I am delighted to share with you an extract of 66 Metres on Blog Tour today. Which is out now, you can grab your copy on Amazon for only 99p.
About the book:
The only thing worth killing for is family.
Everyone said she had her father’s eyes. A killer’s eyes. Nadia knew that on the bitterly cold streets of Moscow, she could never escape her past – but in just a few days, she would finally be free.
Bound to work for Kadinsky for five years, she has one last mission to complete. Yet when she is instructed to capture The Rose, a military weapon shrouded in secrecy, Nadia finds herself trapped in a deadly game of global espionage.
And the only man she can trust is the one sent to spy on her…
“A masterfully paced action thriller that takes readers to unexplored depths. The first novel in J. F. Kirwan’s Nadia Laksheva series introduces a heroine that readers are bound to fall hard for.” BestThrillers.com
Nadia sat naked on the armchair in her cramped room in the roof space of Old Smithy’s Inn. Stars peeked through the skylight. Idle banter from patrons standing outside the pub, having a quick smoke, competed with the less distinct hubbub that permeated all the way from the bar up to the third floor. Conversation, music, occasional shouts, babies’ cries. Her fingers itched to nurse a cigarette, but so far she’d stuck to her decision three months ago to give up. One reason she didn’t go downstairs.
Jake was the other. She could occasionally pick out his strong tenor voice. He’d been on her mind. She closed her eyes for a moment, imagined him naked next to her. Earlier she’d glanced at his body while he changed out of his wetsuit. A swimmer’s physique, her second favourite after gymnast. And his hands. Her fingers drummed on her thigh. She hadn’t come in a while, and the episode with Mike, difficult though it had been, had re-awakened her hormones. Jake’s voice drifted upstairs again, a laugh this time. She sat up straighter, and crossed her legs yoga-style.
To business. She weighed the pros and cons. Pro: he fit the bill of a sufficiently advanced diver to help her get close to the Rose. Con: he wasn’t alone. He was clearly with friends down below. Pro: he was here, now, and willing to take her to see the prop in two days, and she was under time pressure. Con: he was smart and in control underwater. That could be tricky when she swam away from the wreck to find the device. Pro: he liked her – at least she thought he did, despite his cool behaviour, which she put down to his professional demeanour. Con: she liked him.
That was the problem.
Her phone beeped. Kadinsky. Of course. She stood up and clicked on the short link embedded in the SMS. Her breath shallowed. A silent video showed a face, up close, a manicured finger vertical across brightly rouged lips, laughing, heavily mascaraed eyes, tousled dark hair. Katya mouthed two words in Russian: Still alive. As proof she drew back and held up an iPad playing BBC World’s latest news broadcast.
Nadia watched her elder sister. Katya’s pupils were dilated; she was high. Katya mouthed two more words – love you – then her face grew more serious, more alert, as if suddenly remembering this wasn’t a game. Take care, she mouthed, adding Miss you. She touched a finger to the tiny scar on her temple left by Nadia’s bullet five years earlier, then, just as she began to say something else, the image moved abruptly. Nadia bit her lip. She saw a man’s legs ending in expensive shoes. The video changed. Someone walking in the woods in daytime. They stopped before a crudely dug rectangular hole in the ground. An empty grave waiting, a rolled up black plastic bag lying on the damp soil.
Nadia’s breathing turned scratchy, her palms suddenly clammy. She took a slow, deep breath, squeezed her eyes shut for a few seconds then opened them. She knew the routine. What she wanted to do was tie up Kadinsky, castrate him with a serrated knife, feed him his balls, and see if he bled or choked to death first. Instead she typed a reply: Thank you. Working on it. Weather favourable. Monday looks good. She hit ‘send’, checked it had gone, then threw the phone onto her bed. Sitting on the edge of the soft mattress, she touched a finger to her left temple, felt the smooth skin, and glanced at the clock: 9:30pm. Half an hour before the fireworks. She got dressed in a loose t-shirt and jeans, snapped the skylight closed and headed downstairs.
She paused out of sight on the broad landing above the bar, the noise rising like heat. Everyone downstairs was having Saturday night fun, talking shit and getting drunk, or trying to get into each other’s pants. Meanwhile, her only sister was effectively a slave, one of many in Kadinsky’s lair. Whatever Katya had meant to him five years ago, her favour with him had clearly diminished – she was a disposable asset.
The landing reminded her of a thermocline, found when diving in deep water, a thin band separating one layer of warmer water from another one just below, around six degrees cooler. Except this thermocline was upside-down. She inhabited one world – brutal, ice cold and unforgiving – while those downstairs and elsewhere on this sun-drenched holiday isle lived in ignorant bliss. Yet she had to step into that layer and act like one of them, gain their trust, and then betray them. Not invite them into her layer, but at some point they – Jake in particular – would glimpse her through the hazy thermocline, and see her for what she was. A liar, a user, and sooner or later… a killer. Her mother would add, ‘Like your father.’
About the author:
In his day job, J. F. Kirwan travels worldwide, working on aviation safety. He lives in Paris, where he first joined a fiction class – and became hooked! So when a back injury stopped him scuba diving for two years, he wrote a thriller about a young Russian woman, Nadia, where a lot of the action occurred in dangerously deep waters. It was the only way he could carry on diving! But as the story and characters grew, he realised it was not one book, but three… J. F. Kirwan would love to hear from readers, you can follow him on Twitter at: @kirwanjf.
Goodreads Author Page:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15643489.J_F_Kirwan