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Supercell

Supercell

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They’ll pay him a fortune to find a killer tornado for their movie.
He knows the risks all too well, but he never imagined just how dangerous the perfect storm could be.

Chuck Rittenburg was one of the most intrepid storm chasers in the country until a bad decision resulted in the death of a young couple who’d paid to ride along. A decade later—broke, divorced, and estranged from his college-age children—he’s got nothing left to lose. When a film producer offers Chuck one-million dollars to help find and photograph a deadly tornado in Oklahoma, Chuck sees a chance to earn his kids’ respect again—and maybe his own.
The situation quickly becomes about more than tracking a monster tornado for Hollywood. FBI Agent Gabi Medeiros insists on riding along. A burglary ring is targeting tornado-ravaged neighborhoods, and their tactics now include murder.
With the stage set for a major heist, a deadly supercell, and a confrontation between Man and Nature on an epic scale, Chuck and his crew will be lucky to escape in one piece.
They’ll pay him a fortune to find a killer tornado for their movie.
He knows the risks all too well, but he never imagined just how dangerous the perfect storm could be.

Chuck Rittenburg was one of the most intrepid storm chasers in the country until a bad decision resulted in the death of a young couple who’d paid to ride along. A decade later—broke, divorced, and estranged from his college-age children—he’s got nothing left to lose. When a film producer offers Chuck one-million dollars to help find and photograph a deadly tornado in Oklahoma, Chuck sees a chance to earn his kids’ respect again—and maybe his own.
The situation quickly becomes about more than tracking a monster tornado for Hollywood. FBI Agent Gabi Medeiros insists on riding along. A burglary ring is targeting tornado-ravaged neighborhoods, and their tactics now include murder.
With the stage set for a major heist, a deadly supercell, and a confrontation between Man and Nature on an epic scale, Chuck and his crew will be lucky to escape in one piece.

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Categories:Book Excerpts
Published by: BelleBooks Publishing House on Nov 15, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Chapter One
SATURDAY, APRIL 13
CHUCK RITTENBURG, slump-shouldered, unshaven, stood on the concrete walkwa!n "ront o" h!s d!n# row-apartment !n Norman, $klahoma, s!pp!n# a Coors %!#ht& It hadn't alwas (een l!ke th!s, a (eer "or (reak"ast& But now & & & what the hell&)ulses o" warm, hum!d w!nd "rom the Gul" o" *e+!co v!a the )!ne oods o" east Te+as wh!pped over h!m, (ear!n# awa the odors o" clean!n# solvent and !nsect!c!de that leaked "rom h!s cheap e""!c!enc l!ke aerosols o" despa!r& ometh!n# else rode the w!nd, too. someth!n# at once om!nous and e+h!larat!n#& He'd sensed !t (e"ore, man t!mes/ the threat o" monstrous thunderstorms, the k!nd that #!ve (!rth to the Gr!m Reapers o" the Great )la!ns0tornadoes& The da that had heralded the unravel!n# o" h!s l!"e had (e#un l!ke th!s & & & a decade a#o& The !ma#e o" what happened that da was seared !nto h!s memor l!ke a psch!c scar, one that would never heal, never stop hurt!n#, never allow h!m to ra!se an emot!onal wh!te "la# and sa
I surrender,
 let th!s (e the end o" !t& Instead, !t clun# to h!m l!ke pscholo#!cal le# !rons, rem!nd!n# h!m constantl o" all he once had (ut had no more&
HE’D BEEN DRIVING the lead van of two belonging to Thunder Road Tours, his eminentlsu!!essful tornado !hasing o"eration# The vans had sto""ed on a shelf of high ground in $%lahoma’s Glass &ountains, a rugged, semiarid lands!a"e of mesas and buttes in the western "art of the state# ' line of thunderstorms, li%e slow(motion, alabaster na"alm e)"losions, billowed along a drline advan!ing out of the Te)as and $%lahoma *anhandles# ' do+en !hasers, tourists reall, ea!h having shelled out over two grand for the "rivilege of getting intimate with a tornado, "iled out of the vans to wat!h the !losest !ell a few miles to their west# ' visibl im"osing, low(hanging bulwar% of bla!%ness, the wall !loud, rotated !ounter!lo!%wise beneath the towering storm#-oo%s li%e it’s about to dro" a funnel,. /hu!%’s "artner, &a! Beau!ham" elled, his ga+e on the right rear flan% of the thunderstorm# ' wind(borne rumble of thunder almost blotted out his words# ' bolt of lightning lan!ed out of the storm onto a nearb mesa, immolating a s!rubb "ine and simultaneousl laun!hing an artiller(li%e e)"losion of sound#
 
