October 2, 2015

The London Game by Alyssa Linn Palmer - Review and Giveaway

 The London Game

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: August 10, 2015
Number of pages: 300
Genre: Mystery
Series: Le Chat Rouge #3

The game isn’t over. Art dealer Marc Perron relocates to London with his lover, singer Sera Durand, to protect her from past mistakes. Blackmailed by a gangster, he must return to Paris, leaving Sera alone and vulnerable. Forging a precious painting may be his only chance at survival, but if he’s found out, the consequences will be deadly. Without Marc, Sera struggles in an English-speaking country, coming face to face with his lies, his sexual past, and her own misdeeds. Finding a job at a jazz club called ‘Sanctuary’ is anything but, as she is not safe from her new boss, or the disturbing man who spies on her every move. Once more, the lovers must play the game, but the stakes are higher than they imagined… 

What did I think of this book
This is the first book that I have read by this author and I plan on going back and reading the other two books in this series now that I have finished this one. I do wish that I would have read them in order but I was able to understand and enjoy this book out of order. The author pays great attention to detail and makes you feel as if you are a part of the story. All the characters were well developed and real. The story moved along at a steady pace and kept me wanting more and not wanting to put the book down. I liked how she gave you just enough that you thought you knew what was happening but then gave you a twist so that you were rethinking what you already thought. I really like Marc and Sera's relationship and how he feels the need to protect her from her mistakes in life. If you are looking for adventure mixed with some romance this is the book for you. 

About the author
Alyssa Linn Palmer is a Canadian writer and freelance editor. She splits her time between a full-time day job, and her part-time loves, writing and editing. Follow her on her website or on Facebook | Twitter Subscribe to her Newsletter

Buy the book: on Amazon | on Smashwords | on Google Play

Le Chat Rouge Series
#1 The Paris Game
#2 Moonlight and Love Songs
#3 The London Game

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October 1, 2015

Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron - Spotlight

Published: August 11, 2015
Number of pages: 288
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Cajun Country Mystery

Check in for some Southern hospitality in Plantation Shudders, the Cajun Country series debut from Ellen Byron.

It’s the end of the summer and Prodigal Daughter Maggie Crozat has returned home to her family’s plantation-turned-bed-and-breakfast in Louisiana. The Crozats have an inn full of guests for the local food festival–elderly honeymooners, the Cajun Cuties, a mysterious stranger from Texas, a couple of hipster lovebirds, and a trio of Georgia frat boys. But when the elderly couple keels over dead within minutes of each other–one from very unnatural causes– Maggie and the others suddenly become suspects in a murder.

With the help of Bo Durant, the town’s handsome new detective, Maggie must investigate to clear her name while holding the family business together at the same time. And the deeper she digs, the more she wonders: are all of the guests really there for a vacation or do they have ulterior motives? Decades-old secrets and stunning revelations abound in Ellen Byron’s charming cozy debut, Plantation Shudders.

About the author:
Byron is a native New Yorker who loves the rain, lives in bone-dry Los Angeles, and spends lots of time writing about Louisiana. She attributes this obsession to her college years at New Orleans’ Tulane University. Her debut novel, Plantation Shudders: A Cajun Country Mystery, launches on August 11th. Her TV credits include Wings, Just Shoot Me, and many network pilots. She’s written over 200 magazine articles, and her published plays include the award-winning, Graceland. She is also the recipient of a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant. She’s the proud mom of a fifteen year-old daughter and two very spoiled rescue dogs.






Purchase Links:
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Tour Participants:
October 1 – A Blue Million Books – Interview
October 1 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Spotlight
October 2 – readalot – Review
October 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
October 3 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – Spotlight
October 3 – Book Babble – Review
October 4 – A Fold in the spine – Review
October 6 – Back Porchervations – Review, Interview
October 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review
October 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
October 9 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post
October 10 – Jane Reads – Review, Guest Post
October 11 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review
October 12 – Frankie Bow – Interview
October 12 – WV Stitcher – Review
October 13 – Girl with Book Lungs – Review
October 14 – MysteriesEtc – Review
October 14 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too ! – Spotlight

September 30, 2015

Anna's Healing by Vannetta Chapman

I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: October 1, 2015
Number of pages: 352
Genre: Amish, Christian Fiction
Series: Plain and Simple Miracles #1

Anna's Healing is the first book in a brand-new collection from popular author Vannetta Chapman. These stories of love and family and Amish community in Oklahoma tell of the miracles that can happen when lives are lived in service to God and to one another.

