Top Books Worth Reading

News About Independent Top Authors on Amazon Kindle

Top Books Worth Reading - News About Independent Top Authors on Amazon Kindle

“The Titan Drowns” by Nhys Glover Is Permanently Free on Amazon

The sixth book in the “New Atlantis Time Travel Romance” series by Nhys Glover won the SFR Galaxy Award in 2013, and for good reason. One of the judges said: “Heroism and true romance set inside one of the most heart-rending tragedies of all time? Oh, yeah, that deserves an Award!”. However, those who haven’t read the first five books in the author’s series, should know that they are all standalones, so they can start with whichever they like. “The Titan Drowns” is a perfect start, especially since it is permanently free on Amazon.

The premise of this time travel romance novel is absolutely brilliant: a team of people who want to make a change in the world travel back to the past, on the Titanic, and their goal is to save all children by bringing them to the future. The three members of the rescue team couldn’t have been more different: Pia Rogaland is shy, insecure, and her only desire is to save the children, Elish Cork is feisty and loves adventures, and Karl Ontario is a lab geek who would rather spend the rest of his life in his medical facility. The fact that they are nothing alike makes them work together so well.

Their mission is by no means an easy one. Aside from the fact that they need to first identify the suitable targets, they also have to come up with a good explanation for their insane attempt of taking them to the future. It’s difficult to convince so many people that the unsinkable Titanic is nothing but a tragedy waiting to happen. Things get even more complicated when Pia falls in love with a man she is not allowed to save. Their romantic relationship plays out in a few, fateful days, and the fact that they are so perfect for each other makes the inevitable separation even more heart-breaking. What was supposed to be a rescue mission might turn into a death sentence for everyone involved.

Even though there have been so many books written on the Titanic theme, author Nhys Glover manages to bring something new and fresh to her story. Certainly, the best part is the romance, and fans of this genre will immediately fall in love with Pia and her lover from the past. There’s nothing more compelling in a novel than an impossible love story, and Nhys Glover has managed to take this theme to a whole new level. Readers will root for the characters and hope that a miracle will allow them to avoid the tragedy, and live happily ever after.

“The Titan Drowns” is one of those books which readers will want to reread and recommend to family and friends. It is one of a kind, and it is permanently free on Amazon, so don’t forget to download your copy.

Find it on Amazon.
Visit the author’s website for more of her books.

“Fetish: What’s Yours?” – A Love Story in the Heart of Darkness by L.M. Reker

I believe we can all agree that what makes a thriller novel even more terrifying and exciting is the knowledge that it is based on real events. L.M. Reker’s newest novel, “Fetish: What’s Yours?”, is one of those books whose story was inspired from real life, which gives readers a sense of terror and realism. The author has combined fact with fiction so well, that it will be difficult to tell which parts of the story are real, thus making the book even more compelling and intriguing.

FBI Agent Augustus Drummond is the head of a special unit assembled to deal with the most horrible crimes imaginable. His team is well-trained and very efficient, and they are always ready to take on the most difficult cases. They investigate everything with a sharp eye, a clear mind, and just enough cold blood to be able to live their lives normally after all the horror they see during their missions. Agent Drummond is the best of them, and his insights are partially due to his brutal childhood. Instead of crushing him, the violence he had to endure opened his mind and taught him a lot of things about the world. He draws his power and understanding from his dark past, and he has never failed before.

Things are turned upside down when Sonia Connelly, a gifted agent, is added to Drummond’s team. The latest case they have to solve is very complicated, and it might just lead them to the darkest corners of a criminal’s mind. Will they be able to solve the puzzle and save innocent lives without letting themselves drawn into this world of the taboo and the unthinkable?

“Fetish: What’s Yours?” is a real page-turner that will keep readers guessing by offering them clues and inviting them to solve the case along with the characters. It is one of those books that are more than must-reads: it should be reread just to make sure that you got everything right. L.M. Reker is brilliant when it comes to building suspense, and readers must be warned that they are in for a couple of unexpected twists and turns. At the same time, he is very good with character development, which means that anyone will find it easy to relate to Agent Drummond and Sonia. While Sonia is very intelligent, talented, and determined, Augustus Drummond is continuously haunted by his violent past. Eventually, they make a great team and they prove to be the only ones who can solve the terrible case.

