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.
Sucking short gasps of air, her face screwed into a wild-animal snarl, Shelby tried to claw his face. Failing that, she dug at his windpipe.
Hank released her hair and captured both her wrists in one hand.
She raised her head to bite his chest.
“Christ!” He tossed the pistol aside and banged her forehead with the heel of his newly freed hand. Her head hit the mattress. He fisted her hair again and held her there, boiling anger threatening to erupt into rage.
She wrenched an arm from his grasp. Bucking and twisting, pounding his shoulders and chest, she tried to dislodge him. “Get . . . off . . . me.”
With his bulk pressing her into the mattress, he absorbed the blows she rained on his chest and shoulders and waited for exhaustion to calm her. Disgust with himself for carelessness mixed with his anger at her for lashing out. But she was doing what he would have done under the same circumstances: making a last-ditch stand, putting everything she had into a final shot at survival. He'd given her the opening by growing lax, by letting his doubts about the job get in the way of professionalism.
His anger cooled further as her thrashing slowed. Her blows lost force, and he knew it was over. Stupid to feel a sense of betrayal over the attack, since she couldn't know he'd been thinking about setting her free. He would have had less respect for her if she had given up easily.
Another feeling edged in, a tide of warmth spreading from where their bodies pressed together. Shamed by his lust for a helpless foe, he loosened his hold and shifted to take his weight off of her.
The Background of My Books:
At bookstore readings I have been asked why, in both my novels, key characters are in the U.S. illegally. The spark that turned into a fictional flame and keeps me dipping into the same character reservoir is the American government’s unequal treatment of illegal immigrants from two Caribbean countries. Some years back I read a rash of newspaper articles about Cubans and Haitians, in roughly equal numbers, trying to slip into America. Cubans were routinely welcomed with a slice of American Pie: resettlement assistance, work permits, and—after a year—permanent residency. Haitians got a different reception: those interdicted at sea were sent home without preamble, the few who made it ashore were locked in detention camps in Miami or prisons in Texas or Louisiana. According to the New York Times, twenty-three thousand Haitians were interdicted by the Coast Guard in one year. Of those, only twenty-eight were allowed to apply for asylum. That gave me pause. Why the different treatment?
At the time, both countries were brutal dictatorships. Haiti’s democratically elected president had been overthrown the year before, and pro-military forces were routinely burning whole neighborhoods. Haitian boat people risked being arrested and tortured the moment they stepped back on their home shore. Moreover, the restrictive U.S. policy regarding Haitians did not extend to people from any other Caribbean country.
One big difference glared, a difference that makes Haitians unique. Unlike other Caribbean peoples, they are mostly descended from African slaves. I could not accept that as even a partial determinant of America’s discriminatory policy, but I could not avoid wondering.
Five percent of Haiti’s population, however, is classified as mulatto or European. That got my novelist’s “what if” juices flowing. What if a highly educated Haitian woman of European ancestry ran afoul of the dictatorship and slipped into America? She would be able to blend in, but the government’s draconian policy toward Haitians would shut off avenues of recourse no matter how outrageous the exploitation. In my first novel, The Price of Sanctuary, I did what novelists do: I put such a person in an intolerable situation and watched her work her way out of it.
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: http://www.amazon.com/Gaylon-E.-Greer/e/B000APV4BE/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
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