When a tornado strikes the farms surrounding Cody's Creek, Anna Schwartz's life is changed forever. She suffers a spinal cord injury and suddenly finds herself learning to live as a paraplegic.

Three people--Chloe Roberts, Jacob Graber, and Ruth Schwartz--join forces to help Anna through her darkest days. Chloe is an Englischer who writes for the local paper. Jacob has recently arrived in town and stays on as a hired hand at her uncle's. And Ruth is her grandmother, a woman of deep faith and a compassionate spirit.

Then one morning Anna wakes and finds herself healed. How did it happen? Why did it happen? And what is she to do now? Her life is again turned upside down as the world's attention is drawn to this young Amish girl who has experienced the unexplainable.

What did I think about this book:
Vannetta has done it again with her writing. As with the other books that I have read by this author I enjoyed reading it and am glad I got the chance to read it. I think this book is very well written and easy to read. Before you know it the day will be gone and the book will be finished as Vannetta has a way of drawing you in from the first page. I also really enjoyed hearing about Anna's Mammi as she sounds like a joy to sit and visit with. I do not know if I could be as strong as Anna was. She was a very strong woman. I like how this is a story of how miracles can and do happen. I think this will be a fun series and I can't wait for the next one to come out. 

About the author:
Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She has published more than one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her novel Falling to Pieces was a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist. A Promise for Miriam earned a spot on the June 2012 Christian Retailing Top Ten Fiction list. Chapman was a teacher for 15 years and currently writes full time. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband. For more information, visit her at www.VannettaChapman.com

For more information, visit her at
webpage -- www.VannettaChapman.com
blog -- http://vannettachapman.wordpress.com
facebook -- www.facebook.com/VannettaChapmanBooks, and
pinterest -- http://pinterest.com/vannettachapman
instagram -- https://instagram.com/vannettachapman

September 29, 2015

The Berenstain Bears: The Very First Christmas by Jan & Mike Berenstain

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: October 6, 2015
Number of pages: 24
Genre: Children

A Christmas story from the bestselling Berenstain Bears Living Lights series.

The bestselling Berenstain Bears brand and Living Lights series continue their proven tradition of teaching children valuable lessons in a fun and creative way. In the affordable 8x8 softcover format, The Berenstain Bears and the Night Jesus was Born gives fans of the Berenstain Bears the story of Jesus’ coming … from the angel’s announcement of a new baby to the visit of the three wise men

This newest Easter title in the Berenstain series is perfect for gift-giving or as an easy addition to any holiday library.

What did I think about this book:
I just love reading the Berenstain Bears books. They bring me back to my childhood from the moment I open the book to the moment I close the book. I love the bright colors and the illustrations. This is a fun way to tell your children the story of the first Christmas. This would be a good addition to add to your child's collection just in time for Christmas. 

Finding It by Leah Marie Brown, No Regrets by Kate L. Mary and A Wedding in Truhart by Cynthia Tenent - Spotlight

Title: Finding It
Author: Leah Marie Brown
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Falling in love is the ultimate faux pas.

Anything can happen in a year! Unemployed, homeless, and left at the altar, Vivia Perpetua Grant could see her future as a flannel pajama wearing spinster—or worse, a bag lady shuffling around Golden Gate Park. But for a girl obsessed with rock music, Chinese take-out, and the color pink, misfortune is another word for opportunity. Vivia has found her niche as an international travel writer and the long-distance lover of Jean-Luc de Caumont, an über-hot French literature professor and competitive cyclist.

Still, even with so much going right, Vivia can’t help but wonder if something isn’t missing. The long distance thing is taking its toll on a girl who didn’t have that many tokens to begin with. And fate seems to be tempting her at every turn, first with a hunky Scottish helicopter pilot, and then with a British celebrity bad boy…Will Vivia continue to keep it real or will she discover some old habits die hard?