You can find “Fetish: What’s Yours?” on Amazon and on Barnes & Noble.

“Redemption” (“Heaven on Earth”, Book 2) by Reana Malori

Vanessa Baldwin has made it a point to avoid men who work in the Military. Her husband died far away from her, leaving her a widow with a young son, and Vanessa will never be able to get over the loss. All she wants is to raise her son well and build a peaceful future for both of them. However, her life is turned upside down when she meets Ethan Dickerson. He is everything she has ever wanted in a man: he is strong, romantic, protective, and he loves her son. His only flaw is that he is a Navy SEAL, which make his off limits. She’s not about to start a relationship with another man who is willing to risk his life to save others.

Ethan chose to become a Navy SEAL because it seemed to be the perfect job for someone like him, someone who lived to protect those who are not able to protect themselves. Tragedy was always part of Ethan’s life. As a child, he had to deal with domestic violence, and this changed him forever. The moment he meets Vanessa, he is fascinated by her resilience in the face of tragedy and loss, but, at the same time, he realizes that she is vulnerable and in need of love and protection. He makes it his mission to conquer her heart and spend his life making sure she and her son will never have to suffer again.

“Redemption” is the second installment in Reana Malori’s interracial romance series “Heaven on Earth”. It follows the story of two characters readers have already met in her first book, “Escape to Heaven”, and the author once again manages to tackle the issue of domestic violence in a unique way that aims to empower and encourage. Readers will immediately fall in love with her characters. Both Vanessa and Ethan are very relatable and well-developed. Reana Malori took her time to develop Ethan’s backstory, which gives the character depth, making readers understand him and root for him. Vanessa is also a strong female character that shows how women are powerful enough to survive any kind of tragedy.

Fans of interracial romance novels will want to remember Reana Malori’s name, as she is one of the most popular writers in this genre. Her “Heaven on Earth” series is a must read, as well as her other over 20 novels and novellas she has published thus far. Complex plots, fast-paced action, intriguing characters, and sweet love stories – her works have everything they need to make readers addicted to her writing.

Find “Redemption” on Amazon.

Visit the author’s website for more interracial romance novels.

“Southpaw” by Dennis Sweeney FREE on Amazon – December 19-23, 2014

Thought-provoking, suspenseful, heart wrenching, gritty – these are just a few words that can describe Dennis Sweeney’s novel, “Southpaw”, and they certainly aren’t enough. This is one of those books that offer so much more than what the cover and synopsis promise. It’s one of those memorable novels that readers will think about long after they have turned the last page. “Southpaw” eludes all genres because it is so difficult to place in a single one. It has the depth and realism of literary fiction, but, at the same time, it is as action-packed and fast-paced as any suspenseful thriller out there. What is sure about it is that it is absolutely mind-blowing.

The main character is Dennis, a young Scottish boxer who has lived a life of crime and is now in prison, paying for his mistakes with his freedom. One could say that he is a product of the environment he grew up in. He was unfortunate enough to be the son of a boxing champion who had no mercy when it came to training him and his brother. Dennis grew up hating the sport and feeling inferior to his brother, who was more athletic and more skilled. However, it seems that this was his future, whether he liked it or not, so young Dennis tried to make the best of it in his own way. The novel follows his extraordinary journey. From Dundee, Dennis ends up in London, then Hong Kong, where his main occupation is to smuggle goods into Korea and gold into Taiwan. He later reaches Tokyo, where his drug addiction worsens, and he eventually ends up in prison in Bangkok. Knowing that he will be old by the time he gets out of prison, Dennis has nothing left to do but to think of his life, of what he did wrong, and try to achieve some kind of redemption.

Author Dennis Sweeney is a brilliant and talented writer. He has created some powerful, complex characters that truly develop as the action unfolds. The way he describes the places and people Dennis sees as he gets more and more involved with boxing, prostitution, and drugs makes the background and atmosphere extremely realistic and believable. There will be moments when readers will stop to ask themselves if what they are reading is indeed just fiction, not reality.

Readers will root for the main character even when they will realize that everything he does is harmful to others and himself. Thus, “Southpaw” is a powerful novel that invites them to discuss problems of morality, ethics, and what’s right and wrong.

“Southpaw” will be free on Amazon starting December 19 through December 23, 2014, so don’t forget to download your copy.

Find it on Amazon.

Visit the author’s website for more information.

“Everyone’s a Genius: Simple Tips to Boost Your Brilliance Now” by Jen Fraser

We all know how important creativity is. A brilliant idea can change your life or make you rich. Even better, it can do both. But, the question is: how do we find it? For some of us it seems difficult enough to find one amazing idea that would change at least a couple of things which don’t work well in our lives, so how many people are able to come up with more brilliant ideas that can also influence the ones around them? Jen Fraser, the author of “Everyone’s a Genius: Simple Tips to Boost Your Brilliance Now”, says that each and every one of us has this extraordinary ability. We are born creative, intelligent, and capable of wonderful ideas. All we need to do is learn how to use our gifts.

A truly inspiring Foreword written by award-winning author Piers Anthony opens Jen Fraser’s book. He talks about the supposed connection between IQ and genius, and reminds readers that some of the most successful businessmen and entrepreneurs don’t even have degrees. Moreover, Albert Einstein himself failed some exams, and his IQ was never tested. So, what exactly makes someone a genius? Piers Anthony is in complete agreement with Jen Fraser when she says that curiosity triggers the best ideas. The secret is to keep an open mind, welcome new experiences, believe that nothing is impossible, and never stop asking questions. Creativity comes when we try to find answers and solutions to those questions, and even if some of them will prove to be erroneous, undoubtedly, we will come up with at least one brilliant idea that can change everything.

“Everyone’s a Genius: Simple Tips to Boost Your Brilliance Now” is structured in a simple, yet compelling way. There are eleven chapters that guide readers and help them discover the creativity within them and the possibilities around them. Here and there, the author introduces motivational quotes attributed to famous people who have been successful in their own ways. The book also contains amazing illustrations that immediately draw the readers’ attention and help them better understand the points the author makes in each chapter. In writing her book, Jen Fraser has opted for a combination of motivational techniques, interactive games, and honest, direct questions that force readers to analyze their thinking and behavior, and figure out what they are doing wrong.

The author recommends herself as an Ideation Expert, the term “ideation” being the creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas. Her main goal is to teach people how to find new solutions and come up with innovative ideas that are worth putting into practice. It’s not all about daydreaming and planning, but it’s also about acting once you’ve discovered a way of improving your or someone else’s existence.

“Everyone’s a Genius: Simple Tips to Boost Your Brilliance Now” is a must-read for anyone, regardless of age or education. It’s truly one of those books that can change lives.
Find it on Amazon.

“The Clean Eating Breakfast Cookbook & Diet Plan” by Kent Burden

Breakfast is the meal that most people skip. Usually, this happens because they don’t have enough time in the morning to have a proper breakfast, or because they’ve got used to having coffee and don’t even feel hungry. This choice is very bad for many reasons. First of all, breakfast is known to be the most important meal of the day. A correct, healthy, and efficient diet plan has to include all three meals of the day. Then, if people don’t have breakfast in the morning, they risk eating a lot for lunch, thus jeopardizing their calorie intake. Wellness expert Kent Burden has decided to write a book that doesn’t only offer readers delicious breakfast recipes, but also explains why it is important to have a well-balanced diet plan. “The Clean Eating Breakfast Cookbook & Diet Plan” contains all the information and tips readers need to start their days off right.

Kent Burden is a supporter of the clean eating movement, and he has developed some of the best diet plans and workout programs that can help people integrate clean eating and exercise into their busy lives. Despite what many might think, clean eating is not exactly a diet. It has nothing to do with those fads that come and go, confuse people by giving them wrong information on health and weight loss, imply food restrictions, and leave them feeling hungry and frustrated. Clean eating is a lifestyle change that does not restrict food, but only teaches people which foods are good for them, and which should be avoided. Those who want to lose weight won’t have to go through a strict diet plan to achieve the body they have always wanted. All they need to do is learn about clean eating, adopt it, and then combine the diet plan suggested by Kent Burden with the appropriate workout program.

