Tarnished Valor

Web of Conspiracy - Book Three

by Herbert Grosshans

A decision Jeff Chartrand made in Iraq has serious consequences. A friend rescues him and he has a torrid love affair. News of another murder makes his world come crashing down. He and his team uncover a plot within the US to assassinate the President and it becomes a race against time to foil the plans of a terrorist group.


Chapter One

When Jeff Chartrand and Rob Masters walked into Banco Mariano, they were happy to see that Leslie was not at his post behind the information desk. Heading for the elevators, they walked briskly but slow enough not to attract attention.

They took the public elevator up to the sixteenth floor and used the stairs to get back down to the fourteenth floor. Before they reached the fourteenth floor, Rob handed Jeff a pair of gloves. Jeff put them on without asking questions.

Walking silently across the plush carpet of the corridor, the expected two burly guards made their appearance, blocking their way.

“Hi, Jordan,” Rob said. “How’s life treating you these days?”

“What the fuck is it to you, faggot?” Jordan took a step toward Rob.

“Just making friendly conversation.” He walked calmly up to the big man and kicked him in the crotch. Hard.

Jordan let out a surprised shout and bent forward, presenting his fat neck. Rob hit him with the edge of his hand and the big man fell like a dead tree.

Taken by surprise, the other guard went for his gun, but Jeff reached him before he could free it from its holster under his arm. His fist hit the man square on the chin and he went down.

“That part was easy.” Rob chuckled. He bent to relieve Jordan of his weapon. Jeff did the same with the other man. Then they tied them up with the roll of tape they had brought.

“Time to enter the snake’s den,” Rob said, waving Jeff on. “After you, fearless leader.”

Mariano’s secretary gave them a friendly smile when they walked into the small front office. “Is Mr. Mariano in?” Jeff asked.

“Yes, he is, but I’m afraid he won’t be able to see you. He’s getting ready for a meeting with the mayor.”

“That’s okay,” Rob said. Then he walked by her toward the door that led into Mariano’s office.

“You can’t go in there, sir,” she called out.

“Don’t worry,” Jeff told her. “We won’t be long.”

Distracted by Rob, she hadn’t been aware of Jeff coming closer and stepping behind the desk. He put his hand over her mouth and whispered, “Don’t struggle and you won’t get hurt.” Then he taped her mouth shut and tied her hands behind her back. Wrapping a piece of tape around her ankles, he bound her against the chair.

In the meantime, Rob had gone back into the corridor and dragged in the two unconscious guards. He waited for Jeff by the door to Mariano’s office until Jeff was finished with the secretary.

Mariano looked up when the door opened. He was just a silhouette inside his cloud of blue smoke. Jeff and Rob walked briskly toward his desk.

“What the hell!” Mariano cursed.

“Surprised to see us?” Rob asked the obese man. Then he pulled out his gun and pointed it at him. “Don’t even think about getting your gun, Mr. Mariano. You’ll never reach it in time.”


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