For my second post on this August Friday, I’ve got an enticing extract from Legacy Of Guilt from L. J. Morris for you.
Massive thanks to Zoë O’Farrell of Zooloo’s Book Tours for inviting me to join the tour and for the extract I’m sharing today.
The latest espionage thriller from L. J. Morris, the best-selling author of the Ali Sinclair series.
When photographs of a missing Russian missile scientist show he is still alive, and a Soviet era nuclear warhead goes missing in Iraq, ex-marine Logan Palmer must track them both down before the Plutonium can be turned into a devastating, terrorist weapon. But, with thousands of lives at risk, Palmer doesn’t realise that the only person in the world he cares about is the one that’s in the most danger. Neither does he know whether he’ll survive long enough to save anyone.
Two men, a little worse for drink, walked through the door and up to the bar. They were obviously fit, but not overly muscular. Their haircuts and demeanour flagged them as military. US military by the sound of it. The US embassy wasn’t far away, and it wouldn’t be unusual for off-duty marines to be out on the town. Of course, they could just be on holiday, but there was something else that Palmer had noticed. One of them was wearing a polo shirt with the Greenline Solutions logo on it.
Palmer waited for the men to get their beers and pick a seat, then nodded to one of the women hovering around the door. The woman smiled and flicked her hair over her shoulder. She adjusted her dress, what there was of it, and tottered over to where Palmer was sitting.
Palmer pulled out a wad of money and peeled off two notes. ‘What’s your name?’
‘Kim, but you call me what you want.’ She ran her hand across Palmer’s chest.
Palmer held up the money. ‘Kim, I want you to go over to those two Americans and start an argument.’
The young Malay woman was unsure, she didn’t want to get into trouble, but this guy was offering her more money than she usually earned in a week. She pointed across the bar to where the two men’s raucous laughter seemed to be getting louder. ‘But they’ll get angry.’
‘It’s okay. I’ll step in before anything happens, I promise.’
Kim paused, this much money could get her off the street for a week. She could spend time with her family. She had been asked to do stranger things. What harm could it do? ‘Okay.’ She took the two notes and tucked them into a small leather bag that hung from her shoulder, turned, and set off across the bar.
Palmer waited until Kim was almost next to the two Americans, then followed her. The bar was getting more crowded, and the noise level meant that he couldn’t hear the conversation, but whatever Kim was saying was having the desired effect. The biggest of the two men stood up and grabbed Kim’s wrist. She responded by pulling away and then slapping him. She had a great right hook, and the American took a step back holding his face.
The look that flashed across the big man’s face gave away his intent, he meant to do Kim real harm. As he walked forwards, his fists clenched, Palmer stepped in.
The American was at least a head taller than his friend, but Palmer matched him for height and bulk. It was enough to make the man hesitate as he realised that taking on Palmer wouldn’t be anywhere as easy as what he had in mind for Kim. The man was a classic bully.
Palmer pulled Kim around behind him and held his hand up in front. ‘Whoa, slow down there, mate, no need for anyone to get physical here.’
The man pointed aggressively at Kim. ‘She says I owe her money. I’ve never seen her before.’
‘It’s okay, I’ll take care of it. Obviously, a misunderstanding. We all look the same.’ He waved towards the barman, held up two fingers then pointed at the table. ‘Have a seat and a beer, guys. Relax.’
Palmer backed away from the two men, keeping Kim behind him. Once they reached the door, he turned around to check on her. ‘You okay?’
Kim nodded. ‘I think I hurt my hand.’
Palmer laughed and rubbed the side of his face. ‘I’m glad it wasn’t me.’ He pulled another two notes out of his pocket and handed them to her. ‘Here, you’ve earned it. I’d go home for the night if I were you, just in case.’
Kim took the money and smiled. ‘Thank you.’ She put the notes into her bag and flagged down a taxi.
Who Is L. J. Morris?
L. J. Morris was born in Cold War, West Germany, but grew up in the North of England. During his childhood, books were always an important part of his life. He read everything he could get his hands on but always found himself drawn towards the thriller genre. At 16, eager to see the world he had read about, he left school and spent most of the 80s and 90s serving in the Royal Navy.
After his military service, he continued to live and work across Europe, The USA, and Southeast Asia for several more years. It was during this time that his love of storytelling resurfaced. He jotted down ideas, using the locations he found himself in as a backdrop, and added in details from his own experiences to make the stories feel authentic.
He now lives back in the North of England, with his wife and two sons, where he still works in the defence industry. His short stories have appeared in several anthologies and the first of his Ali Sinclair thriller novels, Desperate Ground, was published in 2018 by Bloodhound Books. The sequel, Hunting Ground, followed a year later.
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