Sheryl Stafford easily bursts onto the tired and crowded scene of romantic suspense fiction with a gripping melodrama about a brave couple willing to face death in order to save each other.
Former POW Matthew Spencer thinks his days of confinement and torture are over at the end of the Vietnam War. Not so. Years later, when he and his wife, Alexandra, embark on a leisurely cruise on their sailboat, they are caught up in another battle, one that involves illegal drugs. As their sloop sails toward the remote Bahamian Cays, the Spencers are unaware of the deadly white powder concealed inside their yacht's hanging wet locker.
Spencer is forty-eight, tired, a reluctant hero. Alex is thirty-five, naïve, an unlikely heroine. They aren't looking for trouble, but then again, they don't have to. They're carrying it with them.
A chain of events leaves Matt desperate and alone, while Alex, weak and in shock, is delivered to Raoul, the head of a Colombian drug cartel. U. S. drug agents on a surveillance mission are drawn into the conflict. They agree to deliver Matt to Morgan Cay, Raoul's private Island.
Raoul sounds the alarm when he discovers that Alex has bolted. Alex finds Matt savagely beaten and unable to move. The agents, waiting just offshore, must leave at dawn. The clock is ticking for Matt, for Alex, and for the agents.
When darkness shrouded the anchorage, Matt went below decks. Alex had thrown together some sandwiches for dinner, but neither of them had much appetite. Every few minutes Matt would get up, turn off the cabin light, and check for any activity on the cabin cruiser. Each time he looked, he saw the faint outline of The Happy Hour as it silently rode the waves. Inside his head a battle raged. Was he just being paranoid and frightening Alex unnecessarily or were these guys a real threat to them?
Matt picked up the thirty-eight from the navigation table, pressed the release lever, and swung open the cylinder. He carefully dropped all six bullets in his hand and checked them for corrosion. Before reinserting them into the cylinder, he looked down the barrel to see if there were any obstructions. Once the bullets were back in the cylinder, he closed the chamber and wiggled it to be sure it was locked. When he set the gun on the desk top, Alex jumped.
"I've gotta get...
If you're looking for a thrilling read - stop right here and browse an excerpt from 'A Deadly Exchange' - it's a great story at any time of the year but particularly apt for a summer vacation. By way of encouragement to other writers out there, it's worth mentioning that Sheryl self-published this book in early 2001. Slowly, slowly, she's been building awareness and sales and, at the time of writing, the book is currently one of Walmart's top selling thrillers!
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No Man's Land
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Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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