“The Clean Eating Breakfast Cookbook & Diet Plan” contains 14 recipes for delicious breakfasts that take very little time to prepare. First, the author teaches his readers how to stock their pantry so that they would always have those ingredients they will need to prepare a fast, healthy breakfast. But this is not all. He also discusses the problem of food labels. Too often we buy products without knowing exactly what they contain. It’s not that we don’t read the labels, but we rarely understand exactly what they mean to our health. Kent Burden sheds light on this aspect, teaching people exactly what to look for when they read food labels.

Another important aspect the author tackles in his book is the removal of refined sugar, GMOs, chemicals, pesticides, hormones, and overly processed foods. People keep hearing all these are not good for their health, but how many of them understand why? Kent Burden explains why these products are unhealthy, and shows that there are alternatives which are natural, delicious, and completely risk free.

Find “The Clean Eating Breakfast Cookbook & Diet Plan” on Amazon.

“March Madness Revisited Again” by Teirrah McNair

What do you do if you’ve been looking for a job for two years and haven’t had much success? What do you do when money is running low and you barely have enough gasoline to get to the next job interview? Well, you don’t lose hope and you keep trying, of course. Tiny Lafayette is about to go to her 78th interview, and is ready to start work right away. She is confident, professional, and well prepared, so what could possibly go wrong? After all, she was once a rising Silicon Valley executive, so she has all the experience an employer could require. However, her hopes are crushed when she gets there and is informed that the position she was applying for was filled the night before.

“March Madness Revisited Again” by Teirrah McNair is an amazing novelette that aims to inspire and empower the readers. The main character, Tiny, teaches them a very important thing: no matter how difficult things are and no matter how often you have failed, you just have to keep your faith and never give up. Life is full of surprises, and sometimes the solution may come when you least expect it. When she leaves the interview without even having been given a chance to prove she deserved the job, Tiny is disappointed and things start falling apart. Her car stops, her phone has no signal, and she ends up walking back home. She feels like her life is over, but an unexpected event changes things forever.

Author Teirrah McNair is brilliant when it comes to character development. Readers will find it easy to relate to Tiny, and they will root for her from the very first pages. Many people had to deal with similar situations, and the author used the experience she gained while helping people achieve employment and success to send some powerful messages. Teirrah McNair is an ordained Christian minister and pastor who dedicated her life and work to helping people accomplish their dreams. All her books and stories contain valuable lessons that motivate readers and show them that anything is possible if they trust God and continue to work towards their goals.

“March Madness Revisited Again” is a quick, delightful read that has everything it needs to keep readers glued to the pages: fast-paced action, complex, believable characters, and surprising twists and turns.

Find it on Amazon.

“Legends: Nomory” by Mohamed Moshrif

Aliens, mythical monsters, and an ancient Egyptian tomb… Mohamed Moshrif’s debut novel, “Legends: Nomory”, has all the right elements to become a top favorite of any fan of Fantasy/Science Fiction books. It is original, intriguing, and action-packed. The author has also managed to create some memorable characters whose mission is to solve an ancient puzzle and save the Earth from a new war. So, if you like stories that combine old legends and myths with advanced technology, then you will admit that “Legends: Nomory” is a must-read.

Sarah Michael is one of the best Egyptologists in the world, and she has finally found the tomb she has been looking for. One year before this expedition in Egypt, her father received a papyrus that mentioned a tomb like no other. To find it, Sarah needed a team. Four of her students decided to help her, and in the Prologue we see them all in the desert, trying to figure out how to open the strange tomb that didn’t seem to have any visible entrances. John, Fares, Nour, and Melinda admire Sarah and are ready to follow her anywhere. However, when they finally manage to enter the tomb, they realize that Egyptology might not have been their best choice of career. All five are trapped inside the tomb, and their only chance to see daylight again is to figure out a way to escape by following the instructions of a mysterious hologram.

Mohamed Moshrif has created a unique, exciting history for his imaginary world. The hologram that acts like a guide for Sarah and her team is actually an alien. His name is Monar, he is a chief scientist on the planet of Nomory, and his hologram has been programmed to keep the secret of an intra-galactic war until the right people would discover the tomb. Now, the five Egyptologists have to listen to his story carefully, find a way out of the tomb, and then use the information Monar gave them to save Earth from certain destruction. There is a war that will soon begin, and they are the only ones who can stop it.

