasn’t looking at my pretty face.”
“And the fact that you’re packing a gun.”
Mateo grinned and pushed the Glock into the front of his jeans.
“You’re gonna shoot your dick off.”
“I really don’t give a shit. It’s amazing the attitude adjustment that comes from being the FBI’s fucking scapegoat.”
“I don’t know, if this is what being a scapegoat gets you,” Ray motioned at the five bedroom house, “then sign me up.”
Mateo looked away.
“I’d rather be out there with my badge than buried in hush money. They blame me, can me and set me up for silence. Bureaucracy at its finest.” He took another drink. “So what do I owe the great honor of Ray Donaldson at mi casa?”
“Let’s go inside,” Ray said.
Mateo lead the way. The house was cluttered with unpacked boxes, piles of dirty clothes, empty liquor bottles and heaps of take out containers. Ray plugged his nose.
“Open a window, this place smells like a condemned frat house.”
Mateo put the bottle of rum on the island in the kitchen and opened two windows. He went to the refrigerator and opened it.
“Want a Budweiser Clamato?”
He pulled out two 16 ounce cans.
“Your loss. So what’s up?” Mateo said as he opened the first can and chugged it.
Ray pushed a pizza box out of the way and opened a file folder and pushed it over to Mateo.
“You said you wanted to know if we got any hits. Interpol did last night.”
Mateo belched and threw the empty can over his shoulder and opened the second can and took a drink. He looked down at the photo. He dropped the Clamato. It hit the floor with a clunk and poured into a puddle. Mateo took off the sunglasses and set them down. He picked up the photo and looked at it closer. He set it down.
“When was this taken?”
“Last night at the Tokyo international airport. It’s her.”
Sarah Miller, six months pregnant, walking through customs.
MISSION BEACH, CALIFORNIA
Samuel Ludswik was seated cross-legged on a yoga mat. His back was perfectly straight, and his forearms rested gently on his knees. His eyes were closed. He took deep breaths through his nose. He could feel his lungs expanding taking in the life-giving oxygen. It invigorated his body. He let each breath go out through his mouth. A perfect circle. A circle of focus.
A light sea breeze caressed his face. It blew in from the open windows that lined the west side of the yoga studio. When he had come in he had admired the view looking out across the ocean. He couldn’t help but smile. It was the best he had felt in several months. He was free to be himself, but that brought with it an entire host of new problems that he never imagined. Not to mention that he was now the most wanted man in America. Even for him that made travel difficult.
“This was just what I needed. Just take a few minutes for me. Refocus on what’s important. It’s been so difficult lately. So many demands and nothing is the same. I’m sorry, you don’t want to hear my problems.”
He took another deep breath and let it out. Let go of all the stress. Control was still what mattered.
He peaked at the instructor through one-half opened eye. There was something familiar about her. Something that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. Maybe that was why he was here. He had spotted her in a coffee shop two blocks away. Chi tea, a smile on her face, a well-built body and that feeling he’d seen her before. Or that maybe she’d seen him before. It had been nonsense. She hadn’t known him, but he still felt like there was something there.
“I’m sorry but I just have to get this off of my chest. My work keeps me on my toes all the time that’s why I followed you back here. I got it in my head you were someone who’d seen me on a job. And I can’t have that, let me tell you. I’m just am so lucky you’re a yoga instructor. This is wonderful. You have a beautiful study. Thank you for sharing it with me.” He took in another deep breath. “And you’re such a good listener, that’s hard to find these days. I’m sorry, I’m not concentrating on my breathing.”
He cleared his head and followed the breath in and out. He thought about his ass making contact with the floor; his body rising and falling with his breath, the seagulls squawking outside, his upcoming job.
“I’m sorry, this is the last interruption, I promise. So The company I work for has been good to me but lately they are pushing me so hard. I recently had a major change in my life, and they are really taking advantage of it. One day I’m in New York, the next they have me in Amsterdam. Literally halfway around the world the next day. Don’t get me wrong I like traveling and I like what I do. I used to love it, but now I just like it. Anyway, it’s just getting really hard to keep it up. Of course, sometimes I think about quitting but then what? I’m not going to retire. Can you imagine me putting around all day in some community in Florida? That would be a laugh.” He opened his eyes and looked at her. “I’m sorry, I’ll be quiet now.”
Three days ago he’d been in Texas gathering intel on a pharmaceutical company that was in the process of refining its production methods for marijuana. With 26 states already having passed laws to legalize the drug several of the big legal drug companies wanted in on the action and wanted to see a full repeal of laws making marijuana and a handful of other recreational drugs illegal. He had sent in his findings, and TED had immediately sent him to wait here for further instructions. A target was coming.
One final cleansing breath as the timer chimed to signal the session was over. Samuel stood up and stretched. He smiled at the instructor who was slumped against the wall. She had pretty features that had been accentuated by her yoga pants and sports bra top. Her mouth was slightly ajar, and her dead expressionless eyes stared out the west windows at the ocean. Her neck was bruised from where he had broken it.
“I appreciate you listening. What was that? Of course, this is a great place I’m going to tell everyone about it, you’ll have more clients than you’ll know what to do with.”
He smiled at her body as he left the room.
Hope you enjoyed this little taste of book two. Remember to sign up for my newsletter so you can get more.