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Authors: Larry Bond,Jim Defelice

Fires of War

BOOK: Fires of War
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~ * ~

 

Fires of War

 

[First Team 03]

 

Larry Bond and

Jim DeFelice

 

 

No copyright 
 2012 by MadMaxAU eBooks

 

 

 

~ * ~

 

Dramatis Personae

 

FIRST TEAM

 

Bob “Ferg” Ferguson

Sgt. Stephen “Skip” Rankin, U.S. Army

Sgt. Jack “Guns” Young, U.S. Marines

Thera Majed

 

SUPPORT PERSONNEL

 

Col. Charles Van Buren, commander, 777th Special Forces

Jack Corrigan, mission coordinator

Lauren DiCapri, mission coordinator

 

WASHINGTON

 

Corrine Alston, counsel to the president

Jonathon McCarthy, president of the United States

Thomas Parnelles, CIA director

Daniel Slott, deputy director, CIA

Josh Franklin, assistant secretary of defense

Senator Gordon Tewilliger

James Hannigan, legislative assistant to Sen. Tewilliger

 

SOUTH KOREA

 

Park Jin Tae, businessman

 

NORTH KOREA

 

General Namgung il-Tan, commander First Armed Forces

Dr. Tak Ch’o, scientist, Peoples’ Waste Site 1

 

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~ * ~

 

1

 

SICILY

 

“Dance?”

 

The blonde took a step backward, clutching at the collar of her blouse as if it had been wide open.

 

“I don’t
think
so,” she said.

 

“Come on. You look like you could use a dance.” Bob Ferguson gestured to the side of the open piazza, where a small jazz band was playing. “They’re playing our song.”

 

“This isn’t dance music,” said the woman stiffly, “and you’re very forward.”

 

“Usually I’m not,” Ferguson turned to the woman’s companion and pleaded his case, “but I’m here on holiday. Tell your friend she should dance with me.”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

Ferguson laughed and turned back to the blonde. “I’m not going to bite. You’re British, right?”

 

“I am from Sweden.”

 

“Coulda fooled me.”

 

“You’re Irish?”

 

“As sure as the sun rises.” He stuck out his hand. “Dance?”

 

The woman didn’t take his hand.

 

“How about you?” Ferguson asked, turning to the other woman.

 

“I’m Greek.”

 

“No, I meant, would you dance?”

 

Thera Majed hesitated but only for a moment. Then, shrugging to her companion, she stepped over to Ferguson, who immediately put his hand on her hip and waltzed her into the open space near the tables.

 

“Hello, Cinderella,” whispered Ferguson. “How are you doing?”

 

“I’m fine. What’s going on?”

 

“I felt like dancing.”

 

“I’ll bet. What would you have done if Julie accepted your offer?”

 

“I would have enjoyed two dances.”

 

Ferguson whisked her out of the way of a hurrying waiter.

 

“There’s no one else dancing, you know,” said Thera.

 

“Really?
‘But I only have eyes, for you.
’” Ferguson sang the last words, grabbing a snatch of a song.

 

“Why are you contacting me?”

 

“Itinerary’s changed,” he said, spinning her around.

 

“What’s up?” she asked as she came back to him.

 

“Everything’s being moved forward. Some sort of push by the UN. You’re leaving for Korea in the morning.”

 

Ferguson danced her around, improvising a stride slightly quicker than a standard foxtrot to swing with the jazz beat. He’d learned to dance as a teenager in prep school—the only useful subject he picked up there, according to his father.

 

“We’re not going to have time to get security people on your team,” he whispered, pulling her back.

 

He felt her arms stiffen and started another twirl.

 

“You all right, Cinderella?” he asked her, reeling her back in.

 

“Of course,” said Thera.

 

“We’ll have people standing by. Relief caches will go in while you’re down South, exactly where we’d said they’d be. Plan’s the same; you’re just not going to have anyone on the IAEA inspection team with you.” He stopped and looked at her. “You cool with that?”

 

The IAEA was the International Atomic Energy Agency. After two months of training, Thera had been planted on the agency as a technical secretary; her team had just finished an inspection in Libya.

 

“I’m OK, Ferg. We shouldn’t make this too obvious, do you think?”

 

“Hey, I’m having fun,” he said, leaning her over.

 

He glanced toward the Swedish scientist, who was watching them with an expression somewhere between bewilderment and outrage. Ferguson gave the blonde a smile and pulled Thera back up.

 

“If you want to bail, call home. We’ll grab you.”

 

“I’m OK, Ferg. I can do it.”

 

“Slap me.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Slap me, because I just told you how desperately I want to take you to bed.”

 

“I—“

 

“’I only have eyes, for you .. .’”

 

“I won’t,” said Thera loudly. She took a step back and put her hands on her hips. “No.”

 

“Come on,” said Ferguson. “We’re obviously meant for each other.”

 

Thera told him in Greek that he was an animal and a pig. The first words sputtered. She imagined herself to be the technical secretary she was portraying, not the skilled CIA paramilitary looking for violations of the new Korean nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

 

And she imagined Ferguson not to be her boss and the man who had saved her neck just a few months before but a snake and a rogue and a thief, roles he was well accustomed to playing.

 

Though he was a handsome rogue, truth be told.

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