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The BulletProof Ghost: In Spades Preview

These are excerpts from the next book in The BulletProof Ghost novel series. The book releases on August 19, 2017. There is a release event at Barnes and Noble on Green River Road in Evansville, Indiana. Enjoy!

Prologue

Five years earlier

Dan Grimes was absolutely terrified. It was hard enough for him to breathe without this heavy bag over his head. The van he was in hit a big bump in the road. The man to his right grabbed his arm to keep him from falling out of his seat. As the van came to a gradual stop, Dan knew he was going to die tonight.

Dan felt his arm being jerked hard. He got to his feet and moved where the tugging directed him. Dan was forced to his knees. He could tell that they were near the waterfront just from the smell. Dan closed his eyes and tried to slow his breathing. Slow his heart. He needed to be able to think clearly if he was going to have a chance of getting out of this alive. As slim of a chance as that was.

The sack came off of Dan's head. His eyes started to adjust to the increased light. Lights were dancing off of the water in the distance. Dan could make out four men standing in front of him. Another was bound and on his knees to his right.

Dan heard a voice from his left, “Dan? Danny? They got you, too?” Dan turned his head to see Bryan Hutch, also on his knees. Dan immediately knew who to blame for this situation.

Dan angled his head forward again. Bryan was starting to panic. Dan couldn't lose it as well. He needed to keep as much control of the situation as possible. “Let me talk. Don't say anything.”

One of the men stepped forward. Dan recognized him. Anyone doing 'business' around Indianapolis knew this man. “Do you know who I am, Danny?”

Dan looked at the muscular, balding middle aged man. “You're Aldo Unicro.”

Aldo threw a sandwich bag full of clear crystals at Dan. The bag hit him in the face. His hands were zip-tied, so he couldn't block the bag of crystal meth as it smacked him. Aldo threw it pretty hard and it hurt, like getting slapped with fish-tank rocks. Dan made sure to keep a straight face through the pain. Aldo bent down to get in Dan's face. “My boy over here got this from you. He was going to keep all of the profit to himself.”

Dan looked over at the desperate man on his right. He was sweating bullets and nearly hyperventilating. Whereas Dan has only heard stories about crossing Aldo, this poor son of a bitch has seen his handy work in person. Dan needed to lie. The lie was more than likely going to kill this man he barely knew, “I did sell the glass to him. It was better quality that the shit you peddle.”

Bryan started to sweat even more than he had been. “Um…Dan? Could you not...”

Dan whipped his head in Bryan's direction. “Shut your fucking mouth, Bry.” Bryan did just that. Dan looked back over at Aldo. “Sorry. What was his name over there? Oh, yeah. Bobby?”

The man spoke up, “Bobby Drak, you mutherfucker!”

Dan kept talking to Aldo without acknowledging Bobby, “Anyway, Bobby said this was an official deal, with your permission. I didn't know he was cutting you out. You have my apologies for not doing the proper research.”

Bobby screamed, “You're a fucking liar! I told you that this was between you and me...” Bobby realized what he had said. Up until this point, he swore that he hadn't been cutting Unicro out. Bobby started to panic, “No, wait. I meant...”

Aldo pulled his 9 mil out of his holster. He pointed right at Bobby's forehead and pulled the trigger as his victim begged for his life. Bobby's brains and bits of his skull scattered all over the riverfront. Aldo rushed back over to Dan. He was practically spitting on Dan as he screamed, “I knew that man for six years! I drank with him. I did coke with him. I considered him a friend, but he fucked with my money.” He pointed at Bobby's body on the ground. “That is what happens when you fuck with my money.” He straightened out and adjusted his jacket. “Now, why shouldn't I do the same to you?”

Dan was caught off guard a little. Once Bobby was dead, he fully expected to be next. He closed his eyes to think, “Um...I..”

Aldo put the gun to Dan's nose, “You are boring me.”

Dan opened his eyes. “It's not just drugs.” He looked into Aldo's eyes. “You handle whores and the underground gambling. Dog fights, high stakes card games...”

Aldo thumbed the gun's hammer back to its original position. Bryan sighed a breath of relief. Dan knew they weren't out of the woods yet. Aldo swung the gun to a neutral position. “Okay, I'm listening.”

“I heard that if you had to give all of it up, except one thing, you would keep the gambling. Cards and dice are in your blood. You love the thrill of chance,” Dan smiled a little.

“How is this going to save you, Danny?” Aldo chided.

“You have a pack of cards on you,” Dan exclaimed.

“That was a statement, not a question,” Aldo smiled a little himself.

“I do my research,” the sweating Dan said.

Aldo pulled a deck from his jacket, “That you do. So you want to play a game?”

Dan nodded. “I would like very much for you to grace me with a game.”

Aldo started pacing around. “What to play? I'm not going to deal you a hand.”

“A guessing game,” Bryan squeaked out.

Dan smiled at his friend, “Yes, what Bry said, a guessing game. Your choice of what to guess.”

Aldo shuffled his cards, one over the other. “I could be a huge dick and make you guess the number and suit. That's no fun though. One in fifty two chance and you'll lose. I could ask you to guess the number or face, but again the odds are grotesquely against you. One in thirteen, not counting jokers, no jokers in my decks.” Aldo bent down to look Dan in the eye. “The suit. One in four. You're still at a disadvantage, but you have a fighting chance. Those are the games I love. I'll pull out a card.” Aldo did just that and kept the patterned side toward Dan. “And you tell me the suit.”

Dan held his breath. His life was either going to end right here, right now or he would live. Dan exhaled one word, “Spades.”

Aldo flipped the card around to show Dan a five of spades. “Good guess,” he motioned for his guys to let them go. “Now get the fuck out of my city.”

Emergence

4

"Kyle?!" Irene was shaking Kyle's shoulder.

Kyle grabbed her hand. "Stop, you're making me sick."

"You don't have a stomach." Irene couldn't see Kyle, she was reaching into his masking field. Kyle didn't want to take the chance that someone would see him sitting in the Sentra's passenger seat. Irene kept her eyes on the road. "You weren't answering me. Did you hear anything I said?"

Kyle shook his head even though Irene couldn't see it. "You had the radio up. I was doing something on the internet."

"Like the internet-internet?" Irene asked. "Were you using cell phone telepathy?" she laughed a little.

"My brain-node network has a lot of uses," Kyle explained.

"What were you doing?"

Kyle saw they were approaching Johnson City's limits. "Nothing important...just a group thing."

Irene looked over. "Was it a therapy group?" There was an awkward silence. "Kyle...you can talk to me. I'm glad you're talking to someone."

Kyle touched Irene's hand, part of it went invisible. "We are talking. These people are dealing with similar situations to mine. You haven't done anything horrible, so as much as you're helping me, this helps me in a different way."