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Half the Israeli people consider newspaper publisher Daniel Landau’s Israeli-Palestinian plan is the only path to peace. The other half want him dead.

 

The State Department contracts retired four-star general Benjamin Lowe’s security agency to safeguard Landau while he’s in New York to speak before the United Nations General Assembly. Lowe’s task is compounded when Landau hires him to provide protection for his daughter, Dalia, on tour for a children’s rights organization, after an attempt on her life.

 

Ben’s twin sons, Jake, a disabled Afghanistan vet, and Zack, a military covert operator on leave, join with the NYPD and FBI to protect the Landaus and avert an international catastrophe. What starts as a simple security detail develops into a cat and mouse game to thwart a wily assassin and the sinister cabal behind an operation that could change the face of the Middle East, with a shrinking timeframe to prevent it.

   
 

Chapter One

The Cane Is Able

 

Jake Lowe’s irregular footsteps and the thump of his cane on the pavement broke the silence in the still Brooklyn night. He’d designed the aid with a palm-molded grip that gave him more than support―a weapon. He’d survived two attacks and expected a third.

Under the soft glow of the streetlight, Jake observed the teenager walking toward him with long, steady strides. Earphone cords hung from inside his hoodie, hands stuffed into the front pockets. As he passed, Jake noticed the stranger wasn’t as young as he first judged. Tiny creases feathered the corners of watchful eyes―eyes like Jake’s that had been trained to observe, to anticipate. This guy resembled the first two assailants, broad shoulders and muscular arms the hoodie couldn’t disguise. Young and fit, the way Jake used to be.

Cautious, Jake glanced over his shoulder to see the man’s hand emerge from his pocket.

The glint of steel.

Instinctively, Jake swiveled on his good right leg and swung the cane, knocking the gun from his would-be attacker’s hand. The man was fast but not prepared. They never were for a crip, a fact in Jake’s favor. That, and a lifetime of training.

Momentarily stunned, his assailant recovered, launching into a spinning kick aimed at Jake’s bad leg. Jake blocked it with his cane and spun out of the way.

Dropping the cane, Jake checked a slicing chop and followed with a palm heel strike to his adversary’s nose.

Intercepted.

A barrage of flying hands and elbows followed, weapons trained to disable an enemy. The son of a bitch deflected them all. Jake ignored the pain in his leg. Quitting was never an option.

What Jake had lost in mobility, he made up for with stunning speed, anticipation, and, with the aid of his cane, balance. The combination of moves flustered his opponent, who hadn’t expected an even match. Ducking under a roundhouse punch, Jake scooped up his cane and thrust the end into the younger man’s midsection with the swiftness of a cobra’s strike.

“Shit!” the man wheezed, doubling over.

Unwilling to give his foe time to rally, Jake slammed the cane’s shaft across the man’s back, sending him to his knees. As the man started to rise, sweat crawling down the sides of his face, Jake couldn’t resist a self-satisfied smile. He delivered a sharp, slanted blow to the guy’s forearm, rendering it temporarily useless. Balancing on his cane, he bent down and snatched the gun, stood, and aimed. The man looked up, helpless. After a moment to let his success resonate, Jake Lowe pulled the trigger.

The silence of the empty chamber echoed in the quiet night.

The two men stared at each other.

“Are you the best the general can dredge up?” Jake asked.

The man winced as he massaged his ribcage, coughed out, “I hope not. The other two guys warned me, but I didn’t believe a cripple could take me down.”

“Even if I couldn’t secure the gun―” Jake flicked a lever on the cane’s handle, releasing a sharp spike through its rubber tip―“I’d’ve stabbed you to death. Nice and quiet too.” Shrugging, he added, “I use whatever I can.”

“Agreed. If we were playing for real, I’d be dead. Twice. Still, I almost shit my pants trying to remember if I’d removed the magazine since I doubted you’d get your hands on the gun.”

“I knew. Not enough weight, unless there was only one bullet. then―” Jake shrugged, then offered the defeated man his hand and pulled him up. “Special Forces?”

He nodded. “Used to be. Not special enough, I guess.” He groaned as he rose to his feet and arched his back. “Man, I thought I was in better condition. Gonna feel this for a while.”

“What’s your name?”

“Sandy Redmond. Greenville, South Carolina, and by the way, I wouldn’t have gone through with the kick to your leg.”

“I appreciate that.” Jake patted his assailant on the back. “I need a beer, Sandy Redmond from Greenville, South Carolina. You?”

“You buying?”

“Least I can do.”