Friday, June 15, 2012

A Blog Hop Excerpt from Michele Montgomery

From Michele Montgomery's upcoming novel, Lethal Obsession: Deserted.

June, 1999 – London, UK
The gray eyed man made himself at home in the old English manor he’d broken into just moments before. He sat on the overstuffed chair in the corner of the darkened bedroom while the man of the house was in the shower, whistling away as if he had not a care in the world. The silent intruder settled back, his left leg thrown over his right knee, as comfortable as he could be. He ignored the water dripping down the sides of his face from his hair; it had been storming for the full two days he’d waited for the master of the house to return from his trip to Greece, and he’d waited outside the entire forty-eight hours, until the man finally came home.

He wasn’t at all disturbed; under the careful eye of his mentors he learned to ignore a variety of diversions, including whatever Mother Nature dished out. He was also trained to ignore his personal feelings when he was on a job; emotions could get him killed and he had no intention whatsoever of going that way. He had too much to live for. That's what he'd been told. He focused only on what he learned in basic training and everything his supervisors instructed him to do.

He was one of the élite, more than a trained assassin; he was a product of the way the United States Government trained its covert special ops agents. These men were a little less human while on the job, more machine than man, sentient yet several steps removed from humankind. Many of their overseers and handlers, those in the position to breed these killers and prescribe the deaths that were, each time, executed flawlessly, said these men had no scruples, lacked anything that might have once resembled a conscience, lacked the ability to empathize. And that is what made them the most notorious group of agents since the FBI came into being in 1908.

Carl Giordano was one such agent. Every day, every minute of his life was on the razor’s edge between death and the chance to see another sunrise. He lived in accordance with his master’s will. They all lived in accordance with their master’s will—a little more than robots, a little less than human. What else could they do? Their lives were not their own; they’d forfeited the fundamental laws of moral philosophy long ago. Taking a life meant nothing, not if it was ordered of them. Questioning an order contradicted the very core of who they were and what they stood for. It was something that had been ingrained into each of them since childhood. No one disobeyed an order given to him by his master. Not even the field leader, who was responsible for the one hundred-fifty men below him.

It was he who sat on the chair in the English manor, Carl Giordano, weapon, trafficker of death. It was he who had turned his feelings off well before he’d gone to stand in the rain those two days past. It was he who, for reasons he understood with a powerful clarity, had been assigned to this mission. He was there because he’d allowed his heart to feel something his master forbade. This was a lesson, pure and simple, and he accepted his lessons with pride. The Master and boss, one and the same, allowed for his undercover agents the freedom of being who they were on their own time. On his time, however, they were who he demanded they be. And only his time mattered. Their actions on their own time, he didn’t care to know. So, it was an unfortunate outcome for all involved that he’d found out about Carl’s misstep.

The master of the manor had no idea he had a visitor waiting for him, concealed within the shadows of his sanctuary. If he’d been at all aware of the deadly presence in the room, his whistling would have dissipated upon his next breath. But the man would know why the moment he saw his guest; it would hit him with a certainty born of intimacy, why the intruder was there. There would be no happy ending for either of them.

The water shut off and the gray eyed man sat up straight, his feet pressed flat to the cold wood floor. He kept his eyes glued to the bathroom door and closed his feelings off behind a wall of practiced detachment. The thought of killing an ex-lover didn’t sit well with him, but this was an order given to him by his master, a mission that could not be denied. One night in the cells, located below the main complex in a suburb of Chicago, had radically altered his perspective. To deny the master’s orders was to sign his own death certificate, and that of those he loved. Love was a feeling the master could not kill, so instead, he controlled and manipulated it, disciplined his agents, mercilessly, until he’d created a team of automatons that were devoid of excess emotion; the master did what he had to in order to ensure success. He would accept nothing less, expected perfection, and that’s precisely what he got.

The agent kept his eyes on the bathroom door, waiting for it to open, watching for the man to appear looking for the sure sign of recognition that he knew exactly why Carl was there. He would stand frozen, wrapped in nothing more than a towel, and that knowledge would cross his face. His eyes would glaze over, as they always did when he set his sights upon this particularly skillful agent.

For a few seconds, Carl allowed a hint of misgivings about his lot in this job, and that’s how he had to look at it, a job. His personal feelings fought to take control, but Carl’s well-trained mind took hold. He buried those emotions where they would stay until the end of time.

The bathroom door opened and a blanket of hot steam enveloped the near perfect man standing in the doorway, wearing the towel wrapped low on his waist just the way Carl knew he would. He should know; he’d been with the man often enough over the past five years to know even the smallest of habits.

Bryan’s hair was longer than the last time Carl had seen him, now falling to his bare nipples, nipples that Carl had tortured not so long ago. That silky black hair always felt so good twisted in Carl’s fingers. Carl loved the way it smelled, had always encouraged Bryan to grow it long, and the other man listened. The muscles in Bryan’s arms stood out prominently, the muscles in his chest and stomach well defined. Carl took a silent breath.