“Leah Marie Brown has a wily way of bringing her stories to life with sharp dialogue and drop-dead sexy characters.” —Cindy Miles, National Bestselling Author

“Prepare to laugh, to sigh, to turn pages fast! I want a one-way ticket to Vivia’s world.” —Kieran Kramer, USA TodayBestselling Author

“A funny, romantic, fast-paced, all-expense-paid pleasure read through France and Tuscany you don’t want to miss.”—Gretchen Galway, Bestselling Author on Faking It

“When it comes to crafting clever, intelligent, wonderful escapist fiction with a heroine every woman wants to know, Leah Marie Brown is a new voice to watch. Prepare to fall in love!” —Renee Ryan, Daphne du Maurier Award-Winning Author

“Audacious, adorable and addictive!” —Catherine Mann, USA Today bestselling author

About the author:
I am an American writer with a penchant for Paris and all things pink!

Before writing novels, I worked as a print journalist for a Pulitzer prize winning newspaper and served in the United States Air Force as a Radio and Television Broadcaster.

An avid traveler, I have had adventures and mishaps from London to Tokyo, which I write about on my blog, On Life, Love & Accidental Adventures, and in my contemporary romantic series, The It Girls.

I was once a collector of truly useless bric-a-brac and cheesy tee-shirts. My cheesiest? A tee with a cartoon Jesus riding a surf board and the words, ”And on the eighth day, Jesus went surfing in Greece.”

Today, I prefer to gather friendships and memories as travel souvenirs.

I live in the shadow of Pike’s Peak Mountain, near Colorado Springs, with my family and shamefully pampered poodles.

In my free time, I like to watch movies, read, and snap photographs. You can view my photography by clicking on the Adventures tab above or by following me on Instagram.

I love to hear from readers, so send me a note! Or connect with me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

For More Information
Visit Leah’s website.
Connect with Leah on Facebook and Twitter.

Title: No Regrets
Author: Kate L. Mary
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Ebook/Paperback

College is supposed to be fun.
Go to parties.
Pick up guys.
Maybe get in a little trouble . . .

On the surface Cami is your average, wild teenager out to have a good time, but inside she’s struggling. Almost a year ago her best friend was in a car accident, an accident Cami feels responsible for. Since then, she’s made it her personal mission to experience everything life has to offer, both for herself and for Julie, who will never have fun again.

Then she meets Liam, her cousin’s sexy roommate. Hooking up with a hot British dude seems like the perfect way to start off the school year, but the more time she spends with him, the more she finds herself actually liking the guy. Which totally screws up her plans to live life with no regrets . . .

“An absorbing coming-of-age journey full of first love and first heartbreak.” —USA Today Bestselling author K.A. Tucker

About the author:
Kate L. Mary is a stay-at-home mother of four and an Air Force wife. She currently resides in Oklahoma with her husband and children. You can visit her at katelmary.com.

For More Information
Visit Kate’s website.

Title: A Wedding in Truhart
Author: Cynthia Tenent
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Welcome to Truhart . . .

Welcome to Truhart, Michigan, population 1300 and dropping. Where everyone knows everyone else and garage sales are front page news. Not exactly where you’d expect to find the celebrity wedding of the year. As Maid of Honor, and the famous bride’s big sister, Annie has to plan a wedding suitable for America’s newest sweetheart reporter on The Morning Show. But what she didn’t plan on was seeing Nick Conrad again. Her older brother’s best friend who left Truhart for the big city, Nick just happens to be Annie’s embarrassing childhood crush. He’s also the Best Man.

As Atlanta’s High Society descends on the tiny Midwest town, Annie has the impossible task of controlling her eccentric family and nutty neighbors, while hosting a wedding fit for a princess at her family’s rundown Amble Inn. But what she can’t control is the spark reigniting between her and Nick. Between snowstorms, an A.W.O.L. gown, and the broadcast of the wedding on The Morning Show, Annie is just hoping to survive the big day without losing her mind. And to survive being around Nick again without losing her heart.

Praise for A Wedding in Truhart
“Cynthia Tennent has captured the charm, humor, loyalty, and love of small towns, close families, and long-time friends. Annie, Nick, and the rest of the people of Truhart will find a place in your heart.” —Cindy Myers, author of The View From Here

“An A.W.O.L. wedding dress, family feuds, and kinky characters! What’s not to love? A Wedding in Truhart is a wedding to remember.” —Lois Greiman, award winning author of the Hope Springs series

About the author:
Cynthia Tennent was the original book thief, stealing romance novels from underneath her mother’s bed when she was just 12. As an adult, she grew serious and studied international relations, education and other weighty matters while living all over the world. In search of happy endings, she rediscovered love stories and wrote her own when her daughters were napping. She lives in Michigan with her husband, three daughters and her collie dog, Jack. This is her first novel. You can visit her at cynthiatennent.com

For More Information
Visit Cynthia’s website.

