Read Into the Black Online

Authors: Sean Ellis

Tags: #Fiction & Literature, #Action Suspense, #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Adventure, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thriller, #Sea Adventures

Into the Black

BOOK: Into the Black
6.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub





Sean Ellis brings the ancient hunt for the legendary Golden Fleece into the modern era with INTO THE BLACK—magic intact
." -- Thomas Greanias, New York Times Bestselling Author of THE 34th DEGREE and THE WAR CLOUD


Sean Ellis is an author to watch closely. Into the Black is one of the top ten thrillers of the year! An adventure story that will stay with you long after the read is finished. You can count this reader as a huge fan of Nick Kismet
!” – David L. Golemon, New York Times bestselling author of EVENT, LEGEND, ANCIENTS, LEVIATHAN, PRIMEVAL, and in 2011, LEGACY!


INTO THE BLACK is a rollicking adventure that races through your hands like a hydrofoil flying across the sea. Filled with masterful action scenes and a great new hero in Nick Kismet – a lucky soul who knows only one way to live: full speed ahead – Sean Ellis has mixed a perfect cocktail of adventure and intrigue and this one is definitely shaken and not stirred."
—Graham Brown, author of the thrillers BLACK RAIN and BLACK SUN.


Sean Ellis is a thriller reader’s dream come true
.” – Jeremy Robinson, author of PULSE and INSTINCT


Sean Ellis brings another high-energy adventure to his fascinating action-hero, Nick Kismet. INTO THE BLACK offers a brilliant blend of science and mythology to each heart-pounding twist and turn that every thrill-seeker craves
." – Theresa Danley, author of EFFIGY.


Sean Ellis is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Between his high-flying adventures of Dodge Dalton or the relic hunting exploits of Nick Kismet, Ellis is just plain fun to read. This up-and-comer is someone everyone needs to watch out for
!” – J. Kent Holloway, author of PRIMAL THIRST and SIRENS’ SONG.








Published by Seven Realms Publishing, LLC


Copyright  2010  Sean Ellis


Kindle Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.






To my brothers in 3rd Platoon, B Company SECFOR, 41st Brigade Combat Team

Afghanistan 2006-2007






I am indebted to author, historian, marine archaeologist, and real-life adventure hero Tim Severin.  His 1986 book
The Jason Voyage: The Quest for the Golden Fleece
, planted the seed that would eventually become this story.


I would also like to thank my editor, Kent Holloway; my friend  Robert Charest, for being the first person to really believe in this story, all those years ago; Steve Chown and Mike Belshaw, for encouragement and suggestions along the way; Rich Steeves, Candace Bowen Early, and Nilda Zepeda for proofreading; Ian Kharitonov, for keeping me from embarrassing myself too much with all things Russian (and apologies to him as well for once or twice ignoring his sage advice); Graham Brown, Thomas Greanias, David Lynn, Golemon, Theresa Danley, and Jeremy Robinson for saying nice things about this book and being willing to let me put their names on the cover; and always, always, always, I want to thank my long-suffering family for all their long-suffering.










Once upon a time, a fairy tale came true.  The princess met her prince, and for a brief shining moment, believed that happily ever after just might happen.  Then the war came and the prince went away and everything changed....

Her finger hovered over the number pad of the satellite phone.  Although she had been planning this moment for days now, she had never really thought about just what she would say, or how this message might tear open some old wounds; wounds that, she realized only now, were still not quite healed.


Dearest Nick, You can't imagine how I've missed you…


"God, that's awful," she murmured and quickly deleted the text.  He deserved better than that; deserved better than what she was about to do.  Still, she had moved on, and he probably had too.  Whatever had existed between them had died a long time ago….



September 1991


She slammed the door forcefully, angry but not really sure why, and immediately started running.  He hadn't asked where she was going.  He didn't ask about much of anything anymore.

They had met two years before when she, Lysette Lyon, was a college freshman and he, Nick Kismet, was a sophomore.  It had been lust at first sight, a casual but very intimate relationship, yet beyond the physical excitement of their time together, a deeper affection had taken root.  After a couple weeks, they were exclusive and she was sneaking out of her dorm every night in order to be with him.  They seldom fought, and even when they did, they made up quickly and passionately.  They were both counting the days until they could officially move in together, and she had a feeling that he might be planning to ask for something even more permanent.  He was a romantic and that was just the sort of thing he might do.

But then Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, America marshalled her volunteer armies, and he—a Second Lieutenant in the Army Reserve—was whisked away to another world. 

She had been faithful to a fault, writing letters and sending care packages, dutifully watching reports from the desert on CNN, and crying herself to sleep at night because he wasn't there.  For a while, he had reciprocated, sending her emotional letters from his training station and then from the front line in Saudi Arabia, but shortly after the beginning of the Hundred Hour War, the letters—all written before the start of the ground offensive—had ceased coming.  She had begun watching the news reports with dread, fearing the moment when the anchorperson would speak his name.  She had even called his father—his only living relative—to see if there had been any word.  No news, as frustrating as it was, was better than bad news.

Three agonizing months had passed before his next letter arrived, a terse missive explaining that he had been wounded in action and was now recuperating in a hospital in Germany.  From that moment on, nothing had been the same.

