by Victoria Saccenti
Genre: Historical Romance
Hello! Today Sweet Southern Savings is hosting the blog tour stop for Victoria Saccenti’s Destiny’s Series Book Tour. Read on for more about this Historical Romance, Victoria, and a tour-wide giveaway!
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Destiny’s Series Book 1
One empty bus seat. Two aching hearts. A future written by Fate…
Destiny’s Series Book 2
No one evades Fate.
Especially when the escape route is cracked and full of holes.
Destiny’s Series Book 3
Destiny can show the way home…
if it can navigate the shadows of Fate.
Destiny’s Plan — Scene
Matthew glanced out the window and smiled. Night had fallen upon them. He’d lost track of time and forgotten his troubled thoughts thanks to the young woman sitting next to him. Her mirth and exuberance were infectious. She used her hands to speak, creating curious shapes in the air, which he visualized with total enchantment. While the minutes and hours passed imperceptibly, they had covered all sorts of topics, from the weather on the road to his assignment at Fort Benning’s Airborne School. Even the odd color of the lady’s wig two rows ahead didn’t escape their happy commentary. Raquelita was a delicious combination of naïveté and awareness and was delightfully engaged in every word he said. This genuine attention was much needed sustenance for his soul.
“Let’s forget about everyone on the bus,” he said. “Tell me more about you. Where were you born?”
“San Antonio. My parents are from Spain, born on the outskirts of Jerez de la Frontera.”
“The land of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza,” he said. “A legendary country full of history and romance. I’ve seen pictures and read a ton of books. I hope to visit one day.”
“Gracious, you’ve heard of El Ingenioso?”
“You bet. Don Quixote was a reading elective in school. Darned difficult, but I managed.” Matthew paused for a moment. “Jerez isn’t close to La Mancha, is it?”
“Not at all. Jerez is near the coast in the province of Andalucía, south and west of La Mancha,” she explained, adopting a cute tutorial attitude. “The region is known for its music, historical monuments, its prized sherry wine, and majestic horses.”
“Mysterious Andalucía. The Moors fought so hard to hold it.” His eyebrows gathered as he spoke. “Lorca was from Granada. His poetry was musical and raw in one breath, like The Sleepwalking Ballad, or La Guitarra. It’s a pity he died so young.”
“Yes, a tragic casualty of the Spanish Civil War.” Speaking to Matthew was like sifting through a treasure chest full of surprises, one more enticing than the last. She had the oddest desire to touch him, ensure he was real. “So you know La Guitarra?”
“Oh no. I’m not going to embarrass myself by reciting Spanish.” A faint flush rose on his face. “It’s bad enough I mix up my locations.”
“My father and I used to recite it together.” In her softest voice, she spoke:
Empieza el llanto de la guitarra.
Se rompen las copas de la madrugada.
Empieza el llanto de la guitarra.
Es inútil callarla
Es imposible callarla.
Words flowed out of her lips, her fingertips flitted like butterflies, and notes filled Matthew’s ears, full, vibrant, and warm. “You have it, el duende comes to you,” he said.
“Yes. You. I know Lorca’s poems, but I’ve never heard them in Spanish. The genie glimmers on your face and moves through your hands. The music comes to you. He comes to you.”
“How do you know so much? Very few people outside Spain know about the genie, much less feel or hear it.”
“The teacher who helped me survive Don Quixote knew my appreciation of Lorca’s works and lent me several books. One had a lecture Lorca gave in Buenos Aires. It was outstanding. The images Lorca presented inspired the reader’s imagination. He spoke of dark sounds. According to him, el duende is the hidden spirit of a doleful Spain. Please, please say more.”
Raquelita smiled and continued:
Useless to silence it
Impossible to silence it.
“That was lovely,” he whispered. “You are enchanting.”
“Oh.” She blushed.
“Lita.” The stern sound sliced the air. Isabel and her deep scowl stood next to their seats. Her gaze shifted suspiciously from her daughter to Matthew. “Is everything all right, Lita?”
“Y-yes, everything’s fine. Mamá…this is Matthew. We’ve been talking for a while. I’ve told him a little about us and our family.”
“Lita. Do not pester people with your little stories and inane fancies. Travelers like privacy. Uh…nice to meet you…Matthew, is it? I hope Lita doesn’t annoy you too much.” Isabel arched an eyebrow at Raquelita, and before Matthew could speak, she pivoted and headed to her seat.
Matthew watched the angry woman go. Why would a mother humiliate her daughter in public? If her purpose was to smother her daughter’s spirit, she’d managed to do so. He’d spent the past few hundred miles relishing Lita’s joie de vivre; he didn’t wish to sit through the next hundred without it. He blurted the first thing that came to his mind. “Lita, you can say anything you want. I love your voice.”
“Yes, and I love our conversations. Heck, I can’t remember the last time I discussed music, geography, and poetry in a single exchange.”
“If I bore you, will you tell me?” Her expression was serene, but her earlier mirth had disappeared.
“Impossible. You could never bore me,” he murmured, hoping his sweet girl would return. “How far are you traveling? Where’s your last stop?” Matthew continued, but seconds after he asked, he knew the subject was trouble.
“We…we are going to Ocala.”
“Are you meeting your father there?” Her grimace deepened, and he wanted to kick himself. “Raquelita, if you don’t wish to talk…”
“Please, don’t think… I really like talking to you… He’s not coming. My parents are divorced. We’re moving to another state.” She choked out the three statements, and turned to the aisle.
He murmured reassurances to no avail. She still looked away. He placed two fingers under her trembling chin, and she did not resist when he turned her face toward his. Her cheeks were damp, her irises sparkled like gems, and her lashes were heavy with moisture. She looked at him with undiluted trust and an emotion he couldn’t identify.
This guileless young woman with her soulful eyes, shimmering brown locks, and golden skin had captured him. The pull was inescapable. Matthew slipped his hand under hers. “I would give half my soul to take your pain away.” He lifted the delicate fingertips for a feathery kiss.
Raquelita stared in fascination. The strong hands she’d admired earlier had grasped her hand as if she were a fragile porcelain doll. She felt safe. She felt protected. She felt secure. Other than for rare moments with her father, Lita lived in a cold, affectionless wasteland, under the strict rule and discipline of a rigid mother. With a simple brush of his lips, Matthew had infused her soul with life-giving warmth. She knew then, to the marrow in her bones, she was bound to him. She would never feel this close to anyone in life again.
“Talk to me, Lita. I’m on your side.”
Their gazes locked.
“I believe you, Matthew.”
Hovering above, the ancient women watched.
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