Tour Participants
September 28
Book featured at Griperang’s Bookmark

September 29
Book featured at Harmonious Publicity

September 30
Book featured at What Is That Book About

October 1
Book featured at Review From Here

October 2
Book featured at Bent Over Bookwords

October 6
Book featured at Write and Take Flight

October 7
A Wedding in Truhart Reviewed at Queen of All She Reads

October 9
Book featured at Voodoo Princess

October 12

October 14
Book featured at Literal Exposure

October 16
Book featured at Around the World in Books

October 19
Book featured at Deal Sharing Aunt

October 21
Book featured at Chosen By You Book Club

October 23


Finding Gabriel by Rachel L. Demeter - Spotlight and Giveaway

Published: September 24, 2105 
Number of pages:
Genre: Historical Romance

Colonel Gabriel de Laurent departed for the war intending to die.

After a decade of bloodstained battlegrounds while fighting in Napoleon's army, Gabriel returns to the streets of Paris a shattered and haunted soul. Plagued by inner demons, he swallows the barrel of his flintlock pistol and pulls the trigger.

But fate has a different plan.

Ariah Larochelle is a survivor. Orphaned at twelve and victim to a devastating crime, she has learned to keep her back to walls and to trust no one. But when she finds a gravely injured soldier washed up on the River Seine, she's moved by compassion. In spite of her reservations, she rescues him from the icy water and brings him into her home.

Now scarred inside and out, Gabriel discovers a kindred spirit in Ariah—and feelings he imagined lost forever reawaken as he observes her strength in the face of adversity. But when Ariah's own lethal secrets unfold, their new love is threatened by ancient ghosts. Can Gabriel and Ariah find hope in the wreckage of their pasts—or will the cycle of history repeat again?

Perfect for fans of Gaelen Foley's Lord of Ice and Judith James's Broken Wing, Finding Gabriel features all the dark romance, searing passion, and historical intrigue of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables.


“Look at me. Look at what you have saved.”

Gabriel released Ariah’s chin and tore away the bandage in a harsh movement. As his eyes bore into her own, pale moonlight fell upon the deformity, illuminating the twisted flesh and grotesque welts. The sight reminded her of a beautiful chateau . . . a stunning fortress situated along the coastline . . . one that had fallen into ruin and neglect. The skin was concave, destroyed, cavernous – a remnant of former glory. And the surrounding features – his burning eyes, the right side of his face, his powerful body – dwarfed the disfigurement with a striking beauty.

“Look at the monster you have created. Look upon my face, Ariah.”

She shivered at the sound of her name; slightly muffled from the injury to his mouth, it slid from his tongue with equal parts venom and hunger. “I was supposed to die that night . . .” The last of his words ended in a choked whisper. His face fell forward in despair until his forehead was pressed against her own. He was impossibly close. And he appeared every gram a flesh-and-blood warrior – coarse and ruthlessly untamed. Sweltering heat radiated from his body and engulfed all five of her senses. She was suffocating. Visions of that long-ago night echoed in her mind until she could perceive nothing else. Ariah gave a shallow cry as she struggled to free herself once more.

“Don’t. Don’t leave me. Please.”

About the Author 
Her movements ceased. The words struck a chord deep inside her chest. She connected her gaze with his and was rendered speechless by the naked anguish in his stare. Regret and desire were etched in every line of his face – but what stole her breath was something entirely different. For the second time, it was neither anger nor resentment that radiated from his eyes, but a longing so intense that it nearly overwhelmed her: hope.

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$5 Amazon gift card and 3 signed "The Frost of Springtime bookmark 

September 28, 2015

What the Owl Saw by Gerald W. McFarland - Spotlight and Giveaway

Historical Fiction
Date Published: July 2014

"What the Owl Saw," the second volume in the Buenaventura Series and the sequel to "The Brujo's Way," opens in December 1705 with a terrifying nightmare that fills Don Carlos Buenaventura, a powerful brujo in his sixth life, with dread. Feeling the need to strengthen his brujo powers, always weakened by town life, he rides out into the wild mountain landscapes around Santa Fe in order to practice his sorcerer's technique of transforming himself into hawks and owls. Transformations are exhilarating, but they do not dispel his sense of an impending menace. In addition, as he tells his friend Inez de Recalde, he is impatient to move forward in his quest for wisdom on what he calls the Unknown Way. 

