After a bloody tour in Iraq, all Karen Barnes wants is a simple life, surrounded by horses and the mountains of Wyoming. But when a stranger tries boarding a famous horse worth millions at her stable, Karen grows suspicious that the horse has been stolen. When her worse fears are confirmed and her life is threatened, her instinct for survival kicks in. But things are far worse than she could have even imagined when she discovers that the theft is just a coverup for espionage. With the lives of those she cares for at stake, can she find the courage to fight one more battle, or will the violence and carnage tear her to pieces?
Johnny swung the M16 and pointed it at me, “Come here, honey.” He smiled, and I held back the waves of nausea. I knew the smile, what he wanted, knew if he got me out of here, I was going to hurt. “Stop shooting and I will.” I kept my feet planted, hoping the fear didn’t show. He turned and shot a man trying to crawl away. I flinched as blood and thicker things spread over the floor. “You don’t negotiate. Come here, Karen. We have unfinished business.” I took a deep breath, the smell of copper pennies and released bowels covering my nose and throat. Don’t cry, show no weakness. There are others that might survive. I took a step, followed by several more. If I managed to get Johnny and Jake out of here, they could lock down and call for help. Peripheral vision said at least seven survived. The good of the many outweigh the good of the few, or the one, I repeated in my head, remembering the line from the eighties movie, Star Trek: Wrath of Khan. I wasn’t brave like Spock, I was a coward, and couldn’t live with myself. Standing in front of Johnny, I released a punch, sending him reeling. I grabbed his M16 as he lurched to the left, and turned it on Jake. I hesitated, seeing his beautiful eyes, a dozen years of memories flashing in front of me. Shaking my head, I pulled the trigger. His body jumped and moved, eyes wide with pain and surprise. I turned the muzzle to a hunched over Johnny, “Look at me. For once, don’t be a coward, and face the person who is going to take your life.”
Wow, just wow. Never mind the actual story (not really LOL) the message in this book is overwhelming. I’ve seen what PTSD can be, through a Vietnam Vet who was a great friend of the family, and also one of the nicest people I can ever remember, but he still had things that would just unhinge him.
Karen is nothing short of remarkable, the secrets she learns and the past she has dealt with, along with the current circumstances she is dealing with, and to still be living makes her just a breathtaking character.
This book just floored me, it really wasn’t anything like what I was expecting it to be after reading the first few chapters. EPIC is the word I’m looking for to describe this book!
This book contains a lot of violence and the kidnapping is intense so I do feel that it should have a warning, if you cannot handle the extremes don’t read it and then slam it later,,,here’s your warning.
T.J. Loveless has been reading and writing stories since the fourth grade. A former copy/content editor at a medium sized pub house, she now spends her time writing and helping other authors reach for the stars through Cliffhanger Press, LLC. She lives with The Writing Zoo, a Hubby who prefers her mood when writing, and a teenager who loves to tells stories of Mom on the floor trying to visualize “legs all akimbo” and the long, often yelling, conversations with the computer screen.