Ba!% in the vans,. /hu!% s!reamed# Now0. The !hasers s!rambled ba!% into the vehi!les# 'll e)!e"t for two1 a  oung man and his girlfriend# The man, from the 2est /oast and  "erha"s unfamiliar with the dangers of lightning, didn’t heed /hu!%’s !ommand# Instead, he "ointed a digital !amera at the !auldron of !louds and sna""ed a series of "hotogra"hs# His ladfriend stood beside him, her head di""ed into the wind, her blond hair whi""ing around her fa!e#/hu!% waited a moment, then ste""ed from the driver’s seat of the van onto its running board and elled at the two stragglers# But he was a heartbeat too slow#The man turned and loo%ed at /hu!%# It was that image that /hu!% %new he would !arrwith him the rest of his das1 the man’s ele!tri!all(!harged hair standing on end, his ees "leading, his mouth wide with uns"o%en thoughts3se!rets onl a man who %nows he has a millise!ond to live !an harbor# The brilliant stro%e hit him s4uare, %no!%ing him out of his shoes and throwing him ards awa as if he were no more than a stuffed to#His girlfriend "assed to the ne)t realm with him# 5he didn’t even have time to loo% u"# 5he 6er%ed s"asmodi!all as the dart of lightning stru!%, then !rum"led into a hea", dead before she hit the ground#In tandem with the fatal har"oon of ele!tri!it, thunder eru"ted in an ear(s"litting barrage and rolled a!ross the barren lands!a"e for several se!onds, li%e tm"ani for a dirge#Between the two bodies, a shallow, smo%ing !revasse la in +ig(+ag re"ose a!ross the gravell surfa!e, a final, eternal lin% between the  oung man and his lad friend#
CHUCK T$$K 1 IG o" h!s Coors and stared across the park!n# lot !n "ront o" h!s apartment& The lot rema!ned "!lled w!th cars0aturdamorn!n#& Not too man people #o!n# to work, transport!n# the!r k!ds to school, or sett!n# out "or classes at the near( Un!vers!t o" $klahoma&He d!dn't real!2e at the t!me, on that da ten ears a#o, (ut the deadl l!#htn!n# (olt cla!med not onl the l!ves o" the oun# man and h!s lad, (ut h!s as well& Not !n a phs!cal sense, o" course, (ut !n all aspects o" h!s l!"e that mattered& Even thou#h h!s compan was covered ( l!a(!l!t !nsurance and wa!ver "orms, sl!ck, predatorpersonal !n3ur lawers and the sp!ral!n# cost o" mount!n# a de"ense "orced Thunder Road Tours !nto (ankruptc& Chuck lost not 3ust h!s compan (ut, !n 4u!ck success!on, h!s sav!n#s, home, and w!"e&u2anne, h!s w!"e, had (een una(le to adapt to the!r new status as 5have nots,6 and a"ter a (r!e" a""a!r w!th a "ormer (o"r!end, she and Chuck d!vorced&H!s n!neteen-ear-old son, T, w!th whom he'd alwas had an arm's-len#th and content!ous relat!onsh!p0undou(tedl a contr!(ut!n#

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