Dare to Return
Diana by the Moon
Eyes of a Stranger
Heart of Vengeance
Thief in the Night
I loved this book. The plot was intricate, intense, fast paced, well thought out and wonderfully written. The characters were believable, likable, and intensely loyal to each other and their country. The chemical reaction between characters was explosive with hot sexual scenes that left me sweating. I was hooked from the first chapter and read well into the night. This was not just a love story, but the story of political intrigue, true love verses duty, passion, honor, great dangers and intensely loyal people. I would not only highly recommend this book, but will anxiously be awaiting this author’s new work. You can’t go wrong with this book.
"At one point in the book, I choked up and my heart was breaking for Duardo and Minnie. This story is riveting with all the excellent intrigue and suspense it offers. This author will keep you guessing throughout this story with a fantastic plot twist. You will definitely want this book."
Candy Cay for
Coffee Time Romance
(She) has created a war torn and grief-stricken setting that helps to lay out the struggles Minnie faces as she tries to find Duardo. This is a love story, but more importantly, it is the story of Minnie’s quest for someone who completes her. Black Heart is truly an adventure of the mind. Minnie and Duardo are two characters who won’t soon be forgotten.
Fallen Angels Reviews
Black Heart is the sequel to Red Leopard.
Vistaria is now controlled by the insurrectos. Their leader, Serrano, holds his power with the help of his shadowy security officer, Colonel Bruno Zalaya. Zalaya is a cool-headed man of secrets and strong sexual appetites in which he fully indulges.
Minerva Benning (Minnie) is the only one who believes her beloved army captain, Duardo, is still alive, and no-one will help her return to Vistaria to find him. Nicolás Escobedo, the bastard half brother of Vistaria’s recently assassinated president, is too busy trying to win back his country. Calli, Minnie’s cousin and Nick’s lover, is too busy learning to be the partner of a national leader.
Desperate and out of time, Minnie steals her way into Vistaria to find Duardo. But Zalaya finds her, instead.
Chained to his bed as Zalaya’s latest toy, Minnie watches Zalaya’s control over Serrano begin to crumble. As the danger surrounding both of them grows, Zalaya’s manipulations and Minnie’s quest to find Duardo are set to collide...and the fallout will be fatal.
“I tremble because your friend over there is pointing a bloody great big gun at me,” Minnie said. “Am I supposed to chuckle about it?”
He smiled, but it didn’t reach his calculating eyes. “You have courage,” he said. “I applaud that. I am Colonel Bruno Zalaya y Fuentes.”
Minnie could feel her already laboring heart actually stop in its tracks for a split second.
“I see you know the name,” he continued. “Which makes you more than just a tourist with too much curiosity.” He looked around at the men in the corridor. “Take her back to my office. I will complete the interrogation there.”
The younger insurrecto with the gun stepped closer to her and motioned with the muzzle that she should turn around and move. He glanced at Zalaya. “¿Y luego, el whorehouse?”
Minnie had no trouble translating ‘whorehouse’—it was the same in both languages and she recognized the hungry look on the soldier’s face. A shudder rippled through her.
Zalaya considered her for a moment. “An intriguing idea,” he said softly. “I’ll decide once she has given me some answers.” He glanced at the soldier. “A mi oficina, inmediatamente, Soto. Y el ningún dallying en la manera.” Then back at her. “Yes, do not dally at all. I greatly desire to…question this one.”
...He stood up, grabbed the cane and leaned on it, looking down at her. “Which leaves me with the remaining question. What do I do with you?”
Minnie heard a half-muffled cough behind her. It had to be Soto, silently renewing his demand that she be put in the whorehouse.
Zalaya gave no sign that he had heard the cough. He was studying her with attention to detail. He cocked his head, examining her face, then lifted her chin with a finger. She felt like a steer being measured up in a sale yard…and realized that the analogy was an apt one.
Finally, Zalaya nodded. “One for the colonel,” he declared.
Soto gave a sigh.
