About your Book:
When his empire is threatened by leftist elements in the United States government as well an anti-biotech terrorist cell, ruthless biotech baron Jerome William Wallace is forced to resort to the tried and true tactics of all-or-nothing blackmail and murder. However, he gets far more than he literally bargained for when he targets college student Glenda Jameson in attempts to complete his plans. God only knows how Glenda has ended up on Wallace’s hitlist. She’s never even met the man, let alone, done anything to endanger his totalitarian rule of the biotechs. It’s when she thinks herself done for, that the unlikeliest of unlikely heroes comes schlepping to her rescue. Xavier Clyde Hawkins is a suicidal, alcoholic, army veteran, living hand-to-mouth and from one homeless shelter to another. In an insane set of circumstances, Xavier becomes Glenda’s best, if not only, hope to discovering the truth that will save both their lives as they become wanted fugitives outrunning, both, hired and cloned assassins from one end of the country to the other. Can the police, who want Glenda and Xavier, and the FBI who want the terrorists, find the link in their cases before it’s too late?
“Dues of Mortality is a twisty, turny tale of treachery and deceit that turns into a high-stakes battle for the future of the country itself. Austin ably follows the trail blazed by such thriller greats as Steve Berry, Vince Flynn and James Rollins.” ~Jon Land, about the original version of Dues of Mortality.
Targeted Age Group: adult
The Book Excerpt:
Cleveland, Ohio, August 26, 11:50 a.m.
For Glenda, the interview at the bank could not have ended soon enough. She had spaced out once or twice, during, and the bank manager had to actually ask if she’d still been listening. She hadn’t. Det Robert’s suspicions about why she had been attacked were foremost in her thoughts. At one point, she felt it might even be advantageous to simply explain herself: that in the past twenty-four hours she’d been assaulted and almost raped, if not murdered, her apartment had been broken into and she was subsequently robbed of the few valuables she had and, oh yes, there was the off chance that it was all the result of some ill-conceived third-party revenge plot. Wouldn’t a potential employer just love to take all that into consideration? Once her ass hit the door, they would fold her resume into a paper airplane and nosedive it into the trash. Screw it, she thought. There was no point in spilling one’s guts to people who couldn’t care less. That sleaze of a bank manager had made that perfectly clear when he asked about Glenda’s “special skills” while gawking at her tits. Men!
Glenda jogged ahead and straight into the same alley she’d traipsed through only an hour earlier and in the opposite direction. The same shortcut back to her Civic parked two blocks over. Downtown parking being what it was, she was grateful to find a spot in the same county. She also needed every penny she had these days and even an hour inside one of those overpriced automated garages was an arm-and-a-leg compared to your friendly neighborhood street-meter. A long stretch of brick wall turned a corner to another long stretch between two rear buildings. It was like walking into dusk—the light of day abruptly cut off. A few feet ahead, were two large dumpsters on opposite sides of the alley. Another ten feet up and to the right was a third; it was angled kitty corner at a recess in the walls.
Hobson smiled a big smile inside. It wasn’t every day that a target made things easy. Not only had the woman shortcut through the alley, she’d also given Hobson nearly an hour to set the stage. He had lined up one of the dumpsters to give him a perfect field of cover. The section of alley was narrow and had no line of sight to the street. The only way he would miss if she had stayed out altogether, decided to go around this time instead of through. After finishing in the alley, he’d returned to the street and waited patiently across from the bank, well out of range of its outdoor cameras. He’d put on a pair of mirrored sunglasses and scrolled through a magazine. After thirty minutes, he got hungry, wanted to take a pee break, but acted on neither. Instead, he’d stuck dutifully to his five-foot rule, wandering no more than five feet from the spot where the Jameson woman had exited the alley. He had no idea how long she would be. He had thought of breaking into her room back at the motel, waiting for her to return. However, he didn’t know when she’d be back and she’d chosen a motel with cameras in its lot. When she finally reappeared from the bank, Hobson slipped into the alley and took point behind the nearest corner; he made lookout to be sure she was heading in his direction. Once she’d crossed the street, he fell back into the alley and pocketed himself behind his dumpster of choice. He’d already made sure the one across from it was slightly pushed outward to gently guide her into his trap. From there all he had to do was listen. Wait for the steps to get closer. Wait for them to pass by. When he saw the woman’s cute little ass wiggle out in front of him, he made his move.
Hobson eased out of his position. He didn’t spring or launch himself at her. Such movements could invite premature detection. He cupped her mouth with full-on force, made sure his grip was secure. He then pushed the woman to the ground and straddled her outright. He used his free hand to flick out a glittering pearl-handled knife like a hawk extending its wing. He then tightened his thighs and set the blade’s point directly under her left eye.
“Don’t make this hard,” he said. “You scream and I will kill you and anybody else who comes back here, you understand?”
Glenda went ice-white. If the man’s mouth hadn’t uttered a word his narrow unforgiving eyes would have done it for him. He meant exactly what he said. He would gut her at the barest squeak of protest. He traced the knife over her cheek, down to her neck, then further along her collarbone. He cut open her blouse, exposing her rose colored bra and the healthy cleavage beneath. He grinned impishly. He then moved his hand from her mouth to her throat.