#BlogTour #37Hours #Extract @kirwanjf @TAsTPublicity @HQDigitalUK

37 hours
37 Hours by J.F. Kirwan
synopsis:

The only way to hunt down a killer is to become one…

After two long years spent in a secret British prison, Nadia Laksheva is suddenly granted her freedom. Yet there is a dangerous price to pay for her release: she must retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her deadliest enemy, a powerful and ruthless terrorist known only as The Client.

But her mysterious nemesis is always one step ahead and the clock is ticking. In 37 hours, the warhead will explode, reducing the city of London to a pile of ash. Only this time, Nadia is prepared to pull the trigger at any cost…

The deadly trail will take her from crowded Moscow to the silent streets of Chernobyl, but will Nadia find what she is looking for before the clock hits zero?

KIRWAN Barry 01 ret 6x8
J.F. Kirwan
Authors Links:
Twitter: @kirwanjf
Website: http://jfkirwan.com/
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/kirwanjf/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15643489.J_F_Kirwan

#Extract:

Falling out of a plane at night, above a raging sea, lived up to its reputation. Sergei had said the chute would open after ten seconds, long enough to get below the wake from the propellers but not drift too far from the drop zone. But Nadia couldn’t count. She was too busy trying to catch her breath as the wind tore at her mouth.

Goggles protected her eyes, though she could barely see anything as she plummeted through gun-metal-grey clouds. She bit down on an urge to scream, panic rising from her heart up into her throat. Freefalling. It was so damned dark. The sea was racing towards her, but all she saw below was blackness. A cloudy night, no stars, no moon. Must have been eight seconds by now. Nine. Ten. She braced herself for the chute opening.

Nothing.

Where was Sergei? He’d been right beside her on the plane. He was heavier. He’d be below her, wouldn’t he? Or did everyone fall at the same rate? She couldn’t remember. He could be above her if his chute had opened. She looked up. Nothing, just the wind howling in her ears through her neoprene dive hood. How high had they been? How long before she’d hit the water?

At this speed her harness with its air tank would snap her back in two on impact. She had no emergency cord to operate the chute. He’d said it wouldn’t fail. The chute would open. Fifteen seconds now, for sure. Another five and she’d be splattered on the wave-tops. Sergei, where the fuck…

He slammed into her from behind, then spun her around as effortlessly as if they were trapeze artists in that sweet spot where gravity blinks. But they were plunging at terminal velocity, close to two hundred kilometres an hour. His face loomed close, but he was looking down at her chest. He hit her. No, he thumped the buckle to release the failed chute. She slipped away from him. Shit! She lunged for one of his shoulder straps, grabbed it, tugged herself towards him, flailing in the wind like a rag doll. They twisted in mid-air, no longer falling feet first. He looped an arm around her, pulled her close to him, yanked something, and then Nadia realised how the end of a bullwhip felt when it was cracked.

It winded her, but Sergei’s arm pressed her against him, locking them together. Her left hand clung to his harness strap; the other gripped the back of his tank. Finally he looked at her. And smiled. He fucking smiled. Cool bastard. He mouthed something. Then something else. Two. One. She took an urgent breath.

The surface of the sea whacked into her, pounded her feet, ripped off her goggles. The rushing wind was replaced by the soft, numbing sounds of the undersea that she’d loved since her first dive in the Volga at the age of eight. But it was cold, bloody cold. She fumbled for the regulator pinned to her chest, exhaled once to flush out the water, then breathed in. Air – the only thing that really mattered underwater.

Eyes still closed, she fished inside her jacket pocket for her dive mask, donned it, tilted her head back and breathed out through her nose to clear the mask of seawater, equalising pressure in her nose and ears at the same time. She opened her eyes and blinked hard to rinse out the stinging salt water. Sergei was attaching his fins, a torch in his hand.

She unfastened the fins strapped tight around her calves, slipped them on, then found her own halogen lamp. At least the seawater inside her wetsuit had warmed a little from her body heat. Sergei shone a cone of light down into the gloom. He put his hand in the beam and gave her the OK signal. She did the same, careful not to shine it anywhere near his face and render him temporarily night-blind. His smile had gone.

To business.

