Monday Sampler: Backtrack 17 by L. J. Charles


In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Monday’s Sampler features an excerpt from Backtrak 17: The TaP Team, a metaphysical and paranormal novel filled with adventure and intrigue from L. J. Charles.

As one reviewer said: It’s a wild roller coaster ride that will keep you enthralled from beginning to end. Everyone is prey and no one is safe. It’s a battle of vengeance and determination.

The Story

Let the countdown begin…

Vlad Koslov has a vendetta, and Tynan Pierce is his target.

Pierce has sworn to protect two material witnesses—a routine job for his company, TaP Security, until Koslov accepts a contract with organized crime to assassinate the witnesses.

Seventeen years of history and hatred explode when Koslov discovers Pierce is the obstacle protecting his targets. The evil born deep in Koslov’s psyche pushes him to delay fulfilling the contract so he can achieve his vendetta by eliminating Pierce’s family and friends. One. By. One.

Everly Gray, Pierce’s wife and partner, isn’t about to allow Koslov to murder the people she holds dear, especially not her husband

Pierce and Everly stand together as the TaP Team. Their mission: to protect the innocent in the chaos of a perfect storm.

The Sampler

L. J. Charles
L. J. Charles

CHILLED FROM MY dip in the pool, or maybe it was nerves, I put on my favorite threadbare sweats. They smelled like Pierce. The last time I’d worn them, we’d been curled up on the patio talking about life—and it lasted into the bleak hours of early morning. We’d just returned from some couple time on Molokai, where we’d made a life-altering decision to change the focus of our security business.

It hadn’t been an easy choice.

There had been tears, sadness, and hope—a roller coaster of what-ifs that lasted for three days. When we got back home, the patio and a quiet Hawaiian night had called to us, so we put on comfy clothes and basked in the simple pleasure of night sounds. Except we hadn’t been able to stop second-guessing our decision to limit our operations to only helping family, friends, and maybe the occasional civilian in distress.

And then Pierce blindsided me.

He planned to wrap up the single remaining loose end in the TaP Security government contracts.


And he was going to do it without me.

I was ambivalent about Fred. Some days I thought he was a decent guy, and other days not so much. He’d been my mother’s handler back when she worked for the CIA, and he was older than old, but a hell of a lot more active than most people half his age.

I could take him. Maybe. Probably. But I didn’t want to. There was something off about beating an old man at his own game when he’d devoted his life to his country.

Not that I wouldn’t go a round with him if necessary, and I knew Pierce shared my feelings. But it scared me because Pierce was running this very personal op by himself, and firsthand experience had taught me those sorts of mental machinations made for split-second delays, always a bad thing in life or death situations. Pierce could hold his own, no question, but with both of us having a semi-soft spot for Fred, it skewed the equation.

And there was the possibility the old man had set us up.

We’d come within seconds of dying on that last op.

A loud knock on the front door startled me, and my mind crawled into defensive mode. Too slow, considering I could count the number of people capable of navigating the protective maze surrounding our property.

And all of them would have alerted me to their presence before they approached the house.

Except one.

I was on my feet in a microsecond, my favorite weapon in hand primed and ready to shoot. Every nerve on full alert, I checked my phone. No text messages. No missed calls.

Another round of knocking pounded in perfect rhythm with the throbbing of my pulse. Damn it all. A quick glance at the security camera feeds showed no one lurking around the property, so I focused on the entrance.

I zoomed in on the two people who stood on my front porch. Two. One of them wasn’t a surprise, but the woman he had with him was a stranger. Heat coiled in my belly, and my fiery redheaded temper exploded. How dare Fred lead a stranger to our home?

And where the hell was Pierce? My fingers flew over the keypad on my cell. Fred at front door. Where are you?

I tucked the phone into my pocket, and for a brief moment considered shooting before asking questions, but there was something about the woman that gave me pause. She’d worked in the field. It showed in her overall posture, and in the waves of calm, alert energy radiating from her aura. No danger there. Both of my visitors had clear, blue auras.

Still, I’d be answering the door Sig-first. I checked the image on the camera feed one more time. The woman looked right into the lens and nodded.


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