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Tainted Hero

Author(s): Michael Davis

As a decorated Army Ranger, Eric Emerson is honor bound to defend the helpless, and trained to survive against a ruthless enemy, yet these skills were useless to protect his family from a faulted legal system. Riddled with guilt, he’s torn between his combat training and the rules governing society. The conflict shatters his marriage, his job, and his sanity, until Samantha Cassidy saves him from his anguish. Together, they unravel clues about a secretive Pentagon study and become targets from those determined to hide the truth. Sam and Eric share their secret past and disclose their feelings for each other. With Sam’s help, Eric is able to vanquish the turmoil of his past, until he confronts Senator Robertson, sponsor of the Osiris study. The revelation about Osiris demand a horrific choice: ignore what they’ve found or become the seed that effects mankind’s survival.

 

Excerpt:

 

The single poker light hanging above the table cast dancing shadows across each wall of the smoke saturated room. The tell tale glow of joints being drawn every few seconds signaled the location of each occupant.

The man with the ponytail hesitated for a moment until the glowing joint at the center of the table turned. Then he whispered something and the pitted face man replied, “Dead? I thought they were locked up somewhere. How could they be dead?”

“I don’t know, Jefe. I talked to our source at the cops. He said they were at the county morgue. I went down to get our gang mark, you know, the gold ring in their ear, but the rings were gone. Their bodies were all twisted and mangled like pretzels. Maybe you should let this one go.”

Without a word, the gang leader grabbed the man’s long ponytail and jerked his head down till it crashed onto the table. Then he yanked on the gold ring in the man’s ear until it ripped through the ear lobe.

“No one disses me, understand, no one. You see this,” he pointed to his broken tooth, “He did it, and he’s going to

suffer.”

Pit-face looked at the other three men at the table, and waited for a response, but none was offered.

The man with the ponytail picked himself up and used his hands to stop the bleeding from his nose and torn ear. He stepped back and tried a second time. “We raped and killed his wife. Isn’t that enough?”

“When his nuts hang from this lamp, then that’ll be enough.” Pit face and the three others at the table laughed.

A dog outside the abandoned building howled. After a moment, it stopped, and after several seconds, the dog started barking again. Pit-face squawked to the man at his left, “Juan, if you don’t shut up that damn dog, I’ll shoot you first, and then him.”

As if on cue, the dog went silent. The gang leader looked at the other members seated at the table, and then changed his mind. “Juan, go see why that mutt stopped barking.”

After several minutes of waiting for Juan’s return, something scratched at the door. “I swear I’m going to slit that dog’s throat.”

Pit-face directed one of the guards. “I’ve had it with that dog. Take him out behind the dumpsters and beat him to death with the bat in the corner.”

The guard opened the door, but nothing was there. He glanced toward the pit-faced man for guidance. “Go find him, now.”

Pit-face looked back at the two men at the table. “I told Juan to keep that hound out of my face. Now I’ll going to turn him into maggot food.”

The men at the table continued their card game. After several minutes, there was a muffled noise outside the window, as if someone tried to yell, but there was no air in his throat to make the sound. The dim room instantly darkened, like a sponge had consumed every ray of light. Only the red ash from the joints being smoked by the four men who remained lickered as their breath became erratic.

In the void, the distinctive snarl of pit face demanded, “Must be a hit by the Diablo Soldado gang. Give me the shotgun!”

Before anyone could respond, the sound of a door

swinging open could be heard.

Pit-face felt something edge by his left leg. “Tomas, is that you?”

From the far corner of the room, the remaining guard reached for a black metal bat, but it was gone. The heavy breathing was interrupted by a loud thump, as if a pumpkin had been cracked open. The room stilled. Then a muffed sound struggled in the dark, someone gargling in their own blood. Again silence.

An agonizing scream reverberated around the walls, accompanied by several shots, and then a thump on the floor.

More shots rang out. The crash of boxes, barrels, and furniture could be heard as something angry moved through the void. A low guttural growl, like a predator preparing to pounce on its victim, greeted the sole survivor.

A single plea into the darkness could be heard, as the prey stumbled and searched for the exit, desperately trying to flee. “El Dios me ahorra.”

Another torso collapsed onto the floor, followed by repeated raps of someone kicking their feet against the floor, struggling to escape. Lungs gasped for air. A final kick of the door signaled the end.

Something was dragged back into the room. The door closed, and the room filled with silence.


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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic):
Genre: Suspense
Date Published: 12/01/2007
Publisher: Champagne Books

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