Into this picture comes a trio of itinerant entertainers, a magician and two women dancers, who offer an ambiguous promise. Can they lead him to deeper realms of consciousness, or are they agents of his enemy, the evil sorcerer Don Malvolio? The magician and his alluring companions introduce Carlos to dances that transport him into ecstatic mind states, but he remains uncertain about what master they serve. Despite the risk of exposing his secret brujo identity and of being disloyal to his beloved Inez, Carlos allows himself to be drawn ever farther into their web of dark and dangerous enchantments.

Chapter One
Someone was shaking him and saying, “Alfonso! Alfonso! Wake up!” When he didn’t respond immediately, the voice came again more loudly, “Wake up!”

He opened his eyes to find Pedro Gallegos, his manservant and friend, leaning over him with a concerned look on his face. “What’s the matter?” Pedro asked. “You were shouting, ‘Go away! Leave me alone!’ What set that off?”

Still half-caught in the dream and half-muffled in sleep, he croaked, “A dream, a terrifying dream.”

“Alfonso, in all the time I’ve known you, you’ve reported many vivid dreams and never one that frightened you. What was so terrifying?”

“Wait a minute. I have to sit up.” He struggled to sit upright amid the tangle of bedclothes and restore his mind to his normal consciousness. He took a deep breath. “It started pleasantly enough,” he began. “I was in my mother’s womb. She was five months pregnant. I was enjoying myself.

Warmth, plenty of food, and relative quiet, except for my mother’s heart beating nearby. I was humming to myself and revisiting pleasant moments from previous lives when suddenly everything turned dark.”

“Alfonso. Of course it was dark; you were in your mother’s womb. No light was getting in there.”

“Not dark as an absence of light, but dark as in some lurking menace.” Pedro was grumpy about having been awakened from a sound sleep, and he was becoming impatient. “It’s the middle of the night. You’re safe in your own bed in your own house, not in your mother’s womb being threatened by some unknown menace.”

“That’s just it. This wasn’t some unknown menace. It was the presence of Don Malvolio, my enemy through several lifetimes, who killed me in my last lifetime, aided by a treacherous woman named Violeta. He almost succeeded in using his sorcerer’s powers to destroy me, body and soul, forever. Only by drawing on my innermost resources as a brujo was I able to escape with my soul and consciousness intact. But he’s closing in on me again. It was his presence I felt, I’m sure of it, and I was shouting at him to go away.”

“Alfonso, Alfonso. It was a dream about something that happened more than twenty years ago, and in a place far from here. Today the sun will rise on the last day of 1705. You’re in Santa Fe in New Spain’s New Mexico province. You’re a well-respected government official who has served ably as the governor’s personal secretary. There’s no evidence that Malvolio is anywhere nearby. You’re confusing the imagined with the real.”

“Easy for you to say; you didn’t have that dream. Something bad is about to happen.”

“That’s possible,” Pedro agreed. “We know there are rumors that Governor Villela is going to resign and that his replacement, who supposedly will arrive in Santa Fe in the near future, may want to appoint someone besides you to be his personal secretary. But that’s all rumor, and if it happens, you’ll land on your feet as you always do. Quit worrying. Especially, quit worrying about Don Malvolio. Lie down and go back to sleep. If I don’t get back in bed with my wife soon, María is going to come looking for me, and we’d be forced to tell her that a dream has you shaking in your boots.”

Don Carlos—Carlos being the name he’d always used as a brujo, though Alfonso Cabeza de Vaca was the name by which he was known in Santa Fe— eased himself back down in the bed, pulled up the tousled covers, turned over and muttered, “I’m not wearing boots.” He quickly drifted off to sleep.

He soon started dreaming again and found himself on a trail in a desert region of northern New Spain. No one else was visible, but his sense that an invisible menace was lurking nearby returned stronger than ever. When he looked around in the dreamscape, as great brujos are able to do, no threatening animal or person came into view. No Don Malvolio; no Violeta; no one who might mean him harm, not even a future governor who would deprive him of his job. Nevertheless, he was filled with dread that grew in intensity until it woke him up.