She checked her depth on the dive computer attached to her left wrist. Fifteen metres. The swell from the roiling waves above swayed her gently, rocking her. But she knew they must be off-course due to the late opening of her chute. The drop had been carefully calculated – vertical height, wind strength and direction, sea state – and now they might be up to half a mile in the wrong place. Sergei showed his hand in the light, fingers spread open, palm down. Stay. Of course. The others had sleds. Let them come to us.

A dull buzzing interrupted her thoughts. Sergei was staring behind her. She finned to spin around and saw a light, then two. The sleds, two divers apiece, one on top, one hanging at the side. They didn’t slow down. A sled approached, and she finned to get a head start, and then grabbed the sled’s rail as it passed. Sergei was on the sled in front. He glanced back once to check she was aboard, then both sleds accelerated to make up for lost time. They stayed at fifteen metres for a good ten minutes, then she felt the pressure on her ears increase, and cleared them – they were descending.

They hit thirty-five metres and levelled off. Still she saw nothing, but the sleds both slowed, and then she saw why. The forward light picked up the huge black tail fin of the Borei Class nuclear submarine, like the fin of a shark, which happened to be the nickname for this class of sub. Sergei’s sled circled behind, his forward beam illuminating the massive propeller. She tried to gauge how long each blade was. Maybe three metres.

Sergei took point again, and fired a flare that fizzed forward like a lazy yellow firework. The sub was one hundred and seventy metres long, only slightly shorter than its predecessor, the Typhoon. But seeing it, positioned at one end while the flare swept forward over its dark beauty, was something else. The flare continued its arc over the conning tower, all the way to the prow, her destination. The light faded and plunged them back into darkness save for the sled’s lights. But the after-image was etched onto her retinas. Russian subs didn’t really go in for names, they were usually referred to as Projects and given a number, but Sergei had told her this one was the Yuri Gagarin. He’d have been proud.

Yet shark was the right label, too. Subs like the Yuri were the ultimate predator, patrolling the oceans, undetectable yet carrying Armageddon on their backs, a dozen missiles, any one of which could obliterate a major city, incinerating hundreds of thousands of people in a heartbeat. They had to stop its warheads falling into the wrong hands.

They picked up speed, the sleds’ beams angled downwards, two ellipses of light tracing the narrow walkway on the foredeck. Both sleds slowed as they reached the missile hatches, a dozen lined up in neat pairs. One was open.

Sergei descended from the sled to the deck, and peered inside with his torch. Nadia wanted to take a look, but the sled driver’s hand clasped around hers, welding it to the sled’s rail. Sergei could clearly see something, but she had no way of knowing what. He rejoined his sled, and both sleds surged forward. She glanced down as she passed the open tube, but could see nothing there, not even the tell-tale white and red cone of the missile itself. She felt a shiver. It looked as if at least one warhead was already missing.

They arrived at the conning tower, its antennae bending in the current, a sturdy metal ladder running down the outside. She wondered how Sergei and the other two were going to board the sub through the conning tower. They tethered their sled to the tower, and as her sled continued its journey, she glanced back, watching Sergei and the others setting up some equipment. She realised two things. The first was that they could easily be killed as soon as they entered the sub. The second was that she didn’t want that to happen, not to Sergei at any rate. She turned her gaze forwards.

The foredeck began to narrow in the beam of light, until it reached the sleek prow of one of Russia’s finest. As they drifted down to the torpedo hatches, she realised she couldn’t see the sea floor. Which didn’t make sense. The sled driver evidently had the same concern. He circled the sled while the second diver fired up a flare, then let it drop. It fell for a full minute before it was lost in the depths. Shit.

The driver gunned the motor and they levelled off on the starboard side with nothing beneath them but a yawning abyss. He fired a flare horizontally, along the sub’s hull, and she watched, unbelieving. Nearly half the sub was hanging over an underwater cliff.

 

#BlogTour #Extract #66Metres by @kirwanjf @TAsTPublicity

66 Metres by J. F. Kirwan Blog Tour
66 Metres by J.F Kirwan

Synopsis:

The only thing worth killing for is family.

Everyone said she had her father’s eyes. A killer’s eyes. Nadia knew that on the bitterly cold streets of Moscow, she could never escape her past – but in just a few days, she would finally be free.

Bound to work for Kadinsky for five years, she has just one last mission to complete. Yet when she is instructed to capture The Rose, a military weapon shrouded in secrecy, Nadia finds herself trapped in a deadly game of global espionage.

