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Authors: D.C. Stone

Feral Craving

BOOK: Feral Craving
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Evernight Publishing

 

www.evernightpublishing.com

 

 

 

Copyright© 2013 D.C. Stone

 

 

 
ISBN:
978-1-77130-268-5

 

Cover
Artist: Sour Cherry Designs

 

Editor: Marie
Medina

 

 

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

WARNING:
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is
illegal.
 
No part of this book may be
used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission,
except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.

 

This is a
work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any
resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

DEDICATION

 

I think the dedication in a novel is one of the hardest
parts of an author’s career.  There are so many people to thank, so many
countless pieces to the puzzle that mark a finished story.  I’m sure I’ll
forget someone here, but I vow to never forget them where it’s important—in my
heart.

First and foremost, I want to give a huge acknowledgment to
the team at Evernight and a sincere appreciation for all the hard work that
goes into running not only a successful publishing team, but also one of the
best in the industry (in my personal opinion).  I’d also like to show
expressed gratitude to the editor of this piece, Marie Medina. I’m grateful for
your insight, and understanding into making this story be the very best it
could be.  Without you, it would have never happened.  

I’d like to dedicate this novel, and the love and
commitment that stands behind it, to my father, Rodney.  While he likes to
constantly tease me with his romantic prose about food, the pride and love I
see shining from the old man’s eyes never ceases to amaze me. Pops, you’ve
taught me the true meaning of loyalty and hard-work, of honor and modesty, and
of integrity and love … all these things which are life lessons for anyone, and
things met with immeasurable appreciation.  Thank you for teaching me
about what it means to find your dreams, and more so to follow them among the
stars.

And as always, all my love to my husband—the better half of
who I am.

 

 

FERAL
CRAVING

 

 

D.C.
Stone

 

Copyright
© 2013

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

Bari Daxter had always been a rebel. The
one everyone looked to when something went wrong. The teacher’s car covered in
whipped cream and toilet paper on a hot summer day? The local mart busted into
and two six-packs missing? Anything like that, and the cops would drive out to
speak with Bari. So when he jumped into the moving Humvee, he wondered when he
had gone from one side of the law to the other.

Nine years and running, he had been with
the Special Forces in the United States Army. His current gig: tracking
suspected members of Al Qaeda in Iraq, and he wouldn’t change it for anything
in the world. He lived for it, the thrill of the chase, the feeling of justice
cracking down on terrorists, of preventing harm at their hands from spreading.
The need to fight against the evil, to protect those weaker than him, grew in
his bones, pulsed in his blood, and he relished it.

Sitting back in his seat, he na
rrowed his eyes at the vast amount of desert before
him. Yeah, it was a fucking lovely day out. The sun was shining, not a cloud in
the sky, and the glorious acrid scent of burned powder filled the hundred plus
degree air. Fucking lovely day indeed. And here he was, hunched in the Humvee
as it wound its way through the back roads of this shit god-awful place
somewhere near Baghdad. His team spoke in hushed tones, preparing for the
upcoming mission. They had been looking for this break for weeks, needing to
put a stop to the supply of weapons that kept making their way into their
territory.

Bari fiddled with his
M-4 rifle, the butt of his gun resting on the ground between his feet. He
pushed the metal back and forth between his hands as he watched small houses
pass in a blur, women and children dart out of view, and skinny dogs scrounge
for food. His senses sharpened as they neared the target. He jumped from
the vehicle as it drew to a stop and eyed the area, his
dark eyes scanning, latching on to movement. Their target sat in a truck, down
in a deep ravine about a hundred yards out. Behind the vehicle sat a house—or
what passed for a house. What the Iraqis called a house, he called a shack. It was
a wonder these places kept a roof over civilian’s heads during the sand storms
that rolled through the country like an apocalypse bearing down.

Insurgents scrambled like mice while he lined up his shot. Bari fired
through the glass of the truck, shattering the windshield, and watched as glass
from the sides exploded. Bullets hailed on the property, splintering wood,
resembling the arrival of a tornado. Bari watched as the operatives’ house
fractured, remains flying through the air like an explosion of sleet identical
to the shimmering spray of a wave crashing on the beach back home.
He hit the
sand like they had a million times before. You never knew when you might run
into some action, come upon the adrenaline rush. It filled his veins more than
any dare did back home—and gave him the out he needed when life became rushed
and complicated.

