Condor: Sneak Peek Excerpt

Air-crash Savant Miranda Chase and her NTSB  team enjoy a quiet evening…but it won’t last for long in this brand-new technothriller coming on March 10th.


Condor coverSpieden Island, Washington
1 hour ago
(9 p.m. Pacific Standard Time)

“Favorite airplane?”

“Oh, c’mon, Jeremy, ask a real one. We all know Miranda’s favorite plane,” Holly chided him.

“My F-86 Sabrejet,” Miranda answered with an easy certainty that she at least knew this one answer. For twenty years she’d flown the old jet and knew it as well as the back of her hand. She liked its familiarity. Just as she liked the familiarity of this house. She’d grown up here.

She knew all its ways. The way the old wood creaked when the Pacific Ocean storms roared over Vancouver Island and slammed into the San Juans. The way the air didn’t smell of the sea, but rather so fresh it seemed as if no one had ever breathed it before.

The high-vaulted living room with its beach cobble hearth, dark beams, and Douglas fir walls could seat twenty comfortably, four as it did now, or be cozy for just one as it usually was.

It was slightly uncomfortable having visitors to her island, thereby decreasing her favoritism for her house over her jet if one were to expand the parameters to “favorite place at this moment in time.”

No, not uncomfortable. Merely…unfamiliar. Yes, that was a better way to think of it. Even though it was only Friday night and the rest of the chill March weekend loomed uncertainly ahead. Despite the new descriptor, she remained uncertain of her preparations to entertain them.

“Ehhhh!” Holly made a rude sound like a plane’s stall-warning buzzer. “So not on, Miranda. It’s not your Sabrejet.” Holly’s Australian accent was even thicker than usual as she sipped her second beer of the evening.

Before Miranda could respond that she knew her own mind—which she wasn’t always sure of, though she was this time—Jeremy raised his hand.

“Wait! I know. I know!”

“Don’t have to raise your hand, buddy.” Mike winked at Miranda from his armchair near the fire. He sat as neatly as ever—a slim, elegant man with short dark hair, a dress shirt, and custom-tailored slacks.

Miranda sat on the sofa with Holly. Actually, she sat on the sofa whereas Holly slouched so low she was almost horizontal—her feet on the coffee table, sticking her toes out toward the fire. Her socks didn’t match.

“It’s any plane that hasn’t crashed,” Jeremy proudly announced his answer.

While the others laughed and nodded, Miranda considered. The four of them were the lead crash investigation team for the National Transportation Safety Board. Yes, any plane that was fully functional was a very good thing.

But still, she liked her old Sabrejet very much.

“Jeremy’s favorite site investigation tool?” Mike called out.

Holly giggled.

Miranda had no idea why.

Holly whispered to her, “Can you figure him picking out a single favorite tool?”

“Oh,” Miranda understood the joke now but had learned that laughs that came too late were better not laughed at all.

Jeremy always had a bigger field pack than the other three of them combined.

“That handheld military-grade thermite torch he used to slice evidence out of the old DC-3’s wreckage,” was Miranda’s estimation. He had been particularly enamored of its ability to melt quickly through steel though it was no bigger than a two-D-cell flashlight.

“His hammer,” Holly suggested. “The one he actually offered to that colonel who wanted to bust up his phone for constantly giving him bad news of more planes that had carked it.”

Jeremy Trahn blushed brightly enough that it could be seen by the firelight.

“No, his program for reading Cockpit Voice and Data Recorders, even if he isn’t supposed to have one. He secretly wishes he was James Bond,” Mike ribbed him.

“No,” Holly shook her head hard enough to flutter her rough-cut blonde hair over her shoulders. “He wishes he was Q, Bond’s equipment geek.”

“No,” Jeremy spoke up a little hotly, “but he wishes you both had fallen into the ocean and been eaten by orcas on the way here.”

“You’d have been fish food right along with us.” Mike accurately pointed out. He had flown the three of them out to her island in Washington State’s northern Puget Sound for the weekend.

Holly was the one who’d suggested the spring solstice was a good excuse for a party. Though this March was chilly enough that “spring” didn’t come easily off the tongue yet.

“Whale food,” Jeremy corrected, then mumbled, “Would’ve been worth it.”

There was a brief silence in which the only sound was logs shifting in the fireplace. Miranda watched the curious turbulence patterns as the sparks rose up the chimney.

“What is your favorite tool, Jeremy?” Because now she was curious.

