Shannon here: H.L. Wegley shares how he met his wife and a romantic excerpt from his latest Romantic Suspense novel, No Turning Back. Comment or answer the question in any post dated May 5 – 8 to get in the drawing. Winner’s choice print or Kindle for U.S. Kindle for international. Deadline: May 16th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s H.L.:
My wife and I first met when we were about two years old and her parents visited with my grandparents. They were neighbors. In fact, our families and extended families were all neighbors and friends. However, we didn’t date until the summer after I graduated from high school. I asked her to go to the county fair. She said yes. I won her a big bear, and we never stopped dating until we married two years later.
My hero, Drew West, and heroine, Elizabeth (Beth) Sanchez, met on a group hiking excursion in Big Bend National Park, Texas, near Santa Elena Canyon. When Beth sprained her ankle, Drew stayed behind to care for her while the tour guide and the rest of the group completed their day hike. When drug runners came down the Rio Grande, Drew defended Beth against them until the two were captured by the head of the drug cartel, Hector Suarez, a man with some compelling reasons to kill Beth.
The situation: Beth Sanchez and Drew West must testify in federal court against the baby brother of drug cartel leader, Hector Suarez. Beth’s entire family was killed in a village massacre by this drug cartel, so she doesn’t trust the DOJ’s offer of protection until she and Drew testify at the trial.
Drew offers to take her someplace where she can’t be found while they wait for the trial. Though she has known Drew for less than 24 hours, he has already saved her life three times, so she trusts him. But escaping Texas undetected forces them to spend one night hiding in a motel suite, where they plot their escape from the area.
First kiss excerpt from No Turning Back by Harry Wegley:
“We’ll be in College Station tomorrow. What if I called them from my department at Texas A&M? I’ll tell them I’m out interviewing for jobs.”
“You’ll need to tell them a little more than that so your relatives don’t report you as missing after a few days. We don’t want both the police and Suarez trying to find you. Also, we’ll need to rendezvous with them to get your things. So, I guess you’ll have to give them a list of what you want, and you’ll have to reveal a little about the danger you’re in. Maybe you can tell them that you’re being protected. Let me think it through a little more.”
“Can I think it through too? After all, I know them.”
“Who exactly is them?”
“My aunt’s cousin, Sophia. Her kids are grown, so she took me in and treated me like a daughter.”
“Yeah. Guess you do need to tell her something, but not enough to endanger her.”
“And here’s how we can do that.” Beth pulled him to the living room couch, then sat.
Drew sat beside her. When he looked down at his side, her hand was in his. It seemed natural. His hand, curled around hers, seemed to have found its home.
He and Beth had connected at a deep level of trust. There was a lot more to their connection, but Drew could keep none of it if he couldn’t keep her alive. And his adversary was a demon-driven man who, according to the Border Patrol, ranked high on the FBI’s most wanted list.
Was Drew West up to this task? He knew martial arts and quite a bit about guns. But the truth to that question frightened him.
Please, God. You’ve got to help me protect Beth.
“Drew, are you listening? I said here’s what we’ll do. When we get in town tomorrow, we go to the university, and I’ll call them from my department’s business phone.”
“What department is that?”
“I have an MBA from Mays Business School.”
“But I thought you were only—”
“Are you going to let me finish?”
“There won’t be many people in the office now that summer school is going. And I can make sure no one is listening. I’ll tell Sophia what’s happening—no details—and I won’t disclose your name. I’ll give her a list of the things I’ll need, have her box them up and drive to the Goodwill. We’ll get the box behind the building, and then we leave. But you need to stay out of sight the whole time. Then she won’t know who I’m with or where I’m going. I’m just going out for several job interviews.”
She was good. Drew put on a serious face. “You know, that’s exactly what I was thinking.”
Beth pursed her lips and socked him in the shoulder.
Drew grabbed a couch pillow and pounded her with it.
She grabbed the other pillow and swung round house at his head.
Beth missed, lost her balance, and fell against him. She ended up in his arms.
Before he could react, Beth kissed him.
As kisses go, it wasn’t long. But it was long enough to release the emotions building up in him like a charge of electricity. When the voltage reached the necessary potential, it had jumped the gap between them.
The results, they peered into each other’s eyes, breathing hard from their scuffle, both smiling after their discovery.
Drew cupped her cheek. “It’s a good plan, Beth. Let’s do it tomorrow.”
“Yes, tomorrow. Because I don’t think we should do that again tonight.”
So Beth Sanchez was completely distracted after kissing him. “Agreed. I’ll put it on tomorrow’s agenda.”
That earned him another punch in the shoulder.
Maybe she was only partly distracted.
She rubbed the spot on his shoulder in mock sympathy. “You can’t schedule things like that. It would ruin them. Besides, we should get some sleep. It’s a six-and-half hour drive to College Station. But I’ve got one more question for you.”
“I thought only brutes like Suarez pounded other people to get information.”
“That was just a love—a friendly little tap. I can hit a lot harder. Want to see?”
“I believe you. What did you want to ask me?”
She sat quietly for a moment studying him. “Where are you taking me, Drew West?”
At this point, he couldn’t risk being too specific. Drew heaved a sigh. “My name should give you a clue.”
“We’re going west?”
“Yep. To a horse ranch.”
About H.L.: H.L. Wegley served in the USAF as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. In civilian life, he served as a Research Scientist in Atmospheric Physics. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he jumped ship to build computer systems for Boeing for 20 years before retiring near Seattle, where he and his wife enjoy small-group ministry, grandchildren, and hiking on Olympic National Park beaches. He’s an award-winning author of 16 books, inspirational thrillers and romantic-suspense novels and is working on number 17. Learn more & connect:
About the book – No Turning Back (Witness Protection Book 3): When a young man much like her dead father offers her protection, will trusting him bring another massacre, one that takes her life too? Elizabeth (Beth) Sanchez, daughter of the man who formed a militia and drove out the Del Rio Cartel, was the lone survivor after drug lord, Hector Suarez, retaliated, massacring the people in her town. Seven years later, Beth has an MBA, American citizenship, and is ready to chase her dreams. While on a Big Bend hiking excursion, Beth encounters Suarez who is bent on killing the one remaining symbol of resistance to his power, Beth Sanchez.
After once being called a coward, Drew West has a mile-high chip on his shoulder and an impressive resume of fighting skills. He’s ready to fight anybody, anywhere, especially if someone needs protection. When Suarez tries to kill Beth in Big Bend, Drew humiliates the drug lord and captures Suarez’s little brother, Ricardo. Hector Suarez places Beth and Drew at the top of his hit list.
When a federal prosecutor offers Beth and Drew protection for their testimony against Ricardo, Beth fears a safe house cannot stop another massacre. But Drew offers her a different option, his protection on a horse ranch half a continent away. But if Beth accepts Drew’s offer, there will be no marshal protection and no turning back.
Set near Big Bend National Park and in Central Oregon, near the Deschutes River, No Turning Back is a high-action, romantic-suspense story about love, courage, and the futility of human vengeance.
Can’t wait for the drawing or worried you won’t win? Get your copy now! No Turning Back – Amazon
Interested in H.L.’s other books? H.L. Wegley – Amazon
Question for Readers: If you had the choice of going into the witness protection program or relying on a tough guy to keep you safe on a horse ranch, which would you choose? Why?