Solstice Shadows by Avanti Centrae

Solstice Shadows

Solstice Shadows (VanOps #2) by Avanti Centrae
English | 2020 | Mystery/Thriller | ePUB | 3.7 MB

Avanti Centrae is the author of the international award-winning VANOPS thriller series. An instant Barnes and Noble Nook bestseller, THE LOST POWER took home a genre grand prize ribbon at the Chanticleer International Book Awards, a shiny bronze medal at the Wishing Shelf Awards, and an Honorable Mention at the Hollywood Book Festival. Her father served as a U.S. marine corporal in Okinawa, gathering military intelligence during the first decade after the Korean War. Her work has been compared to that of James Rollins, Steve Berry, Dan Brown, and Clive Cussler. She resides in Northern California with her family and German Shepherds.

Software expert Maddy Marshall isn’t sure she’s ready for a hazardous role in black ops. But when an armed Russian thief makes off with a rare ancient star chart, the aikido black belt has no choice but to join her VanOps boyfriend and twin brother in the pursuit. If her royal Spanish family legends are true, the chart leads to a superconductive treasure trove capable of powering the ultimate instrument of global destruction. Setting off on a mad dash to uncover the secrets of a Mexican archeoastronomy site, she and the VanOps team unearth a clue dating back to biblical times. But as they race across the globe to Morocco, Turkey, and Egypt, they find themselves only a half-step ahead of sinister assassins. Before millions die at the hands of an anti-American Russian government, can Maddy crack the secret code?

The golden forks of lightning that raged over the bruised sea reminded Ravi of a thunder-imbued romp with his Russian mistress on her four-poster bed. After their lovemaking, they’d thrown wide the bedroom’s snowy-white French doors and watched the electric skies as they cooled off.

Lost in the recollection, the hard kick to his thigh came as a shock. He toppled sideways onto the cold sand, the memory forgotten.

“Ambassador Singh. Sit up and put your hands behind your back.”

Guttural and accented, it was the voice of a stranger. Ravi had thought he was alone in the aquamarine cove, guarded by his expensive travel guide and the towering walls of seaweed-encrusted rock.

He pushed himself to a sitting position on his beach towel and crossed his legs, suddenly feeling cold in his swimsuit. He glanced around. Dark thunderclouds obscured the sun, violent wind whipped his short black hair, and the surf angrily pounded the beach. The guide who brought him to this remote island was lying facedown, fifty meters away, unmoving. Ravi bit his lower lip.

A man wearing a black executioner’s hood moved from behind Ravi and stood between him and the tortured sea, hands on hips. Rough, white rope was coiled in the man’s left hand, and a length of flexible wire was attached to two wooden handles in the man’s right. Ravi recognized the wire device as a garrote, traditionally used for assassinations. Ravi’s stomach clenched—hard. Bile rose in his throat.

Ravi swallowed the bitter acid. “What do you want?”

The man whipped the wire of the garrote around the back of Ravi’s shoulders. It stung like the bites of a million fire ants. Ravi screamed.

“Shut up. We’re alone here. Put your hands behind your back. Do it now.”

If he complied, Ravi knew he was doomed. He tried to get upright and lunge at the man, but his beach towel and the soft, wet sand pulled at his legs, telegraphing his intention. The man laughed and kicked Ravi in the side of his chest. Something snapped—a rib?—and he landed on his back. For a moment, his world was a starred kaleidoscope of suffering.

“This can be quick, or extremely slow and painful. Your choice. My recommendation is to roll over and put your hands behind your back.”

Defeated, Ravi complied, earning him another searing jolt from his rib. A distant part of him wondered where the man was from. Not India, not with that accent.

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