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Hit for hire, p.1

Hit For Hire, page 1

 

Hit For Hire
 

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Hit For Hire


  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Hit For Hire: A Noah Wolf Thriller

  ONE

  TWO

  THREE

  FOUR

  FIVE

  SIX

  SEVEN

  EIGHT

  NINE

  TEN

  ELEVEN

  TWELVE

  THIRTEEN

  FOURTEEN

  FIFTEEN

  SIXTEEN

  SEVENTEEN

  EIGHTEEN

  NINETEEN

  TWENTY

  TWENTY-ONE

  TWENTY-TWO

  TWENTY-THREE

  TWENTY-FOUR

  TWENTY-FIVE

  TWENTY-SIX

  TWENTY-SEVEN

  TWENTY-EIGHT

  TWENTY-NINE

  THIRTY

  EPILOGUE

  HIT FOR HIRE

  Copyright © 2017 by David Archer.

  All right reserved.

  Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the author of this book.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

  This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

  Published by: David Archer

  PROLOGUE

  The red-haired man sat at the bar, seeming completely oblivious to everything that was going on around him, but Sam Little knew better. He’d been watching this fellow for weeks, and there was no possibility, in his mind, that he had not been made. The knowledge ran cold through Sam’s veins, because it was likely going to lead to his death.

  The only thing Sam couldn’t figure out was why he hadn’t met with some kind of tragic accident already. He knew good and well that bastard was aware he was following him around; why hadn’t he done something about it?

  Of course, thinking like that was based at least partly on the public perception of what a spy did. If Sam were the kind of spy Ian Fleming wrote about, then he probably would have had to survive a dozen assassination attempts already, but those spies were not in his department. Men and women like those were in the more clandestine departments of MI6, CIA and Mossad, and didn’t associate with the likes of Mrs. Little’s little boy.

  All that told him that his prey was doing everything possible to avoid looking like what he was. Red hair and all, he was trying to look like the same kind of average bloke who always frequented pubs like this one, and it was working as far as everyone else was concerned. Half the other patrons had exchanged some sort of pleasantry with him, and a couple had even bought him drinks.

  Sam wasn’t fooled, though. The red-haired chap was the one he’d been sent out to find, no doubt about it, and it was finally time to take him. If everything went according to plan, the bloke’d shortly be trussed up like a Christmas goose. The little earpiece shoved into Sam's right auditory canal was chirping incessantly as the rest of the team moved into place, ready for the biggest arrest of their careers. All of them were scared but they were ready to do whatever it took to finish this job, because this chap was far too important to let slip away.

  “This is three, I’m in position near the loo.”

  “Two is ready, end of the bar.”

  “This is four, I’ve got sights on the target.”

  “Affirmative, four, do not fire unless ordered,” Sam whispered.

  “This is six, I’m in position at the rear door.”

  “Five, I’m entering the pub now. Target is still in place at the bar. Taking a seat at his seven o’clock.”

  “This is seven. I’m on the window, ready to move on command.”

  He turned his head and looked at the red-haired man then, and for the first time the fellow looked him in the eye. There was a slight nod, and then the barest hint of a smile, and Sam sighed and whispered, “One here. Target is hot, I say again, target is hot.” The man sitting just behind the red-haired man rose and stepped up to stand just on his right.

  “Sir,” agent five said softly, “we have you completely surrounded and snipers are prepared to fire if you resist. Please come with me quietly.”

  The man turned his eyes to five, looking surprised. “Me,” he said. “What for?”

  “Let’s not play games, shall we? There are a lot of innocent people in here...”

  The red-haired man moved suddenly, thrusting his right elbow back into five’s solar plexus. It wasn’t a hard impact, but five’s face suddenly looked startled as he stumbled backward. He looked down at his chest at the spreading red stain on his pale yellow shirt, placed a hand over it and then collapsed to the floor. His eyes stared at the short blade that was protruding from the elbow of the red-haired man’s sleeve as he realized he’d been killed by one of the oldest tricks in the assassin’s book.

  “Take him, take him,” Sam shouted as he leapt to his own feet. He lunged toward the red-haired man just as the latter spun on his stool, a pistol appearing in his hand. Sam dived for the floor as three shots rang out, and suddenly all hell broke loose in the pub. People were screaming and trying to run in every direction, and the ear bud was going crazy.

  “This is four, I have no shot, I repeat, I have no shot!”

  “This is three, two and five are down, I say again, two and five are down!”

  Sam was scrambling across the floor, keeping his eyes on the red-haired man’s feet even as he waited for death. Another shot came from the far right and the red-haired man spun and snapped off a shot in response. Sam risked a glance in that direction and saw number three fall to the floor.

  This was it, he knew; he had come to the moment of his own death. He wrenched his eyes back toward the man with the gun even as he finally got his own revolver out of its holster on his back, then pointed it and fired twice in rapid succession.

