THEY WILL INVADE YOUR HOME.
Home, Texas. Two men break into the house of an elderly couple. Guns are fired. Blood is spilled. When one of the intruders sues the victim—and wins—the good people of Home take the law into their own hands. Their battle, though, is just beginning. In a stunning case of backward justice—the U.S. President decides to make the town a test case to strike down the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: Ban all guns in Home, Texas. And to enforce it, the newly formed national police force is sent in.
THEY WILL TAKE YOUR WEAPONS.
Unarmed. Defenseless. Denied their civil right to bear arms, the citizens of Home are now easy targets for America’s closest enemies—the Mexican drug cartels who spill across the border every day. This time, they’ve set their sights on a secret military arsenal. But they need a base of operations. And there’s no place like Home.
BUT THEY WON’T DESTROY YOUR SPIRIT.
Police Chief Wade Bonner is one of the few in town permitted to carry a gun. But Bonner knows that his friends and neighbors will never surrender their freedoms—or submit to an outside enemy, no matter how strong or ruthless. Soon they will be put to the test. Because the war is coming home. And Home is fighting back.
Live Free. Read Hard.
|Product dimensions:||4.12(w) x 7.50(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Being the all-around assistant, typist, researcher, and fact checker to one of the most popular western authors of all time, J.A. Johnstone learned from the master, Uncle William W. Johnstone.
He began tutoring J.A. at an early age. After-school hours were often spent retyping manuscripts or researching his massive American Western History library as well as the more modern wars and conflicts. J.A. worked hard—and learned.
“Every day with Bill was an adventure story in itself. Bill taught me all he could about the art of storytelling. ‘Keep the historical facts accurate,’ he would say. ‘Remember the readers, and as your grandfather once told me, I am telling you now: be the best J.A. Johnstone you can be.’”
Read an Excerpt
By WILLIAM W. JOHNSTONE J. A. Johnstone
PINNACLE BOOKSCopyright © 2010 William W. Johnstone
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePeter McNamara was sound asleep when his wife, Inez, took hold of his shoulder and shook it. Of course, he was asleep. It was ten-forty-five at night, wasn't it? Pete hadn't been awake past ten-thirty since Johnny Carson retired.
He rolled over, let out the sort of moaning sound that a sixty-eight-year-old man makes when he rolls over, and asked, "What is it?"
"Somebody's in the house," Inez whispered.
Pete frowned and lifted himself on an elbow. "What do you mean, somebody's in the house? Nobody's supposed to be here but us."
He swallowed the irritation he felt at her tone of voice. "We don't have burglars around here. Everybody knows everybody else."
"The border's less than an hour from here."
That was true, and Pete knew what went on down there, below the Rio Grande. Over the past decade, Mexico had descended into a state of near-anarchy as the power of the government shrank and the power of the drug cartels grew and grew and grew.
Mexico City and the other large cities were armed camps, patrolled day and night by the army. The problem there was that the army was so corrupt that now it was little more than a branch of the cartels.
Few Americans crossed the border anymore except those bent on some sort of criminal activity. The only places where it was still safe for Americans to visit were the coastal resorts, and those were heavily guarded by special police.
Those special police actually worked for the cartels, although the tourists didn't know that. They didn't want nervousness to interfere with the steady flow of tourista dollars.
The only reason Pete knew about it was because Inez had a couple of cousins who worked for one of the hotels in Cancun, and she had heard about it from them.
Violence from the gang wars among the cartels was rampant along the border, on both sides of the river. The Texas Rangers, the Border Patrol, and the local police managed to keep reasonable order in the border towns on the Texas side, but there were still a lot of cartel-related incidents. Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas all had their share of problems directly related to the cartel rivalries.
But that sort of trouble hadn't touched Home yet. The biggest problem around here were the fights that sometimes broke out in the honky-tonks out on the state highway on Friday and Saturday nights. Pete read the Home Herald from cover to cover every week, and the police report hadn't listed any burglaries in he couldn't remember when.