“You’re here, aren’t you?”

Carl remained immobile, though he couldn’t stop the small smile that played across his lips. He’d trained the man well.

Bryan didn’t move from the doorway; instead, he leaned against it, his face registering what his heart must be feeling—panic and despair. Bryan nodded before running his fingers through his wet hair, brushing it from his face. “Why?”

Carl didn’t answer; there was no need to waste the words. Bryan knew why Carl was there, and if he didn’t, he should. He knew the rules and he’d broken them. He had no one but himself to blame. Carl shifted slightly but kept his eyes on the man who’d always given his all to Carl. Bryan was one hell of an agent, one of their best sharpshooters, led a team with a confidence Carl saw in very few. People admired Bryan; they liked him because he was easy to like, and he’d been Carl’s submissive for many years. Bryan trusted Carl with everything he was and Carl never gave him a reason not to. Not until Bryan overstepped the rules and rules, he knew he broke.

“C’mere, Bryan,” Carl commanded quietly.

Many emotions crossed Bryan’s now pale face. His green eyes were misty, his lips quivered— He was afraid, and Bryan was never afraid. Carl felt a swelling in his chest as Bryan took a deep breath and pushed away from the doorframe. He stood tall and determined, even scared to death of what he knew was coming: he was walking his last walk to his Master, his friend, his co-agent, and he did so with pride. He stopped only when he stood directly in front of the chair Carl sat in.

Carl’s heart pounded painfully in his chest. Given the choice, he’d send Bryan away, help set him up with a new identity, but he didn’t; he wouldn’t because choice was not a rule in his game. Bryan broke one of Mike’s laws. When someone did that, termination came swiftly and without mercy. Period. End of story. If only it hadn’t been so easy to locate him; if Bryan had only just run farther than Greece— Then again, he could really never run far enough; Carl was too good at what he did and he could deny Mike nothing. What Mike wanted, Mike got, no questions asked.

Carl motioned for Bryan to go to his knees, words entirely unnecessary. With as much grace as Carl always expected from his subs, Bryan knelt, locked his hands behind his back, and kept his head lowered. Carl fought the urge to reach out to run his fingers through Bryan’s hair just one more time. He wished he had been able to spend some time with him over the last six months, but maybe it was better this way. He had to work hard to separate his heart from his head for this particular job. Taking his sub’s life on orders from his boss would leave a permanent scar if he didn’t have the power to shut himself down.
“Carl...,”

Carl placed his hand on Bryan’s head to silence him. It was an unspoken command Bryan learned long ago. Carl couldn’t stop himself, as it seemed his fingers had their own agenda. He wanted to remember this beautiful man kneeling before him, wanted to hold him one last time before he took Bryan's life from him. Carl would never have another chance to hold him, to tell him he loved him.

Carl swallowed and pulled his hand back. Bryan was nothing more than a target now, and in that moment, he realized how much he wished he would’ve terminated Bryan through the window. This was cruel, not only to Bryan but to him as well. But not facing the man, not showing Bryan the respect he deserved in his last minutes, would have been the coward’s way out.

“Mike, huh?”

Carl nodded once, knowing Bryan couldn’t see the movement. But he didn’t trust his voice, couldn’t rely on the fact that it might betray him, might reveal too much.

“Can I please tell you why I did it? Give me that much, at least, before you take my life from me, from you.” Bryan looked up at him then, pleading with his eyes, begging for Carl to hear him.

“It doesn’t matter. We can't turn back time and change any of it, but you knew that when you did it, didn’t you?”

“He’s into something bad, real bad, but I couldn’t prove it, so I went for help; I needed help to expose him. He’s lying, Carl, lying about something big. I overheard him on the phone the last time I was at the Unit. He saw me standing there and asked me what I heard. I told him nothing, but he didn’t believe me; then he had me sent to the Room.” Bryan paused to allow that much to sink into Carl’s head. The Room was a tool Mike used to train his agents, beating them senseless if he had to. The thought of seeing Bryan being hurt, being beaten, disturbed Carl more than he wanted it to. “After his lesson, when I was finally recovered enough, I ran and tried to get help. He’s up to something that involves kids, Carl. He’s putting kids in danger and he has to be stopped.”

“What he does or has done in the past is none of our business. He carries out orders from Washington and it is not our place to question them, any more than it’s your place to speak out of context about him to me. I follow his orders, as he follows their orders, as you should have followed mine.”

“He’s setting T’s little brother…”

“Enough,” Carl snapped. “You knew it was wrong. We do not question what he does, for he has a reason for every action. It’s our job to back him up, to do as he instructs, not to do what you did. Now, it’s out of my hands; the moment you went AWOL, you determined your fate.”

Bryan lowered his head while nodding his understanding. “Yes, Sir,” he said, his voice void of all emotion. “I understand.” He sighed and took a breath. “My will is in my safe downstairs in the study. My parents, please, Carl, call them yourself. I don’t want some schmuck from the government telling them that I was killed in the line of duty. They know you, they love you, so it’ll be easier for them to accept it and let me go.”

