The Price of Sanctuary
by Gaylon Greer
Accustomed to a life of privilege, Shelby Cervosier new finds herself running for her life. Accused of killing an American Immigration agent, Shelby has undertaken a mission on behalf of a secretive American espionage agency in exchange for a promise of legal amnesty and political asylum in America. Now, however, the agent who coerced her into accepting the assignment wants her dead to cover up the bungled mission. Two hit men compete for the bounty that has been placed on her head.
Shelby and her younger sister flee into America’s heartland in search of a safe haven. They find only fear and danger, however, when they are captured by one of the assassins, Hank.
Prepared to do whatever it takes to keep her sister safe, Shelby cooperates with her capturer. Deciding that his feelings for them are more important than bounty money, Hank takes the sisters under his wing and secrets then away to his hideout: a farm in a remote corner of Colorado. They become a part of his extended family; they have finally found sanctuary.
Their safe new world is shattered when the second hit man, a relentless psychopath, captures Shelby’s little sister and uses her to lure Shelby and her lover into a middle-of-the-night showdown on an isolated Rocky Mountain battleground.
After breakfast, while helping Latica with the dishes, Sheby decided to face the issue head-on. “About last night.” She concentrated on her dishwashing as she spoke, and avoided the other woman’s eyes. “I’m sorry if I offended anyone.”
Latica paused in scraping dishes. “I told you my sister died three years ago, told you Hank never brought anyone to the farm before you. There was only one conclusion we could draw. None of us understood why you slept in the study.”
Shelby felt feverish. She knew her face must look sunburned, and it increased her embarrassment even more. “This is awkward.”
“It shouldn’t be. Are you protected?”
“Hank protects me. That’s why I’m—oh, you mean . . .”
Latica grinned. “No contraceptives?”
“I didn’t anticipate the need.”
“You should take care of that. Are you and Hank still picking up Carmen today?”
“I think so.”
“Stop in Grand Junction and ask Hank’s doctor to write a prescription. You’ll need a morning-after pill, too.”
“For last night.”
“Of course.” She felt like a freshman on her first day of high school. “I’ll ask Hank to—” He crossed the hall into the study. “He’s awake.”
Latica filled a coffee cup. “He’ll need this. Go.”
Shelby wasn’t certain how he would feel about their night, and she didn’t want to be presumptuous. Maybe he regretted it or felt she had taken advantage of him. Perhaps it had just been recreation. She found him sitting at the computer and placed his coffee by the keyboard. “Good morning.”
He lifted her hand to his lips. “Hi. Just about to check my mail.” He sipped the coffee. “Delicious, thanks.”
“You need to thank Latica. She made it while I overslept.”
“She’ll excuse you.”
“She heard us last night.”
Looking up from the computer, he gave her a crooked grin. “They probably heard you in Grand Junction.”
Mary, Joseph and all that’s holy. I’m still coming down from reading this book. I read a lot of thrillers, romantic suspense and my fair share of the political thrillers but this left me completely breathless. Recovery will be a long time coming. I still can’t believe that this is a debut. I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Yes, it was that good and I stayed up late to finish. I HAD to know how it ended.
Let’s see what can I say that want spoil it for you. I love a good political thriller and Mr. Greer has delivered in spades. The action starts from the get go and doesn’t let up. Yes, I say this is a political thriller. It deals with asylum issues, international villains and not to mention the assassination of a political figure in Haiti. Shelby is put in the terrible position of double crosses, secret agencies and trying to keep her sister safe. It doesn’t get anymore political than that. Plus, throw in some hit men that want her dead and your are off and running.
What I truly liked about Shelby was that while she stayed true to herself, she did have some moral dilemmas throw her way. Here’s a snippet:
Despising the weakness that compelled her, she turned back. He looked up at her and begged, “Shoot me. Don’t let me burn.” She aimed at his head. Her finger tightened on the trigger, but she could not squeeze.
“Please,” he pleaded. “In the name of God, do it. Be merciful.”
Mr. Greer doesn’t sugar coat anything in the book. Its gritty, real and at times raw. You have a villain to despise and hate. Vlad is truly evil and in contrast with Hank, the other hit man/hero, Mr. Greer showed just how unfeeling and ruthless hit men can be. I found this fascinating to read. Sure, I read a lot of Clancy books with John Clark but never has an author taking me to a place that I can actually feel for one (Hank) and hate the other (Vlad). You will cringe at times when Vlad is on the page but he is a well rounded character.
Hank is a study in contrast. A hired hit man in his own right but something compels him to protect Shelby and her sister. Plus, he didn’t need to protect Shelby from the bad guys, he needed to protect her from himself. I love a hero that stands back a bit and lets the heroine work on some the problems by themselves first. He was always there to help but he knew that Shelby was strong and he let her be strong.
The romance element in the book totally worked for me. In some thrillers its thrown in for the “chick” vote but Mr. Greer wrote it well and with some humor. Shelby and Hank’s relationship developed slowly but poignantly. Mr. Greer got it right and I truly hope that he revisits Hank and Shelby.
Oh and the settings/locales…very atmospheric. Mr. Greer could write an action movie and I would definitely line up to see it. His descriptions are vivid and you remember them long after the book is closed.
A couple of things before I leave you; don’t start this book at night. You will stay up all night long to finish it. Start in the morning after your shower; stopping to eat (maybe) and bathroom breaks. You will not be able to put this book down. Its fast paced, engrossing, taunt, thrilling, evil but above all it will leave you breathless. Again, I’m still trying to catch my breath and I finished it last week. I keep thinking about Shelby and Hank. I didn’t want there story to end.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Working with traveling carnivals and itinerant farm labor gangs during his teen and early adult years took Gaylon Greer up, down, and across the United States and introduced him to a plethora of colorful individuals who serve as models for his fictional characters. A return to school in pursuit of a high school diploma while serving in the Air Force led to three university degrees, including a Ph.D. in economics, and a stint as a university professor. After publishing several books on real estate and personal financial planning, as well as lecturing on these subjects to nationwide audiences, he shifted his energy to writing fiction. Gaylon lives near Austin, Texas.
Gaylon’s Web Site: http://gaylongreer.com/
Amazon Author Page:
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