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Blood Line

A Tom Rollins Thriller

Paul Heatley

For Aiden


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Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72



About the Author

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The warlord’s name is Aaban Ahmadi.

For six months, he’s been organizing hit-and-runs on US bases and convoys. He and his men have killed more than twenty American soldiers, caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage, and severely derailed advances into Helmand Province.

Two days ago, the CIA received intel as to his whereabouts.

Tom Rollins is one in a team of five. A CIA black ops unit. Best of the best. The chopper drops them off under cover of darkness. They continue the rest of the way on foot. Five clicks across the cool night desert. They take it at a light run, strapped with weaponry and supplies, M4A1s in their hands.

Captain Robert Dale leads the way. To his left, Simon Collins, and on the right is Nathan Sapolsky. Nowhere else they’d rather be, right there beside their vaunted leader.

Tom is bringing up the rear, Ezekiel Greene by his side. The only man he trusts in this team, the only one he considers a friend.

The house comes into view. Villa-style, seemingly smack-bang right in the middle of the desert. The sand beneath their feet turns to jagged rock.

There are men on guard. The team can’t see them at this distance, but they know they’re there. The five men huddle together. Captain Dale gives his silent instructions, using hand signals to communicate. They’ve been briefed; they know what to do.

Tom and Zeke peel off right, Simon and Nathan left, the captain straight down the middle. They duck low, hurry across the terrain, eyes up, watching ahead. Tom goes first, a three-second burst of travel while Zeke stays behind him, covering. Tom stops, takes a knee, raises his rifle. Zeke overtakes him. They’re heading for Ahmadi himself. This time of night, it’s assumed he’ll be in bed. Intel provided the layout of the house, too. His bedroom is at the very back. They’ve memorized the route and every facet of the estate. Tom and Zeke are going in through the front. Simon and Nate will take the rear. Captain Dale will hold back, observe the outside. He’ll join them when it is clear no alarm has been raised.

Within a stone’s throw from the building, they duck lower. They monkey run. Keep their heads up, scanning the wall, freezing when they see a patrolling guard. There’s one up top, on the roof, and another on the ground. Tom takes out the one on the ground. Waits for him to pass his position, gets him from behind, clasps the guard’s face in the joint of his elbow, wrenches back and down to snap his neck. They scale the wall while the guard up top is heading the other way, his back turned. This one is Zeke’s. He takes him out with his KA-BAR.

They’re inside. They take a moment, just a flash, to get their bearings. Strap their M4A1s to their backs, raise their Colt 1911s and surge on, Tom leading the way. They want things to be quiet. They don’t want to have to fight their way out. As well as the guards, there are women and children in the compound. Their target is Ahmadi, Ahmadi alone.

Inside, the way is clear. The lights are off. Tom and Zeke put on their night-vision goggles, keep moving. They stick to the walls and creep along the corridors. Pause at every little sound, listen. Hear no footsteps, only the stirring from within rooms.

Ahmadi’s room is in the center of the house. It’s the only one guarded. They expected this much. They make a noise, a tap-tapping, get his guard’s attention, draw him out, bring him to investigate. Tom and Zeke hide around a corner, wait for the guard to come find them. Eventually, he does. Zeke grabs him, silences him. Tom leaves them to it, heads down the hallway, to the bedroom door. Ear to the wood, he listens for movement. Hears nothing. Opens the door, just a crack, peers in. He’s looking into a deeper darkness. Spots the bed at the other end of the room. The vague outline of a sleeping shape picked out with the night vision. Hears the gentle snores.

Tom pulls his knife, creeps forward, scanning the room as his eyes adjust. Ahmadi is alone. Tom gets to the corner of the bed, shines a torch briefly into his face to make a visual ID. It’s their man, his face memorized from the one photograph they had that wasn’t blurry.

The encroaching movement stirs Ahmadi. His eyes flicker, but he doesn’t wake. Tom presses the tip of the knife to his chest, pushes it down into his heart, clamps a hand over his mouth to muffle his cries. Ahmadi’s eyes widen; then they close.

At the door, Zeke is keeping guard. Tom nods that it’s done. Mission halfway accomplished. Now they just need to get out, return to the extraction point.

Down the corridor, they pause. Listen. The sound is unmistakable. Zeke turns to Tom; they exchange concerned looks.


It’s coming from inside the home. They move fast. They expect the guards have been alerted to their presence, that a firefight has broken out with the other members of their team.

That isn’t what they find.

They find Nathan first, filling a room with gunfire before

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