Buried within the black ops budgets of the Department of Defense, a new spy agency has been created. Unfettered by the oversight of self-serving politicians, it reports only to a secret panel of insiders. Its job is to target America’s enemies—both foreign and domestic—under a charter of three simple words: Find, Fix, and Finish.
Recruited as a field operative, Scot Harvath has just returned from his first assignment abroad when a bombing in Rome kills a group of American college students. The evidence points to a dangerous colleague from Harvath’s past and a plan for further attacks on an unimaginable scale.
Harvath is tasked with leveraging his relationship to lure the man out of hiding and kill him on the spot. But what if he has the wrong man?
Simultaneously, a young woman is struck by a taxi in a hit-and-run in Chicago. With only two intoxicated witnesses and over five thousand cabs in the city, the Chicago Police have given up on their investigation. But when the family’s attorney digs deeper, he will uncover a shocking connection to the bombing in Rome and the perpetrators’ plans for America.
As the story rockets to its conclusion, the plots intersect in a race to prevent one of the most audacious and unthinkable acts of terror in the history of mankind.
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SIX DAYS LATER
In a sixteenth-century farmhouse, a dwarf known to intelligence agencies across the globe only as “The Troll” lay bleeding to death as his house burned down around him.
He had made a very serious mistake, but it wasn’t until he had pulled his hands away from his throat and had seen the blood that he had realized just how serious. There was no excuse. He should have known better.
The woman had been too attractive, too perfect, too much his type. She had described herself as an “erotic gourmand,” with predilections ranging from troilism to chrematistophilia. But it was her fetish for peculiar body shapes, particularly dwarfism—known as morphophilia—that had convinced him they were perfect for each other and that he had to have her.
Precisely because she had seemed too good to be true, he had checked her out thoroughly. When satisfied that she was legitimate (and after having admonished the director of the Academy, as it was referred to, for not having brought her to his attention sooner), he arranged for her to be flown first class to Bilbao. There, he had a car meet her at the airport and take her to the train station where she traveled southeast into the Pyrenees. From the moment her feet touched the ground in Spain, he had had her watched. The nature of his business demanded that he be extremely cautious.
She had been advised to bring nothing but her passport and the clothes on her back. He had requested her sizes in advance and assured the Academy that he would provide everything that she would need.
When her train arrived in the sleepy mountain village, another car was waiting. The driver was professional and kept to himself as he made his way to the next transit point. Occasionally, though, the driver’s eyes wandered to the rearview mirror to steal glimpses of her incredible beauty.
After dropping her off at a nondescript trailhead, the car retreated down the rutted, dirt road and disappeared. Two large men on horseback appeared from the thick forest of trees leading another horse behind them. They each carried knives in their boots and sawed-off shotguns in short, leather scabbards forward of their saddles.
After checking the woman for weapons, they helped her atop her mount, and led her up into the mountains.
The party rode for almost two hours and not much was said. The men had been instructed not to make small talk with their charge. Finally, they arrived at the farmhouse.
The men galloped off with the horses, and she was left alone outside the little stone structure. Pushing open the front door, she saw a long wooden table covered with a fine linen tablecloth. Upon it was set a myriad of gourmet dishes. Champagne sat in a sterling silver bucket, a riot of exotic flowers exploded from a large crystal vase, and sitting at the head of the table was the Troll.
He was flanked by his two ever-present companions—a pair of white Caucasian Ovcharkas named Argos and Draco. Standing over forty-one inches at the shoulder and weighing over two hundred pounds each, the giant animals had been the dogs of choice for the Russian military and former East German border patrol. They were exceedingly fast, possessed a powerful urge to defend, and could be absolutely vicious when the situation called for it. They made perfect guardians for a man who stood just under three feet tall and had very powerful enemies—many of whom were also his clients.
