After months of writing and waiting, editing and waiting, working with graphics artists and you guessed it waiting and then for good measure, waiting some more...my first novel The Driver Book I – Decision is now available for purchase on my website and Amazon.com.
To make it easy to find it, here are the links:
My personal Create Space Web page - 5" x 8" Print version
eBook version available in Kindle format
Amazon.com - 5" x 8" Print version
And now for a little teaser, here is an excerpt from the beginning of Chapter 1:
The dark metallic-gray Maserati Quattroporte sliced north along the French A-7 Autoroute toward Lyon. The Driver stayed in the passing lane, flashing his high beams. Peugeots and Renaults moved out of his way as if pushed by a shockwave.
Something was bothering him. Most Engagements were trouble-free drives, taking cargo from one place to another. A Driver seldom knew what his cargo was—it could be things or people or things and people. This Driver’s cargo, a small box, was secure inside the specially built safe in the Maserati’s trunk, surrounded by sheets of soft foam rubber to keep it from sliding around. Rene Dufour had been doing this for a long time and something about this Engagement made him uncomfortable. Usually when he sensed an Engagement was going to be dangerous, possibly life threatening, he knew what was causing that feeling; a sixth sense honed over years of experience. Today nothing; only a vague persistent uneasiness. Glancing in the rearview mirror, once again he reviewed the events that began when he’d picked the cargo up in Marseilles, hoping to identify what it was that was bothering him.
Driving into a rundown and abandoned warehouse near the wharf, the headlights peered through the shadows and dust illuminating three men standing next to a silver BMW 5-Series. Rene had pulled to a stop and got out. He remembered scrutinizing each of them. They had French underworld written all over them. Two wore silvery gray tight fitting suits, buttoned up, the outline of pistols barely visible in their waistbands. The third, in a very expensive black suit and wraparound sunglasses, his dark hair tipped spiky blond, stepped forward to meet Rene. Tattoo’s blossomed up along his neck and up behind his jaw—flames with the tips changing from bright red to yellow just finishing underneath his ears. Classy!
Identities verified, Tattoo Man flashed a pearly white smile visible even in the gloom of the warehouse and brought the small case from the trunk of the BMW and gave it to Rene. Before he could open the Maserati’s trunk, the trio had turned, got into their car, and disappeared with a shriek of spinning tires and clouds of billowing smoke. Rene cocked his head to listen. The BMW continued accelerating until the roar of the engine faded into the distance. Strange, he remembered thinking, usually they watch me leave. Not much to go on, but the feeling of unease persisted. Rene returned his focus to completing the Engagement.
The consummate professional, Rene Dufour never failed to deliver once contracted for an Engagement. His plans were to contact his clients when he reached Lyon and give them an update on his progress and a new ETA for Reims, his final destination. He toggled the switch on the console to his right, activating the rear camera, one of several modifications he’d had specially built into the Maserati. He studied the cars following further behind him, looking for any indication that he may have a tail. So far, so good. He switched to the front. Nothing.
He drove for a few minutes getting his bearings from the GPS in his dash, spotted an Agip nearby on the way to Morieres, and at the last second veered off the road into the service area, just east of Avignon. He pulled up in front of the main building, which housed a restaurant and shop and sat for a moment to see if anyone followed him into the rest area. Not seeing a suspicious vehicle, he turned the Maserati around and backed into the parking place. He exited the car, pulled his ever-present iPhone from the suit jacket pocket and locked the car, also setting the extra security systems before heading inside for a visit to the restroom and to grab an espresso.
Rene stepped inside the restaurant and paused, looking back. The tinted glass gave him excellent cover to observe the cars passing. For the briefest moment, he stared at his reflection in the glass. 1.8m tall, broad chest, and about 77kg, his graying black hair brush cut. He could not see his intense blue eyes, covered now, as they frequently were, by sunglasses. His thick lips and thin nose combined with a slight olive in his complexion to let him pass for French, Italian, Spanish and—with some additional facial hair—Middle Eastern. Vain about his clothes, he too wore designer suits, especially Canali and Zegna, but unlike the tattooed man back at the warehouse, Rene preferred loose-fitting jackets that gave him freedom of movement and concealed his shoulder-holster. His easy, self-confidant movements—second nature after a career in law enforcement—announced to anyone paying attention, ‘Do not mess with me.'
No cars had followed him into the parking lot. Good. Makes things simple, he thought. He went to the restroom to wash up and stopped by the counter. He ordered and paid for a double espresso. When the order arrived, he added several sugars, ritually stirred the espresso until the sugar had completely dissolved, then quickly gulped the hot, sweet liquid down. He looked at the Maserati. It had only been out of his eyesight for a few moments, but he had to check it, he always did. He pulled out his iPhone and ran the security program. The response was quick: no explosives, no bugs, no tampering.
Rene punched another button, remotely starting the car and unlocking the driver's door, which gapped open slightly so that he could enter the car without having to fumble with the door handle. He walked quickly outside and was in the car, putting the Maserati in gear and heading out in less than eight seconds.
Exiting the Agip, moving along the access road onto the A-7, he noticed a staid black Mercedes E55 AMG saloon up ahead idling in the emergency lane. Dark tinted windows, smoke rising softly from the tail pipes, a coincidence this car happened to be sitting precisely at that spot? Not likely. Instantly on full alert, thinking, planning, he quickly pulled into the emergency lane himself, careful to stay about fifty meters back from the Mercedes. Using another modification to the car, Rene used the thumb wheel on the steering wheel accessing the front camera, he zoomed in and snapped a photo of the Mercedes’ license plate. Looking up, he noticed what seemed to be an identical Mercedes coming up behind, now slowing to pull in behind him. They had him pinched in between; no doubt they had assumed they could easily take him down. So it was time to change the rules to their game.
Want to read more (I know you do!), you can download the Kindle eBook version or for those of you that prefer to turn actual pages (like me), the print version is available too. Hope you enjoy the book, it makes an excellent gift!