Paranormal sleuth Corey Shaw is enjoying vacation with his family in the Baltic Sea when terrorists bomb restaurants hosting World Cup parties in London and Copenhagen, just as his cruise ship leaves port. Although the United States isn’t attacked, Corey and his colleagues are unavoidably drawn into the investigation with or without the blessing of international intelligence agencies. When a third bomb goes off in St. Petersburg, Russia, Corey is convinced the terrorist is aboard his ship, or at least connected with it.
Corey is torn between protecting his family and a ship’s dancer whom he’s falling for and helping keep the world safe from terrorism.
Faruq Boussora gauged the distance between vehicles driving westbound on Lower Thames Street and when a gap appeared, he dashed across to the median, ignoring the horns blaring at him. His heavy backpack jostled on his shoulders, causing him to stumble. The straps rubbed sore spots on his back no matter how he tried to shift its weight. He hacked a few times to clear his lungs of the diesel smoke and the stench from his nostrils.
He was on a mission of peace. Although he knew many would think it was one of murder and terror, he didn’t care. The infidels would see the truth, see the error of their ways. They had developed weapons that were an abomination to mankind. The infidels were abominations. How would they like having those weapons turned against them?
Would that make us just as guilty if we use them as well? No. The ends will justify the means. Isn’t that the phrase the infidels always used?
Faruq fancied himself being part of the new ambitious program. Why else was he chosen for this mission, hand-selected from dozens of candidates? He trained for months and now he was ready.
Faruq crossed Byward Street and entered the relative quiet of Great Tower Street. A few steps away, he walked into the Hung, Drawn and Quartered Pub, a popular gathering place in London despite its macabre moniker.
He scanned the interior, noting with satisfaction the place wasn’t completely full. The smell of food made his mouth water and his stomach growl with anticipation. More people entered behind him but his favorite booth sat empty and he made his way to it, avoiding waiters and waitresses carrying trays of food and pitchers of beer. He sat his backpack on the floor underneath the table, relieved to be unburdened from its weight, and slid into the seat.
A young waitress with bleached white hair hanging to her shoulders appeared at his elbow.
“ ’allo, Mr. ’alliwell,” she said, giving him a bright smile and making an effort to pronounce his name. “’aven’t seen you in ‘ere for a while.” Her tongue piercing glinted in the dim light of the pub as she spoke.
Faruq bit his lip, preventing a smile from splitting his face at the alias he’d given her. It sounded so proper, so British. And Sarah was so sweet, so gullible. “Hello, Sarah. It’s been a few weeks, yes. I had business in America,” he said. He had worked hard to drop his middle-Eastern accent and perfect the Queen’s English. Maybe I should add a South London drawl? No, that would be overkill.
“Well, it’s great to see ya again. Gonna be stayin’ with us a spell?” Sarah asked. She balanced a tray in one hand and put the other on the table, shifting her weight.
Faruq ignored the question and tried to divert his gaze from Sarah’s ample cleavage. “The place looks just the same as the last time I visited.” He glanced around the pub. Nothing has changed. That’s good.
“Expected us to tart the place up, did ya?” She laughed. Faruq smiled back. “The usual?” He nodded and Sarah withdrew.
Faruq leaned forward, placing his elbows on the table, resting his chin on interlaced fingers. Of course, he hadn’t expected them to renovate. He would’ve found that out weeks ago if they had. Therefore, no last minute changes to his plans. From his earlier surveillance of the place, he chose this booth as the most advantageous spot from which to launch his mission.
His handsome and uncharacteristically fairer-than-normal features let him blend in with the Londoners without drawing attention to himself, and his mastery of their speech and even a few dialects made his disguise complete. Since 9/11 and the 7/7 London bombings, Faruq felt all eyes were on him and anyone who even resembled someone of middle-Eastern descent.
As well they should be, he thought with grim satisfaction.
Alex Morgan was born and raised in western Oklahoma where he attended college and majored in chemistry and mathematics. Later, he moved to the Dallas area where he obtained his master’s degree and then a doctorate in analytical chemistry. He now lives in Baltimore.
He is an avid reader, particularly mysteries, since being introduced to the Hardy Boys in grade school. After reading his first Agatha Christie novel, Murder on the Orient Express, in junior high, mysteries have been one of his biggest enjoyments. He has always enjoyed reading comic books and loves the super-hero genre just as much.
Combining these two concepts, he has written two mystery novels prior to “Breathless”, in which he introduced gay, paranormal sleuth Corey Shaw. He is also the author of several gay erotica short stories published by loveyoudivine Alterotica.