Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : P.M.J. Downing
Word Count :22661
Publication Date :2014-12-29
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-0185-6
Following the murder of her partner, MI5 Agent Honey Childs receives instructions from MI5 Commander Braithwaite to track down the killer.
It is Agent Childs first solo mission following her training and she is eager to prove herself and bring her dead partner’s killer to justice, or to ‘take him out’, as Braithwaite had put it. Her investigation takes her to the university city of Oxford where she meets Max Harris, a student who is irrepressibly eager to help Childs in her quest. In spite of her misgivings, she allows Max to follow in her investigations, which leads the unlikely pair to the spa town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire.
Childs is captured by Anton Jacobs, a notorious contract killer who begins a devious style of torture, not to gain information, but for his own sadistic pleasure.
Can Max, an untrained student, go up against a professional killer and rescue Childs before she is murdered?
With a jump, I woke from a frightening nightmare. My body bathed in sweat and the bed sheets damp with it in spite of the coldness of the night. The horror of my dream faded from my mind along with the echoes of the gunshot as I came fully awake. Jumping out of bed, I flung open the drapes and looked from the window across the red tiled roofs to the cold moors, where I could see the frost glittering in the harsh light of the full moon. The night was crystal clear and every rock, tree, and shrub stood out in sharp relief, each one throwing impenetrably deep moon shadows beneath.
With a shudder, I turned away as I bitterly remembered that the moon was shining the very same way on the night Agent Michael Mahoney was murdered. Someone had gunned him down in the prime of his life to leave a young wife and baby behind. Callously murdered without any thought to the consequences, or hardships the killer left behind.
I remember it very well because I was with Michael when it happened. It was just such a night as this. It was 23 November 2011 at 2315 hours. Michael and I had received an anonymous call from a caller who said they had information regarding our current case that would benefit us. We arrived early at the rendezvous, a deserted spot on the heath where the informant had insisted we meet him, and stood around stamping our feet in an effort to keep them warm while waiting for him to show. There was not a hint of wind that night and our breath hung about us in clouds of vapour before it dissipated into the night.
Without warning, out of the darkness came a single shot that had echoed across the landscape in ever decreasing sharp crackles of sound. The bullet blew Michael's head apart in a mess of blood and bone, showering me with splatters of his brains. He stood immobile for a second and then dropped to the ground like rag doll, but I beat him down, even before the echo of the shot had faded away, trying my best to become invisible in those dark moon shadows.
My gun was in my hand, although I don't remember drawing it from my holster at the back of my belt. I had no idea where the marksman was and eventually, I risked crawling to where Michael lay. It was obvious that he was dead, very dead. Even though, I felt his wrist for a pulse, just to make sure. A natural reaction I guess but I will never forget the ghastly look of his smashed head lying there on the cold ground in a pool of blood that looked so black in the moonlight.
Michael and I are partners, or had been until his brutal murder. We had undertaken every mission together as a team and now I was on my own. Without him by my side, it felt like they had cut my arm off at the elbow. I don't think you can understand exactly how bad that feels, or how utterly lost I felt, how unsure it made me feel. For two years we did everything together, well almost everything, I am talking operationally of course. He was my mentor, my crutch to lean on. Now the emptiness of being without him filled me with dread.
They gave me three months off and in February the following year, after I had recovered from the trauma of Michael's murder and timidly returned to work. My boss, Commander Braithwaite, the head of London area MI5 Homeland Operations, called me into his office.
"Honey," he had said, after the usual platitudes and he had commanded me to sit on his uncomfortable upright visitor's chair.
By the way, Honey is my name, Honey Childs to be exact. I think my parents, Fred and Mary Childs, were having a laugh when, thirty-four years ago, they named me Honey. Still, I am used to it now and I actually think it suits me.