When he awoke his heart was pounding and he was bathed in sweat. He breathed deeply until his body returned to normal and the feeling of dread dissipated. He closed his eyes and dozed off again, and this time there were no bad dreams, and in a little while he was awakened by soft kisses on his cheek and ear. Still half-asleep, he imagined that his beloved Inéz de Recalde had sneaked into his bedroom and was delivering sensual licks to his face.

Licks! He opened his eyes, and by the light of the moon that was streaming in one window he saw Gordo, the household’s guard dog and source of all-around comic relief, gazing at him with adoring eyes. Carlos burst out laughing.

Sensing that it was nearly four o’clock, the hour that he usually got out of bed, he arose and dressed. He loved the quiet of the early hours when his housemates—Pedro and María and Diego, the Pueblo Indian who cared for their horses—were still asleep. Often he used the time before breakfast to read in several manuscripts that his Jesuit tutor and spiritual mentor, Father Stefano Urbina, had given him. One manuscript contained excerpts from the writings of the Desert Fathers, early Christian monks who had sought solitude in the Sinai desert. Another was a selection of sayings by Hindu mystics, practitioners of Tantric meditation, a subject to which his recently deceased friend, Zoila Herrera, had introduced him. Regardless of whether or not he read anything, every morning without fail he sat silently for at least an hour and practiced the Tantric-style meditation that Zoila had taught him, focusing his attention on the seven energy centers she called chakras that were found along his spine from its base to the crown of his head.

Those were his usual before-breakfast activities. Today, however, he felt restless, as though he had unfinished business to do. With an effort he settled himself, tried to focus his mind, and practiced his chakra meditation.

When he finished, his mind was clearer but his body was still restless. He put on warm winter clothing—the room was chilly, and he knew it was very cold outside—and started for the bedroom door that connected to the kitchen. Gordo, all white except for a black spot around one eye, hopped off the bed and danced excitedly around the room—danced, that is, as best he could with his lame left rear leg.

“Come along,” Carlos called to Gordo as he left the bedroom, walked through the kitchen, and out the back door of his compact four-room house. He turned left, heading toward the town’s main plaza a hundred feet away. Gordo jogged along at his side, eager to see what adventure his master had in mind at this strange hour for an outing.

The air was still and cold, the temperature well below freezing. A gibbous moon in a clear, star-filled sky illuminated the landscape.

When they reached the plaza Gordo let out a whine, turned tail, and ran home. The sight that greeted Don Carlos’s eyes spooked even him. The Santa Fe of December 31, 1705, with its many buildings, was gone. Except for the Palace of the Governors across the plaza, everything lay in ruins, and even the Palace of the Governors showed signs of having been partly wrecked. But the plaza was full of hundreds of human figures, grayish and insubstantial in the moonlight, but recognizable as a crowd of Spanish and Pueblo men, women, and children.

The scene was silent, although it was obvious from the open mouths of many of the spectral figures that shouts, cries, and moans were being uttered.

Directly ahead, in front of the Palace of the Governors, was a line of Spanish soldiers in full battle dress. Between the soldiers and Carlos’s position on the south side of the plaza stood dozens of Pueblo men, their wrists and ankles bound. Off to the right were other Indians, similarly bound, their faces stricken. As Carlos watched, a Spanish officer commanded the soldiers to aim their harquebuses and fire a soundless volley at the captives, who fell grievously wounded or dead. Others were prodded forward to meet their fate as the soldiers went through the awkward process of reloading their weapons to fire them again.

Don Carlos recognized the formidable Spanish officer who had raised his arm in the command to fire, and he realized at that moment that what he was seeing was an event from an earlier time. The Spanish officer in the scene was his stepfather, General Rodrigo Alvarez, the commander of the soldiers who had accompanied Governor Diego de Vargas’s 1693 expedition to reestablish Spanish control of New Mexico after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 had driven the Spanish out. Carlos had killed enemies in battle, but executing captives in punitive cold blood was abhorrent to him. As he watched his stepfather’s face he saw no sign of regret at what the man was commanding his soldiers to do. Indeed, from what Carlos personally knew of General Alvarez, Carlos believed his stepfather took satisfaction from showing the

Pueblo rebels that defiance of Spanish authority would be crushed in the harshest way possible.