She ran down the walk and hit the pavement at a pace that matched the level of her anger.  "Damn him," she muttered under her breath, unconsciously accelerating into a near sprint.  The park was only a few blocks away and she knew that as soon as she reached the open manicured green space, her ire would fade.  Nevertheless, the root cause of that emotion still remained, like a noxious weed determined to grow back swiftly when plucked.  Things were not good between them and hadn't been in several weeks.

Deep down, below the hurt, she knew that it wasn't his fault.  Something terrible had happened to him during that war—something he either could not bring himself to talk about, or was compelled by orders to keep secret.  His physical wounds had healed but the injury to his soul was still bleeding. He had spoken of resigning his commission but she knew that alone would not give him the healing he needed.

And then tonight's bombshell.  "I think I need to go away for awhile."

"Okay."  Her answer had been, of necessity, guarded.  She was just three weeks into the term and a vacation was out of the question. Nonetheless, wheels had begun turning in her head; she would make it work somehow.  "That's probably a good idea.  Where should we go?"

"Not 'we,' Lyse.  It's something I need to do alone.  I need to find something…"

Find something
? What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"I wish I knew."  He had offered a grim smile.  "I can't even explain it to you, because if I did, you'd probably want to have me committed."

She had taken a deep breath, trying to buffer the acid of what she'd really wanted to say.  "Okay.  Maybe a couple weeks on your own will help you get your head in order."  She had regretted that immediately; she hadn't meant to imply that he was crazy.

"It might take more than a couple weeks.  I'm not even really sure where I'll be looking."

"You're so damn cryptic sometimes."  She'd tried to pass her comment off as a joke, but there was no humor in her laughter.  He hadn't picked up on it of course, and after listening to a few more halting attempts at an explanation, she'd realized that she had better leave before things exploded.  She had left the room, changed into running clothes and headed out without another word.

As she hit the park trail, her thoughts wandered as she had expected, but they didn't stray far.  Not for the first time, she wondered what exactly had happened to her lover during that brief conflict.  He bore none of the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder; he didn't wake up screaming in the night, reliving a battle or the death of a comrade.  Rather, his affliction seemed to be something on the order of a religious experience; it was as if he had received some kind of supernatural visitation and was now struggling to understand his calling.  The idea of Nick Kismet as a reluctant prophet brought a smile to her lips but it didn't last long.

She stopped dead in her tracks as she realized where she was—an isolated stand of trees along the trail where the park's lights did not quite cast their rays.  It was nearly dusk and the long shadows added to the eerie malevolence of the dark woods.  She ran the trail often and was always wary in this section, gripping her pepper spray as she sprinted through, but this time her distracted thoughts had led to a collapse of her innate caution.  She fumbled in her waist pack for the defensive aerosol canister but realized with growing dread that she had left it behind, along with her ring of keys.  She looked up, peering into the darkness both ahead and behind, and took a deep breath.  The wooded section was only about fifty yards long; she could sprint that in a few seconds.  Turning back just wasn't in her nature.

She started off slowly, tentatively peering into the shadows, but as she moved deeper into the black, she felt a growing fear—a premonition of danger—that was all too quickly manifest.  Something moved from the cover of the tree line to block her path.  She skidded to a stop and whirled around but it was already too late.  Another figure burst from the woods behind her and without words or hesitation, threw his arms around her.

Adrenaline hit her bloodstream like a sledgehammer, but it also distorted her perception of time.  Although the attackers converged on her like feral dogs, from her perspective, they seemed to move in slow motion. 

She deftly avoided the attempted tackle. Standing barely five feet tall, she had little difficulty slipping under the arms of the large man, but she was not content to simply evade and escape.  As the man's arms closed on empty air, she threw an elbow into his solar plexus and despite his overwhelming advantage of size, he went down gasping for air.

The other man moved in quickly to assist his partner, but Lyse's small victory had emboldened her to stand her ground.  The attacker pulled up just out of reach, striking a threatening pose, and she responded by dropping into a ready stance ingrained from more than three years of Tae Kwon Do training.  The man threw a punch, which Lyse deflected with an overhead block and followed through with a strike at the man's chin.  This time however, her aim was not as good.  Her fist glanced off his jaw and left her open for reprisal.  There was a flash of light across her vision and a piercing ringing in her ears as she stumbled sideways, but what hurt the most was the realization that she had badly misjudged the situation; she had passed up a perfect opportunity to escape, and now she was about to pay the price.

She scrambled back to her feet, trying to remember what to do next, and narrowly avoided another blow from her assailant by throwing herself onto the ground.  The man misinterpreted this as victory and with a lascivious laugh advanced again.

"Wrong move, sucker."  Lyse lashed out with both feet, jamming them into his knee with such force that she was propelled backwards toward the tree line.  The man’s leg bent sideways with a sickening crack and he went down screaming.  She scrambled erect, her head still reeling from the earlier punch, and this time she did not let her pride keep her from winning the battle by retreating.  Despite the fact that the streetlight down the trail seemed to have split into divergent halves, she set off at a sprint.

BOOK: Into the Black
6.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Dirty Weekend by Gabrielle Lord
The Counterfeiters by Andre Gide
Satin & Saddles by Cheyenne McCray
Bóvedas de acero by Isaac Asimov
Bleeding Out by Baxter Clare
Kazán, perro lobo by James Oliver Curwood
Under the Mistletoe by Puckett, Tracie
Split by Tara Moss
Under the Boardwalk by Barbara Cool Lee