He looked down, and she was afraid that she’d somehow embarrassed him even further than Mike and Holly had.

Then he reached for his shirt pocket and pulled out a pen.

“A pen, mate? Fair dinkum?” Holly turned to Mike. “Have you ever seen him even use a pen? Everything in the world is on his tablet.”

Mike just shook his head.

Miranda could remember three instances. They’d been together as a team for almost six months, yet three was all she could recall.

“You gave it to me on the first day I joined your team. It’s everything I ever dreamed of.”

“Miranda’s pen?” Mike scoffed.

“Being on Miranda’s team,” Jeremy said softly.

Holly, who never looked touched, looked touched. She turned to Miranda.

“He’s so damn sweet,” she whispered, but loudly enough for everyone to hear. “Can we keep him?”

Miranda didn’t know why she wouldn’t. He was an exceptional airplane systems specialist despite his youth.

“Holly’s favorite soccer team?” Mike asked in a sudden, bright tone, completely changing the mood.

“The Australian Matildas,” they all called out in unison. Their four Matildas baseball hats were all lined up on the mantel.

This time Miranda was fairly sure that her timing was right when she joined in on the laughter.

Coming March 10th

Condor
Buy now!

Meet Miranda’s Team: Jeremy Trahn

No woman is complete without her team…even if she doesn’t know them.

military technothrillerAn excerpt from Drone:

A young man with Vietnamese features stepped right in front of her.

You’re Miranda Chase? Oh my God! I can’t believe it.” He grabbed her hand and began shaking it. “I’m Jeremy. Jeremy Trahn. Systems specialist. I can’t believe I’m on your team. When the security guy driving me here told me who I was meeting, I didn’t believe him. No way, just no way. But here you are. I’ve read every single one of your investigation reports.” His English was accentless and so fast that it was hard to follow.

Her hand was still tightly clasped between the two of his.

“All the way back to that first Cessna 152 that flew into the powerlines by Boeing Field in Seattle and ended up dangling upside down for hours. I’ve taught you everything I know. No. Wait. Everything I know I’ve taught… You know what I mean. I’m— I’m…speechless.”

“All evidence to the contrary,” Holly remarked drily from somewhere behind her.

Miranda’s attempts to recover her hand weren’t working.

“It’s amazing. I’ve been so hoping to just meet you or even attend one of your lectures. And now here I am assigned to your team. This is too perfect to be true. I’m Jeremy. Jeremy Trahn. Did I already say that? I’m just so excited to be here that I can’t begin to tell you. Such an honor to—”

Holly reached out and casually took Jeremy’s forearm.

“Ow! Hey!” His clasp relaxed suddenly, as if his nerves had been switched off.

Miranda recovered her hand and Holly let the man go.

“I think she got the idea, mate.”

“Sorry, it’s just—” Jeremy wrapped his other hand protectively over where Holly had seemed to barely touch his forearm.

“Honor and privilege and all that rot.” Holly turned to Miranda. “So I’m guessing that you’re some kind of hot shit crash girl in addition to facing down generals. I seriously like that. Want to get married? Not that I’m into girls, but I bet you’re a gas to hang around with. What are you?” She addressed the last to Jeremy.

“Systems specialist: electrical, fuel, hydraulics, you name it,” he rebounded with his full enthusiasm even as he rubbed at his arm. “Oh and weather. I’m always fascinated by the interaction of processes whether it’s electronic, fuel-based, or even atmospheric conditions. MIT at sixteen for computer systems. Though I went to Princeton for a double doctorate: fluid dynamics and advanced system topology modeling. Then I—”

Holly reached out toward his arm again.

Jeremy clutched it to his chest and stopped talking.

Free Fiction on the 14th: Her Silent Heart and the Open Sky

The Ides of Matt:
A free short story,
every month from the 14th-20th.

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Her Silent Heart and the Open Sky
by M.L. Buchman
-a Delta Force romance story-

Delta Force operator Chris Cooper once again stands in the nightmare that is Helmand Province, Afghanistan. His mission: to remove the  Taliban leadership, again.

Born in the Soviet-Afghan War, trained by the Mujahideen, and the Americans after them, Azadah believes her heart and hope are spent past return.

They must fight together if they hope to find Her Silent Heart and the Open Sky.

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And be sure to come back next month for another free Ides of Matt story (14th-20th).

 

Her Silent Heart and the Open Sky

Her Silent Heart and the Open Sky

Delta Force goes anywhere, anytime. This time they’re bringing the hammer back to familiar grounds.

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