Summer reading used to be easy: just fun in the sun. But wait, my friends, here comes a beach-worthy fiction with substance and merit as well! A month from today, on August 15, a literary mystery novel like no other—a story of rape, revenge, and redemption—will be published online, available throughout the E-reader Universe (see a short description of the novel by clicking on the “Woman” page above). Be the first to read an excerpt, and have an initial clue on the road to solving the mystery: who is she, the Unidentified Woman, and what’s her story? Here’s another short excerpt:
I feel lucky today, Adela. I breathe the crisp spring air. I listen to the singing of the birds. I smell wild flowers. I shake my hair loose and let it fly. The promise of quiet is suddenly all around me, and I can hear myself thinking for the first time since I was kidnapped. Maybe there is a future for me after all, like Big Mamá said.
I’m working alone, the way Mario told me to. Not with the other workers I saw on the way before we entered this narrow valley. The work is easy, much better than the hard work at the factory. I water the coca plants with a hose. That’s all I do. It’s a young field and the shrubs are about my size, no more than one meter and twenty tall. They don’t seem thirsty to me, the plants, but still, I fill this shallow circle that surrounds them with water. I just look at the water streaming so nicely. Then when it’s full, I move the hose to the next plant. I feel a gentle breeze coming down from the hills. I hear only birds and the whisper of the wind. I see the water swirling and I see the butterflies fly around me. My wish at this moment is to be a butterfly.
But suddenly—don’t know how, don’t know why—I see a shadow in the water circling the plant. I hear footsteps, too. And when I raise my head to look, the man is too close for me to run away. He is tall and old and Gringo. He is wearing boots and a cowboy hat. Like in a movie we saw together once, Adela, in our village. Remember?
I let the hose drop down from my hand and take a step back. That’s when he takes his hat off and throws it on the ground. His head is bald like a melon, and so ugly. He looks me up and down. He smiles. Evil smile. “You’re mine, Little Maria,” he says in Spanish with an American accent.
How does he know my name? I hate that name. One day I’m going to change it. I turn around and begin to run. He chases after me and grabs me from behind. I scream but nobody hears me. Where is Mario? Where is Big Mamá? Where are the other workers I saw when we drove in here? Where is everybody?