Toll For the Brave
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From the first name in heart pounding thriller fiction. Ellis Jackson woke up hugging a twelve-bore shotgun. In the next room, his mistress and his best friend lay naked on the bed, their heads blown to pulp. Back in England at last, Ellis Jackson had finally cracked. Active combat, a Viet Cong prison camp and the callous treachery of his lover and interrogator, Madam Ny, had taken their toll. Ellis Jackson was out of his mind. Or was he? Maybe it would all have been easier to take if he really had been mad.
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was all I could think to say. ‘But that’s stupid,’ she replied. ‘There was nothing wrong, Ellis, nothing to be ashamed of. To be so attracted at the sight of a pretty woman is normal and healthy.’ Not that I really believed her for I had been branded clean to the bone too early and rugby and cold showers had never provided much of an answer. I searched for something to say and was saved from an unexpected source. Thunder had rumbled on the horizon of things on several occasions during the past
me relentlessly on. When he pushed the door open with his foot, the first thing I saw was the blood in a great scarlet crescent splashed across the white-painted wall. I turned, clutching at him as the earth moved. ‘A dream,’ I said brokenly. ‘I thought it was a dream.’ ‘No dream, Ellis,’ he said gravely. ‘This happened. This has to be faced.’ He pushed me forward into the room. They put me on a chair in the kitchen and someone produced a cup of tea. It tasted like something out of a sewer
brother-sister relationships when they are close, are confused affairs at best, strange currents pulling every which-way just beneath the surface. She worshipped St Claire, always had, which was understandable enough. She was a different person when he was around, smiling slightly anxiously, always to hand with anything from an ashtray to a Bloody Mary at the snap of his fingers. It wasn’t the kind of night for much traffic, heavy relentless rain clearing the road from Newbury on. Some of the
because as I led with the right, I switched techniques and pulled the rug out from under him. In other circumstances it might have seemed amusing, but I was beginning to lose my sense of humour fast. As he started to get up, I gave him a boot in the face, real old English back alley variety and he went against the wall hard, slid to the floor and didn’t get up. As I turned, Helen cried a warning. The black Red Dragon tapesty on the rear wall ballooned out like a sail in the wind and three more
cut across my line of vision. There were still a few rounds left in the magazine and I decided to hang on to them for as the six remaining riders herded me back towards the cliff edge, I saw that only one of them was armed, presumably the man who had shot my pony. The rest had only the long ivory-handled swords slung beneath the left armpit, each man in wide sleeved yellow robe and wearing a death band round the head. The man with the rifle tossed it to one side, vaulted from the saddle and