Welcome to the 12 Days of Clink Street!
Hit by P. S. Bridge
Title: Hit (Mark King #1)
Author: P. S. Bridge
Release Date: 27th July 2017
Page Count: 300
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35492995-hit
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hit-P-S-Bridge-ebook/dp/B071G9Y6HL
A terrorist threat, a sinister organisation, and a threat to the security of the free world.
Renowned British lawyer and Sandhurst military academy dropout, Mark Lucas King is assigned the case of his career: to prosecute known terrorist Mohammed Al-Azidi.
All King wants is justice and to do his job successfully. But his peaceful life is shattered when a team of merciless hitmen targets him and his family and the court case collapses. Framed for assault and suspected of his wife’s murder, King must leave his legal career behind and go back to his old career as a British Army sniper in order to catch those responsible and hold them to account. Mark King’s brand of justice doesn’t involve a court room.
Forced to battle against highly trained hitmen to clear his name, King discovers that a sinister organisation known as Invictus Advoca is operating behind the scenes. What is their connection to him and the Al-Azidid case?
As the hunt for those responsible takes him far across Europe, can Mark unravel the mysteries that shroud this secretive organisation and peel back the layers to discover why he and his family have found themselves the target of professional hitmen?
Time is not on Mark King’s side as he races to prevent a global terror threat, discover who killed his wife, and find out who wants him dead, and why.
Syria, Three months ago
Two black Agusta A109 Grand helicopters surveyed the landscape as they hurtled towards the rendezvous point just south of their current location. They cut through the air, flying low, and kicked up clouds of smoke as they landed just opposite a stone building, one of the few still standing after the destruction of the previous few days. Seven heavily armed men got out, wearing scarfs to cover their faces against the flying dust and dirt as they hurried towards the building away from the rush and noise of the rotor blades downdraft. A young man, dressed as if ready for battle, got out wearing a scarf over his lower face, and Aviator sunglasses. He was carrying a small black Heckler & Koch MP5-K sub-machine gun, and he had a large Kabar army knife, sheathed in his belt. He checked his silver Rolex watch and looked around him to make sure they had not been intercepted or followed. The other armed men stood on guard either side of the doorway of the stone building as he marched through the doorway and into the darkness. Two guards then stood guard in the doorway, gripping their AK-47s tightly.
The convoy of yellowish brown four-by-fours kicked up clouds of dust as they rumbled through the war-torn brown landscape, destroyed by drone attacks and Syrian airstrikes.
Twenty-two months of war had transformed the once thriving town into a barren, derelict wasteland. From his window, MI6 agent Nathanial Williams scoured the ruined buildings behind a pair of Aviators in shock at the utter devastation which had been wreaked on this town, only days before.
The convoy rumbled on its dusty journey as the attaché from the National Defence Force’s Government counterinsurgency force spoke in Syrian to the interpreter sat next to Agent Williams, pointing out key stronghold positions which were active only days before their arrival.
At night, it was a no-go area for anyone, with militia still trying actively to recoup lost ground. The surrounding hills, once inviting, were now foreboding and scarred where mortar shells and artillery shelling had burst upon its surface, causing it to resemble the surface of the moon.
‘We capture this town two days ago. Much killing here. Syrian air force they try to drive back insurgent militia until drone strike.’
Williams turned suddenly.
‘Wait, what, a drone strike did all this damage?’ he asked, shocked at what the interpreter said.
The attaché, a man in his mid-forties who didn’t speak English, looked confused at Williams. Williams, forgetting the need for the interpreter, apologised and turned to the interpreter, asking the same question for him to ask the attaché. He waited patiently for the response.
‘Young boys used play football here. “Middle class” people meet and cook dinner, listen to music all night long. Gone now,’ he relayed to Williams.
The interpreter pointed down the road and waved his arm around.
‘He say cedar trees used grow along all three side,’ he translated as he waited for the attaché to continue.
‘No more. Taken for firewood.’
Williams shook his head in disbelief. He had worked mainly in Europe and this was his first time in a war zone.
The interpreter patted him on the arm to get his attention. Williams’ attention was taken away to huts, lining the roadside, with their tin roofs stripped off, probably to be used by the swathes of refugees who either passed through here or moved from here to escape the approaching onslaught.
‘He says drone strikes like this happen all of time. He said western governments, mostly Americans, they know when Al-
Azidi meets his commanders and they target him two days ago.’
