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.
The house had grown quiet except for the occasional creak of aging timbers reacting to changes in humidity and temperature. After watching a moonbeam stab through a window and creep over the floor, Shelby stared at the ceiling and asked herself why she always waited for events to overtake her. Why couldn't she do what Hank had suggested during their road trip? In Las Vegas he had urged her to reach out to life, to squeeze it, make it respond. “Grab life by the scruff and shake it,” he'd said. But he wouldn't reach out to her any more than he already had. The next move was up to her.
She threw back the bedcovers and swung her feet onto the chilly floor. If she thought about it, she would crawl back into bed, so she refused to think. Instead she reached under her gown to slip off her panties and tiptoed across the hall to his bedroom.
He lay on his back, stretched full-length under the covers. “Are you all right?” he asked, his voice barely above a whisper.
Standing in his doorway, she said, “I'm . . . yes, I'm okay.”
“Are you chilly? Need more cover?”
“I'm lonely. May I get in with you?”
He shifted to the side, fluffed a pillow for her, and threw back the covers. She recognized the gesture as the one she had used in Las Vegas when inviting him to share Pearl's guest bed. Feeling light-headed, she pulled the door shut and climbed in with him.
He lay on his side, watching her. “You sure everything's all right?”
“I don't know. I feel . . .” She twisted to face him. “I thought you might . . . that we . . .” Why couldn't she finish a sentence? She concentrated on regulating her breathing.
He twisted onto his back again and extended an arm. “Come here.”
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:
Guest post: The Three C’s of Can’t-Put-It-Down Fiction
You can have characters without a plot, but a plot without characters? Not likely. It follows that characters are the starting point for a story. Craft one or more characters and place them in a context that generates conflict, and you have a story. It might not be a good story, but you have incorporated the essentials for all tales, good, bad, and disgusting: characters, conflict, and context.
Master storytellers give their readers multifaceted characters whose personalities dictate how they react to conflict situations and therefore where the plot goes. Elmore Leonard expressed it well by stating that once characters have been created and placed in a conflict context, the author is well advised to get out of the way and let the characters do their thing.
In early drafts the characters’ thoughts, emotions, and actions flow mindlessly from the writer’s subconscious directly into the word processor. What results is a great mass of sometimes-incomprehensible narrative; an unholy mess. Then the writer switches to editor mode and begins imposing order.
Elmore Leonard’s tenth rule for writing comes into play at this point: take out the parts that people tend to skip. It the writer is really good, and if she is diligent, readers are blessed with lines that live in history: “Get busy living or get busy dying.” “As long as the heart beats, as long as body and soul keep together, I cannot admit that any creature endowed with a will has need to despair of life.” “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all.” “It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
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