Nathan Christopher Styles, a former US Army Special Forces operative, embarks on a perilous journey that may cost him his life. Seeking safety as he bravely confronts his alleged adversaries, he must also battle personal demons in the form of paranoid-schizophrenia. Styles relies on trusted confidants as he attempts to navigate the pitfalls -- all the while unsure his trust is always well placed. He's a man who thought he had it all, suddenly finds himself alone, his world shattered. His circumstances offer scant hope of reclaiming a normal life as he fights just to stay alive.
"Marti's previous works revealed his ability to expertly weave a tapestry of danger and suspense. However, Phoenix Reborn is positive proof that this author has outdone himself with his uncanny talent for story-telling. This book will have readers begging for more!"
- James R. Atwood, Master Sergeant (Retired), U.S. Army
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.41(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By Rafael A. Marti
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Rafael A. Marti
All right reserved.
Chapter OneShelley Styles is picturesque, with long flowing strawberry-blonde hair, a slender physique and the most amazing blue eyes one could ever behold. She is goddess of beauty among mere mortals. As lovely as a rose but much to Nathan Christopher's surprise, this rose's thorns were hidden and many.
Nathan Christopher still recalls when she called him the man of her dreams - little did he know she would become the woman of his nightmares. Now his marriage is over and he must clear his head and make a move or he'll lose his job too. He decides to call his supervisor to request some time off.
"Hello Steven, this is Nathan Christopher," he says into his cell phone.
"Hello Nate, what can I do for you?"
Nathan Christopher loathes to be called Nate, but he lets it slide. He needs to be diplomatic if he's to receive his request.
"I need to take two weeks emergency vacation."
Steven Baker is a no-nonsense corporate type of guy. The only chink in his armor is that he has a big heart and therefore at times he can show signs of being compassionate. After hearing Nathan Christopher's ordeal, he grants him the time off he requested.
Now it is time to strategize and call in favors. He dials up his best friend, Rob Rossinelli. He explains everything that's transpired to Rob.
"Stay put, I'll be there in a half-hour. You can crash at my pad," Rob informs the somewhat overwhelmed Nathan Christopher.
Nathan Christopher is grateful for his tactical training which provides him with the gifts of recovering quickly after shock, surveying the situation and utilizing limited resources. This training has allowed him to react quicker than most people would in trying to rectify his dilemma. He has done so by regaining his composure, calling his boss and his former brother-in-arms. Now if he could only get past the confusion and find the answers to why his marriage ended so abruptly, he could put his mind somewhat at ease. Even now his mind wants to betray him due to his paranoid-schizophrenia and anxiety disorders but his instincts and training are keeping him afloat.
Thirty-three minutes later, which felt like three hours, Rob appears to pick him up. Rob served in the Army with him, performing black operations or wet works; they are highly classified missions that are not always officially sanctioned by the US Government. Many times they've saved each other's life during very dangerous missions in some of the nastiest places on earth. Each would willingly give up his life for the other should the situation demand it.
"Styles, I took a break from work so I can take you to my apartment and you can relax and gather your thoughts. When I get done work we can talk more about this and perhaps I can assist you in some other ways."
"Thanks, Rob, I appreciate it."
Chapter TwoDusk comes and the sky is beginning to get darker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. International Crisis Control, Incorporated a twenty-four hour corporation dedicated to evacuating and repatriating executive travelers from global hot spots during times of crises - also Nathan Christopher's place of employment. They utilize open source intelligence gathering methods to forecast where trouble may occur throughout the world and to decide if they need to spend their time and assets on the situation. Nathan Christopher's been working here for about a year. His first civilian job after unceremoniously having to leave the United States Army.
Here Steven Baker is now short his best operations coordinator and the phones are ringing off the hook. He regrets granting Nathan Christopher's emergency vacation when he's so desperately needed here. Be that as it may, he made the decision and must now deal with the consequences. Or does he? He can simply rescind the approval and order Nathan Christopher back to work.
After all there's a major crisis occurring in South Korea after the North's seizure of a South Korean patrol boat. Both sides are preparing for war and Nathan Christopher's the only guy who can pull off the extraction of one very important executive stuck in the area. He decides to revoke the emergency vacation approval and calls Nathan Christopher.
Ring, ring, ring!
"Hello?" Crap! he thinks as he answers the call realizing a little too late who is on the other end.
"Nate, sorry to inconvenience you, but I'm afraid we need you," Steven says.
Steven explains the situation and Nathan Christopher begrudgingly accepts the assignment.
"Great! Grab your passport and stop by here for an advance; you're going to the Far East."
"Yeah, great," he says with a sarcastic lilt in his voice. "Korea, here I come."
"I'll finish briefing you when you arrive."
Chapter ThreeRob's apartment where Nathan Christopher just finished inhaling a quick meal prior to his boss' call. Nathan Christopher fills Rob in on the situation and on his new mission at work.