And the only man she can trust is the one sent to spy on her…

Extract:

The cold hit the nape of Jake’s neck as he rolled backwards, holding mask and regulator in place with one hand, torch in the other. Cool fjord water seeped into his hood and gloves. A single droplet defeated his drysuit neck seal and ran down his spine as he righted himself. Finning to the back of the boat in the moonless night, he shone his torch onto his left hand to give Andreas the ‘OK’ signal. In that brief moment he caught the concerned look on the skipper’s face while he lowered the green nightlight into the water to help them find the boat later.

Jake turned to the others, gave them time to get adjusted. Their torches, dangling from lanyards attached to their wrists, shone downwards, two cones illuminating the depths below, sharp halogen light diffusing into shadows. A few silver fish scurried away from the searchlight beams, unwilling to be lit up as tonight’s main course for larger fish. Beneath them the abyss of the fjord sucked downwards. Jake knew the lure of the deep only too well. He lifted his mouth out of the water.

‘Fin to the wall. We need a frame of reference as we descend, it’ll help to stop narcosis setting in.’

Jan Erik and Bjorn turned and finned towards the shore. Jake put his head underwater again and shone the beam down until it caught the green, orange and red flora of the underwater cliff face. He lifted his head. ‘This will do.’ He angled his torch upwards, still underwater, just enough so he could see their faces clearly, the water refracting the light through the thin layer of glacier run-off hovering near the surface, turning their faces a ghostly green. He searched their eyes. Anticipation had taken over concern. Good. Jan Erik grinned behind his mouthpiece, and Bjorn’s eyes adopted the look usually reserved for sharking blondes at discos.

They were both hungry for this, like he’d been two years ago when he first dived this deep. The adrenaline rush caught him, too. This is why I dive. He replaced his regulator, gave them the ‘OK’, then the thumb-down signal. They returned both signals, and the trio slipped below the surface.

Jake dumped air out of his stab jacket and sank backwards, breathing out a little through his nose into his mask to prevent redeye, and watched them do the same. He pinched his nose between forefinger and thumb and equalised the pressure in his ears. At six metres he gave them another OK signal, and they returned it. He did his trademark reverse pirouette and dove down head first, arms folded in front so he could see both dive computers, equalising his ears every five metres. Like free-falling, like flying, like surfing, like – diving. All his problems, petty concerns, worries and unsatisfied desires, condensed into the trail of bubbles behind him, cascading up to the real world where they belonged. He didn’t fin, and every ten metres he jetted a little more air into his stab jacket, compensating for the rising water pressure.

Bjorn shot down in front of him, finning hard. In Jake’s torchlight Bjorn looked like a fireball. Clearly he wanted to be first. Jake had told him not to do this, warned him that it rammed nitrogen into the brain and could trigger narcosis, the drunkenness that sometimes occurred below thirty metres when diving on air, and was far more likely at their target of fifty. He turned to Jan Erik to stop him from following suit, shaking a flat hand horizontally. Jan Erik rolled his eyes inside his mask.

Jake looked down again but could only see the glow of his light below in a stream of rising bubbles growing larger as they ascended. Bjorn had disappeared. Dammit! Fatality scenarios swirled into his mind. Blocking them off, he followed the stream of Bjorn’s bubbles, and checked his computer. He dolphin-kicked once to arrive faster, but not so fast as to unleash nitrogen narcosis on himself. Out of the grey the cliff-face appeared again, a seventy degree slope, and there was Bjorn, propped on it with his fins. Jake sighed through his mouthpiece, and relaxed.

Jake realised he hadn’t been breathing much, and took three slow breaths. As he neared Bjorn he checked his own air gauge: two hundred bar. Plenty. He and Jan Erik touched the silt with their fins, a couple of metres from Bjorn. Jake checked both his computers. Fifty metres. Exactly. This was a bounce dive. Touch fifty, then ascend to decompress, to let the nitrogen flush back out of their bloodstreams, at nine metres, then six metres. He took a few more measured breaths. He didn’t bother to look around – mainly silt anyway – his job now was to get them back up to safer depth. He signalled to Jan Erik ‘OK’, then ‘Up’. Jan Erik pretended to wipe a tear from his mask with a gloved finger – he wanted to stay longer. Jake shook his head, and Jan Erik nodded, returning the ‘Up’ signal. Jake turned to Bjorn, who was still balanced on the tail edge of his fins, staring down into the abyss. Jake gave him the ‘OK’ signal, then Jan Erik’s torchlight lit up Bjorn’s eyes. They were bloodshot, glazed, half-closed, as if he was drunk. Narcosis. Shit. At the same time that Jake reached out for him, Bjorn gave the ‘Down’ signal, and did a pretty good impression of Jake’s reverse pirouette. He dove deeper into the fjord.