“Legends: Nomory” is a brilliant blend of fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and suspense. Readers will find themselves turning the pages as fast as possible, eager to find out everything there is to know about the intra-galactic war. The author has used many symbols and clues to build an intriguing puzzle that will keep both the characters and the readers guessing. For example, the tomb is covered in unknown symbols and pictures of mythical creatures. The connection between these creatures and the aliens will come as a surprise, and readers will want to grab the next book in the series to find out even more.

Find it on Amazon.

Visit the author’s website.

“The Dead Bank Diary” by Anna Schlegel

A financial thriller might not have cops, killings, and bloody scenes, but it holds the reader’s interest in a different way. Money, frauds, complicated schemes to bankrupt a bank… all these build the suspense and keep the reader guessing and turning the pages as fast as possible. This is exactly what Anna Schlegel’s novel, “The Dead Bank Diary”, manages: to keep readers on the edge of their seats. And the most chilling aspect of the Russian writer’s thriller is the fact that it is inspired from real life.

“The Dead Bank Diary” is the first book in a series, and it focuses on the narrator, Ann, and Victor, a financier and retired intelligence officer. Together, the two arrange a couple of complex financial frauds that can get them in huge trouble at any time. However, the trick is to be smart enough, make a perfect plan, and then perform a beautiful, clean fraud that no one will ever see coming. Ann and Victor make an amazing team, and readers will follow their adventures excitedly. At first, not everyone will like Victor, but the author is amazing when it comes to character development, and as they will start learning more things about this man, readers will begin to understand him and empathize with him.

Even though she didn’t put real events in her novel, Anna Schlegel did take her inspiration from her own life in Moscow. Her character, Victor, is based on a real person she worked with, a retired foreign intelligence service officer and a magnificent fraudster. He was a powerful, influential man the author admired a lot, which also determined her to write her novel in his memory. “The Dead Bank Diary” is all about money, banks, and financial schemes. Readers will be absolutely fascinated by the world Anna Schlegel paints on the pages of her book, and by the cold, gloomy Moscow which proves to be the perfect setting for the mysterious plots the characters create and set into motion.

“The Dead Bank Diary” is one of those novels that make you ask yourself uncomfortable questions after you have finished it. For instance, how much of it is fiction and how much is reality? Do things like that actually happen right before our eyes? Anna Schlegel has written a book that has everything it needs to become a bestseller. It certainly is a must-read for all fans of the thriller genre.

Find it on Amazon.

Read an interview with the author.

Free Chapter: The Dead Bank Diary by Anna Schlegel

 

Chapter 1. Igor

Moscow, June 1998.
Igor, an ex-intelligence serviceman, was waiting for me at China-town metro station. He had a swollen red face with bloodshot insane and drunk eyes. He smelled of sweat and alcohol, his face was burning. When drunk he usually looked like a bevvied bed bug, as if he’d sprinkle with the blood in your face once you press on him. He grasped me by the elbow with his sticky hot palm and turned me to face him. He was speaking in his usual manner, eye to eye. I kept listening, without looking away from the bloody gauze of his eyes, where blindly like a fly in netting was beating the apple of his eye. I got used to this. He was bluffing. Even being sober Igor lied wholeheartedly, with confidence and shamelessly, like children do.

Catching up on some crazy story on a night flight with five million dollars in exchange for rubles, and a platoon of machine gunners, he added casually just to make sure:
– I got a wooden leg. Want to see it unfastened?
– There, stop flirting, – I slightly pushed him away, sneaking out my elbow.
– Why, you don’t believe me?! You know where I had to fight?!

We came out of the tube into the grasping blind heat. The sun was falling on blindly all over the place; there was no shelter, no chance to rest my eyes onto some shade. Everything was equally lit with dim white sunlight. Igor’s white shirt made me blink; I had no wish to lift my eyes. My glance stopped at his moist red neck bearing beads of sweat. I had no wish to listen to Igor. He was talking of his being wounded in Chechenia and how he lost his leg. Pure bullshit. His leg was well intact and hairy.

