I’ve talked briefly about the story I’ve completed draft 1 on, and I have some friends and readers that’ve been asking to read it. I figured that this would be a good place to post some excerpts and get feedback. So here it is, the prologue of my story, titled M.I.A. It doesn’t really need any explanation, because the prologue speaks for itself. Enjoy and let me know what you think! 😀
I hate Benicio Giordano. Honestly, I hate him with all of my heart. Father Monir has told me about a million times that to hate is a sin, but I don’t care.
I didn’t always hate him. When the CIA first tasked me with bringing him in, I almost loved him. Being assigned to Giordano was no small task, he being the head of Sicily’s top mob family. I knew finding him would be my meal ticket; promotions, bonuses, power, they’d all practically fall at my feet if I could apprehend Benicio Giordano.
In truth, Benicio had been playing the agency for years, blackmailing agents who he had tricked into moral compromises, paying off those who valued the finer things in life over loyalty to principle. I suppose it wasn’t the huge honor I took it to be; I was simply one of the few agents who hadn’t been played by him.
By some miracle, at the time I came around, the CIA had secured all of the affidavits and indictments it needed to legally bring Giordano in; I was just there to track him down and arrest him. Well, I think our one miracle quota got used up gathering enough information to prove him guilty because I sure as heck wasn’t close to catching him. I was quickly learning that this wasn’t exactly the golden opportunity I had expected. Time after time he would elude me, and time after time I would go back to square one, gritting my teeth and swearing that next time, next time I would get him.
And I almost did get him once. I was so disgustingly close, it makes me cringe to think back on it. He was in a safe house of sorts, a villa owned by a friend of his located on the Amalfi coast. I am a remarkable tracker and didn’t attract much attention as I always work alone and, knowing he wasn’t expecting me, I may have let theatricality get in the way of getting the job done.
I found my way in through an air duct ending on the street that, in a touch of providence, had been left open during maintenance. The duct led directly over a large study lined with floor-to-ceiling mahogany bookshelves, which I silently descended behind him. Well, silently until the second to bottom shelf creaked beneath my feet, tipping him off. He turned around quickly, forgetting his conversation about a plot to kill some bank owner in Switzerland.
“Well, Benicio, you scoundrel, your run is over.” I smiled as I spoke, carefully balancing my weight as I landed. I landed perfectly on my feet and he raised an eyebrow.
“Well, aren’t you a donna stupida?” He didn’t look at all surprised to see me, just cocked his head to the side. He laughed at some uproarious joke that only he knew the punchline to.
“Non sarò vinto così facilmente.”
“On the contrary, I’m not stupid at all, I’ve come fully prepared.” If he thought I was going to give up because he hinted that he had something further up his sleeve, he was sadly mistaken.
We stood about fifteen feet away from each other, each of us daring the other to make the first move.
“You won’t do it,” He said after a few moments of exchanging challenging stares, his words breaking the silence. “I can see it in your eyes. The beautiful ones never do. Too soft. Maybe even afraid of me. You couldn’t kill a man, your heart is too big.” He said it so condescendingly.
I could hear something in the back of my head, the voice of my superiors; everything they had taught me over the years was coming back to me. Mia, you’re letting your emotions get in the way. Act on fact, never emotion. But at the moment, Giordano’s gravelly, thickly accented voice was taunting me. Stay strong, stay strong, I told myself. His opinion means nothing. And anyway, catching him would be the best revenge. You aren’t going to do it if you’re working on impulse. Go with the plan.
“Women are worth nothing.” He looked me up and down appraisingly and spat at my feet, shaking his head with disgust. “I’m not going to waste time fighting fair. I’ll make quick work of you.”
All of my practiced restraint melted away at that insult. He could say anything about me, but insulting my strength was too much. Screw fact! I inwardly admonished myself, this guy can’t knock you like this and get away with it.
I let loose with a feral scream and lunged at his throat, clasping my fingers with every ounce of strength I had in me. Something in the back of my head was screaming, NOT PROTOCOL! YOU’RE FIRED! NOT PROTOCOL, ABORT!” Unfortunately, my conscience was hushed by the high-pitched howl rumbling from my throat.
He countered my weight and swung his foot under my leg, sweeping me to the ground. My hands still held tight around his neck, and suddenly we were on the floor, both challengers fumbling to remain atop their opponent. Giordano swiftly rolled and hovered over me. His hands came to my hands, and he deftly hooked his wrists inside of mine. I may have had have more specialized fighting know-how than him, but he trumped me in leverage. His giant hands slowly but surely loosened the grasp I held on his neck, and suddenly he heaved in a gasping breath; small, but empowering.
“You are a donna stupida,” he spat into my face, adding in a few choice expletives for good measure and bringing his powerful hands up to my neck. I squirmed and tried to evade him but he caught me before I could get away. As he squeezed, I felt the life going out of my limbs and a sudden pop in my neck. I began to feel desperate, and instinctively I swung my knee up into his groin. His pained grunt told me I had hit my mark; Giordano’s grip slackened and I fell to the floor. He stumbled back, a wild fury lighting across his face. “Ah, a low blow donna.” He nodded frantically. “So you are learning.”
I glared at him, pushing myself backward across the floor, away from him. In any normal situation I would have reassessed the state of affairs and gone on, fighting him to the death, but this instance was hardly normal because of one sudden development. Pain was shooting through my neck, and it was nearly impossible for me to move my head even a fraction of an inch to either side. I must’ve further injured it when I fell to the floor.
“Yardleys don’t need low blows.” I grunted, cradling my neck in my hand.
A change swept over him and the crazed fire left his eyes. He stared at me for a moment, a confused expression on his face. “I must track…” He muttered to himself. Then, I watched as he reevaluated me. “Get out.”
In the moments that I sat dazed, assessing the damage of my injury, Giordano didn’t waste time gloating over my pain. “I said, get out!” As I tried to fight through the pain-induced fog in my head and regain the fight, Giordano ran from the door, removing the old iron key and locking me in from the outside while he made his escape.
Which brings me to the real reason I hate Benicio Giordano. Not because he has made my job nearly impossible, that I can forgive him for. Not because he called me stupid; his words meant nothing to me after the heat of the moment had passed. Long after I climbed back through the vents and escaped -surprisingly without running into any security -his words repeated themselves in my head, but I knew that it wasn’t because of his insults. There was something eery about the way he’d looked at me.
But even that wasn’t it. I hate Benicio Giordano because, thanks to him, the CIA no longer thinks I’m capable of working alone. Therefore I, Mia Yardley, notoriously solo agent of the CIA, am getting stuck with a partner. Not just any partner, I might add. I’m told he’s MI6’s top agent. Apparently he saved Margaret Thatcher from a sniper assault once upon a time in Chelsea. To add insult to injury, I am stuck with the most textbook-perfect agent as a partner, and the day I meet him, I am wearing a horrific foam neck brace.
What do you think? Please, let me know in the comments!