  Me guardian angel be doin’ his job, Sam thought just then, as the red-haired man fell back against the bar. That’s what Sam’s old Nana used to say when something that seemed miraculous happened just as it was needed. The automatic in the red-haired man’s hand had been pointing at Sam, but Sam’s own bullets had taken him in the chest just before he could squeeze his trigger.

  “Target is hit!” Sam didn’t know who shouted it, he was too busy keeping his gun aimed as he rose onto his knees, but then the red-haired man stumbled forward off the edge of the bar and aimed at Sam once again. Everything seemed to go into slow motion, and Sam suddenly noticed that the man was not bleeding. He instinctively squeezed off another shot, stunning the target again, even as he realized the gunman must be wearing body armor.

  Number six had come running from the back of the pub, and threw himself at the red-haired man even as Sam tried to aim for a headshot. The target saw him at the last possible second and snapped a shot that took six between the eyes. Sam fired, but the bullet was low and struck the red-haired man in the flesh of his right shoulder. The automatic fell from his hand, and Sam lunged from the floor.

  They collided and crashed against the bar, then both of them were on the floor, tangled in the legs of the bar stools. Sam got the b
arrel of his short-nosed revolver against the man’s head and screamed, “Go on, give me a reason! Those were my mates, you sorry bastard, give me a reason to blow your bloody brains out!”

  Then number four landed on top of them, and a moment later the last man, seven, joined them, as well. Between the three of them, they got their captive onto his belly and Sam put him into cuffs. Four searched him thoroughly, removing a second pistol and a pair of throwing knives, as well as the knife that was strapped onto the back of his forearm and hidden in the now-torn sleeve of his jacket. That was the knife that had pierced the heart of number five. Sam and the others dragged their prisoner to his feet just as policemen rushed into the pub.

  Sam flashed his ID. “MI6,” he said. “This is our prisoner. Do what you can for the wounded.” The police sergeant snapped a brisk salute and began barking orders at his own men.

  The red-haired man had been wearing body armor, right enough, but it didn’t protect his shoulder. Sam’s bullet had only torn through the flesh, but the shock and pain had been enough to make him drop his pistol. They dragged him out of the pub to one of the ambulances that had responded, and rode with him to the hospital.

  There, doctors decided the wound was not as serious as it looked, so they cleaned and stitched it and released him back to Sam. An SIS car had arrived, and the prisoner was taken away. Sam and his remaining agents were picked up moments later and dragged back to Vauxhall for debriefing.

  Three hours later, in a sub-basement at Vauxhall Cross, the MI6 headquarters building, Sam was finally allowed into the interview room with the red-haired man. The fellow was seated on a metal stool with both hands clamped into restraints that were chained to the top of the table between them. The short chains allowed only enough movement to let the man sign his name if needed.

  The red-haired man looked up at Sam as he entered. “Well,” he said, “at last we meet face-to-face. I kept expecting you to make your move long before this, but you never did.”

  “Sorry to keep you in suspense, old boy,” Sam said as he took the chair at the opposite side of the table. “I was having too much fun following you about to let it all end too quickly, y’see?”

  The red-haired man chuckled. “Ah, yes, the thrill of the chase, the hunt, yes? Well, then, shall we proceed?”

  “Yes, let’s,” Sam said. “Shall we dispense with introductions? I know basically who you are, insofar as you’re the assassin known as Adrian.”

  Adrian smiled and tilted his head in acquiescence. “Ah, but I don’t know your name. That is not equitable, is it?”

  Sam allowed himself a cold smile. “I'm Samson Little, case officer on the operation to identify and capture you. I’ve been working on this for two solid years, and it’s sort of nice to think I can now move on to other things.”

  “I’m sure it seems that way, right now,” Adrian said, “but what about next week? Will you ever have an assignment of such importance again? Will you ever again feel such fear, such excitement? I could have killed you any number of times, you know. Do you not wonder why I left you alive, knowing how this must end?”

  Sam swallowed to thrust back the nervousness he felt. “I’ve wondered,” he admitted. “Would you care to tell me?”

  Adrian leaned forward, a smile on his face. “I’d be delighted to,” he said. “You see, Samson Little, I am dedicated to my work. I have been making preparations for what might have been my greatest assassination ever. Since you seemed content to merely follow me, and I was certain that you were unaware of what I was actually doing, I did not want to create any distractions or difficulties until all of my preparations were ready. Had you waited only one more day to try to take me into custody, the outcome would have been very different. My final preparations would have gone into effect by morning, and within hours after that, you would have been dead.”

  A chill went down Sam’s spine, but he kept any expression from reaching his face. “Good for me we decided not to wait another day, then, right? Would you mind telling me who it was you were planning to assassinate?”

  Adrian laughed, throwing his head back. “Oh, I cannot do that. I’m sure that someone else will take my place when the news of my arrest is made public. In my profession, one never interferes with the work of his successor.”