“Shh.” Carl looked up at the ceiling, wishing he were anywhere but where he was. He’d take a week, a month, hell, a year of Tony’s training in the Room, where it was anything but training, in lieu of taking this man’s life.

“I understand why, Sir. I love you. Maybe one day we’ll see each other again. In His house, ya know?”

“Jesus, Bryan, why couldn’t you just keep it to yourself?” Carl sighed and reached into his vest. He pulled the top off the small vial and shook a single capsule out. “It’s too late to apologize,” he said under his breath.

“Yes, Sir. I know it’s not you; I’m at peace with my life. I was one of the best he had, wasn’t I?”

Carl nodded and picked up the pill. “Open your mouth.” Bryan hesitated, then nodded once, swallowed, and opened his mouth, all the while looking into Carl’s eyes. “You know what this is; I can’t spill your blood, B.”

Bryan waited several long moments before he closed his mouth, capturing the deadly capsule between his molars.

“I love you, Bryan. You make me proud, even now.” He reached out once again and touched Bryan’s smooth cheek with his thumb. “Bite down.” Carl held his breath when Bryan did as instructed; he saw the fear in those eyes the second the tablet broke. “I’m sorry, I’m so damn sorry.”

An eternity seemed to pass before the deadly combination of drugs began taking Bryan’s life. He gasped four, five times, and looked into Carl’s teary eyes right before he fell forward into his lap, gasping for breath and holding Carl’s thighs. Seconds, minutes, hours later, convulsions seized Bryan’s body and Carl’s tears fell freely down his face. “Let go, B, let it end,” he said calmly. His heart pounded away in agony, his mind screamed at him, cursed him for this senseless cruelty. His guilt began eating at him and by the time Bryan took his last breath, Carl had him wrapped in his arms, promising they’d be together again one day.

As gentle as a father carrying a baby, Carl lifted the body of the man he loved and laid him on the bed, covering him. He stood beside him and gently moved Bryan’s hair away from his face, leaned down and kissed him one last time.

“Goodbye, B,” he said, leaving the English manor as quietly as he’d come.

*****************
Take a walk with me on the wild side
http://michelelmontgomery.com
http://lethalobsession.blogspot.com/

Michele's latest, Dammit! , is available now, so check it out!
**
Escaping the past isn’t easy, especially when the scars left behind are a constant reminder that trust and love can hurt.

Michael McKnight knows what it means to be on the run from memories. Years ago, after fleeing an abusive relationship, he was brutally stabbed and left for dead. His only savior had been a compassionate stranger he’d only gotten a glimpse of before slipping into the blackness that claimed him.

For Michael, recovery was an arduous and hard fought return to some semblance of normalcy. He rebuilds his life, spending his waking hours buried in work and fighting to forget the past. And his life seems to be going well until he finds out that his cousin Wayne is being held captive in a mental asylum for being gay. So he buys a plane ticket and flies out to rescue his cousin.

But the weather is against Michael, keeping him grounded and talking to a man who claims that he’d once saved his life and is willing to help him rescue his cousin. Can this man be for real or is something more sinister in the works?

15 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness- intense, sad, lots of feelings!

    Suze
    Littlesuze at hotmail dot com

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  2. Lovely excerpt! The photo's pretty nice, too...

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

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  3. No hea here well done!

    MFierydrgn@aol.com

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  4. That was so sad, I was bawling before I finished. I was praying the whole time that he wouldn't do it, but no luck. Not sure if I'm going to read this one, have to wait and see.

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  5. Thank you all for looking and reading!! Remember, I do intense dark and heavy plot driven stories but we always always have a?? HEA! ....-grins-

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  6. whoa, a lot to think about there ... well written and like Emily, I may have to wait and think about reading the entire story.

    Michele, you have great talent and I wish you the best in your future writings.

    mimirose41209 at hotmail dot com

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  7. WOW - that was a very powerful story.

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  8. This excerpt was so intense and heartwrenching.

    Jbst
    strive4bst at yahoo dot com

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  9. Powerful excerpt. Definitely have to read the rest now.

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  10. Just wanted to once thank you all for reading the excerpt to "Lethal Obsession: Deserted." I know it's a tough start, but I promise, it's no where near as dark as "Lethal Obsession: Caged." This is the story of two of the characters lives: pre-Caged. Carl and Lucca.

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  11. It is definetly not a light read, from what I gathered out of this excerpt, is there a hea?

    moonsurfer123(at)gmail(dot)com

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  12. Great excerpt, very powerfull, looking forward to read more of it!

    emiliana25(at)web(dot)de

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  13. I'll have to read Caged, it's on my kidle but I haven't read it yet.


    lyra.lucky7ATgmailDOTcom

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  14. Looking forward to it. I love caged.

    midiamuniz@yahoo.com

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