Don Carlos watched, repelled and horrified, remembering the events that had led up to this moment. The Pueblo rebels, having fortified themselves in the Palace of the Governors, had defied Vargas’s demands that they surrender and submit to Spanish rule. Vargas’s soldiers had besieged the Palace of the Governors, cut off the defenders’ water supply, and forced their surrender. The Spanish victory and the subsequent execution of seventy Pueblo rebels had taken place almost to the day twelve years ago, on December 30, 1693. Don Carlos’s brujo awareness had enabled him to see the torrents of negative energies that still swirled around the town and its plaza. It was possible, he assumed, that other Santa Fe residents also felt these dark reverberations but dismissed them as products of the icy winter weather and long, black nights.

Don Carlos turned away from the scene on the plaza and thoughtfully walked back to his house. Gordo was waiting for him at the back door with an anxious expression on his face. “It’s okay, my little friend,” Carlos said to him. “Everything’s going to be all right.” Then he tried to persuade himself that this was true. What he had seen at the plaza seemed to account for his bad dreams. The dreams had nothing, he told himself, to do with the prospect of losing his job, or with the threat of Don Malvolio being in pursuit of him. And yet he wasn’t entirely convinced. He had a nagging feeling that his dreams of dark portents had other sources than the horrors that had accompanied the Spanish reconquest of Santa Fe in 1693.

The following Sunday, as had been his custom for several months, Carlos escorted Inéz to Sunday Mass. He had declared his love to her, and she and Pedro were the only people in Santa Fe who knew his secret identity as a brujo. This morning he called for her at the home of Nicolas and Lucila Archuleta, friends with whom she’d been staying, and he and Inéz, the Archuletas, and their son Gerardo walked to the small chapel in the southeast corner of the Palace of the Governors.

Carlos was not a pious Catholic, as Inéz was well aware, having probed the issue some time earlier. “Why,” she had asked him, “do you attend Mass every Sunday when you don’t believe a word of the creeds or Catholic doctrine? Is it just out of habit that stems from the education you received from your Jesuit tutors?”

“Nothing of the sort,” he had replied. “I like being seen with you in public, and even if it weren’t for that, I enjoy being with you, any time, any place.”

“Don’t be evasive. There’s more to it than that.”

Echoing her, as though he didn’t know what she meant, he had said,


“Yes, ‘it.’ Why do you attend Mass, really?”

“By virtue of being the governor’s private secretary, I have a high social rank. Since Catholicism is the glue that holds Santa Fe society together, it would be cause for comment if a man of my status didn’t show up for Mass regularly. Our friends and neighbors among the town’s leaders would see it as not conforming to the behavior they expect from a member of their social circle. My attending Mass, therefore, isn’t simply expected, it’s an essential part of my social role as Don Alfonso Cabeza de Vaca. You wouldn’t want there to be any hint, would you, that I am not a conventional hidalgo but a brujo named Carlos Buenaventura?”

“That goes without saying! Your true identity must remain a secret.

However, social reasons don’t explain why you seem to enjoy Mass—and even look forward to it.”

Don Carlos had paused before answering. “The best efforts of my Jesuit tutors, including Father Stefano, of whom I was fond, didn’t manage to reduce my skepticism about Catholic creeds and dogmas. But on occasion I am deeply moved by the Mass itself—the total effect of the incense, the Latin chants, the choreography, if I may call it that, and, most of all, the moment when the priest elevates the Host, which to all appearances is a simple piece of bread—yet to me it’s much more.”

Inéz had been surprised. “You believe the Church’s teaching that the bread becomes the body of Christ?”

“No, not in a literal way,” Carlos had admitted. “That’s too narrow a description, and I’m a heretic—at least by the Church’s standards. When, as sometimes happens, I’m swept up by the solemnity, the beauty, and the drama of the Mass, at the moment that the priest raises the Host above his head, I feel the Church has managed, quite unknowingly, to point to something profound, a deep spiritual mystery.”

“Is this an expression of the mystical path to which Zoila introduced you?”

“Yes,” he had said, and they had left it at that.