  Sam laughed as well, but his own laugh was sarcastic. “Ha, ha, well, then I’ve got one on you. If the coppers had got you, they’d already be holding press conferences, showing your bloody face to the press and bragging about how they took you down. Not your luck, though, you got nicked by the Foreign Espionage Group of SIS. We’ve enough evidence of who you are to keep you on ice as long as we want, under the Terrorism Act of 2000. We are going to wring you bloody dry, we’re going to do whatever it takes to learn every sodding thing you know, and when we finally get to the point we can’t get any more, then we’ll put a bullet through your brain and shove you into the furnace. No press, no funeral, nothing. As far as the world is concerned, Adrian is dead as of now.”

  Adrienne shrugged. “Ah, now do you see what you’ve done? You have eliminated any possibility of my cooperation. You have opted for the stick, rather than the carrot. In this world, you can only accomplish so much by trying to use fear, and I do not fear death. It is a natural consequence of the life I have lived, and while I do not wish to die so soon, I am not going to give you anything you want as long as there is nothing in it for me.” He smiled and leaned back, making himself a little more comfortable. “Now, there are certain things I could give you, details about some of my past work, information regarding future threats to your national security and such, but only if there is some reward I can hope to gain. If I’m going to die anyway, I have no motive to offer you any kind of cooperation. If, on the other hand, that cooperation might gain me a stay of execution, then we may find a common ground.”

  Sam looked him in the eye for a long moment. “So you’d trade information for the chance to stay alive somewhat longer, even though you’ll never leave a cell again?”

  Adrian smiled broadly. “Tell me, Samson Little, did you ever read Burroughs?”

  Sam nodded. “Doesn’t every lad?”

  “Then you’ll remember the motto of John Carter of Mars: ‘I still live.’ Those three simple words express the essence of man, don’t you think? With those three words, Burroughs expressed the human condition, because as long as life exists—there is hope.”

  Sam exploded onto his feet and slammed both fists onto the table. “Well, let me tell you something, you arrogant son-of-a-bitch,” he said loudly. “I don’t care if you live bloody forever, I can personally guarantee that hope is the last thing you will ever know. I know you’ve killed dozens of important figures, but those deaths are nothing to me but statistics. Earlier tonight, though, you killed three of my very good friends, men I’ve worked with and fought with for years. Two of those men had wives and children, and now they are widows and orphans because of you. I don’t give a flying fig how many political figures you killed, but when you kill my friends, that means I’m going to dedicate my life to making you as miserable as I fucking can! Now, my superiors might agree to keeping you alive in order to get the information you might be willing to give up, but I’ll tell you something right now. You’ll be kept in a basement cell, with no windows, no telly, the same boring food every sodding day and not a single thing in the world to break up the monotony. You think you’re willing to give up information to stay alive? Trust me when I tell you it won’t be long before you’ll be willing to give us everything you know, but only if we promise to kill you.”

  Adrienne chuckled at him. “You may be correct,” he said. “But remember this: even if I do reach the point where I am begging for death, the fact remains that I still live.”

  ONE

  Noah’s phone rang, snapping him instantly out of sleep. He grabbed it up quickly, before its ringing could waken Sarah.

  “Hello?”

  “Camelot,” came a voice he knew well. “It’s Allison.
We’ve got a situation and I’m afraid your team is up. Briefing at oh nine thirty.”

  The line went dead without waiting for him to respond, so he turned and looked at Sarah. She had been snuggled up against him as he slept and felt him move. One eye was open and peering at him through a tuft of her own hair.

  “Mission,” Noah said. “We got briefing in two hours.” He glanced at his phone. “Let’s get a shower and go have some breakfast on the way.”

  “Mmm, can’t I just stay in bed? You go to the briefing and come back and tell me what it’s all about.”

  “I have my doubts whether Allison would approve of that. Come on, it’s shower time.”

  Sarah grumbled again but rolled over and managed to get her feet onto the floor. “Fine,” she said, “but just for that, you can wait till I get done and shower by yourself.” She stumbled into the bathroom and shut the door behind herself. A moment later, Noah heard the shower begin to run.

  He rose from the bed and began laying out clothes for himself and Sarah. He knew that she liked it when he chose her clothing and so he tried to do it every day when they were not on mission. This would be the last chance for a while, he was sure, so he decided to make it count. When she came out a few moments later and found the low-cut blouse and short skirt he had selected, she stared at him as he walked past her into the bathroom, but then put them on.

  Fifteen minutes later, Noah came out of the bathroom with a towel around his waist to find Sarah blow-drying her hair. He slid quickly into his own clothes and then went to the kitchen to make coffee. He had just poured two cups when she came into the kitchen and sat down at the table across from him.

  “Allison’s gonna raise her eyebrows at me, you know,” she said.

  “So will the guys,” Noah replied, “but no one will say anything. Allison will just figure you’re trying to flirt with me and the guys in the room will just enjoy the view.”

  The grin she had been trying to hold back suddenly escaped onto her face. “I think you like it when they look at me,” she said. “I know you don’t really get jealous, but somehow I think there’s something about it that tickles your fancy in some way.”

 
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