Sample Chapter: King of Paine


THE BUREAU LEFT NOTHING to faith or chance. Four agents wearing black raid jackets scrambled out of the elevator into the hotel’s plush tenth floor corridor. Frank Paine charged out last, his lean frame contrasting with the broad shoulders and thick necks of his new colleagues.

To him, the show of power seemed overdramatic for a routine bust, but the Academy taught only one approach to confrontation: overwhelming force. That formula had worked for the FBI’s first century—the Wall of Martyrs honored only thirty-six agents—but as the team crept down the vacant hallway, the ghosts of Waco and Ruby Ridge murmured a prophetic warning in Frank’s ear. A surprise loomed in that hotel room. A welcome gift for The King of Paine.

Hands trembling, Frank approached the suspected pedophile’s doorway, hand gun drawn, dropping into a modified Weaver stance behind the others—right foot forward like a boxer, right hand extended and locked, left hand cupped around everything but the trigger finger. Each new agent practiced shooting in this position at Hogan’s Alley until it became second nature, deciding in milliseconds whether threats appearing in the Academy’s mock town presented real danger.

“This ain’t Quantico, Rook,” said Woody Woodbridge, his silver-haired training agent. A lanky man with angular features and a prominent Adam’s apple, he was a twenty-five year veteran of the Violent Crimes Squad and had been bitching all afternoon about missing the Cotton Bowl to baby-sit the Fucking New Guy. “It’s different when you’re using live ammo. I was so tense before my first bust you couldn’t pull a needle outta my ass with a tractor. Don’t forget to breathe. Slow everything down in your mind.”

Frank nodded, not correcting Woodbridge’s diagnosis of first day jitters. At thirty-three, he had walked away from a lucrative career, spent six months enduring a gut-busting personal training regimen on his own dime, and then completed the twenty-week new agent training program at Quantico before assignment to the Atlanta Field Office. He was ready for almost anything in that hotel room, from a shootout to tears, however the perv wanted to play it. But after sacrificing everything to join the Bureau, to reset his life’s course, no training could prepare him for the anonymous tip that had launched this sting operation.

 Copyright © 2011 by Larry Kahn

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