So even though Inez was worried about somebody breaking into the house, Pete didn't think it had really happened. She'd been dreaming, or she'd heard something else. They didn't have a cat, but they did have a little dog that sometimes knocked things over.
"What did it sound like?" he asked her.
"I heard floorboards creaking. Somebody's walking around out there."
This was an old house, built in 1947. It made noises, like all old houses do. But Pete humored his wife and asked, "Which way were they going?"
"Down the hall, toward the den."
For the first time since waking up, Pete felt a stirring of unease. If burglars were going to break into the McNamara house, the den was where they would find the things most worth stealing. Both computers were there, the desktop that Inez used and the laptop that Pete used while sitting in his recliner. Most of his guns were in the den as well, the handguns in a locked gunsafe, the rifles and shotguns in a couple of locked cabinets. Pete had hunted a lot when he was younger, and he still enjoyed having the guns around even though he didn't use them much anymore.
But he still practiced enough to keep his shooting eye, and not all the guns were in the den.
He sat up, swung his legs out of bed, and put his bare feet on the floor.
"What are you going to do?" Inez asked.
"Check it out. That's what you want me to do, isn't it?"
"I'd appreciate it. You want me to come along?"
To tell the truth, deep down he did. Inez was a brave woman-hell, she had put up with him for more than forty years, hadn't she?-and she had done enough hard work in her life that she was still tough and strong despite getting older.
But Pete didn't say that. He said, "No, you stay here. I'll be right back. I'm sure it's nothing to worry about."
His eyes were adjusted to the darkness. There was a big moon in the sky outside casting silvery illumination through the curtains, and he had no trouble moving across the room to the closet. He opened the door silently, reached up onto the shelf, and touched the wood-grained plastic box first try. He took it down, set it on the dresser, undid that latches, and lifted the lid.
His fingers curled around the butt of the .45 Colt automatic and took it out of the box. He had carried it in Vietnam and then in West Germany as an MP during his two hitches in the army, and he took it to the range often enough and shot well enough that he thought he might still be able to qualify with it if he had to.
He opened his underwear drawer, slid his hand down beside the stacks of clean underwear, and found the loaded magazine and the box of extra ammunition. He didn't think he would need any more rounds than what were in the magazine, so he didn't bother opening the box. Besides, his pajamas didn't have any pockets. What the hell were they thinking these days, making pajamas without pockets? Just because a man was going to bed, he'd never need to carry anything?
Pete slid the magazine into the automatic until it clicked into place. He pulled back the slide to put a round in the chamber, but he did it quietly. If somebody was in the house who wasn't supposed to be, there was no point in giving them any more warning than he had to.
"Be right back," he whispered to Inez.
He went to the door of their bedroom, eased it open, and stepped out into the hall.
Chapter TwoJorge Corona and Emilio Navarre had grown up together in Piedras Negras, joined a street gang together when they were ten, and committed their first murders when they were twelve. By the time they were recruited to the gang that worked for the Rey del Sol cartel when they were twenty, Jorge had killed seventeen people, Emilio only fifteen. In the three years since then, Emilio had managed to cut Jorge's lead to one. They were best friends, but that didn't mean they couldn't have a little friendly competition between them.
There were two old people in this house, Emilio knew. If he could kill both of them, he would pull ahead.
They had been in Home-and what a stupid name for a town, they both thought; only the Texan viejos could come up with something like that-for several days, just checking things out, deciding what they would do. Every morning they sat near the table in the Dairy Queen where the old men gathered.
Listen carefully to the old men talking, without appearing to do so, and before too long you would know everything that was going on in a small town ... who was getting married, who was having a baby, who was leaving town, who had cancer, who had a prostate the size of a dang grapefruit.
You could also get an idea who had the most guns, because these Texans loved to talk about their guns.
