What would you do for love? Die? Macabre as it seems, the idea of being willing to give your own life for someone you love has always been considered…well, romantic. And so we have Romeo and Juliet.
And La Llorona, that distraught and piteous wraith from Mexican folklore who wanders the banks of the Rio Grande. Known as the Wailing Woman in English (my translation; the name literally is “crying woman,” but that lacks the intensity and tradition of wailing one’s grief over dead loved ones), the story is of a scorned woman who drowns her children in the Rio Grande, then searches for them through the centuries. The mystery—and any romance in the story—comes from how you believe the woman committed that most heinous crime.
And while La Llorona touches A Love Beyond with her icy hands, my first romantic suspense is squarely in the realm of the real—real antagonists. Real victims. And very real love, threatened by forces beyond the control of AJ and Chance, who both have very different reasons to hate billionaire Mike Towers. Both of whom need Rebel, the multi-million dollar Thoroughbred in Towers’ possession. But Chance needs the stallion dead, and AJ will die—or kill—to save the horse that cost her sister Gina her life.
Here’s a little more about my newest release, A Love Beyond, a story abut agendas, romance…and what we can or can’t do for love.
A Look at A Love Beyond
AJ Owens is out for vengeance—for her sister’s death. For the theft of her mother’s million dollar Thoroughbred stallion.
Chance Landin is out for vengeance, too—for his uncle’s false imprisonment on insurance fraud charges.
AJ Owens and Chance Landin face the same enemy—billionaire Mike Towers is evil incarnate, and has destroyed everything AJ and Chance hold dear.
But to destroy Mike Towers—AJ and Chance must destroy each other.
Love can’t matter in their race against death.
A sudden dry-leaf rustle from nearby startled them. AJ’s horse danced nervously, but Chance’s big blue roan reared and shied violently, sending Chance sprawling onto the path. “Sh—” Chance bit off an oath. AJ looked down from her horse, drawing in a sharp breath at the sight of the rattler, its thick body coiled, just feet away.
“Ideas?” she hissed at Chance, fighting the urge simply to kick her horse into full throttle and flee. The chestnut danced, his hooves beating a tattoo on the ground, irritating the snake even more.
“Can you shoot?” Chance hissed back. She blinked. “Yes,” she said. Chance nodded almost imperceptibly. “The pistol. Saddlebag. All Towers’s hands carry them … in case of snakes.”
Keeping one eye on the snake, and trying to find the saddlebag with the other, AJ finally extracted a .22 from the leather pouch, keeping one hand on the reins, and aimed at the reptile. The snake showed no sign that he’d simply slither away. In fact, he seemed to be coiling himself even more tightly, ready to strike.
“Shoot!” Chance demanded hoarsely, and he saw her hand straighten and still, and her finger move slightly on the trigger. The snake sprang forward in a blur, AJ’s horse shied away, and AJ’s shrill little “iiig!” of alarm raised the hair on his arms. Not “eek,” not a real scream at all, just a shrill, plaintive “iiig!” He’d heard that before, only once, but couldn’t dwell on the source. The rattlesnake slithered off, unharmed. The chestnut bolted and AJ fell. Right on top of his sprawled body. Reflexively, his arms closed around her, steadying her. Clasping her. Instinctively, too, his body reacted to her, hardening with need.
Emerald eyes stared into his own, surprised. Unwary. And very inviting. Lips, slightly puckered, exhaled, the warm, soft kiss of air as erotic as its physical counterpart might have been. And then, just as he decided he’d reach up and kiss those parted lips, her head fell forward. Clunked, really, onto his shoulder, and she shuddered all over.
“I hate snakes,” she murmured against his neck.
“Yeah,” he agreed. Just don’t shudder anymore, okay? His hands moved slightly over her back, comforting her. Keeping her from putting any sunlight between her body and his. He knew when she sensed his arousal. She shuddered again, then stiffened and moved slightly away. He half expected anger or indignation. Instead, she sighed, then carefully pushed herself to her knees beside him.
“So … ” she said, eventually. “Is this your usual tour when someone asks ‘to see everything’?” He laughed. “No, AJ. I can assure you … snakes at close range and um … the pebbles and native grasses are only for special gue— visitors.” The word seemed less offensive to him than “guests.” Right now he didn’t want to think about Mike’s interest in AJ. Reluctantly, he, too, pushed himself up, and began brushing debris from his clothes. AJ watched him briefly before following suit, glancing around as she ran her hands over her arms and swiped at her hips and legs. “If you’re looking for the horses, I wouldn’t,” he told her wryly. “They’re probably almost back to that air-conditioned stable of theirs.”
“Great!” she muttered. “Now what? I don’t have anything to shoot snakes with!”
He stared at her, open-mouthed, before hooting a derisive, “Thank God for that!” He turned up the path the horses had taken, but she stopped him with a hand on his arm. “What’s up?” “Aren’t we near the river now?” she asked, and he glanced off toward the curtain of scrub trees and grasses that lined the path down.
“Well, yes, but we’re on foot. Our transportation high-tailed it home.”
She made a face. “Can’t walk a few more— what? Miles? Parts of a mile?”
“Yards. But you’ve seen rivers before— even this river.”
“We were on our way when you fell off your horse,” she pointed out. “Why don’t we just walk the— yards, you said? And see the river from Mike’s side. I’ve mostly seen it from the other.”
He tilted his head back a little, thinking. He’d never met a gold digger so interested in things like horses and nondescript river banks. Still, his boss had said to show her everything. She might have to crawl back by the time they finished her tour. He waved a hand at the tangle of vegetation. “Plow right on in,” he invited. “River’s maybe a thousand yards straight ahead.”
She glanced back and forth from the vegetation to him, then gave him a slight smile. “Perfect,” she said sweetly. Then she did an about face and plowed right on in.
Leslie P. García grew up lost among a crowd of six siblings and a menagerie that included more than twenty horses and ponies, uncounted dogs and cats, possums, raccoons—even a lion and monkeys. Then she moved to Texas, fell in love, was disowned—and embarked on her real adventures, raising 4 children, teaching hundreds, and loving 9 grandkids through forty years of marriage. The fabric of that colorful life has always been writing. In A Love Beyond, Leslie celebrates two of her passions—unusual love stories and the ever present chance at redemption in spite of past mistakes. Leslie loves hearing from readers and can be found all over cyber space, including these places: