Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Orange Moon Affair by AFN Clarke


London – September 2012

The offices of Gunn Group Industries were not in Central London, as people would expect. They were situated in a tall building in Twickenham. Close enough to the hub of things, but far enough on the outskirts of the City to be easy to get to from the country. The building was called Gunn House and was, appropriately, built by a subsidiary company, Langhorne Construction Limited. It was an eyesore, as are most buildings of this type. I was still contemplating the follies of modern architecture as the lift carried me to the top floor, home of the offices of the Board of Directors.

The collar and tie felt uncomfortable and the suit as if it was four sizes too big. Julie had assured me it wasn't, and Mary also made the correct noises. I was not convinced. The lift bumped to a stop, jerking me out of my daydream and the doors hissed open to reveal the reception area.

Directly opposite the lift was a desk at which sat a beautifully dressed and perfectly made-up young lady who looked up coolly as I walked towards her.

“May I help you, sir?” The standard question used a thousand times a day in a million offices.

“Mr Gunn,” I said.

“I'm sorry, sir, but Mr Gunn is not in.”

“I am Mr Gunn. Mr Thomas Gunn, the new Chairman.”

The girl looked at me blankly until she suddenly grasped what I had said.

“I'm sorry, sir. We aren't expecting you. Mr Newell didn’t warn me at all.” I held up my hand to stop the flow. A young-looking thirty, with long fair hair, I didn’t look the part of a city tycoon.

“Would you just point me in the right direction for my office and tell Mr Newell I'm here. I'll see him in ten minutes.” I hoped that sounded as a chairman should and having received her directions, she headed off for the office.

The old man really did believe in the Chairman having an office worthy of the position. It was huge. A thick carpet covered centre of the expanse of wooden floor; mahogany desk in front of the window, and table with settee and easy chairs for entertaining associates. Original modern paintings adorned the walls and the view across Twickenham and the Thames was breathtaking. Beside the desk was a complete console with a computer terminal, closed circuit TV and the usual intercom system. So this is where the Gunn fortune was generated. I could see why Adrian wanted to keep me out of the way. If this was a yardstick with which to judge the power wielded by the Chairman then he must be very upset that it was in my hands.

There was a knock on the door and a very correctly dressed, slightly overweight and rather severe looking woman in her mid thirties entered.

“Mr Gunn, my name is Jennifer Jordan. I am your assistant. I do apologise we weren't expecting you. Would you like some coffee?” She stood in front of the desk, expressionlessly, waiting for a reply.

“Yes please. Milk, two sugars, thank you.” I said. She turned and made for the door. I stopped her before she reached it. “Jennifer?” She turned and looked enquiringly. “Please smile, I like happy faces around me.” She dropped her chin, smiled shyly, opened the door and left. She returned a few minutes later with a tray of coffee, followed by a tight-lipped, somewhat irritable looking Adrian.

“Thank you, Jennifer. Good morning, Adrian.” I knew the use of her first name would annoy him, and that was just what I wanted to do. To make sure that he knew who now sat in the chair. “Please don't say it. I've already heard it twice this morning.” He looked a little nonplussed, as if I had just robbed him of a key phrase.

“You could have given me notice that you were coming in.”

“Why? What I want from you is a run-down on everything this Group owns, part owns or whatever. I reckon that would be the best place to start.” I hoped I sounded as if I knew a little about business. I hadn't a clue and was going to have to do some pretty rapid learning.

“If you had given me some warning then I could have had all the files ready for your inspection. As it is it will take time to get them all together.” He spoke stiffly, with his head held up, looking down at me in disgust. Adrian categorised everyone as either a businessman or a layabout. I was one of the latter.

“Adrian, in this day and age all I need is the computer login passwords and I can get all the information I need by just pressing these little buttons.” I indicated the terminal by the desk. He had the grace to flush.

He glared at me tight lipped, turned and left the office. I swung the chair around and stared out over the city, watching the slow-moving traffic like a giant worm threading its way through the undergrowth of houses.

I hated cities. Hell I hated offices.

But somehow up here away from the noise, the colours, shapes and shadows had a dream-like quality. I thought through the exchange with Adrian. Why all the blocking manoeuvres?


The Orange Moon Affair - by the bestselling author of CONTACT - is the first book of a compelling new thriller series, an action-packed conspiracy with a hero and heroine you hold your breath for. If you enjoy the action of Robert Ludlum, the intensity of Brad Thor and the international intrigue of Daniel Silva, then this book’s for you!

Ex-British Special Forces soldier Thomas Gunn is drawn back into his old life of international intrigue and danger following the murder of his billionaire father. The deeper he digs the more complicated the puzzle becomes until he finds himself working for MI5 uncovering a global conspiracy that puts the freedom of the western world at grave risk. His girlfriend Julie becomes his accomplice surprising him with her loyalty, strength of character and physical prowess.

While traversing the globe being shot at, shot down and losing loved ones – a haunting question tears at his soul – was his father really at the heart of this evil conspiracy? Or was he a pawn in a larger more insidious game that even he could not control?

Seeking the final answer could cost Thomas dearly, ripping from him all that he most loves and cherishes and leaving him questioning his past, his future and what kind of person he is or wants to become. The final outcome depends on him. Or does it?

As a former Captain of Britain’s elite Parachute Regiment and son of an MI6 operative the author brings his own unique and eye-opening experiences to the character and exploits of Thomas Gunn, as well as an unsettling blurring of the lines between fiction and reality when exploring the ruthless abuse of power and position for personal gain.

“… The Orange Moon Affair is timely, eye-opening, fast-paced … you will find you want to turn the next page, and the next page, and the next … the first of the Thomas Gunn series … you don’t want to miss them!”  5 Stars, Remy Benoit.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with AFN Clarke on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.afnclarke.com/

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