"I need you to gather some dirt on Shelley for me while I'm away. I need to know why she kicked me out and what she's up to."
"Sure thing. I'll take some time off work and look into things for you."
"I need to buy some more clothes and pick up my advance from the office . I'll be back to shower and pack. By the way, can I borrow your SUV?"
"Here are the keys. How long will you be?"
"One hour, tops," knowing full well that his schizophrenia and anxiety disorders make it difficult for him to ride in a vehicle let alone drive one. A fact he chooses to conceal from Rob because he doesn't want to admit it to himself as yet either.
Two hours and twelve minutes later Nathan Christopher returns with his tote bag and some additional clothing. He tosses Rob the keys to the vehicle, thanks him, apologizes for the delayed return and goes into the bathroom to shave and shower. After getting dressed in a suit and tie, he packs his tote bag and asks Rob to drive him to Philadelphia International Airport. The drive there's uneventful and quiet, except for Nathan Christopher as he keeps trying to battle silently the demons in his head due to his mental illnesses. Rob can sense something's not right but attributes his best friend's anxious demeanor to pre-mission jitters. Once they arrive at the airport Rob sees him off at the main entrance.
The airport is full of scenes of controlled chaos, with hundreds of people all going their own directions. He could see the children playing as their parents waited impatiently in line to check in; business men and women talking on their Blackberries and weary travelers unwinding with some drinks at the bar. He continues on his way to where the private jets are located. Once there he checks in, proceeds through the gate and boards the company's private airliner.
Korea, here we go again! he thinks as he recalls his previous time in Korea when he was a Special Forces Soldier with the US Army. He was stuck in the De-Militarized Zone training Republic of Korea - ROK soldiers on guerilla warfare tactics. It was one of his most boring assignments ever. The food was great though as long as one kept away from the kimchi; it's definitely an acquired taste. For most of his stay there he stuck to eating the MRE's the military provided for him.
Chapter FourRob has a mission of his own - and not an easy one at that - dig up some dirt on Shelley Styles. This will require his stealth and cunning. He'll have to do some dumpster diving and video surveillance, without the appropriate license of a private investigator. If caught he could face some serious problems with the law, but a promise is a promise and he'll perform his tasks without question.
He calls his employer and receives the time off he asks for, he then prepares the equipment he'll require to accomplish his objective and drives to the parking lot of Shelley's place of employment at Destiny Travel, Incorporated, a wholesaler of vacation packages to smaller travel agencies throughout the United States. There he stakes it out, waiting for her to leave her office complex. The task is tedious and boring, but then again when is waiting ever exciting? It brought him flashbacks of some of the operations he conducted while in the service, hurry up and wait for the right opportunity to strike. The time finally arrives and, using binoculars, he notices her getting into her car. He'll have to tail her without being noticed and tail her he does.
She stops at a house that seems odd to Rob, it's not any of her or Nathan Christopher's family or friends' place of residence. Perhaps she's still on the clock and is visiting a client who works from home. When suddenly a tall, shirtless, well-toned, African-American male, roughly in her age group opens the door and greets her with a passionate kiss right there on the porch. All the while Rob records the amorous encounter on camera. Using his tactical skills of cover and concealment, Rob remains undetected as the couple continues their public display of affection, never knowing that they're being recorded on video.
This is why she dumped Styles! This is good stuff Styles will be pissed, but he wants the skinny on what's up with his estranged wife and I just got it, he thinks.
He continues recording the couple's loving embrace and their entrance into the guy's apparent residence. His job done, Rob decides to go to the Styles' residence and use Nathan Christopher's key, providing it'll still work, to dig through the garbage to see what else he can find. He drives off to do just that.
Chapter FiveSeoul, The Republic Of Korea. It's been a grueling overnight flight to get here, but he's back after so many years. Now to find Executive Vice President of Far East Operations for Exellon, Incorporated and extract him before the airport is closed and all flights are cancelled due to the threat of impending war with the North. The State Department has already issued a warning to all American citizens to evacuate the peninsula. Unfortunately for Nathan Christopher the person he's supposed to rescue isn't heeding the State Department's advice. That is why the President of Exellon, Incorporated called International Crisis Control and requested that somebody fly to South Korea and get their expatriate employee out of the country and bring him back to US soil.
Now finding Mister Stan Kilwoski is going to be a bit problematic. The people on the streets are headed farther south trying to get away from the soon-to-be warzone. It's sheer chaos and through this disarray Nathan Christopher must navigate to the hotel where Mister Kilwoski's staying.
He reaches the American Eagle Hotel and enters. Behind the front desk is a refined South Korean woman.
"Hello, I'm looking for a guest of yours, a Mister Stan Kilwoski. Do you know if he's in?"
"Wet me caw his woom," she says with a heavy Korean accent.
She calls the room and informs Mister Kilwoski that he has a guest waiting for him in the lobby. Mister Kilwoski tells her that he'll be there momentarily.
Seven minutes later, Mister Kilwoski appears in the lobby and is greeted by Nathan Christopher. He's briefed on the reason why Nathan Christopher's come to get him. Begrudgingly he accepts the fact that he must evacuate and asks for time to pack. Time which he's granted, but time they could ill afford to waste. Nathan Christopher examines his ornate surroundings. He notices the waterfall in the lobby and the brass trimming on certain parts of the hotel. This is definitely a five star hotel, but it looked like a luxurious ghost town. He goes to where the couches and chairs are located with the enormous flat-screen TV mounted on the wall. It is on an American twenty-four hour news channel and they are discussing the ongoing crisis in the peninsula. They then mention that the airport has been officially closed. Damn!, he thinks, they'll have to find another way out of the country.
This leaves them only one option. They must get to the United States Embassy, and they must get there post haste. Kilwoski returns with his suitcase and briefcase and is briefed by his rescuer. Quickly they leave for the embassy.
Chapter SixRob's search through the garbage and condominium of the Styles proves fruitless. He exits and not a moment too soon, Shelley Styles has made her way home. They meet in the parking lot.
"What brings you here, Rob?"
"I'm looking for Nathan Christopher."
"Well, he no longer lives here. I'm surprised that you didn't know that."
"I didn't. I haven't heard from him in four days."
"Really? Well try calling him and if you do speak to him tell him to come get his junk out of my home."
"I can't stand him anymore. Besides he's been acting a little weird lately."
"Just weird. He sleeps with a gun under his pillow. I think he's having military flashbacks or something."
"Thanks for letting me know, I'll have to give him a call on his cell phone and see how he's doing."
They say good-bye and part ways. Shelley goes towards her condo and Rob gets in his SUV, sighs relief at not getting caught breaking and entering and leaves.
CH7[ Ring! Ring! Ring!
"This is Nathan Christopher, speak to me."
"Hi Nate, it's me Steven. Did you find Kilwoski?"
"Yes, we're headed to the embassy now."
"Good. See to it that you both get out of there safe."
Nathan Christopher closes his cell phone and pushes the annoying voices out of his head. He's heard these voices before but he's been able to effectively block them out - until now. He feels as if he's about to suffer another psychotic break - like he did when his father died approximately a year ago. To top it off he doesn't have his medication with him - it's in his former residence in the USA.
Things are looking grim. He must get Kilwoski and himself to the embassy and he must do so quickly before he enters a delusional state. He urges his charge to run through the crowded streets. The streets are bright with their neon signs shining as beacons to guide them on their path. Kilwoski is panic stricken by the herd of people running south nearly trampling him. He closes ranks with Nathan Christopher, his savior. As his hero hails a cab.
"Adashi, United States Embassy and step on it!"
The taxi driver drives as fast as the traffic will allow and gets them to the embassy. They exit the cab, pay the driver, and run to the gate. There two Marines are standing guard. They show their American credentials and are granted access into the embassy grounds. Once inside they are escorted to a vehicle which is part of a fleet that's soon to be in route south to Osan Air Force Base. Twenty-six minutes later the convoy begins to move toward its destination. ]CH7
CH8[ The government vehicles escorted by military Hummvees depart the US Embassy and head south. Nathan Christopher sees the neon lights of the city and they become blurry as his paranoid-schizophrenia starts causing some delusions. He tries his best to keep the delusional thoughts at bay. He's on a mission of great importance and must remain focused.
Mister Kilwoski notices that something is not quite right with Nathan Christopher and this fills him with concern and a great deal of anxiety. If his savior is headed for a meltdown then how can he be sure of his own safety?
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, just need my medication which I left stateside," he mutters.
"Medication? For what?"
"Paranoid-Schizophrenia and an Anxiety Disorder. But don't worry, I'm still in control."
And worrying he is. Mister Kilwoski's would-be hero is a basket case. He'll be sure to report his displeasure to International Crisis Control, Incorporated once he's back home - if he makes it back home. The North Korean threat is dangerously real. There have been news reports over the car radio of small arms fire being exchanged at the De-Militarized Zone. In addition, the North Koreans are building up their forces along the DMZ preparing for an all out strike.
Nathan Christopher asks the embassy representative aboard their vehicle if he can phone ahead to Osan Air Force Base and get him some anti-psychotic and antianxiety medication. The representative uses his cell phone and calls his contact in Osan. After a brief discussion he closes his cell phone.
"They'll have the meds ready for you when you get there."
"Thank you." ]CH8
CH9[ They're nearing the air base when an errant air artillery round hits the lead Hummer in the convoy causing the second Hummer to crash into the flaming wreck. The other vehicles in the convoy come to a screeching halt. The soldiers that remain assess the situation and try to control the evacuees that are panicking and screaming.
Excerpted from PHOENIX REBORN by Rafael A. Marti Copyright © 2010 by Rafael A. Marti. Excerpted by permission.
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