Threat Level:Red (The Disavowed Book 3)

By: David Leadbeater

Lying prone, he measured his target and opened fire. His own bullets fizzed off the 50cal and hammered into the dumpster walls. The big weapon spat again, its muzzle drifting ominously lower. Hadleigh felt a shell destroy his left shoulder and screamed in agony. Never had he experienced such pain. His nerves felt shredded. The gun fell from flexing fingers, squeezing off a last shot. Judging by the scream it actually took someone out. A great last Hail Mary.

The gun stopped firing. Merciful silence followed. Hadleigh clutched his bleeding, ruined shoulder, knowing he didn’t have the motor functions to call in for help, or even to move. The ongoing loss of blood would kill him soon anyway. The world would have to get along without him. No sense bothering the brass. No sense enlightening them to his failure.

They would find out soon enough.


Blanka Davic watched as his guard tightened the towel around the woman’s face. Waterboarding was one of his favorite pastimes, second only to driving his extensive fleet of supercars. When Curran’s wife couldn’t breathe, Davic slowly upended the jug of water in his hands, smiling as it splashed over the rough cloth wrapped around her features. She struggled feverishly as the chair tipped back, but such obvious desperation only increased his happiness.

He caught Yvette’s eye. “Watch carefully, sweetie. You’re next.”

“Davic,” Curran tried again, quieter this time. “Please tell me how I can end this madness.”

He received an immediate reply. “I want the team known as the Razor’s Edge. Aaron Trent. Adam Silk. Dan Radford. Then Special Agent Collins and the rest of the, ah, Fucking Bunch of Ingrates. Oh, and my entire business back.”

“I can’t help you with that.”

Davic poured water onto the woman’s face, all the while meeting Curran’s eyes. “Now that’s a real bad attitude. What can you help me with, Henry? How about Maisie Miller? The hot bitch I loved like a daughter.” Several of his men laughed. “Can you get her back for me?”

Curran started to shake his head, then paused. “I can try.”

The woman stopped struggling. Davic paused and put his head close to her chest. “Whoops. This happens sometimes, Curran. They just die.”

Curran reared up. Blood flew from his bonds as he fought the rope. His teeth mashed and spittle splashed from between his lips. “Bastard! She did nothing to you!”

“Calm down. Sheesh.” Davic motioned to the woman’s guard. “Bring her back. She’ll be okay, Henry. That’s the beauty of waterboarding. They die—nine times out of ten you can bring ‘em back and start all over again. Perfect. And hey, you think this is bad wait until I start on your daughter.”

Curran’s face crumpled, any pretense at bravery gone. Tears fell from his eyes. “Please, Mr. Davic. Please let me help you.”

The Serb hesitated. Perhaps now was the right time. But he was having so much fun. Didn’t seem right to just stop when everything felt so right. Maybe they should take a breather.

Then he smiled, looking at Curran’s wife. Yeah, she could do with a breather.

“All right. We’ll pause for tea and biscuits. My men do need their sustenance, Henry, being the big boys they are. And they will need their strength for later.” He made a strangling motion. “Ha ha, only joking. Or am I? Can you tell?”

Curran’s eyes were glazed. “You’re mad. Totally mad.”

Davic pulled the towel away from Chloe Curran’s face and watched as his guard revived her. When she came around; panting, disoriented and terrified, vomiting water, he pointed to the kitchen.

“How about some food, Mrs. Curran? Better scare us up something good, now. Something red-blooded.” He winked sidelong at Henry. “Fast as you like.”

He jerked the woman from the chair, gave her a kick, and watched her struggle toward the kitchen door. He nodded his head at one of the guards. “Go with her. If she tries anything chop something off.”

He turned back to Curran. “Okay. Don’t worry, I have a plan to deal with the Edge and the FBI. Even the CIA and this whole fucked-up city. Believe me, Henry, they’re about to get a taste of the Hell I can serve up. But you do have a very important part to play in my plan. Yes you do. In fact—” Davic flicked the wet towel at Curran, catching him across the face with a painful slap. “You are the linchpin, Henry. The hub and cornerstone of the entire fuckin’ plot. How’s that sound?”

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