A man named Pete McNamara seemed to be a likely candidate. From the way the other old men talked, this hombre McNamara had quite a collection of firearms. Jorge and Emilio were particularly interested in the pistols and shotguns. Hunting rifles didn't really come in handy in their line of work very often. But a nice heavy handgun was always a good thing to have, and nothing was better than a shotgun for sending straight to hell some fool who dared to cross Rey del Sol.
McNamara's hair was mostly white, with only a little gray left in it. He had a gray mustache that he probably thought gave his lined, weathered face some dignity. There in the Dairy Queen, he wore a flannel shirt, even though it was hot outside. That told Jorge and Emilio that his blood ran thin and he was always cold.
His hand trembled a little, too, when he reached for his coffee cup. A man such as that, so weak, so useless, he might as well already be dead.
The only purpose in life he still served was to be robbed and killed by strong young men.
Jorge and Emilio left the restaurant while the gathering of old men still went on, although it appeared it would be breaking up soon. They waited in the car they had stolen in Eagle Pass and driven up from the border. Emilio pretended to talk on his cell phone so they would have a reason to be just sitting there.
Ten minutes later, McNamara came out, got into a pickup, and drove off. Jorge followed him to an old but well-kept-up frame house on the edge of the town. The house was painted green and had a dark green roof. McNamara parked in the driveway, in front of an attached, one-car garage that had a sedan in it. The wife's car, no doubt. A breezeway connected the garage to the house and had the washer and dryer in it. As Jorge drove slowly past, he and Emilio saw the woman in there, watched as she greeted McNamara. A thick-bodied woman with dark hair, and even the quick glimpse was enough to tell Jorge and Emilio that she was Hispanic.
"Marry a gringo, you deserve whatever happens to you, you dumb bitch," Emilio muttered as Jorge drove on past the house. "Tonight?"
Jorge nodded. "Tonight."
There was no need to wait any longer. They wouldn't find a better target than this. Soon they would be on their way back to Mexico with a carful of guns and whatever else they could loot from the house.
The lights in the house went out a little after ten o'clock. The two amigos waited half an hour, then waited a little longer still, just to be sure. It wouldn't really matter all that much if they woke up the house's inhabitants, because they planned to kill the two old people anyway, but it would be easier to dispose of them if they were asleep. It would be a simple job, no torture, no rape, just murder and robbery. No fuss, no muss, as the anglos said.
They got out of the car and circled around to the back of the house. Back windows were usually easier to break into. And in a place like this, they didn't take elaborate security precautions to begin with.
These people thought they were safe.
A simple hook-and-eye held the screen on the kitchen window. It took Jorge all of ten seconds to cut the screen, reach inside, and unhook it. He lifted the whole screen out of the window frame.
Emilio used a tiny LED flashlight to check for locks on the window. There were none. What was wrong with these people? Did they still believe it was the Twentieth Century?
Emilio slipped the light back in his pocket and started to raise the window. To his surprise, it didn't budge. He got the light out and looked again.
"Painted shut," he whispered to Jorge.
That wasn't good, but it wasn't an insurmountable obstacle. It just meant the window might make a little more noise when they opened it.
They had brought small pry bars. They used their knives to whittle out places in the sill where they could work the bars under the window, then working together, they heaved on both bars and broke the window loose. It made a scraping, squealing sound as it rose.
Jorge and Emilio looked at each other and shrugged. What happened, happened.
They climbed inside.
This wasn't their first burglary. They knew how to find their way around in a strange house. Within minutes, they had located the den. They knew from eavesdropping on the conversation in the Dairy Queen that this was where McNamara kept his guns. First they would check out the haul they were going to make, then they would deal with the old people.
But as Emilio flashed the little light around the den with its gun cabinents and display cases, its big TV, its stuffed animal heads on the walls, Jorge suddenly gripped his arm and whispered, "Somebody's coming!"
Chapter ThreePete's chest started to hurt when he saw the reflection of the light darting around inside the den. Somebody was definitely in there. Up until now, he had hoped that Inez was wrong, that nobody had actually broken into the house where they had lived for decades, where they had raised their kids, enjoyed the good things, and endured the bad things that all married couples do.
Somebody was in their house, by God. Somebody who wasn't supposed to be here.
Pete's throat was tight with anger, but he had to keep swallowing his fear, too. He'd had a few hairy moments as an MP, but overall his life had been remarkably free from violence and danger.
He stood in the hall considering his age. He could go back to the bedroom, shut the door, and sit there with the gun, waiting if they tried to come in but otherwise letting them take what they want and go. Yeah, he could do that.
But he wasn't going to.
He took a step toward the open door of the den, and damned if he didn't ram his left leg into the little telephone table that stood there, with a cordless phone on it that he owned now, instead of the black rotary dial phone he'd rented from the phone company for all those years. Running into furniture in his own house. How stupid was that?
Pretty stupid, Pete realized, because it warned the guys in the den that he was out here. He heard the swift whisper, couldn't make out the words, but knew there had to be at least two of them.
The element of surprise was lost. Might as well get in there.
He stepped into the doorway and hit the light switch with his left hand as he used his right to thrust the Colt out in front of him.
"Hold it!" he shouted.
The problem was, the sudden burst of light blinded him just as much as it did the intruders. Wincing from the glare, holding his hand up to shade his eyes, Pete tried to take in the scene as quickly as he could so he would know what he was facing.
Two men stood over by his gun cabinets. He could see the shapes of their bodies, even though he couldn't make out many details. He jabbed the gun toward them and said, "Don't move! I've got a gun!"
Well, they could see that, of course. And now he could see the guns in their hands, too, big, ugly things with extended magazines for a lot of firepower.
Pete suddenly knew that he was about to get the shit blown out of him.
Unless he blew the shit out of the burglars first.
And that was the funny thing. All the fear and the other distractions cleared out of his mind. He didn't feel anything except a certain sense of urgency, didn't see anything except what was right in front of him. The annoying little tremor that cropped up in his hands more and more often these days went away. His grip was rock steady as he leveled the .45.
He fired two shots fast, a quick one-two, at the man on the left. He was aiming at the body, the biggest target, and both bullets struck the man in the chest with enough force to knock him back against the cabinet behind him. He threw his arms out to the sides, and as he did, his finger must have jerked the trigger of the gun he held, because it erupted with flame from the muzzle and the most god-awful racket Pete had ever heard. The slugs hammered against the wall of the den in a ragged line from the door to the corner of the room, punching easily through the sheetrock on both sides of the wall.
Pete was half-stunned. Between the double blast from the Colt and the intruder's gun going off, he was deaf. But even though he couldn't hear anything, he could see and knew the second man was still a threat. Pete grabbed his right wrist with his left hand to steady it and pivoted.
Three, maybe four seconds had gone by since he'd stepped into the room and flicked on the lights. It seemed longer than that. The second man had had time to lift his gun and point it at Pete. The only reason he hadn't fired yet was because he was looking at his buddy, who stood there braced against one of the gun cabinets, bloody froth already bubbling from the holes in his chest as he tried to breathe with bullet-torn lungs.
Then his eyes flicked back to Pete, and the two men locked gazes for a heartbeat.
Pete saw a stocky man about five-nine, with dark, curly hair, a mustache, and a heavy jaw. He wore a short-sleeved shirt, and his arms were covered with tattoos. His dark eyes were wide with surprise.
Pete knew what the man and his companion must have thought. Nobody here but a harmless old couple. Wouldn't be any trouble to break in and steal whatever they wanted. They didn't have to worry about the people who lived here.
Excerpted from Home Invasion by WILLIAM W. JOHNSTONE J. A. Johnstone Copyright © 2010 by William W. Johnstone. Excerpted by permission.
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