Everyone knew he got his worst injury from his wife. Having learnt of his adultery, she hit his balls with a sharp toe of her shoe. Fright, pain, swelling, all was gone long time ago. But for a good while after, when putting his hand in a pocket, he was still imperceptibly scratching his healing ball. This habit remained. Some male instinct made him thrust his hand into a pocket and touch, to make sure it was all safe and sound inside, and then slightly scratch it.

However, he loved his wife he had been with for twenty years. He was long since living alone in different places, but did his best to visit her with a sober mind and not empty-handed. As many others, having seen the death, he was artless and naïve. He felt uneasy coming to see her empty-handed. And then unnoticed he would pull a five hundred note from his wife’s purse, and seating himself at the table, handed it over to her, saying, – Well, that is all I have until they open me a credit line. She started hiding her purse and marking the notes, so Igor imperceptibly turned into an alcoholic.

It was absolutely impossible to make any deals with Igor. How did he could draw me into this currency exchange? Eventually, we reached. The bank was on some industrial site. Their hall was empty. From the doors it reeked of the heat from the street with its sugary smell of cob brick. Imbecile as he is, Igor. We were not even allowed in for negotiations.

After some fooling around Igor came up a young female clerk:
– Listen, I am a veteran. I lost my leg. I’ve got to pee.

And he was allowed upstairs. From what Igor heard hanging around the conference room, the deal was bollocks. The bank could not accept money into their depository. There used to come a cash-full vehicle, the money was counted and then vehicle left for the depository of Guta-Bank for exchange. The vehicle came back and the cash was recounted. But at the time of exchange at Guta-Bank the cash was left unattended by security. Two hours of talks and bargain…
Leaving the bank we both concurrently spitted.

– Let’s pee over here, – Igor waived sideways, towards the dusty shrubs.

My cell started ringing. It was Nikita. His voice was hardly getting through the noise of the airport, from far away.

– Ann, listen. You know here in the airport I met some guy and he died. Just a normal guy, we just talked a little. It seems he was a courier. It happened so I’ve got his parcel. There was an old bond of a million dollars inside. I sent it to Arcady’s address by DHL. It will soon come. Go get it through…

– Nikita how did it happen you got that bond on you?

– … I took it accidentally.

– You mean you have stolen it? You know what you put you foot in…?! – I screamed as if I wanted to thunder down the airport hubbub that felt like creeping into my head.

– Not stolen. I took the parcel and thought to give it over to… There was no address. So you get it through… – Nikita cut me short. – I am no good at bonds. So see you, they have announced my flight number.

He rang off.

– Igor… this bloody idiot has stolen a million dollar bond …and sent it to Arcady. A million dollars in one note! How do you like this shit?

– Your ass is going to be the shooting mark, – Igor clicked his tongue.

– Let’s get to Arcady’s place fast.

– I don’t care where drink vodka, – said Igor. – And Nikita is a walking shithouse so all kind of shit sticks well on him.

We exchanged looks unwittingly and quickened the pace.

By Arcady’s house in the black archway there rushed a dog, dirty yellow like the evening sun on the asphalt. I used to see him here quite often. The dog darted out in a shivery bent silhouette, soaked the corner with a fine jet, sparkling for a second in the sun, and then ran away, hopping and looking back. I threw my head up. From below one could notice the windows wide open, the dim crystal chandelier over the table, flashed scraps of some visitors and the juniper smoke coming out.

Arcady used to burn birch logs and juniper in his fireplace, and grill kebabs. There was no big gathering, however the rooms were filled with scuffling, the sound of chairs getting set back, clinking of dinnerware, rusting of husky smokers’ voices coming from the stairwell. People walked out for smoking, the street-door kept incessantly creaking and banging on its old over-strained door spring, letting the smoke puffs inside. And heavy echo was coughing in the depths of the corridor.

Somehow people managed to get adjusted to this kind of life, but Arcady could not. Having lost their ministerial portfolio some of them went to make business in undergarments. Arcady however, after losing his deputy chair in a huge corporation, still could not find his place. Arcady was trading in useful contacts. He was either getting old or lazy. One way or another, he was damned to make people meet and get his fees on such brokerage.

