Romance author Lindsay McKenna discusses her new release "Never Surrender" and character transformations.
As a romance writer, I’m always attracted to Cinderella stories where love transforms my characters, even in the most dire of times. Never Surrender is a Cinderella story that captures both the dark and the light of that beloved tale. Bay is thrown into a torturous situation, but through the undying love of Gabe Griffin, is able to heal and be the woman, and live the life, that destiny holds for her.
Baylee Ann Thorn is in love. She is a navy combat corpsman, part of a supersecret Pentagon project: Operation Shadow Warriors. When ordered to work with a US Navy SEAL platoon out of Afghanistan, Bay met the warrior she would fall in love with, Chief Gabe Griffin.
Because of her commitment to the top-secret program, one of forty women trained in combat to see if they could handle it, she is to be deployed one last time to Afghanistan before she marries Gabe. Their parting is bittersweet. Instead of the woman being left behind while the man goes overseas into combat, it is reversed. Gabe is fearful for her and that she’s been sent to an army special forces A-Team, not to the SEALs, as he’d hoped.
Bay comes from strong stock, the Hill people of West Virginia. Born and raised on Black Mountain, her marine corps father, Floyd, taught her to shoot at twelve, to track and live off the land. When Bay is captured by a Taliban leader, it is a combination of her own background and what Gabe has taught her as a SEAL sniper that will make the difference between her living and dying.
Gabe gets orders cut to go over to Afghanistan to join the hunt to try and find Bay among the Hindu Kush mountains. He knows what the Taliban will do with a military woman and he has to control all his wild, anguished emotions and concentrate on finding her alive.
Bay is traumatized and tortured. It is her Hill backbone of steel combined with her fierce love of Gabe that gives her the strength to escape her captors and make a break for freedom. She knows if she’s caught, they’ll kill her. But after what she has suffered already, death is a reprieve. Still, it is her love for Gabe that drives her to try. In the early-morning light, Bay hides from the Taliban, who are hunting her down. But she’s her father’s daughter and knows tracking and backtracking. She uses Gabe’s sniper SEAL knowledge to hide out in plain sight.
Gabe’s world comes apart and is haphazardly sewn back together again when he finds Bay and is able to rescue her from sure death at the hands of the Taliban. On a medevac flying to Bagram’s hospital, he realizes the harsh truth and the daunting recovery it will take to get his Bay back to him.
Bay slowly returns over time, with the patience and love of the man who will not give up on her for any reason. She works to transform the dark evil that has stolen a part of her soul and return herself to the light and love that Gabe holds for her.
Love is the most powerful human emotion in the world and Bay’s heart allows her to begin the long road to her recovery, to reordering her life, with Gabe’s steadfast belief and love. The stresses, the challenges, are daunting. Together, they learn to empower themselves to create the life they had dreamed of having, no matter what the ashes of the past have decreed.
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