What the man lacked in height, he more than made up for in charm and intelligence. He had a sweet face with deep, warm eyes. He proved himself to be a perfect gentleman, and his guest was more than happy to provide what he was paying for.
Through intense carnal rituals such as the Etruscan Butterfly and Erotic Entrainment, she took him to new heights of ecstasy.
They engaged in acts of sexual pursuit forbidden by even the most permissive of ancient societies. For the two of them, nothing was off-limits. In fact, the more outrageous or dangerous the act, the more willing she was to indulge in it.
She surrendered herself completely, infusing him with the greatest aphrodisiac of all (and the antidote to his greatest insecurity), power. A devotee of erotophonophilia, he twice pushed her right up to the very brink of death itself, only to bring her back at the last possible second. Holding her life in his hands was an incredible feeling. It made him feel like a god. Little did he know that she was slowly disarming him.
When they weren’t having sex, they engaged in conversations of such intellectual depth that he felt he had finally met his equal. Though he knew he shouldn’t, he fantasized that their relationship might lead to something more. He knew it was foolish, but no woman had ever stirred such deep emotion inside him.
He tried to remind himself that this was nothing more than a business relationship, but in his heart he still hoped. Gradually he was overcome. When he realized that there was little, if anything at all, this woman could ask of him that he wouldn’t do, he knew she had conquered him. And she knew it too.
Her first request concerned his dogs, the same two dogs that were never away from his side, not even when he took her to his bed.
There was no need for her to make up excuses as to why she wanted the dogs removed. The more rough their sex, the more agitated the dogs became. Even the dwarf had to admit that his dogs were ruining the mood, so into the hallway they went.
With the dogs safely at bay, the woman didn’t attack; not right away. She was an artist and true artists never rush their craft. For her masterpiece to be complete she needed his total trust, and so, she led him on a bit longer.
After two nights of making love without the dogs in the room, the time was finally right and the woman was ready. She had saved her most erotic, sexually charged game for last.
The little man wore a neatly kept beard. He was fastidious about it and trimmed it with a pair of scissors daily. To maintain the beard at his neck and cheeks, he used an old-fashioned straight razor.
It was highly polished with an ivory handle. She enjoyed watching him use it. It reminded her of being a little girl and watching her father, and she told him so. It was the only truth about herself that she ever revealed.
This time, she held out her hand for the razor. He was hesitant. It only lasted a fraction of a second, but it was long enough for her to notice.
“I want you to shave me,” she purred, opening the razor and handing it back to him as she stroked herself.
As the dwarf obliged her, the woman writhed in ecstasy atop his crisp, white sheets. Despite the size of his hands, they were surprisingly strong, as was the rest of him. He performed the delicate act with surgical precision.
When it became his turn, he propped two pillows against the headboard and leaned back. Unlike some of the more unusual games she had instigated, he had heard of this one before, but had never trusted anyone enough to do it. Of course the game could be played with a disposable razor, but that would have defeated the purpose. The excitement came from the danger.
Withdrawing the polished blade from the bowl of warm water, she struck a coy smile as she began to hum the “Largo al factotum” aria from The Barber of Seville and ran the razor back and forth along a towel as if it were a strop.
Sweeping her long, chestnut hair behind her neck, she bent down and kissed him on the mouth, allowing her heavy, bare breasts to briefly brush against his chest. Then she began to shave him.
The pleasure was indescribable. His senses were on fire as waves of sexual electricity pulsed through his body.
He licked his lips as he closed his eyes and arched his back. That was when she struck.
What People are Saying About This
“Quite possibly the next coming of Robert Ludlum.”
—Chicago Tribune, on The Last Patriot
"The Master of thrillers"
“One of the best thriller writers in the business."
—The Ottawa Citizen
“Frightening, illuminating and always entertaining, Thor gives us yet another work of pulse-quickening clarity. If you’re not hyperventilating once you’ve reached the last page, then you weren’t paying attention.” –Joe Hartlaub, bookreporter.com