Read Fire Point Online

Authors: Sean Black

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Crime, #Kidnapping, #Murder, #Serial Killers, #Vigilante Justice, #Suspense, #Crime Fiction, #Mysteries & Thrillers

Fire Point

 

 

Fire Point

 

A Ryan Lock Novel

Sean Black

 

Praise for Sean Black

 

‘This series is ace. There are deservedly strong Lee Child comparisons as the author is also a Brit, his novels US-based, his character appealing, and his publisher the same’ ‒ Sarah Broadhurst,
Bookseller

 

‘This is a writer, and a hero, to watch’ ‒ Geoffrey Wansell,
Daily Mail

 

‘Black’s style is supremely slick’ ‒ Jeremy Jehu,
Daily Telegraph

 

‘The pace of Lee Child, and the heart of Harlan Coben’ ‒ Joseph Finder,
New York Times
Bestseller (
Paranoia, Buried Secrets
)

 

‘The heir apparent to Lee Child’ ‒ Ken Bruen, internationally bestselling author of
The Guards

 

‘Ryan Lock is a protagonist tough enough to take on the Jacks of this world (that’s Bauer and Reacher)’ ‒ Russel McLean

 

‘Black’s star just keeps on rising’ ‒
Evening Telegraph

 

 

 

 

Ryan Lock Books

 

Lockdown (Ryan Lock 1)

Deadlock (Ryan Lock 2)

Gridlock (Ryan Lock 3)

Lock & Load (Short)

The Devil’s Bounty (Ryan Lock 4)

The Innocent (Ryan Lock 5)

 

Other Books

 

Post: (Byron Tibor 1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART ONE

 

 

 

Fire Point:
the temperature at which a flammable substance continues to burn after being ignited, even after the source of ignition is removed.

1

 

Blood in, blood out. That was the deal. To join them, you had to take someone’s life. To leave you had to surrender your own, or expect to have it taken from you. Not that anyone had ever left. Or even hinted that they wanted to. Why would they?

Leaving would be an admission of defeat. It would involve returning to the life they’d had before, and that was no life at all.

To go back to being a beta male? To return to the life of an AFC (average frustrated chump)?

No. That wasn’t even a possibility. Once you had taken the red pill, and embraced your inner alpha male, there was no going back. You saw the world differently. You saw it for what it was rather than what you had been conditioned to believe it was.

But seeing wasn’t enough. Not for Krank, anyway. Knowledge without action was worthless. Perhaps if he’d been selfish it might have been. After the San Diego lair, he’d had everything that most men desired – even if they weren’t honest enough to admit it. Money, status,
so many
women it actually became a chore. But, like
the other
the men who had come before him, men who bent the world to their design, he had soon tired of the material, the external. He wanted to leave his mark. He knew that he had to embrace his destiny.

To do that, he set out on a new course of study. He left the lair. He traveled to Europe, staying first in London, then moving south and east. From London he moved to Paris, then Rome and Prague and Budapest. All the while he read, devouring two, sometimes three books in a single day. History, politics, science, anthropology. A lot of anthropology. Before he’d left, Gretchen had given him a reading list culled from her
study
of feminism and gender
studies. He had studied the
m with rigor, all the better to understand the enemy.

He saw how the world had shifted. He identified the damage the shift had done. He identified those responsible. He began to formulate a plan of how balance might be restored. Not that he would be able to do it alone, or even with help. But, thought Krank, he could begin the change that was needed. He could light a flare of hope for the others who would undoubtedly follow.

More time passed. His reading inched back toward more contemporary matters. That was when he stumbled upon the idea of blood initiation as practiced by street gangs in Los Angeles. Of course, this rite of passage had much deeper roots, any idiot knew that, but it could serve a higher calling than controlling foot soldiers who would sling dope. It could provide a strong, permanent bond.