Arcady was not my father but we have been close since childhood, I got his habits and he was the dearest person in my life.

Today Arcady was winding up some of his bric-a-brac that was a good few, in order to repurchase another apartment. That is the apartment of his brother residing abroad. Arcady accustomed to consider it his own property, all the more so these apartments were just next door.

– Arcady! – My voice got lost in the depths of his corridor.

– This is for you, – and Arcady handed me a bulky envelope.

From the envelope pattered out a doubled old bond exposing its worn out folds to the light. Right in the center it was bearing an oval portrait of Ulysses S. Grant just like on fifty dollar bill. The upper frame of the portrait was decorated with frostwork monograms slightly obliterated in the middle. Under the portrait there were coupons laid in rows. The old paper was amazing. It was issued by the Federal Reserve System of the United States in 1934, for one million dollars. So many zeros! The note warmly lit showing its water-marks and somewhat played in the light changing its colour from paludal to green-grass.

Involuntarily I rubbed my cheek against it. It felt a little crusty, as a shelve-warmer atlas a little hardened with humid air. I could even smell out a subtle stale odour usually coming from long-time packed old clothes in the flea market, or the last-year leaves dumped under the snow. And then there was a smell as if hundreds of human fingers had touched it before. It was so abraded and crumpled that seemed having changed hands over and over again.

And I do love the odour of cash! I just liked how money smells. I used to enjoy tumbling even a one-hundred note in my palms, and then unwittingly bring it right to my nose. Oh! This note however smelled something unusual. This must be the smell of big money.

Bullshit! I have never seen a one-million dollar in a single note. In was such a big and beautiful note… and with so many coupons.

The envelope also contained some other faxed cover letters. They said: The bonds were issued prior to the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 by the US Government as US gold bonds to be traded in exchange for money to third parties or used to repay a debt. The United States Government guaranteed these bonds with the US gold reserves.

The cover letters also included the Gold Bullion Certificate and the Treasury Certificate, where the US Treasury confirmed the relevant gold security amount and quality. The whole lot was enclosed with a Global Immunity Certificate.
The Global Immunity copy read: In virtue of the power in them here unto enabling the United States of America to determine and to contract in a manner appearing as a loan which shall be known as Federal Reserve Bond series 1934. The locator and redeemer will be free from criminal offense and be duly covered by complete immunity documented for the safety of all parties concerned.

The bearer of these bonds acts as a lender while the United States Government acts as a debtor. For over 50 years these bonds have been in free circulation. They were free from charges, mortgage or other encumbrance by third party rights. No rejection of claim on the part of the United States was acceptable, nor withdrawal of debt acknowledgement. All this text came under signed and sealed.

Bullshit. If the bond itself was a faxed copy I would rather think it was no better than another 10-million dollar Fed, a copy of which I just recently had on my hands. It was still somewhere lost among other copies. I remember having crumpled up this paper and my intention of casting it to the wastepaper basket but I still changed my mind, thinking …I could come across the same after a long while and smile. With a similar feeling I had folded and kept my old luxury dress in the wardrobe. There was nowhere to dress up. It was out of fashion. But still I could accidentally see it while sorting out my wardrobe and remember of those nonchalant and wealthy times, so I could cry hiding my face in that robe.

– Handsome forgery. I didn’t know it could be so good. Just as good as real, – said Igor, taking the bond to his eyes, and fumbling it against the light. – At one time there were many of this kind in the market. So many we were sick and tired of.

– You think it’s the same fake note? – I was disappointed.

– Really handsome! Wonderful! A million dollar in a one note! A bearer bond! Never seen anything better, – Igor laughed. – And you what were you thinking?

– I was thinking the same, until I took a smell … that smell… it smells of money! It smells of a million dollars!

– It smells of crime, – chuntered Igor, handing the bond to Arcady.

– And this is not the fake note that used to be out in the market, – Arcady said.

– This one is different. That note was of 100-million dollar face value. Don’t you remember? But Fed has never issued anything over one-million worth. And this one is exactly one million. Humble indeed. Never thought I’d be holding it in my hands. I heard these bonds were used to repay Russian national debt.

– How many of those were there? – I asked.

