Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel!
Today we are welcoming Zahava Englard to the blog! She is here to promo her book, Gilboa Iris. If this book sounds like something that you are interested in reading, use the buy links at the bottom of the post to pick up a copy!
Dara Harow, the daughter of a rocket physicist for the US department of defense, sends her parents into a tailspin of dual-loyalty anxiety when she plans to wed Roni Ben-Ari, an Israeli officer in an elite counter-terrorist unit. When the Harows are targeted by a terror cell in hot pursuit of technology not yet found in any country s arsenal, Dara finds herself at the center of a hierarchy of terror that threatens her life and the lives of those she loves. The Gilboa Iris is a blazing tale of romance, deceit and international intrigue. Its rich characters and explosive plot take readers from Israel s Gilboa Mountains to the streets of New York, to Germany s Zehlendorf Forest, and back to Israel amid seminal events that rocked the world between 1983 and 2002.
About the Author
A native of New York, Zahava Englard lived in Teaneck, NJ, before moving with her family to Israel in 2006. An outspoken activist in the United States on behalf of Israel, she served as trustee on the executive board of One Israel Fund, and as its executive director. Presently Zahava lives in Israel. Her writing includes Settling for More: From Jersey to Judea, and she lectures in the United States and Israel about her books, Jewish activism, and her passion for Israel’s well-being. Gilboa Iris is her first novel.
The workday was due to end in half an hour. I emptied another load of grapefruit into the bin, and it was then that I heard what at first sounded like firecrackers. Deep in my gut, though, I knew better. When the next round came, a myriad of things transpired all at once.
“Everyone down!” Yaniv shouted. Hurling his semi-automatic machine gun into position, he crouched to the ground. Bullets were flying all around us, splintering the trees and ricocheting off the metal slats of the ladders. We all flew to the ground, scurrying for cover behind the trees. “Gunfire! Northeast end of the orchard, fifty meters in…” Yaniv communicated on his walkie-talkie with the local head of security. Swearing under his breath, he mumbled, “Roni was right.” He laid low, staring through the sight of his M16, and fired in the direction of the bullets. At that moment, shocked out of her sleep, Alana ran out from under her tree in a panic.
I heard a frantic, high-pitched screech that pierced the air, “Nooo!” It took me a moment to realize it came from me. “Alana, get down, get down!” random cries barked from the trees. She reeled around in confusion and then jerked back and hit the ground face up, her arms spread-eagle. Blood oozed from her lower abdomen, spilling down her side onto the earth, and all the while the bullets continued to hit the ground where she had fallen. Alana arched her head back in pain, her eyes bulging, and dug her nails into the dirt. She opened her mouth as if to scream, but no sound came out. Adrenalin took the place of logic and I propelled myself over to her, crawling low, my face scratching against the earth.
“No, Dara!” shouted Yaniv. “We get rid of the threat first!” But it was too late, and I couldn’t retreat to a safer position without Alana. I wouldn’t. “Don’t do it! Get back!” Yaniv implored me.
“They’re going to kill her!”
“Dammit, girl!” Yaniv continued shooting and there was suddenly an ebb in the crossfire. “One down,” he muttered.
I reached Alana, grabbed her under the arms and began dragging her away from the open area. The shooting started again when I was one yard away from the tree. Just then, I felt it. A burning rip right through my leg. A howling, guttural sound of pain came out of me. I clenched my teeth and with one final lunge and a gut-splitting scream, I pulled Alana under the tree.
She was unconscious, but still breathing. I didn’t know what to do for her. I didn’t know how to stop her bleeding. I tried putting pressure on her wound with my hands but it didn’t help. I pulled off my T-shirt and used that to apply pressure, but that wasn’t helping either. There was so much blood. I was scared – so scared I wanted to throw up. The burning pain in my leg was shooting in all directions, and I was drenched in Alana’s blood as well as my own. Oh, God, please help us.
“Yaniv! On your left!” It was Roni. The next moment, I heard it – the Arab war cry, Alahu akhbar! Alahu akhbar! Through the gaps between the branches, I saw a lone man, eyes ablaze, his neck wrapped in a kaffiyeh, pounce into the clearing, firing indiscriminately. From Roni’s position, a burst of fire, and then there was silence.
Roni commanded us to stay where we were. No problem there.
We all waited in an eerie stillness. Yaniv and Roni surveyed the area for other terrorists. I heard more communication over the walkie-talkies. They found Yossi’s body, the guard Roni referred to as the old timer, though he was just fifty-three years old. The terrorists had stabbed him to death. Seconds later, the army arrived along with ambulances. The paramedics placed Alana and me on gurneys and removed us from under the tree. They first bandaged Alana, hooked her up with an IV and sped away with her in one of the ambulances. Out of the volley of voices, I heard someone say they were airlifting her to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center. One by one, everyone emerged from the trees.
Unable to move, I remained on the ground, staring wide-eyed at the sky in a state of numbness, too shaken to utter a sound, save for gasping every now and again from the pain. Another paramedic tended to my leg wound and attached an IV to my arm. Roni knelt by my side, staring at me in silence.
Things started to look fuzzy, and I couldn’t discern his expression. I expected him to be angry with me, but instead he cupped my hand in both of his and spoke in a soft voice – almost a whisper, “You’re crazy, you know that?” A rush of dizziness filled my head, and blackness took over.