Sunday, October 5, 2014

While I gear up for my next blog tour for The Duplicitous Debutante (stops appear on the right side of this page), I'm joined today by the talented Leslie Garcia. She writes about one of my favorite topics--horses. And love. Her new book, A Love Beyond, will be released Monday, October 6. But rather than me expounding on her work, I'll let her tell you. Take it away, Leslie!

When You Love Anyway…

            Love isn’t always smart. Lord, how many of us know that. In fact—who among us doesn’t?
            Case in point, health problems when I was still a pre-teen almost took my life. Without going into gory details, this lovely nurse drew a picture of a palomino, and finding out that my father had been transferred to Texas and I didn’t want to go, she made up a song about San Antonio and falling in love.
            A few years later, I sneaked across a cactus-studded pasture to elope with an illegal alien from the interior of Mexico. Weeks later, holed up in a hotel room in San Antonio, I saw my grandmother—my father’s mother—waiting at a bus stop down below and remembered the night she’d turned up at my husband’s dude ranch, trying to kill us both.
            Love isn’t always smart. I was an 18 year old who’d been socially isolated all my life, “book smart,” as my brother said, but otherwise—not so much. Yet we thought we should have a happily ever after. It’s how love works, right?
            Right. And love is a force that binds not just loving souls in the here and now, but that can reach tentacles through time. Love can fashion a future from nothing. But it also can be the tentacles of evil reaching through time and ensnaring new victims whose only crime is trying to be happy together.
            An example that struck me hard when I entered the Hispanic culture through marriage is the legendary wraith, La Llorona. Although the literal translation would be the “crying” woman,  the more accurate translation would be “wailing” woman. Many cultures use formalized wailing as part of the ceremony of death, and a wail is the demented scream you will hear along the riverbanks of the Rio Grande—if you listen carefully.
            What kind of a woman drowns her children? We have flesh and blood examples far too often.  But it is the story of a poor woman, devastated by betrayal, who surrendered her little ones to the river, who haunts my romantic suspense, A Love Beyond.
            AJ Owens returns to south Texas after her sister’s death, determined to recover the Thoroughbred stallion being held by her sister’s widower.  The task would be difficult under the best of circumstances—but a devastatingly handsome head of security seems to have his own agenda—one that involves keeping AJ away from her own horse. The grown-up game of seduction, secrecy, and villainy brings AJ close to the edge of sanity—whose unearthly presence stalks her—her sister’s, or the centuries old Llorona?
            Suspense draws into a story; romance makes us hold our breath and maybe whisper a prayer that the romance lingers and cements a relationship into something permanent and beautiful. Romance lets us believe that love might not always seem smart—but love knows what it’s doing with us.
            No, love isn’t always smart. But forty years into the marriage that should not have been, I still like to tell stories about loves that just are…even from beyond.

Want to have a taste of this book? Read on. 

Chance nodded. “Magnificent animal. I’ve only seen him a couple of times, though. Mike has him standing at his ranch in Nuevo Laredo this season.” He turned back toward the door, waving her ahead of him.

Almost halfway back to the house, a long, plaintive wail sliced through the night air.

Unending, a cry of unbearable pain and grief that raised the hair on AJ’s arms. She
shivered again, hard this time. Beside her, Chance tensed, looking around intently, and
from somewhere nearby, large dogs barked threateningly.

“Probably a coyote,” Chance murmured, and in spite of his dislike for her, he laid a
comforting hand on her shoulder. Warm and heavy, his hand evoked another shudder of an entirely different kind. Whether he realized the difference, she didn’t know, but he
slowly removed his hand.

“I’ve heard coyotes,” AJ retorted, her head cocked, listening for any other faint sounds
in the night around them. “Not recently, of course, but I don’t remember them sounding
like that. Mountain lion, maybe—but not here. Not in Laredo.”

Chance shrugged. “Then?”

AJ looked up at him. “La Llorona?” she suggested, teasingly, although the wail could
well have come from some poor, deranged soul. From a woman who’d bet everything on love and lost. Like Gina.

She expected him to laugh. Or scoff. Instead, he stared down at her, his face hard,dark, and emotionless.

“Maybe,” he said laconically. “There’s a world of hurt in the world.” For a long
moment, he held her riveted there by the intensity of his gaze, his presence. Then he gave another shrug, and turned away from her. “Let’s get you back. The dogs are out and you’re not safe alone.”

“I’m not alone,” she said, although she had to hurry to keep up with him. “I’ve got
you,” she added breathlessly, partly to annoy and partly because he walked too fast in his hurry to ditch her.

The glance he cast her menaced. Said clearly that he wasn’t amused. Or attracted. But
he didn’t speak. Neither of them spoke until he pulled the side door open to let her back
into the crowded ballroom.

“Good night, AJ,” he said politely, but his eyes were filled with distaste as, from
across the room, Mike Towers waved at them. “I hope you enjoyed your tour.”

His dislike and lack of respect hurt, she realized. Silly, since she wanted him to dislike
her. To stay away from her. She managed a final, flirty smile. “More than you can
imagine,” she purred seductively. “I’ll tell your boss how good you were to me.”

Anger tightened his face and thinned his lips, but he said nothing, just turned and
disappeared around the corner of the house. Mike Towers was coming toward her, all
smile and swagger. Undoubtedly, he thought she’d be grateful to him for the midnight
tour. She couldn’t let him know how repulsive she found him. Not yet.

She drew in a deep breath and tilted her chin up in determination. Towers had stolen
her horse and her dreams. That was nothing. Gina had taken her life because of him. AJ had no proof, but she knew. And nothing would protect him from her plans for revenge. Not his money, not his power. And certainly not a man like Chance Landin, no matter how diligent he was as head of security.

Far off, so faint she might be imagining it, a high, keening wail echoed in her ears.
A world of hurt,” Chance had said.

She had taken the words at face value then. But a sudden, strong awareness told her
his words weren’t meant to comfort. He was warning her. No. More than that.

Threatening her.

A Love Beyond (October 6th, 2014)               Barnes & Noble

Leslie P. GarcĂ­a 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:
Twitter: @LesliePGarcia
Website: Return to Rio
Pinterest: Leslie P. Garcia


  1. What a haunting book... and what a romantic real life happily ever after. Your children and grandchildren are so lucky to have such an incredible example to teach them about love and relationships.

    1. Thanks, Jennifer--for coming by and for the kind words.

  2. Thanks, Jennifer, for visiting today. And to Leslie, for sharing her story with us. I have the utmost respect for Leslie, who was brave enough to follow her heart.

    1. Thanks, Becky. I appreciate that. There were a few touch and go landings along the way...

  3. Very nice! Love the excerpt and setting! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Author Leslie Garcia is a force of nature; the jewels she places on the page can be soft as emeralds - or sharp as diamonds. I love her writerly voice, and I've given all of her novels the highest ratings. Based on her history - and this excerpt - I'm certain A Love Beyond will be no exception. I can't wait to read it.

  5. Thanks, Angela and Deborah, for stopping by. This book is definitely going on my TBR list!

  6. I am so fascinated by your personal history, Leslie, what a life of adventure you've had. A Love Beyond sounds very intriguing and, like Becky, it will go on my TBR list.