– Up to twenty billion worth, – Arcady said, recollecting that story. – I am not an expert of course, but… Michael, you are not yet going? – cried out Arcady in the kitchen way.

– Michael?

I was thinking Arcady made up his mind to sell another print by Falck cherished against a rainy day, and this was why he was calling for Michael. I looked at him uneasily, but Arcady just waved aside and smiled. Michael only came to chat and kick the tires.

Michael, a fine art expert and connoisseur, was sitting in the corner of the kitchen with his bony arms across and his fingers intertwined, with a smoldering cigarette. From afar he seemed tied up in a knot. He stood up, going round mindlessly and moving sweepingly like a stuffed doll. He approached his face with high cheek bones sinking under grey temples, clicked the lighter and knotted up again, seated next to mine. By the way, with all his shapelessness Michael turned out attractive to females. In his youth Michael would strike in the face without much talking. He would only take off his specs. And he never cash in on his clients. He was original, as per one of his friends’ evaluation.
Arcady pushed away some tea cups with a motion of his hand from the table corner.

– Here, look, what a wonderful forgery, – Arcady unfolded the bond in front of him.

Michael took the bond paper close to his eyes, narrowing and flickering up and down the monograms as if probing the same.

– Unbelievable. It’s an artwork, – he whispered over the note.

– All American bonds of that time look similar to this one. And dollars too, – it didn’t ring any bells to Arcady.

– I haven’t seen any others, Arcady. And this one was not done yesterday. Its age is between 1940 and 1960. This banknote is a real masterpiece. And if it’s forgery it is obviously an artwork by a famous forger.

– Who must be dead by now, – Igor remarked.

– That is for the better. So his name is long time well known to everyone. His style and touch looks familiar to me, over here… – Michael carefully tapped on with his bony finger the conglomerate of white monograms intertwined as a knot of worms, drifted to the upper edge of the line curved just above the portrait.

– Style and touch? On a bond paper? – Arcady asked again dubiously.

– Just like the master’s style and touch… You know the touch of a certain painter never gets changed, just like his fingerprint. No matter what he makes paintings or money… The touch remains. I visited an exhibition of a Russian painter Smirnov in The Tretyakov Gallery, three years ago. It was brought from Austria. There is a museum of his with all his works. And you know what? Smirnov used to make handmade dollars. He would wash off the ink from a one-dollar note and make a hundred instead. He served his time in jail, came out. Lived under a different name, kept refreshing his documents and died in Vienna… And his touch was remarkable.

Michael went to search for his spectacles, took his magnifier. And for a rather long time, adjusting the specs and the magnifier kept looking with his keen eyes at the bond.

– There is nothing to look at, Michael, its all clear. Let us have a drink, – and Igor poured him some whiskey.

– Yeah, we’d rather have a drink, – agreed Michael, taking off his specs and putting aside the bond paper. – But, I had better smoke…

Michael kept smoking grass out of his college time habit, when appraising an unknown artwork by-sight.

– It’s immaterial what kind of note is this, – voiced Arcady in a frigid and sober tone. – What is important, every bond has its owner. No matter if its payable to bearer or not. And the owner is now looking for it.

And he was right. All promissory notes, all papers, forgery or not, meant a real person, with actual or paper funds. And if this paper funds like in this bond case were too big, that meant the money owner was a millionaire.

This had nothing to do with the long time deceased forger. The bond belonged to a live person. This bond came out not by chance. It must have dropped out of a deal, of a major transaction, where it would get exchanged for something and get back to sleep in the bank depository vault for many years. This was not a market transaction. It appeared to be a deal between two parties who know each other well. The bond could be getting transferred from one bank to another. So the transaction was aborted. It might have been a million dollar deal.

– Well, that’s real shit. So who may be the owner? – Igor asked following Arcady.

– It’s hardly a criminal transaction, – Arcady started speculating. – The criminal world was not allowed to buy-up the government debt. This should be the intelligence agency case. We’d better find the owner fast. And give the bond back. It’s just like keeping the bomb under the bed.

– And how do you find the owner? – I wondered.

– Well if you don’t find him, he will find you, and that’ll be worse, – retorted Arcady.

– Let us find the body in the first place, – resolved Igor. – The courier was dead in the airport? Let’s go there.