Agent Williams nodded and turned back to look out of the window before their driver, also with the National Defence Force, and dressed in National Defence Force uniform, motioned that they had arrived. Williams jumped out first, his weapon at the ready. The group, made up of six men, mostly from the National Defence Force and one agent, Todd Greamer, from the CIA, huddled together next to the lead vehicle, out of sight of the stone building ten feet away.
‘Right, I want two at the back, two to provide cover fire and Greamer and I will go in the front,’ he commanded in an authoritative, Scottish tone. Greamer nodded, and the interpreter relayed the message to their attaché. Williams rolled his eyes, frustrated with the language barrier and Greamer laughed silently, shaking his head. Williams waited until they were all clear on what to do and they crept out from behind the vehicle towards the building.
Within seconds, they were met by a volley of automatic gunfire and dived for cover, shouting instructions at each other as the bullets bounced off the dry, crumbled stone around them. There were few areas of cover out here and Williams’ heart beat faster. He had been separated from his interpreter and attaché and he looked desperately around for Greamer, who had found cover alongside a pile of rock further up the road. Greamer nodded to him and Williams nodded back, motioning that he thought there were eight or more men inside.
With a keen and well trained eye, he noticed several men exit the rear of the building on foot, towards a Jeep, whose driver was already looking panicked.
‘Looks like we interrupted your meeting, Azidi,’ Williams said aloud as he motioned for Greamer to follow him. The two men managed only a few steps before one of those fleeing turned and opened fire on them. Williams and Greamer scattered, avoiding the bullets ripping up the ground between them. They were back on track in seconds but the Jeep was mobile and heading off among a cloud of dust and smoke. Williams could hear gunfire back at the building behind them and ran towards the lead vehicle in their convoy. He jumped in and started the engine, wheel spinning into the dust as he thundered after Azidi’s vehicle.
Azidi opened fire on them vigorously from the back of the Jeep and Williams threw the steering wheel left and right, swerving to avoid the hail of automatic fire. His windscreen was hit and Williams, in the panic, flung the wheel round sharply to the left, hitting a rock, causing the four-by-four to crash over onto its side as the engine emitted plumes of smoke. There was a satisfied cheer from the Jeep as it quickly vanished out of sight toward the Lebanese mountains. The pursuing vehicles, realising Williams’ plan and having given chase, screeched to a halt at the side of the overturned vehicle. The wheels were still spinning, and the engine was over-revving, smoke billowing out from the undercarriage. Williams was hurt, not badly but enough to draw blood, and he scrambled out of the passenger window which was facing the sky, covered in blood and dirt, looking beaten but OK.
Greamer grabbed his arm and helped to haul him from the wreckage and clear of the vehicle in case the fuel tank had ruptured. It was a good call from Greamer, for as they staggered away from it, the entire vehicle erupted into flames. The men threw themselves at the ground as the shock wave and heat from the fuel tank hit them like a tsunami, throwing them forward. Williams was the first to put his head up, spitting blood and dust as he checked around for everyone else. Greamer was cut but otherwise unharmed. Everyone seemed OK, breathless, but alive. Williams got up and kicked the stones in frustration.
‘I HAD HIM!’ he shouted to Greamer, who was walking towards him reloading his weapon and looking around for snipers.
‘I bloody had him!’ he cried again at Greamer. Greamer nodded as he handed Williams his water tank, which Williams drank from excessively and wiped his sweat-laden, dirty forehead.
‘Don’t worry man, there’ll be another opportunity to get the bastard!’ Greamer reassured Williams before checking the horizon to see the rush of vehicles coming towards them.
‘C’mon man, we gotta get outta here,’ he warned.
Williams agreed and Greamer patted Williams’ back in support as the group ran back to their vehicles. Williams jumped in the front passenger seat, his weapon ready. Greamer jumped in the drivers’ seat and handed his AR-15 tactical defence rifle to Williams. Williams took it and held it at the ready as Greamer wheel-spun the vehicle around and headed off back in the direction they had come. None of them were happy at getting so close to Mohammed Al-Azidi and letting him get away.
An hour later, Williams and Greamer were at a camp where they had spent most of the night before planning their assault on Azidi and gathering intelligence on where his cell would meet next. It had taken months of planning to get to this stage and Williams was angry and disappointed. He spoke quietly but firmly to his associate.
‘We have to report to London immediately. I need you to go to pick up the Azidi trail and report directly when you have a confirmed sighting,’ he ordered.
His associate, a younger agent, nodded and left the tent, leaving Williams to pack the rest of his gear, before heading out to the airport.