His boots pounded over the sand, and his
pulse thundered through his ears. He ran in jagged lines, avoiding the spray of
projectiles flying through the air. His team came up behind him with a sharp
curse from Tony; they stacked up on the front door.

 
“You want to wait for us next time, Cowboy?”
Tony’s low voice in his ear carried a hint of a Southern accent.

They needed a take-down. They had to get
the people who had supplied Al Qaeda with a safe haven and enough ammunition
and explosives to blow the moon out of orbit. Intel had determined that a
basement bunker was filled with the stuff. A scary situation, but one Bari was
more than ready to take care of—one his team had been trained to eliminate.

They were miked into one another for
swift communication. He knew without looking that all four members on his team
waited on entry, and he sure as hell hoped the team at the back of the house
would cover them from any opposing forces in the area. He held his weapon
ready, up against his face and tucked into his shoulder. At his right, Tyler
pointed his weapon to the right of his, effectively covering the length of the
house. Behind Tyler, Mike trained his weapon on the windows above. Drawing up
the rear came Tony, providing them support against an attack from behind.

Bari’s team ranked among the greatest on
the ground in Iraq. They were confident in one another’s abilities, would give
their lives to see one of the others return home. In fact, Mike had family to
return to, so the rest of them drew up the front and rear, protecting Mike.

 
Lifting a hand, Bari held up his middle
finger, his personal ‘go signal’, and readied the team for entry. The signal
went down the line from Tyler, to Mike, and then to Tony. Moments later, he
felt a return squeeze on his shoulder, the silent signal that indicated all
remained clear and the team stood ready. Bari lifted his leg and kicked
forward, busting the cheap lock. The door imploded, and they were in before the
dust cleared. He scanned the surroundings, his Assault Rifle following along
with his line of sight.

A short hallway broke off to the right.
He heard Mike enter after him, all of them breaking off in their 1-3, 2-4
alternate directions, moving without even a whisper of a sound. He heard no
footsteps, not even his own breathing, yet he knew exactly where each of his
team members was as they moved through the house.

His stealth training
taking over, he pushed through room-to-room, his mind honed and sharp with
intent, body moving without a second’s thought. Trash lay heaped throughout the
house, clothing abandoned without care, and candles sat in random spots across
the floor. He took it all in, scanning and searching for the adversary. You
couldn’t lower your guard, had to keep your hackles up and move as quickly as
possible. You had to take in as much as possible to ensure not only your own
safety, but your fellow team members’, too.

Without warning, the
room started to spin; a sudden, wicked wave of dizziness assaulted him. Bari
lifted a hand, reaching for the wall, and grunted through the nausea. He
wobbled on his legs, tried to reboot his mind.
Christ, not this shit again!
He needed his head. He had to get
away, but in a desert half the size of the US of A, he didn’t have any f
ucking options.

A sound—a whisper to his left. He snapped his head up. Nothing. Just air
and trash. The whisper moved to his right, suddenly magnified. Like nails on a
chalkboard. Bari whirled, lifting the pistol at his leg, his M-4 rifle now
forgotten at his feet. The room spun without warning. He held the pistol in
front of him, wavering, pointing at who the fuck knew and nothing all at once.
He rocked back on his heels and blinked, and his vision immediately focused.
His stomach still rebelled against the spinning sensation, and he breathed
through the bile rising up his throat.

Bari narrowed his eyes as a shape started to form before him. Fuzzy,
gray and brown colors mixed and swirled. He blinked, trying to make his eyes
and mind decipher what took shape. It was huge, as big as he, but what the fuck
was it? Lines of blue intermingled beneath its brown and gray spots and, as it
grew clearer, he saw what he pointed his muzzle at. Adrenaline rushed him. It
couldn’t be. But the image was unmistakable. He stared at the figure that
stared back at him. Then, it vanished—the shadow of what he swore was himself,
disappeared.

BOOK: Feral Craving
11.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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