Lipstick & Danger

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An Unlikely Hero by Tierney James

So here is the first few pages of my new novel.  You’ll be able to find it on Amazon in about a month.  I’ll keep you posted about the release date.  It will also be on ebooks for those of you who love your Kindle.

An Unlikely Hero
Chapter One
            Sticky from
the late summer night air, Jamaal meticulously continued to work on the bomb
lying on the workbench.  His dark hand
slipped only once, causing the Libyan to suck in his breath and step back.  For weeks he’d practiced in the desert of his
home with others just like him learning how to make these kinds of bombs. A
quick student, Jamaal had gotten the attention of one man who decided his
skills needed to be put to the ultimate test. 
A promise of money only slightly overshadowed the reward of hurting the
Americans. As his heartbeat returned to normal he once more fingered what he
hoped would be a weapon of distraction. 
Finally Jamaal slowly removed his hands and smiled at the completion of
the toy-like monster.  It hadn’t taken
any more work than a conventional bomb, he decided.
            Dynamite had
been ridiculously easy to obtain from a mining company north of Nevada City
which was in the process of closing. The difficult part had been securing the
radioactive material. But a disgruntled hospital employee willingly provided
access for Jamaal’s boss to obtain the final component for the weapon before
him. Various online markets sold military toys that were so life-like Jamaal wondered
why Homeland Security hadn’t shut them down. The secure radioactive container
easily slipped inside the missile.  His
boss had convinced him it would be enough. Adapting his army green missile with
explosives, although tricky, had not been beyond his ability. The connection to
the launcher was another matter. Would it adapt to carrying this small
attachment now that it was heavier? For the last several hours Jamaal had
trouble with the launcher turning on prematurely with the added weight.  By accident he discovered if he propped it
upright as if it were being held the lights failed to flash a warning of
            No longer
would he be the butt of jokes calling him a stupid fool.
associates would be pleased.
            His reward
and recognition would be great.
            Only one
more thing to do.  Launch.  Tomorrow. 
The first of many tomorrows.
            It would be
simple.  Near dawn he would load the
re adapted toy which had been fitted with his attachment into the trunk of his
car. Sacramento was less than an hour away so he wanted to leave early enough
to find a good parking spot along the way. 
He had been monitoring traffic helicopters for weeks.  He knew exactly which one would be the
target. Bringing it down over a populated area where several highways merged
would be child’s play. The authorities would realize later something more
heinous had occurred than a helicopter crashing into rush hour traffic.  By then what little radioactive poison
survived would throw authorities into a panic. 
His boss could move forward with bigger plans while the country kept
eyes on Sacramento.
yawned, realizing he’d been working since early morning without much of a
break.  After making sure the weapon was
secure, he gently let his hands hover over the finished project and smiled once
more, knowing his glory would soon be visible to the world.  Backing toward the shed door he reached
behind him to twist the doorknob.  Even
now Jamaal struggled to tear his eyes away from his creation.  As the door creaked open Jamaal unwittingly
paused long enough for the neighbor’s cat to slip quietly into the shadows of
the stacked lumber in the corner. 
     The light
extinguished, Jamaal stepped into the night, closing the door behind him. The
smell of the neighbor’s freshly cut grass made him decide that would be what he
missed about California.  There wasn’t
much grass in Libya. A breeze touched his serious face as he tucked his head
and made for his back door. Nearby someone had fired up a grill for a late
night’s dinner. He paused, hearing a dog bark and the distant laughter of men
sharing something he would never understand. This country was too friendly, too
trusting.  He wondered in that moment if
he would be able to sleep?  The others
had already gone to bed.  Softly he
called the cat that had been coming around at night.  A saucer of milk each visit kept the creature
            The excited
cry of the cat inside the shed forced Jamaal’s feet to trip, sprawling him onto
the damp grass. Pushing up in desperation he stumbled toward the shed hearing
the clatter of obstacles the cat moved as it raced toward what he guessed was a
close to lightning speed touched the mouse and it was running for its life, but
not before the tabby cried out and pounded on the very spot in which the small
creature had tried to disappear.  A roar,
flashing red lights and a hissing sound imploded the room when the cat landed
on the man’s machine.  With agile
reflexes the feline leaped once more onto the floor and escaped into the
corner, not noticing that the rodent was right next to him.  The workbench began to vibrate and in the
next instant the machine expelled a tail of fire and crashed through the
windows into the night sky. 
      The cries of
anguish from the man startled the cat into making a quick escape as the door
flung open. Dogs began to bark throughout the neighborhood. Porch lights
flickered on and then off as houses began to stir at the wails of a desperate
man running into his backyard before collapsing to his knees.

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