Friends,Just a quick note to thank you for all your support, and to let you know that my new book, Delora’s Necklace, a time travel set in the Mayan civilization, debuts on Thursday, January 22, from DCL Publishing, www. thedarkcastlelords. com.
Thanks to excellent reviews, a supportive publisher, and my growing cadre of readers, my first book, Love Fang, just made DCL’s “TOP 5” list.
This year, I am donating 20 percent of my royalties to four non-profit organizations in Orlando and Asheville, so in addition to a fun read, your purchase will benefit a local organization.
I’ve attached the cover to Delora’s Necklace, and a brief excerpt follows. Armando Gonzalez, the hunky cover model, will be in Orlando with my publisher (and me) for the Romantic Times Convention in April.
EXCERPT Delora contemplated the ninety-one steps before her, rubbing her necklace between her fingers. Standing at the base of the pyramid, the steps ascended some seventy-nine feet. You could get dizzy from the mere prospect. She looked around for other visitors, but the ruins at Chichen-Itza were deserted this time of day. She’d be climbing alone.Something had compelled her to make this trip. She’d been resisting the small voice in her head that was urging her to reconnect with her Hispanic roots, but when she heard the Mexican government would soon prohibit the treacherous climb to the top of El Castillo, she booked her trip. She needed one last ascent because not only was she a Mexican-American woman: she was Mayan.She took several deep breaths of the clear April air and began to climb. By the time she reached the top, she was as winded as she would be at the finish line of a track meet. A cool breeze reached her from the north, and she took a few steps forward to center herself before turning to capture the view. As far as she could see, in every direction, the Yucatan Peninsula was blanketed by dense, green jungle where jaguars still roamed the land. She also had a clear view of the other Mayan ruins in this archaeological wonderland.She turned from the view to walk toward the temple at the apex of the pyramid. As she approached, an alluring, musky fragrance wafted through the temple arch and sent shivers up her spine. From an inner chamber, a deep voice echoed, “Delora.” Who knows I’m here? She peered into an arched doorway of the small temple, where a magnificent vision emerged from the shadows. Before her, in a skimpy leather thong, stood a tall, striking man of about her age, bare feet planted shoulder width apart leading up to muscular legs, narrow hips, and a washboard stomach. A broad chest and toned arms completed this perfect image. His black, shiny hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and his body radiated a rich bronze. Above a characteristic Mayan nose and full lips, his dark eyes gleamed. When he spoke again, she realized he was more than a vision.“Delora,” he said, “you are returned to me.”The language was foreign, yet somehow she understood him.“Who the hell are you?” Astonishing herself, she answered in the same language, which used fewer words than English or Spanish. Her hand went to her throat to restrain the slightly guttural quality.And where was her southern accent?“You do not know me?” He reached out to touch her arm, but she recoiled.“Look, if you’re from the travel agency, you should know that I didn’t pay for any extras. I’m here on a strict budget, and you look like a serious perk.” She thought for a moment.“How did you know my name?”He laughed. “There will never be another with your name.Tell me if this is not so?”“My father said it’s an ancient Mayan name. It means ‘fearless’.”“Yes, I know,” he said, smiling. “It is written on your necklace.” Pointing at her neck, he approached her. “It is also written on my soul.” He clutched his chest.“Whoa, back up there, big guy.” Delora stepped back from his approach. She touched the necklace she considered her trademark to steady herself. It was a simple piece; just a small and flat, rectangular lump of gold on a twenty-four inch chain with her name written vertically in Mayan hieroglyphics. It had been a gift from her grandmother on her fifteenth birthday. Selma had told her then that the necklace possessed magical powers.She figured this guy had to be a tour guide, and she made a mental note to write a letter to the Mexican Department of Tourism to commend them on their authenticity, though she would also suggest a bigger budget for costumes. That thong could give an unsuspecting tourist a serious case of heart palpitations.