Hi and welcome to my stop joining in with Urbane Publications’ celebrations! Keep on reading for a brilliant extract from James Silvester’s Blood, White And Blue.
Love, deception and murder dominate as thriller writer James Silvester delivers the first in the Lucie Musilova series.
Britain is a hotbed of racial tension and economic uncertainty. Only Sir Geoffrey Hartnell, an ageing but hugely respected MP, can bring about a successful resolution to the talks. But a ghost from the past threatens to bring the UK to its knees.
Lucie Musilova meanwhile, is a young woman running out of places to hide. Half-British, half-Czech and rejected by both countries in the aftermath of Brexit, she meets ‘Mr. Lake’, the eccentric Head of a branch of the intelligence services known as The Overlappers, and is press-ganged into service on the Hartnell case.
As events spiral out of control it soon becomes clear it is not just the future of the nation that is at stake, but Lucie’s very life….
The new thriller from the bestselling author of Escape to Perdition and The Prague Ultimatum, is a gripping tale of corruption and perfect for fans of Luke Jennings, Daniel Silva and Stella Rimington. If you’re a fan of Killing Eve you’ll love this!
The Present Day –
She’d been ready for them this time. This time, it was going down very, very differently. The previous night they had caught her unawares, the bastards in there with her; one of them grabbing her legs, another yanking back her long, dark hair and still another twisting her arms up her back; a filthy hand covering her mouth while another moved quickly and lecherously over her body, tugging at her white uniformed trousers, stained with that evening’s menu, until they gave way and the trio gorged themselves on her vulnerability. “Just having a laugh,” they’d jeered as they left her, humiliated on the floor outside her quarters. “Every newbie gets a debagging on their first trip,” they’d snorted as she tucked her legs up to her chest and wept tears of rage and anger, “We’re just the ship’s Equal Ops team, making sure everyone gets their fair share!” They’d laughed and crowed as they disappeared, and she’d laid there for an age, shaking and quiet, hating them for their actions and herself for her failure to prevent them. She had crawled into her bed, intending to weep herself to sleep but refusing, the moment her head touched the pillow to succumb to self-pity, instead calling upon the resolve that had pulled her from the mouth of the cave years earlier. God forgive and help them, she sincerely prayed as she finally closed her eyes, because they knew not who they dealt with. The smirks had still been on their faces as she’d entered the galley the next morning, tempered only by their obvious surprise that she had shown up at all. She bore no outward sign of the attack, her fresh uniform was pristine and the long, dark hair they had pulled the night before tied up beneath her chef’s cap. She had looked each of them squarely in the eye, not a word passing her lips as she took her place on the line and busied herself with breakfast prep, adamant in her mind that nothing they could do would prevent her from doing her job. Already alert to the likelihood of a repeated episode of their ‘banter’, it was the sudden silence as the chop of fruit and the clunk and splash of pot washing abruptly ceased that told her it was time for the next assault. This time she was ready. She stamped down hard onto the hand reaching for her legs, a loud crack accompanying the scream of its owner, and she twisted quickly around, bringing the kitchen knife in her right hand slashing down across the cheek of her nearest abuser, who dropped to his knees clutching his face. The third of the unholy trinity lurched forward, a blade of his own clumsily slashing the air until it was knocked from his hand by a panful of boiling water. “Fucking foreign bitch!” The would-be knife man thrust his scalded hand into the dishwater as she dragged the first of her felled attackers across the cramped galley floor towards the open hatch on the wall known to the crew as the gun-port door, in reality little more than a square hole through which the food waste and rubbish was deposited. Picking up the tub of peelings and leftovers from the side with one hand, Lucie tipped it to the edge of the hatch, spewing its contents into the ocean below. As if on cue, a succession of dorsal fins began to ominously rise from the depths, following hungrily in the ship’s wake, the trail of leftovers almost magnetically drawing them in. “Just banter mate,” Lucie Musilova spat with every ounce of her fury, as she dragged the struggling oaf to the hatch’s edge, her resentment and rage granting her the strength to lift him and force his torso through it, where she held him by his belt, the ocean – and the fins – only feet below, “I’m sure you understand.” His arms flailing, searching desperately for a non-existent hand hold, the hunter turned prey twisted his body to escape the woman with his life quite literally in her hands in sheer desperation, the anger in her voice enough to convey the unlikelihood that this was a bluff. “Fucking hell, you crazy bitch, you wouldn’t!” The two other cowed abusers stood nervously across the galley table, one still clutching his face and the other his hand, but both wearing expressions of shock and fear. “Come near me, and he drops,” she shouted defiantly at them, the frothing emotion within her rendering her unsure as to exactly how hollow a threat it really was. They deserved this, damn them. Each one of them deserved it, for what they had done to her and for all she knew every other woman who had ever sailed with them. But she couldn’t go through with it, could she? She’d been a Woman of God, someone who helped and forgave, not condemned to execution… It was only when her screaming quarry emphatically increased the strength of his squirming in response to the squat snout breaking water beneath him that reality clawed its way back into her mind; the potential of her role changing instantly from killer to saviour as the panicking man began to wriggle himself free of her grasp in terror, and she squeezed harder with her arms around his legs to try and keep him safe. The door to the galley slammed open and in poured a handful of wide-eyed crew, led by a middle aged, bearded Officer, a Commander’s rank on his epaulettes. “Lucie!” The Commander shouted, his own eyes as wide as his men’s and shock clinging to his voice as tightly as Lucie clung to her abuser’s legs. Her senses returned, and once more in control of her raging emotions, Lucie railed against the squirming of a body consumed by blind panic, his contortions loosening him once more from her grip. With a final effort brim full of resentment and stress, Lucie hauled the weeping man back, his fingers scrambling to the metal floor as she pulled him back through the hatch to safety, and she stood there, her body aching and her mind exhausted, staring in contempt at the figure on the floor, while the newcomers quickly swarmed around, though none immediately found the courage to apprehend her. The danger averted, the Commander crossed over to her, stopping only to stare in disgust at the two other injured attackers, curtly ordering them both to seek medical attention then consider themselves confined to quarters pending investigation. He stepped over the third member of the self-appointed ‘Equal Opps Team’, who still clung to the floor as though fearful it would give way, whimpering softly. “Get that man to sick bay,” he barked; two men instantly picking him up and half walk, half carrying him out of the galley. Standing in front of Lucie, his expression turned to one of sympathy and worry and he shook his head gently.
“Well, Lucie,” he sighed, his tiredness evident, “I’m afraid you’ve really fucked things up this time.”
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