“When I am done, you may have her,” Zalaya told him. “I will put her at your personal disposal for…one week?”
“Very well. Two weeks. Take her through, Soto.”
Soto moved around her, slinging his gun over his shoulder. Zalaya tossed him keys and he undid the cuff around the drawer handle and walked through the other door in Zalaya’s office carrying it with him, the chain slithering along behind. Minnie saw well polished furniture—a bed, a leather sofa, tall cabinets. Then the chain snapped taut and she was pulled through the door.
Soto was connecting the other cuff to a rail in the foot of the big bed. He readjusted his rifle, winked at her and left, looking cheerful. He shut the door after him.
* * * * *
Serrano poured coffee for himself. He didn’t offer Zalaya any, even though his household spies told him that Zalaya had been up all night.
Zalaya didn’t comment as Serrano sat down at the breakfast table with his loaded plate. He simply sat watching.
Finally, after several mouthfuls, Serrano spoke. “You kept her?”
“Why not? She is young, wholesome. There’s some fun to be had out of her.”
Serrano shrugged. “I thought your taste ran to boys.”
“My taste runs to anything interesting,” Zalaya corrected, showing no sign of insult or offense. “She’s interesting.”
“As long as she doesn’t distract you from the real work,” Serrano said.
This time Zalaya did show an emotion. His face tightened and anger flickered in his eyes. “If you had known me before the war, you would know better than to question my dedication to my work.”
“Oh, I heard, I heard,” Serrano said, waving away his anger. “But I’m paying damned good money for your services, Zalaya. To be precise, I’m paying you for the cold, calculating son of a whore you really are. So don’t go getting emotional on me, or I may have to reconsider. Fuck the bitch, toss her into the bordello and let’s get on with it, okay?”
Zalaya considered this. “Okay,” he said at last. His expression was neutral again. Very neutral.
* * * * *
He considered her for a long, thoughtful moment. “Indeed,” he said at last, his voice dry. He shifted the cane under his hand and moved his weight. And the thought touched her. Change of directions. New tactic.
“Who is ‘Duardo’?” he asked.
She swallowed dryly, unable to prevent her eyes from widening in shock. Why would he ask that here?
“You were asleep when I came in and you murmured the name,” he added, almost as if he were answering her silent question. He moved around the bed, coming up to her side. “You murmured the name with longing. And your body was aroused. This Duardo is your lover, no?”
She shivered. “Duardo is dead,” she said flatly.
“Who was he, then?” Zalaya’s one good eye gazed into her own.
Instinctively, Minnie stuck to the fundamental truth. “He was a Vistarian.”
“So you are not a stranger to this land.”
Zalaya gripped the cane. “He was in the army,” he said flatly.
“I didn’t say that.”
He smiled. “You do not have to. It is written all over your face, your body and in every answer you give.”
Again, the long study and consideration. Then, “Take off your clothes,” he said, his voice low.
Her heart jumped. “No.”
He pulled the revolver from the pouch on his hip. “Understand this. Your future depends upon obeying me for as long as I command it.”
This is the second sequel I've written by reader demand. This one, just like the other, I've been more than happy to write; Red Leopard is still one of my firm favourites, and any excuse to return to Vistaria was just fine by me.
I was also faced with a huge logistic problem: how to write Minnie's story, when the love of her life, Duardo, had been killed at the end of the last book. It took a great deal of thought to come up with a way to write her story and still honour the depth of her love for the fine Vistarian soldier she had lost.
It has taken far longer to get to write this book than I had ever anticipated. Many other projects and contractual obligations have got in the way. But at last I squeezed out the necessary months needed to dedicate myself.
Enjoy! -- Tracy.
I often get asked who I would cast in the movie of my book, if it should ever come to pass, so just for fun:
Duardo. Billy Zane.
Minnie. Winona Ryder.
And from reader Janet Bracero: Duardo: Antonia Banderas, and Minnie: Angelina Jolie.
Ideas on who you think should be cast for the