Chapter 1—Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at 11 p.m.
Near Lolo, Montana
“Pretty hot girlfriend,” the March22 fighter said. “Too bad she ain’t on this patrol, keep us all company.” When Matt Carney didn’t react, the man prodded his shin with the toe of his boot. That was going too far.
The tight space in the back of this modified SUV held eight men, sitting hip to hip on benches along the sides. No more than two feet separated their knees. The man’s thick lips curled into a lewd smile.
“Yep, sure has a nice rack. Reminds me of Nina Nardelli.”
“I didn’t get your name,” Matt said. The reference to America’s premier sex symbol was offensive. This dude clearly wanted to fight, but did it have to happen when they were on a mission?
“Malone. Just call me Mike,” the man said. A large mole stared like a third eye, exactly placed between his bushy eyebrows.
“Listen, Malone, we’ve got a job to do, here. So why don’t you keep your teeth together and focus on that.”
Their vehicle was the rear guard for a hazardous big rig load. They’d picked up the big rig from another March22 team east of Spokane before crossing Idaho, and into Montana. These mountain borders out west had no checkpoints. In forty minutes, they would hit the highway south to Big Sky Base, where they would offload the dangerous cargo far from any active fault lines.
“What’s the matter, first mission jitters?” Malone continued.
Matt’s boot kicked up hard, as if spring-loaded. It hit Malone’s shin with brute force. People learned not to mess with Matt Carney.
Malone screamed in pain, at the same time exploding out of his seat, his fists flying. Suddenly all the men sprang into motion. The tight space boiled over with shouting, grunting men trying to intervene or dive out of the way. Malone landed one blow on Matt’s helmet as Matt planted a fist in the man’s solar plexus. One of the men took Malone’s next wild punch in the eye. Everyone was shouting, muscles bulging. Finally the others got organized and held them both down. Malone had fire in his eyes.
“I’ll kick your ass, Carney.”
“Settle down, Mike,” one of the men said.
After that, they just sat and glared. Matt kept his focus on the mole, wary of another attack as the SUV rolled down the highway.
Information was highly compartmentalized in March22. That explained him being the only one here who knew those weapons in the big rig was could make the entire Pacific Northwest uninhabitable for the next thousand years.
About the book
When 19-year-old Matt Carney saved his girlfriend, Raine, from the crossfire between the government’s increasingly ruthless Homeland Security and March22, a terrorist group taking steps to strike a new, legitimate path, he thought his work was done. Was he ever wrong. Kidnapped by the brutal Dark Fiber militia, Matt is shocked to discover he’s been betrayed by those he trusted most. Stranded in an isolated location in the middle of Michigan, far away from the girl he fought so hard to regain, Matt is made March22’s point man in a plot to get control over a cache of thousands of stolen ground-to-air missiles. As time runs out, he’s their last—and best—hope of sparing the country of a heinous attack on commercial aviation that could quickly turn the United States into a permanent war zone. In this action-packed, explosive follow-up to Saving Raine, the first book in Frederick Lee Brooke’s The Drone Wars, Matt Carney finds himself at the center of a firestorm of stolen missiles, stolen drones, and stolen dirty nukes, tormented by stinging betrayals, clinging to a last hope for love. Sure, he was able to save Raine—but as the inferno rages around him, can he find a way to save the country from further violent chaos…and a way to save himself?
Inferno is available on Amazon.
About the author
Frederick Lee Brooke launched the Annie Ogden Mystery Series in 2011 with Doing Max Vinyl and followed with Zombie Candy in 2012, a book that is neither about zombies nor sweets. The third mystery in the series, Collateral Damage, appeared in 2013. Saving Raine, the first book in Fred’s entirely new series, The Drone Wars, appeared in December, 2013.
A resident of Switzerland, Fred has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He has three boys and two cats and recently had to learn how to operate both washing machine and dryer. He makes frequent trips back to his native Chicago.
When not writing or doing the washing, Fred can be found walking along the banks of the Rhine River, sitting in a local cafe, or visiting all the local pubs in search of his lost umbrella.