What Krank had in mind wasn’t a criminal enterprise, even though that was how it would be regarded by this feminized society. No, thought Krank, he had a much nobler goal – the return of the natural order as it had been for thousands of years.

Tonight was another initiation. Blood in. The third such ceremony since he had come home.

Krank shifted a little in the driver’s seat of the black 5-series BMW as they cruised through the midnight-blue streets of downtown Los Angeles. It was a little after three in the morning. The clubs were starting to empty.

That was when he saw her. White. Blonde. Staggering a little uncertainly on high heels. Most important of all, alone, a calf separated from the herd.

She reached down to tug at her skirt, and almost lost her balance. Her hand went up to the wall as she steadied herself. She opened her purse, took out her iPhone, no doubt ready to conjure up a cab using Uber or one of the competing apps that were driving taxi companies out of business.

Krank pulled the BMW over to the curb. He took out his cell phone. He hit the call button. ‘You see her?’ he said into the phone. ‘That’s the one.’

‘I see her,’ came the reply. Tension in the voice. Nerves. It was one thing to talk about this stuff, and quite another when it came to game time. Not that Krank minded. Nerves were good. Nerves meant you were alive.

‘Okay,’ said Krank. ‘Over to you. But don’t be too obvious. Give it like a minute. Forty-five seconds minimum.’

‘I know.’

Krank smiled at the tetchiness in the reply. No, he thought, you don’t know shit. You’re a virgin when it comes to this. Everyone is. You only know afterward. Nothing prepares you for your first. It’s like taking that red pill for the first time but multiplied by a hundred. With the rush comes the horror. Like how someone taking heroin for the first time usually gets sick.

Blood in.

2

 

All Kristina Valeris wanted to do was get home, climb into bed and go to sleep. She swiped at the screen of her iPhone and pulled up the app she was looking for. Like Uber, SafeHome used the GPS location technology in her iPhone to send out a request for a driver in the area to pick her up. The difference with SafeHome was that it tried to match female passengers with female drivers, especially when it was this late. You paid a little more, but it was worth it.

A few seconds later, her iPhone vibrated. She opened the message saying a car was on its way, along with the fee it would charge to take her home. She hit accept and slouched against the wall to wait. She could feel the pounding bass line from inside the club. Dehydrated from one too many cocktails, she had the start of a headache, and her feet were sore. Worse than that, she’d had the fight to end all fights with her girlfriend over this guy they’d met at the bar.
So dumb
.

As the sweat cooled on her body, and the wind picked up, she shivered. Down the street, there was a black sedan. It had been there since she had come out of the club. She was pretty sure there was someone in the driver’s seat, and it was creeping her out.

Uh, hurry up, stupid cab.

She narrowed her eyes a little in the gloom and tried to get a look at the guy in the BMW. She could see him now, his hands high on the steering wheel, staring at her.

Creep
.

She had a good mind to march over, tap on his window and ask him what the hell he was staring at. She checked her watch – a gift from her father on her eighteenth birthday. A Cartier. Money making up for the fact he was never around.

Kristina turned at the sound of a car engine coming from the other end of the street.
Thank God
. She just hoped that the driver didn’t want to chat.

She walked over to the car, a dark blue Honda. She stopped as she realized that the driver was a man. A young man, barely out of high school, with thick, curly black hair and oily, pimply skin. He lowered his window. ‘You ordered a car?’

‘You’re from SafeHome? I thought it would be a woman.’

He looked away from her with a little shrug of his shoulders. ‘I’m who you got. If you don’t want to use me, it’ll be at least twenty minutes more to wait.’

Screw it, she thought. He didn’t look like a threat. Hell, she had more muscles than him, and in any case she always carried pepper spray. Plus, all the drivers were police checked and their journeys logged – who they picked up, where they collected them, and where they dropped them off. That probably made it safer than hailing a cab in the street with no one knowing which cab you had taken and where to.

Down the street, the BMW driver was still staring at her. She opened the rear door of the Honda and got in. Settling herself on the back seat, she unzipped her purse and rifled through all the crap for her tiny canister of pepper spray. She moved it to the top so that it was in easy reach, and zipped the purse back up.

The driver was sitting there, like a dummy. She could feel his eyes on her in the rearview mirror. She was starting to wonder if maybe one of her boobs had popped out or something. Not that guys didn’t stare, but this was weird.

The driver half turned in his seat. He looked scared. His pupils were wide, and his face flushed. He turned back round. ‘I can’t do this. I’m sorry,’ he said, his voice barely rising above a whisper.

At first she wasn’t sure she had heard him correctly.

Then he said it again.

‘I’m sorry. You’ll have to get out.’

Now she was pissed. ‘Look, I need to get home, and standing out there was creeping me out. There was some guy back there sitting in his car–– Never mind. But look, I need to get home so can you hurry the fuck up and drive?’ She could have left it at that. But she really was cranky. He was looking at her wide-eyed, like he hadn’t heard her. She whispered under her breath, ‘Just drive would you, asshole?’

 

3

 

He was saving her life, and all she could do was bitch at him and call him an asshole. Well, he told himself, he would show her what an asshole was. He reached down, shoved the car into drive and hit the gas. He peeled away so fast that she was thrown back in her seat.

‘I said drive. Not break my neck.’

He ignored her. He got to the end of the narrow street and swung out onto Olive, heading for the 110. Krank was coming up behind in the BMW, thrown off by his fast getaway. He saw the van that Loser was driving fall in behind.

He tore down Olive. The girl in back grabbed his headrest and pulled herself forward. ‘Take it easy, okay? I didn’t mean to shout at you. I’ve had a bad night.’

He ignored her, his hands tight around the wheel, his shoulders tight with tension born of the knowledge that he was going to take her life. He felt ready for it now. The rage was building in him. He ran through all the rejections, all the times that girls had blown him off, or humiliated him, or treated him like dirt. He held his wrath tight, gathering it up, getting it ready to unleash on her.

‘Why are you going this way?’ she asked. She sounded on edge, unsure.

It felt good to hear the uncertainty in her voice. ‘It’s faster,’ he said.

There was a ping from her phone. She reached down and plucked it from her bag. He guessed it would be the driver who should have picked her up messaging to ask where she was. He half turned to see her staring at the screen. If the look on her face was anything to go by, he had guessed right.

Once the shock passed, she would start making calls, and he couldn’t have that. He pulled down hard on the steering wheel. Behind him Krank slowed, flashing the BMW’s headlights.

The sudden change of direction sent her flying and the phone flipped out of her hand. She started scrambling around under his seat for it. He slowed, took one hand off the wheel and reached under his seat, feeling for it at the same time she was searching. He felt its edge and used his fingers to inch it forward. He grabbed it.

‘Give me that!’ she screamed.

He hit the button to lower the window and tossed the phone out onto the street. She lunged for him. Her nails scraped at his face. It stung. She jabbed for his eyes. He reached back and grabbed her wrist, twisting it hard enough to make her cry out in pain.

The sound excited him in a way he hadn’t expected. This was control. This was what being in charge felt like. He wanted more of it. Being ultra-alpha was what Krank called it. There was alpha and ultra-alpha, and the bridge between them was violence.

He twisted her wrist more, and she let out another yelp. This was easier than he’d imagined. She was weaker. He was stronger. His nerves were gone.

A second later he heard the hiss, felt the spray splash across the side of his face and felt the intense burn in his eyes. He struggled for breath. He let go of her so he could rub at his face. The pain only grew.

He couldn’t see. He jabbed down on the brake pedal. The Honda slowed. The car hadn’t stopped, but he heard the rear passenger door open. He looked round, grabbed for her trailing leg as she threw herself from the still moving car. But she was gone. Out onto the early-morning deserted streets of downtown Los Angeles.

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