Monday Night Jihad [Riley Covington Series Book 1] [Secure eReader]
Click on image to enlarge.
eBook by Jason Elam & Steve Yohn
eBook Category: Suspense/Thriller/Mainstream
eBook Description: After a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Riley Covington is living his dream as a professional linebacker when he comes face-to-face with a radical terrorist group on his own home turf. Drawn into the nightmare around him, Riley returns to his former life as a member of a special ops team that crosses oceans in an attempt to stop the escalating attacks. But time is running out, and it soon becomes apparent that the terrorists are on the verge of achieving their goal: to strike at the very heart of America.
eBook Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Published: 2008
Fictionwise Release Date: January 2008
This eBook is part of the following series:
3 Reader Ratings:
Friday, December 19
Riley Covington's hand shot out, clicking the alarm to Off just before the numbers shifted to 5:30 a.m. This was a game Riley played against the clock every morning, trying to wake up as close as he could to his alarm time without having to hear the obnoxious chirp. He was pretty good at it too. His days at the United States Air Force Academy had ingrained in him a sense of time that most people would find borderline compulsive.
He tossed his down comforter off and slowly swung his body out of bed, feeling the cold hardwood floor under his feet. The firmness of his mattress could be manually adjusted, and for the two days after each game, his bumps and bruises forced him to put the setting at "way soft."
Moving to the window, he pulled the drapes back, and instantly the room filled with white light. The sun wasn't up yet, but the reflection of the moon on the fresh snow made Riley squint. Why would anyone want to live anywhere else? he mused. He had always loved the Colorado winter—the frost on the windows, the muted sounds caused by a blanket of snow, the feel of a cold house in the morning while you're still warm under the blankets.
Feeling invigorated, he padded into the kitchen, flicked on Fox News, and began to assemble the ingredients for his daily breakfast shake—a simple concoction of protein powder, soy milk, whey, and frozen berries. As the blender whirred to life, Riley read the crawl at the bottom of the television screen.
Homicide bomber in Netanya, Israel, kills four and wounds seventeen.
Riley's anger flashed. This was the fifth bombing in the past two weeks. What was the matter with these people? Didn't they care whom they killed? Didn't they know that these women and children had nothing to do with their war?
As he stewed on this, his mind drifted back to a conversation he'd had with Tim Clayton, the senior pastor of Parker Hills Community Church, his home church when he could attend.
"I'm sick and tired of hearing people say we need to have compassion for these murderers and understand their belief system," Riley had said the day a Palestinian bomber had killed fourteen people on a bus in Haifa.
"No one can make you love anyone, Riley," Pastor Tim countered. "But keep in mind that these people are caught up in one of the greatest lies ever perpetrated on mankind—the lie that it is worth killing others for your beliefs. These people need our prayers, they need our pity, and they need the power of our nation to try to stop them before they throw their lives away like this."
"I'm with you on your last point," Riley responded. "They need to feel a serious U.S. smackdown. But, Tim, you haven't seen what I've seen. You haven't seen your buddies lying in pieces in front of you. You haven't seen the children mangled by the screws and ball bearings from some terrorist wacko's bomb. I'm sorry, but pity's something I really have a hard time with right now."
"I understand," Tim had said gently. "Maybe because I haven't seen it, I can keep more of an objective viewpoint. I just know that the moment after these men—and women now—detonate their bombs, they've got a huge surprise waiting for them."
Riley's brain knew Tim was right. Convincing his heart was a different matter. I gotta mull this over a different time. I've got work to do.
He chugged the purple liquid right out of the blender—no use dirtying a glass—then moved back through the bedroom and into the bathroom, where he cranked the shower to full blast. Fifteen minutes steaming up the glass stall would work out the kinks in his body and leave him ready to start another day.
Riley felt great, especially for fourteen weeks into a PFL season as a starting linebacker. He had always taken care of himself physically—even as a cadet at the Academy—and it paid off this late in the season. While other guys' bodies were starting to break down, he was still at the top of his game. He knew that he was living an American dream—a dream that could disappear with one good hit or one wrong step—so he did everything he could to make the best of it.
After his role in Operation Enduring Freedom, Riley had been unsure what would be next for him. He could have had a very promising career as an officer in AFSOC. He knew how to lead men and was able to garner their respect through his example. Besides that, the military was in his blood. His father had been a navy man in Vietnam, and his grandfather had flown an F-86 in Korea, chalking up seven MiGs to his credit. Riley's choice to try for the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs rather than the Naval Academy in Annapolis had led to all sorts of good-natured ribbing of his dad by his grandpa. Holidays with the family had never been the same again.
Although he knew the military was an honorable profession, Riley still had that Pro Football League dream. He'd been on leave on draft day, and he could still feel the incredible tension he experienced while sitting in his parents' living room. The talk on ESPN was whether any team would pick this year's Butkus Award winner, since, like all Academy graduates, he had a five-year military commitment hanging over his head. As the picks progressed, it was hard for him not to get disheartened.
All the pundits said Riley had the skills to be a first rounder, but he'd begun to wonder if the specter of mandatory military service was just too much for most PFL teams. Riley's dad kept feeding him words of encouragement, and his mom kept feeding him lemon pound cake. Half a day and three-quarters of a cake later, he finally heard his name called in the third round. The cheers in the Draft Central auditorium could only be matched by the screams in that little house. To be chosen in the PFL draft and to be chosen by the Colorado Mustangs—what could be better than that?
The selection had been a definite risk for the organization, but they felt it was worth it if they could bag someone with Riley's playing potential. Of course, both Riley and the team would have to wait. Riley had no problem with serving out his commitment. He was more than willing to fight for his country—die for it if necessary.
And he had come fairly close to doing just that. The bullet he had taken during the firefight back in the Bagram Valley in Afghanistan had entered just above his hip. It had chipped a bone and caused a lot of bleeding, but thanks to the quick medical evacuation and the incredible medical team at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, the only lingering issue he had was a dull ache when the weather turned.
After returning from Germany, Riley had been called to his commanding officer's desk. The CO had looked up directly at Riley. "Covington, I brought you in here to make you an offer I hope you won't take. The higher-ups want me to give you the ludicrous choice of opting out of the rest of your full-time service commitment to the United States Air Force so you can go play in the Pro Football League. You'd stay in the reserves, and we'd have you in the off-season until your time's up. Now, I've seen you lead men, and I've seen you save lives. I think it would be a shame for you to give up the chance to make a lasting difference for this country so that you could go play some kids' game. But, hey, that's the choice I'm told I have to offer you. You've got twenty-four hours. Dismissed."
Copyright © 2007 by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn.