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On the Pineapple Express by HL Wegley

On the Pineapple Express is a high-action romantic suspense story about a young NSA research scientist, Jennifer Akihara, who accidentally intercepts an encrypted cell phone conversation at a remote research facility. When she decrypts the call, she believes that a human-trafficking syndicate is selling young girls into slavery of the worst sort. But lacking sufficient evidence to engage the FBI, she persuades her fiancé, Lee Brandt, to help her locate the traffickers somewhere in the vast 3,600 square miles of the Olympic Peninsula.
With the clock ticking toward the sale of a group of girls, a deadly 100-year storm bearing down on them, and heavily armed criminals in pursuit, will beautiful, young looking Jennifer survive the bullets and the elements to see her wedding day or will she be sold with the girls she wanted to rescue?

My Review:
Having read the first book, I knew I was in for a great read, but this one fair blew me away - and it wasn't just the hurricane force winds Lee and Jennifer battle against. This book tackles the incredibly hard subject of human trafficking, notibly young girls for the sex trade and doesn't skimp either.

This book is a cover to cover rollercoaster ride of action and romance. Caught between bad guys trafficking young girls, a storm threatening to wash away the coastline and a boss who doesn't want to listen, Jennifer and Lee are stuck literally between a rock and a hard place.

I couldn't put this one down and read it in two days, ignoring my own work in the process.
High nail biting action, with a few smiles along the way, HL Wegley takes the reader on an amazing journey that leaves said reader exhausted, but satisfied. Don't miss this one.

I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for a fair review

Watch the trailer:

Jennifer Akihara’s SUV slid sideways on Highway 101 when she turned in at the Lake Quinault store. She jerked the wheel left, tapped the brakes, and coaxed the vehicle into a parking spot. Huge raindrops assaulted the windshield like bullets trying to blow holes in the safety glass. The wipers slapped out their liveliest rhythm, but her heart thumped even faster as she hit Special Agent Peterson’s speed dial number on her cell. 
Lee Brandt, her fiancé, sat silently in the passenger seat, but his foot tapped out a tempo somewhere between andante and presto. 
She pushed the speakerphone. 
Lee needed to take his fair share of the coming abuse.
“Peterson, this is Jennifer Akihara.”
“How is my favorite NSA sleuth on this miserable day?”
“I stumbled across something near my research site on the peninsula…something you should know about.”
“Is there a little smuggling going on along the coast?”
“You could say that. Drugs smuggled in, young girls smuggled out.”
Peterson’s end went silent. 
“This morning I analyzed the data downloaded from my wireless scanner near Forks. Nearly thirteen days ago, it recorded an encrypted cell-phone conversation.”
“Cell-phone conversation? You chose that location for your testing because there’s no cell service. But you need to—”
“You mean no legal cell service. When I had a colleague from Fort Meade decrypt the call, I heard traffickers selling girls.”
Silence again.
“Can you get the unencrypted conversation to me today?” His usual booming voice of authority had softened.
“I’ll e-mail it from my cell when we’re finished talking. But, Petersen, the next exchange of girls is set for tomorrow night. Can you move quickly enough to stop it?”
“You intercepted a private call. That raises some legal issues we—”
“Legal issues? There’s nothing legal about that call, and what they’re doing is worse than illegal.”
“You’re not thinking like a defense attorney. First, I need to analyze the conversation. If we have enough to go on, I can form a team by late tonight or tomorrow. But without specific information, no, I can’t guarantee we can stop the exchange. If we botch things, we might never get a conviction.”
“Lee is forecasting the Pineapple Express rainstorm to transition to a strong windstorm by tomorrow. The message indicated they don’t do exchanges if there’s even a small craft advisory. So the storm may delay the exchange and buy us a little more time, but we can’t count on that. We do know they’re holding the girls at an abandoned mill site on the peninsula.”
“Where’s the mill?”
“We haven’t located it yet.” She had lit the fuse on her bomb. 
Lee plugged his ears. 
She waited for the FBI agent to explode.
“We? Yet? Where are you, Jennifer?”
“At Lake Quinault. Lee’s with me, and we have five possible sites to check out.”
“Far enough so I can’t stop you.” Peterson mumbled. “So…you don’t know where the girls are, but you’re driving around to abandoned mill sites?”
“Something like that.”
“Jennifer, you need to back off. If you’re right, these people will kill anyone who is a perceived threat. You could get the girls killed by charging in.”
“Look, Petersen, Lee and I have collected some information. We’ve planned well, and we won’t do anything stupid. But there’s no way I’m going to stand by and let a group of girls be sold into a living hell. So you get your team out here as fast as you can. We’ll call you when we find the girls. But for now, Lee and I are proceeding.”
“You can’t do that! It’s too dangerous. At least wait until we can get out there.”
“There’s not enough time. I’m going to terminate the call now so I can send you the intercepted message. And, Peterson, ten days ago one of the girls hanged herself with her own shoelaces rather than let these guys sell her. Lee and I are going forward. I suggest you do the same. Good-bye.”
Before she terminated the call, one loud, rare expletive blasted through the speakerphone, “…that girl is stubborn!”
Jennifer held her thumb back for another second. 
A barely audible mumble came across before he hung up, “…but I hope my daughter’s just like her.”
She smiled and pushed the red icon on her phone.
“Well, you stirred up a hornet’s nest at the field office,” Lee said.
“Then maybe they’ll get out here by tomorrow. But if we find the mill, drive to the nearest cell reception, and call them, they’ll come.”
“If the storm doesn’t prevent them from coming. On Sunday, they won’t be able to fly here in either planes or choppers. Too much wind. Trees will be falling like bowling pins, and who knows about the roads—probably all blocked by a million board feet of timber.”
Her meteorologist fiancé had raised some legitimate issues. 
“Are you saying I made a miscalculation?”

Buy Links:

Barnes & N:
Pelican Book Group:

H. L. Wegley served in the US Air Force as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. He is a Meteorologist who, while working as a forecaster and a research scientist in Atmospheric Physics, published extensively in the scientific literature. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he worked more than two decades as a Systems Programmer at Boeing before retiring in the Seattle area, where he and his wife of 47 years enjoy small-group ministry, their grandchildren, hiking beaches on the Olympic Peninsula, snorkeling Maui whenever he gets a chance, and where he writes inspirational thrillers and romantic suspense novels. Besides his scientific publications, he published one non-fiction work, Colby and Me: Growing up in the '50s, a humorous collection of the childhood adventures of an early baby boomer.

Review and blurb for book one is HERE

Book three coming June 16th.


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