From one of the most successful thriller writers in the United Kingdom, Stephen Leather: a compilation of more exciting stories to complement his first book in the series 'Short Fuses.' which is also available for free download from obooko.com. The author has also included the opening chapters of five of his bestselling thrillers to give you a taste of what's to come!
There are four short stories:
Rules of Engagement - Spider Shepherd helps a friend in trouble
The Constituency Meeting - a group of old folks decide to commit a murder
Ghost Kids - a holidaymaker leaves Thailand with than he anticipated
Massage Therapy - a man's life is changed forever
Excerpt from RULES OF ENGAGEMENT:
Dan Shepherd carried his microwaved Marks and Spencer meal over to the coffee table and sat down. Working undercover meant he was never sure when he’d be able to eat so the fridge was full of ready meals that could be microwaved at short notice. He’d chosen pork sausages in onion gravy with mashed potatoes, and as he sat and ate he had to admit that it wasn’t half bad.
There were four phones lined up on the coffee table. The Blackberry was his own. The Nokia was a pay-as-you-go and the only number he’d ever called on it belonged to a sailor who at that minute was somewhere out in the English Channel, hopefully heading towards the south coast. The iPhone had three numbers stored in it, all big-time drug dealers based in Spain. The Samsung had two Sim cards in it along with the numbers of the accountant who had served as middleman in a multi-million pound cocaine deal that Shepherd was involved in, the man driving the truck that would collect the drugs, and half a dozen drinking buddies who all thought Shepherd’s name was Micky Lawson.
If all went to plan the sailor would confirm the arrival of the drugs on the south coast, and a few hours later the driver would confirm delivery to a warehouse in North London. At that point Shepherd would make a call to Charlotte Button and armed cops would move in, seizing the drugs and the members of the gang who had put the deal together. It would bring to an end an operation that had taken the best part of three months to put together. For most of that time Shepherd had been living in a luxury Thames-side apartment with stunning views along the river, playing the part of armed robber turned drug dealer Lawson. He would be glad when it was over – he had pretty much overdosed on steak dinners, Cristal champagne and nightclubs full of young women with a thing for well-heeled gangsters.
The Blackberry burst into life and he put down his fork and reached for it. The caller was withholding his number but he hit the green button anyway. Most of his friends and colleagues were the secretive type and more often than not Shepherd blocked his own number.
He put the phone to his ear. ‘Yeah?’
‘Spider? It’s Billy. Billy Armstrong.’
‘Long time, no hear, Billy,’ said Shepherd. It had been three years since he’d last seen the former SAS trooper, and the time before that they’d been in Iraq, trying to rescue Geordie Mitchell. The late Geordie Mitchell. Late as in dead, shot by a Taliban sniper.
‘Where are you?’
‘On the sofa in front of the TV.’
‘Don’t be a prick, Spider. This is serious.’
‘Have you got Sky News?’
Shepherd picked up the remote and flicked through the channels. ‘What’s going on, Billy?’
‘Jock McIntyre’s in trouble.’
Sky News came onto the screen. A camera had focussed on a terraced house. Parked in front of the house was a police car. The front windscreen was smashed and one of the tyres was flat. Across the bottom of the screen was a headline that said ‘BREAKING NEWS – Gun Siege In Brixton.’ Shepherd frowned as he turned up the volume. ‘What am I looking at?’ he said.
‘Jock’s the guy under siege,’ said Armstrong.
‘Are you serious?’ Shepherd leaned forward. A woman was talking, hesitantly as if she was making it up as she went along. ‘Police say shots were fired from the house and that after they went to investigate, more shots were fired. The police have now evacuated neighbours and two armed response vehicles are on the scene.’
‘They haven’t said it’s Jock,’ said Shepherd.
‘Yeah, well it is,’ said Armstrong. ‘I was there last year. Had a few beers with him and I had to take him home.’
The camera pulled back and Shepherd saw a police armed response vehicle parked across the road. Three men in black coveralls and bullet-proof vests were checking their carbines.
‘Did he have a gun?’ asked Shepherd.