Jake’s fingers just missed Bjorn’s trailing fin and he watched, unbelieving, as Bjorn spirited downwards. In the two seconds that followed, he calculated the odds of catching Bjorn before they went too deep, and whether he should focus on stopping a single fatality turning into a three-diver fatality, then traded that risk against trying to explain to Bjorn’s sister Vibeke and the authorities how he’d stood by and done nothing while watching Bjorn plunge to his death. He flicked his wrist to Jan Erik, gave the ‘Down’ signal and dolphin-kicked hard after Bjorn.

Jake finned fast down the escarpment, exhaling steadily. Depth and time were the dual enemies. The faster he caught Bjorn, the better. One of his computers, the Aladin, beeped an alarm. Sixty metres. The rising partial pressure of oxygen would begin killing them soon. Breathing hard, with Jan Erik close behind, Jake raced for Bjorn’s red fins. The second computer, the Suunto, beeped. At last he grabbed one fin and then a leg, and yanked Bjorn around to face him. Both he and Bjorn were still sinking. They bumped into the sludge-covered escarpment like two drunken men falling down a hill in slow motion. Jake had to let go of his torch. It spun around wildly, strobing like a disco light as he gripped Bjorn’s harness with one hand and inflated his stab jacket full of air with the other. Bjorn’s eyes were nearly closed. Nitrogen narcosis had taken him elsewhere. Jake checked his second computer, the Suunto – the Aladin had stopped working – sixty-eight metres. His fins found purchase on the slope. He flexed his knees and with both hands shoved Bjorn’s body upwards.

Jan Erik arrived.

Jake could hear his own heart pounding. But there was another, stranger, pulsing white noise, growing louder. The beginnings of oxygen poisoning. He pointed to his inflate button, and he and Jan Erik both pumped air into their jackets. Jake had just given the ‘Up’ signal when Jan Erik’s eyes went wide, seeing something behind Jake. Jake turned just in time to see a snowstorm of descending silt they must have kicked up whilst chasing Bjorn. In the next second it enveloped them like thick soup. He couldn’t see his outstretched hand. He reached for Jan Erik but he was already gone, hopefully upwards. The white noise was now a din in Jake’s head. He knew what it meant. He was going to black out. Then he would sink. And then it would all be over.

He finned hard, worked his thighs almost into cramp. He had to get up above fifty. Once he was moving upwards, the air in his jacket would carry on expanding and propel him to the surface. If he blacked out and didn’t wake up till he reached the surface, it would be a nasty decompression incident, but that was preferable to the alternative. It grew more difficult to concentrate. The porridge-like silt meant he could barely read the Suunto, even when he held it right in front of his mask.

He suddenly didn’t know which way was up, or where his torch was. All around him a sea of clay and bubbling blackness. White noise roared in his ears like a jet engine. Then he remembered – follow the bubbles. Watching their direction in front of his face, he righted himself, and kicked hard. Jake felt himself lifting. He dared to hope, and read the Suunto, counting down the metres. Fifty-nine, fifty-eight… He was going to make it. His eyes watered inside his mask. The crushing noise pressed inside his skull. Concentrate! Fifty-three … fifty-two … fifty-one … fifty-two … fifty-three… No! That wasn’t possible! How the hell could he be going down? There were no currents in the fjord. Numbness crept over him. Unable to fin any more. His legs not responding. Fuck. Not like this! Seconds, seconds… Then he remembered. He reached down to his right side and cracked open his emergency cylinder. It blasted air into his jacket, squeezed it tight around his chest and shoulders like an airbag. The white noise wailed like a hurricane in his head.

He blacked out.

KIRWAN Barry 01 ret 6x8
J.F Kirwan
Authors links:
Web: jfkirwan.com
Twitter: @kirwanjf

*The novel is available via #Kindle #Ebook for just 99p 🙂