At the beginning of Mass, Carlos’s mind wasn’t on anything so elevated as the mysteries of the Divine. His thoughts kept drifting back to the anxiety-inducing dreams he’d had three nights earlier and other oppressive dreams he’d had subsequently. Ill at ease, Carlos kept shifting his weight in an unsuccessful effort to evade discomforting thoughts.

Inéz leaned over to him and whispered, “My! You’re twitchy this morning. What’s the matter? I’ve never known you to be so restless. I hope it’s not something I said or did.”

Carlos vigorously denied that possibility. “Not so! You’re perfection itself.”

“Are you still pining for your lost love Camila, even though it’s months now since she married Rafael and they moved to El Paso del Norte?”

“No, this has nothing to do with Camila and Rafael.” People were looking crossly at Carlos and Inéz for having a conversation during Mass. “I’ll tell you more later,” he whispered, and in so saying he had a sudden realization that there was more to tell, more than dreams or a vision of terrible events that had taken place in the plaza a dozen years earlier.

Since the vision, he’d talked with a member of Santa Fe’s army garrison who’d been present the day the seventy Pueblo rebels had been executed, and this veteran soldier had told him that during the twelve years the Pueblo rebels had occupied the Palace of the Governors, they had converted the old military chapel, the very room in which Carlos and Inéz were attending Mass, from a Catholic place of worship into a Native sacred site. They’d removed or defaced all the Christian symbols, including the crucifix on the wall, and had built a kiva, an underground ceremonial site, beneath the floor of the former

Spanish chapel. After the Spanish recaptured the Palace, Governor Vargas had the kiva destroyed, the pagan spirits who’d occupied the place exorcised, and the Catholic chapel restored. What Carlos had just realized was that he and Inéz were standing directly over the location of the kiva and that he was feeling the suffering of both Spanish and Indian victims of the Pueblo Revolt.

The feeling persisted during the Mass, so much so that the presences in the kiva of the past coexisted for him with the ritual being enacted at the altar. He found the mixture deeply disturbing. He wanted to tell Inéz about it, and at the conclusion of the Mass he followed her out of the dimness of the chapel into the pale winter sunlight with the intention of unburdening himself immediately. Putting his hand on her arm, he asked if she would go for a walk with him before she returned to the Archuletas’.

Inéz, however, also had things on her mind. She turned to him and said impatiently, “Don’t you remember that the Archuletas are having a dinner tonight for the Beltráns in honor of their daughter Elena’s eighteenth birthday? You should—you were invited! I’ve agreed to cook the whole meal. Lucila’s regular cook, Nina, will help, but I need every available minute to prepare the menu I’ve planned.”

“I didn’t know you were responsible for the cooking,” Carlos replied, taken aback. “Is that really necessary?”

Inéz sighed. “As I’ve repeatedly told you, since that horrible man whose name I will not speak spent all my money and left me without a peso, I have to find a way to earn my living. I’ve been cooking on occasion for the Archuletas as a way of thanking them for their hospitality in giving me a roof over my head these past months. Tonight’s dinner is different, something of an audition.”

“Audition?” Carlos asked. “Audition for what?” “For a paid position as cook for the Beltráns.”

It should not have been a surprise to Carlos to hear that Inéz, like himself, had anxieties about earning a living. Or that what for him was only the possibility that he would have to find a new source of livelihood was, for her, a pressing necessity. She had said as much before, and frequently. But Carlos had fallen into thinking that she had become comfortable as a member of the Archuletas’ household and that that situation could go on indefinitely.

“Oh,” he said, rather inadequately. “I thought…”

“Yes,” she replied. “You didn’t think my need for a job was serious. Well, it is, and I hope this dinner will get one for me. Now, if you’ll excuse me—. Oh, I see Joaquin is signaling to you. You’d better go and see what he wants.”

With that, Inéz turned and hurried off by herself, leaving the Archuletas to converse with other leading members of Santa Fe society, as was the post- Mass custom. After watching Inéz’s departing back for a moment, Carlos went to see what Joaquin had to say.

About the Author
A native Californian, Gerald W. McFarland received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and his doctorate in U.S. history from Columbia University. He taught at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for forty-four years, specializing, among other things, in the History of the American West. During that time he published four books in his field, including "A Scattered People: An American Family Moves West," cited by the Colonial Dames of America as one of the three best books in American history published in 1985. Since his retirement, he has written three novels in the Buenaventura Series. He and his wife life in rural Western Massachusetts.

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