Act of Terror
Series: The Jericho Quinn Series #2
Published by: Kensington
Release Date: March 27, 2018
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Warning: The next attack on American soil will come from within.
From coast to coast, our nation is witnessing a new wave of terror. Suicide bombers incite blind panic and paralyzing fear. A flight attendant tries to crash an airliner. A police officer opens fire on fans in a stadium. And at CIA headquarters, a Deputy Director goes on a murderous rampage. The perpetrators appear to be American--but they are covert agents in a vast network of terror, selected and trained for one purpose only: the complete annihilation of America.
Special Agent Jericho Quinn has seen the warning signs. As a classified "instrument" of the CIA reporting directly to the President, Quinn knows that these random acts of violence pose a clear and present danger. But Quinn may not be able to stop it. The search for terrorists has escalated into an all-out witch hunt. And somehow, Quinn's name is on the list. . .Add on Goodreads
Also in this series:
"Cameron’s action-packed, over-the-top…mayhem on a grand scale."
“Lots and lots of action . . . the ultimate suspense from the word ‘go.’ Jericho Quinn is most definitely one of the best characters in the thriller realm. Incredibly awesome.”
Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
—Rules of Engagement, USMC
Between Wasilla and Anchorage, Alaska
One hour earlier 0815 hours, Alaska time
Jericho Quinn rolled on the throttle, leaning the growling BMW R 1150 GS Adventure into a long, sweeping curve under the shadow of the Chugach Mountains. Birch trees decked in full autumn colors flashed by in a buttery blur. Behind him, riding pillion, his ex-wife twined her arms tightly around his waist, leaning when he leaned, looking where he looked. It was the first time they'd been in sync in over two years. The weather was perfect, bluebird clear and just crisp enough to feel invigorating. The grin on Quinn's face was wide enough he would have gotten bugs in his teeth had it not been for the helmet.
It had been Kim's idea to make the half-hour ride out to Wasilla. She'd suggested they catch an early lunch at the Windbreak Café before scooting back to Anchorage to watch their daughter's youth symphony debut matinée. After months overseas, Jericho had been hesitant to let the little girl out of his sight—even for the morning. A nagging feeling that he needed to be there to protect her pressed against his gut like a stone.
The thought of being in the wind with his ex-wife won out over his nagging gut. He couldn't remember the last time she'd climbed on a bike behind him. Now, her thighs clasped at his hips. The press of her chest seeped like a warm kiss through his leather jacket, reviving a flood of memories from better times—memories he'd tucked away, just to keep his sanity.
He took the ramp from the Parks Highway to the Glen at speed, shooting a glance over his left shoulder before merging with the thump of morning traffic. Picking his line, he checked again, taking the inside lane to avoid a dented Toyota Tundra. The ditzy driver wandered into his lane as she chatted on her cell phone with one hand and held a cup of coffee in the other, steering with some unseen appendage. Quinn tapped the bike down a gear before accelerating past the rattling cage to relative safety.
Riding the highway reminded Quinn of combat. The whap-whap-whap of his brother Bo's 1956 Harley Panhead in the next lane was eerily reminiscent of a Browning fifty-caliber on full auto—and, everyone on the road seemed bent on trying to kill them both.
Kim began to administer a slow Heimlich maneuver, crushing his ribs as the motorcycle picked up speed. For a fleeting moment, Jericho considered slowing to keep her from squeezing the life out of him, but Bo's bike chuffed past, pop-pop-popping like a fighter pilot on a strafing run.
When the Quinn brothers got together, some sort of competition never failed to erupt. They each had the broken bones to prove it.
Kim pressed in even tighter. She'd known him since high school and must have sensed what was about to happen. Pouring on the gas, Jericho felt the welcome buffeting of wind against his helmet as the speedometer flashed past eighty miles an hour and kept climbing.
The brothers rode their "Alaska" bikes, the older, more seasoned motorcycles they left in state for visits home. Stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, ostensibly with the Office of Special Investigations, or OSI, Jericho kept his newer BMW R 1200 GS Adventure there. The national security advisor to the president—his real boss—had added a few modifications that made the bike belong more to the American taxpayer than it did to Quinn. He stored the older GS in his parent's garage where his dad could take it out in between commercial fishing seasons to keep it exercised.
The Beemer wasn't the Rolex of motorcycles, but it wasn't the bottom of the rung either. Like the TAG Heuer Aquaracer on Quinn's wrist, the BMW was high-end, classy, without flouting too much bling. Bo rode the flat-black '56 Panhead the boys had rebuilt when Jericho was fifteen and Bo was eleven. Loud as a wronged woman, the smoke-belching Harley could scoot.
Kim gave a little squeal of delight, squeezing less with her arms and more with her legs as the bike screamed through ninety with plenty left to go.
They all wore leathers to protect against the chill of Alaska's fall weather—and road rash in the event of an accident. Bo, riding single, and to Jericho's chagrin, now well in the lead, wore a Vanson Enfield jacket in heavy cowhide. The angry eye of a black octopus glared above a white rocker with three-inch letters across his broad back. The cut identified the younger Quinn as a DENIZEN—a motorcycle club from Texas that dabbled in what Bo called the "lucrative gray edges" of the law.
Where Bo's Vanson all but shouted that he was a member of the Denizens, Jericho's Aerostich gear was unadorned. The supple Transit Leathers were made up of a black jacket and matching pants. Micro-perforated, they were completely waterproof and cooler than most protective gear right off the rack. The formfitting leathers came standard with durable TF armor inserts, but his new employer had added a few extras. A wafer-thin recirculating personal cooling system developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and panels of level III-A body armor were sandwiched into the material. A Kimber Tactical Ultra ten-millimeter pistol, a forty-caliber baby Glock, and a Japanese killing dagger all hid beneath the innocuous black jacket.
Kim, wearing a beautifully skintight set of her own black leathers, discovered the second pistol about the time they hit ninety-five. Her entire body tensed like a coiled spring. She was funny that way. One pistol was acceptable, part of the job. Ah, but two guns—that was over the top in her estimation. A person carrying two guns had to be spoiling for a fight. If she found Yawaraka-Te—the Japanese dirk hidden in the ballistic armor along the hollow of his spine—Kimberly Quinn would surely reach an entirely new level of berserk.
The light at the Airport Heights intersection turned yellow. Bo shot through and continued to weave in and out of traffic on his way downtown. Riding double with an angry woman made it impossible to catch up. Quinn let off the gas, knowing he was about to get an earful.
Kim flipped up her visor the moment his left boot hit the pavement.
"Really, Jericho? Two guns?"
Holding the clutch, he rolled the throttle, listening to the old BMW's Boxer Twin engine. He closed his eyes to feel the familiar horizontal right-hand torque.
He loved the bike and, even when she was nagging, he was still in love with Kim. She'd been the one to divorce him, saying she couldn't stand the constant threat of his violent death and his long deployments to the Middle East. After two years, she'd hinted that there was a tiny chance for them to get back together—up 'til now.
She bumped the back of his helmet with the forehead of her own—it was the way she used to get his attention. They wore matching black Arai Corsairs, remnants of happier times when they'd ridden everywhere together.
"Seriously, why two guns? Are you expecting some kind of trouble?"
Jericho stared ahead, hands on the grips. He thought of what he'd just been through, the things he'd never be able to tell her, or anyone else. In truth, he always expected trouble—and found himself pleasantly bewildered during the moments when none came his way.
"You know me, Kim." He cursed the impossibly long red light. Gabbing about the harsh realities of his job had never been his strong suit. "If I was expecting trouble, I'd have brought my rifle."
Her arms gripped him as though she thought he might try and escape. Quinn shuddered at the prolonged closeness of her body after so many long months. The fact that she'd let him spend the night had more than surprised him. Even her mother, who was devoutly religious and opposed to such things, had openly cheered when she called early that morning and discovered he'd not gone back to his hotel.
"You know what you are?" Kim shouted above the revving engine. "You're one of those samurai warriors I saw on the Military Channel. I don't know why I ever believed you would quit this job—"
Quinn craned his neck around to stare back in genuine awe. "Since when do you watch the Military Channel?"
"Shut up and listen." She bumped his helmet again. "The show said the samurai class felt this moral superiority—just like you. They all carried a couple of big honkin' swords. You carry a big honkin' pistol ... or two. You both practically worship your weapons, and to top it off, you get to carry them around where others aren't allowed to. And just like those samurai, you get paid a handsome salary to lord over us common folk."
Thankfully, the light turned green.
"You got one thing wrong, sweetie." Quinn put a black glove to his helmet, ready to flip down his visor. He turned to catch a quick glimpse of his ex-wife's beautiful blue eyes. "I'd lord over the common folk for free."
A half a block later he tapped the Beemer into fourth gear. A Piper Super Cub came in low and slow to his left, as if racing him to land at Merrill Field. He was still chewing on Kim's observations of his moral superiority as he passed Fantasies on Fifth strip club and the iconic Lucky Wishbone restaurant coming into Anchorage proper.
As an Air Force OSI agent who spoke Arabic and Mandarin Chinese, he had plenty of opportunity to fight for those weaker than himself. Now, he was an OGA—an other governmental agent—working directly for the top adviser to the president. His particular skill set was put to use in ways he'd never imagined.
He was a protector, a blunt instrument—a hammer. His job was indeed superior, but there was very little about it that was moral.