It’s the day they call Black Friday, 2019. It’s been a long while since I entered anything on this site. A bit of illness, a knee repair, concentration on a sixth novel–all factors, but mostly it’s the laziness taking hold as it does from time to time.
But I’m back. Finished the draft for that novel, read some very good books which I’ll be reviewing. So in the words of Kris Kristofferson–“Why me lord, what have I ever done to deserve even one of the blessings I’ve known.”
AND MY LATEST:
YOU CAN’T KEEP HER
Is the first sequel to Bonita [See Below], the story of a mother’s search to find her lost daughter and then her fight to maintain a relationship with her. Here’s an excerpt from the opening chapter.
We were in the library, which smelled of the same leather and stale cigar smoke left behind by its late owner, Benito Alvarez. It was quite a mansion Alvarez had built high on this San Francisco hill where I now stood opposite his daughter, Flora Torres. She faced me with her arms folded across her chest, so straight and stiff I wanted to cut her corset strings, fancying she’d go all wobbly like a marionette. The image amused me, but I couldn’t indulge in humor now, with her stern dark eyes locked so intently on mine.
“You live an unsavory life, Bonita Kelly. Your parents were horse thieves. Your business partner, that disgusting Sylvia Gonsalves, is a prostitute. You live in a hotel instead of a proper house. You are unfit to enter my home, let alone associate with my daughter. We won’t allow it any longer.” She gestured to the maid who had escorted me in. “Laura will show you out.” Her lips squeezed together like pincers. By “we” she meant her husband, Miguel, who was away on business as he so often was, leaving her to manage, and she was managing with even more than her usual ferocity.
“Two years I’ve been calling on ‘Margarita,’” I said, using the name Flora had given my daughter instead of ‘Bonita,’ the name I’d given her at birth but had yet to broach with her. “Piano lessons, games, stories. We have delightful visits. You know she calls me Tía, her make-believe aunt, and she relishes our relationship. Why issue this decree now?”
“I should never have let things go this far, but now it’s over. From this day forward, you will not cross our doorstep. Now, if you please. . . ” She pointed toward the door, but I stepped toward her instead of away.
A gray cat suddenly scampered across the room toward me. I knelt and invited Chuckles into my arms. She cuddled there, meowed, then purred. I looked up at Flora, whose fists were tight with irritation. I smiled and got to my feet. Knowing me and my determined personality, it was astounding that she thought she could get away with this.
Flora’s father had stolen my Bonita from me at birth in 1847. Benito Alvarez probably considered his action as merciful, or at least presented it that way to his childless daughter. The infant was a child of rape, after all, the progeny of an attack on me by several members of a gang calling themselves the Bear Republic who had occupied Maríana Vallejo’s rancho during the swarm of conflicts that led to the Mexican-American war. I was not only a young woman with no husband. My Bonita’s father was unknown. Unknowable.
Six years I had searched for her. Then the miracle. She returned to San Francisco as a six-year-old, the adopted daughter of the Torres family who assumed control of Alvarez’s affairs after his death. I knew her on sight because looking at her was like looking in a mirror. The Torres family, though, knew nothing of me. Not then. But they certainly did now.
opens with 12-year-old BONITA in pre-gold rush San Francisco. Follow our heroine through peril and romance as she navigates the Mexican-American War, the gold rush, California Statehood, and transforms herself into a prominent entrepreneur.
“A compelling story of self-discovery and courage”–Author Silvia Villalobos
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THE SECOND VENDETTA
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NOW LET’S MOVE ON TO PAST AND CURRENT BLOGS: