5 February, 2014 by Kat
Author in Focus: Alana Lorens
In 2013, I joined 3 Fates Press, along with their YA imprint Line By Lion. Over the next few months, I’d like to introduce my readers to some other 3Fates/Line by Lion authors and their work.
Today, let’s welcome Alana Lorens, author of the suspense novel ENCOUNTER.
Thanks so much, Kat, for letting me visit today with the first week’s release of ENCOUNTER. This is my first straight suspense novel, and it’s been a lot of fun to create.
Teo Haroun and the other lawyers in his firm look forward in varying degrees to the retreat at the Sherman Ranch in northern New Mexico. The boss has laid down some rules—no phones, no computers, no communication with the outside world—that makes them uneasy. But the corporate team-building exercises are necessary for this firm to survive its inner sniping and turmoil—and to protect the secrets they hold.
Inez Suela and thirty other Mexicans have paid a coyote hundreds of pesos to take them across the border into the United States, where they hope to make a better life. The crowded truck heads north into New Mexico to meet their local driver, the occupants unaware that a freak March snowstorm is waiting in its path.
Jake Patrin, the caretaker of the Ranch, fights demons of his own as he struggles daily with addiction. Working far from the city on the lonely Ranch, hosting those who rent the facility, is his protection and solace. But he’s about to lose the only peace he’s been able to grasp.
Davi Pilar needs to make some fast money to appease a couple of St. Louis loan sharks, so he agrees to pick up a truckload of illegals and take them to St. Louis. He drives to New Mexico, not knowing that Inez, the woman who rejected him years before, is one of those on that truck.
The intersection of these people, the collision of their cultures, the revelation of their secrets—all these things lead to violence, death, and even redemption in their New Mexico ENCOUNTER.
Links: Available now in both ebook and print formats, an intrepid reader can find ENCOUNTER at Amazon.com and at Three Fates Press. Find out more about the book, the rest of the blog tour and the author at http://alanalorens.com/
Excerpt: This scene takes place as the six lawyers finally come together for a common purpose–but the differences between them and old grudges still tend to get in the way:
The discussion on how to save themselves grew hot and heavy, with six well-educated and culturally loaded minds sharing ideas in a way that put the efforts of the Harmonics trainers to shame. The team had never been so sharp – or so unified.
Cattrin suggested escape out the back to find civilization, but that thought was quickly discarded. A peek out the window showed they’d end up the same as the illegals.
John Kirk and Annike were for fighting fire with fire, storming the kitchen with whatever force they could find. The problem was, they hadn’t found much.
“No one brought a weapon in their suitcase?” Annike persisted, handing Mitch a bottle of water without being asked, as if it were long habit.
Mitch said, “You can’t get a gun on a plane any more, Annie. Hell, after 9/11, you’re lucky to get aboard wearing your clothes and shoes and carrying a briefcase.”
“There’s got to be a gun here some place,” John Kirk grumbled. “Hell, aren’t there groundhogs or prairie rats or something to be managed? A rifle, a shotgun — something?”
“And no phones? No tablets? No Internet?” Cattrin pouted. “Who ordered that, hmm?”
Teo noticed with grim satisfaction that her body language belied her bravado: her gaze was downcast and her arms crossed protectively. She was a coward at heart. Knew it. Somehow that made him feel better.
Mitch glared and didn’t respond.
Teo looked around the room, not seeing compassion on even one face. “This is ridiculous. That’s the best we have? A kneejerk dive for the big red button?”
John Kirk growled, “You saw what happened out there, what happened to Mitch. My God, those people assaulted him with no provocation!”
Judy nodded. “We would have gladly shared if they’d asked—”
“Would you?” Teo challenged her. “Or would you have tried to hold them off with crumbs because of who they are?”
They just stared at him. Teo was trembling, indignant, unlike his usual manner. He was always the one who was soft-spoken, reasonable. He’d promised Jake Patrin he’d try to keep a lid on this simmering disaster.
But the escalating tempers around him, the unpredictable and inevitable violence creeping from his companions’ pores struck him to his core. It was all so unnecessary in a life he had discovered was much too short. Every minute was precious.
“Teodoro,” Cattrin purred. “Be practical. They shot first, in the most figurative sense. We are in the Wild West, you know. We are entitled to the OK Corral confrontation.” She smiled winningly as John Kirk grunted approval behind her.
“And if it was you coming for opportunities, not bought by the slavery of thousands of your ancestors, but in one hot, tight last-ditch run down a road where you could make or break your future with one toss of fate? Do you really think you’d drop in for tea in your best tuxedo?”
Mitch cleared his throat. “Since no one brought back anything of any real use for defense or attack, all we’ve got is what’s here.” Mitch kicked at the bed. “These posts on the bed frames seem sturdy enough.”
“Your wish is my command.” John Kirk, clearly wound up with repressed need for engagement, stepped forward, had the bed on one side almost before Judy could get off it, kicking at the bed frame to loosen the post. He wrenched it free, hefted it in both hands as the women watched him wide-eyed.
“You’re frelling crazy,” Will said. “Those people have risked their lives to escape poverty and degradation. All they want is hot food and water and a safe place out of a blizzard with warm clothing.” He stared at them in amazement. “You can’t see that?”
“I’m looking out for the good guys,” the tall ex-footballer smirked. “You should, too.”
Feeling weak, Teo leaned against the wall by the door. “I’ve got nothing against good guys, John Kirk. I’m just not sure I can positively identify them beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Annike looked at Teo with pity in her eyes. They might be friends, tolerant of each other’s eccentricities. But here they clearly weren’t on the same side.
John Kirk’s face flushed with excitement. “So we’ll go out, kick some ass, and then get our happy home back. We can lock the Spics up in the garage till the police get here and then go back to whatever balloon-popping activities the cheerleaders have for us.”
Teo eyed him as Will bristled. “I think the term you’re looking for is ‘wetbacks.’ ‘Spic’ went out with West Side Story.”
Cattrin’s eyes widened, amusement dancing in them.
Stupid woman, Teo thought. You don’t care who’s getting slammed as long as they’re lower on the food chain than you at the moment.