Love ~ Danger ~ Suspense ~ Exotic, a romantic suspense set in the vast agricultural cerrados area of Brazil.
A double cross that keeps on giving, a Brazilian ex-mercenary who wants to live in peace, a children's book illustrator who's thrust into a danger she doesn't understand...with a man she doesn't want to love.
"Please don't make me shoot you. I want nothing from you except information."
Emily Noble's voice quavered. A fever had waylaid her about two hours ago, making her shoulders, her whole body, ache relentlessly. The old pistol she'd discovered in the rental car's glove box trembled in her grasp, before her brother's training kicked in. Heart racing, she brought up her left hand to steady the heavy gun.
A brief stillness, when he first saw the gun, was her only clue that she had shaken Christovao Santos. His military walk and his air of authority were familiar when he strode into the room where she lay in wait. Her father and her fiancé sported both in abundance. Her brother James had a mere hint of each.
The big Brazilian recovered and finished lighting a cigarillo. He studied her through its smoke, like she was a long column of figures that didn't quite add up. A look of watchful expectation replaced his wooden expression.
"Please. Put the gun down and we'll talk." He spoke with a slight accent. "A beautiful woman holding a small cannon plays hell with my concentration."
Beautiful? He must be desperate, too. The last time she'd looked into a mirror, her left cheek had been a fading, glorious purple, and her blackened left eye had reached the yellow stage. The rest of her bruises, especially the emotional ones from the assault, didn't show, but they made their presence known in her fevered trembling and the cold sweat that drenched her anew when she first saw Christovao Santos. He filled the room with a dangerous presence as well as with his physical size.
And why didn't he stand still, damn him? How could he waver like that?
She blinked, trying to clear her vision. "Why don't you cut the crap and concentrate on what I'm saying. Where's my brother?" She scarcely recognized the cold, determined, far away voice as her own. "I'm dirty, drenched, and desperate. I'll ask nicely--once."
"You forgot dangerous," he said around the cigarillo.
The condescending sneer he'd pasted over his casual wariness vanished when she lowered her extended arms and fired a round into the hardwood floor between his booted feet. He was a cool one, she'd give him that. He merely rocked back slightly on his heels.
"You're right. I forgot dangerous." Recovering from the recoil, she pointed the gun at his chest while echoes of the small explosion reverberated in her pounding head. The acrid scent of gunpowder filled the eight feet of space between them, nauseating her.
Amused respect now gleamed in his violet eyes as they flicked from the marred wood at his feet to her perspiring face. "I should probably ask. Who's your brother?"
"James. James King." She gulped after the words, wondering if she was looking at the man responsible for James's disappearance, or at the man who might help her find him.
His even features tightened, carved into lines that were all business. "Second mistake, senhorita. The first was coming here." He buried the cigarillo upright in a sand-filled crystal bowl on the desk . . . and then he looked past her.
Did he really think she'd fall for that? She'd made sure she was in a defensible position in this office or study, with a wall behind her and the desk to dive behind for cover. This had been the only room in the house with a swath of light knifing from it into the soft Brazilian night.
The violet eyes were frosty now. "Sami, the lady needs to lie down. Help her relax then show her to a room. She'll be staying with us until someone comes to claim her." Then Christovao Santos stepped smartly aside.
She felt a warm touch, with moderate pressure, on the right side of her neck. At the same moment, a large, dusky hand and arm appeared over her left shoulder, catching the gun as it tipped forward out of her control and out of her grip.
Color faded from the room and from the cold face watching her. Christovao Santos grew steadily taller, wavering all the while, until he towered over her. Then she noticed the feathery grain of the tropical hardwood floor beside her nose. Before the curtain of darkness fully closed around her, she groaned with despair and regret. She had failed James--and she was going to die before she found out how Christovao Santos did that.
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"The combination of innocent romance and international
adventure will appeal to readers who like hot-blooded yet
reasonable protagonists...." Diana Tixier Herald, Booklist
"Great suspense and exciting romance make Sanctuary impossible
to put down. Garner has a gift for romantic suspense. Here's
hoping we see lots more from her." - Jill M. Smith Romantic
Times Book Club - 4 Stars
"The reader was pulled in from the first page and couldn't
wait to find out what happened next. This book was one of
those rare "page-turners." Susan, Love Romances
"What great characters! I literally could not put this story
down and carried the manuscript from room to room with me...." Leslie Jackson, Writers Unlimited
"The story line never slows down.... Sanctuary is a terrific
thriller...." Midwest Book Review Bookwatch, Klausner's
"Ms. Garner brings
Brazil to life; the Cerrados, the people, the history and the
land are captivating. ...This was a superbly written and
beautifully rendered story; the characters, the location, the
intrigue and the emotions create such a spellbinding and
enthralling atmosphere that the reader feels personally
involved with every aspect. Highly recommended!" Sara Sawyer,
The Romance Studio, 4.5 Hearts
"Do you have the spirit of adventure? Do you enjoy the romance
and mystery of foreign lands? Pack your suitcase and get ready
for a fast-paced visit to Brazil.... Mystery surrounds all of
the delightful characters in this great story.....The very
talented author gives the reader a real treat in the setting
and background characters. Her writing style is unique and a
definite part of what makes this such a fun read. This reader
highly recommends Sanctuary as a book guaranteed to keep you
reading. I look forward to Ms. Garner's next book." Murder and
Mayhem Bookclub, Anne K. Edwards
"...a gripping story of life and death in Brazil and it is one
that is hard to stop reading, even for a little while." Romance Junkies, Sherri Myers, 4.5