When Shadows Come Home

When Shadows Come Home

by O. G. Diaz

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Overview

The beautiful widow, Maria Angela Alvarez Candelaria, attains the pinnacle of happiness available to an early eighteen century woman: wealth, travel, adventure, prestige, a devoted husband and a beautiful family. These are fulfillments few women of her era dare to dream and she has garnered them all. But suddenly, a new interest unexpectedly burst into her life. It is a new love and one that threatens all the achievements that have brought her the pronounced level of happiness that she enjoys.

As Eve took that taste of the forbidden fruit, Angela abandons herself to a decadent fantasy.

The romance and action introduced in the fictional account, Shadows Under the Sun, continues in this sequel. The lives of Angela and Alejandro Luis De La Voca Rivera once again cross each other to face the challenges and pleasures of their contemporary lives.

A distinct contrast is present in their approach to life. One adheres to a service tradition of purpose to life, and the other, a self-indulgent approach. Their differing styles clash as their lives once again intertwine amidst the corruption and ills of their social ruling class.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524647995
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 11/02/2016
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.73(d)

Read an Excerpt

When Shadows Come Home


By O. G. Diaz

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2016 O. G. Diaz
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5246-4799-5


CHAPTER 1

A violent storm had come ashore. It had raged for hours and had hours to go before moving on or spending itself upon the hapless town. Thick, black clouds hurried overhead pushed onward by other more ominous clouds. Gusts of powerful winds blew shrieking and howling like a pack of banshees announcing their death claim to the town.

Rain flew horizontally hurrying over sand and cobblestone streets. The torrent of rain flew hard until it smashed against vertical surfaces, leaving little dry.

The powerful gales drove the coastal waters to intrude far into the sand. Wave after wave off the Gulf of Mexico pounded the land threatening to wash away buildings near the shore.

Tree tops swayed and bowed to the powerful gusts. The loud snap of branches breaking testified to the ferocity of the winds.

A dim glow in the black sky provided almost no light making the storm that much more terrifying. The occasional explosive crack of lightning with its veins fanning out across the sky offered flashes of light, but it came with an intimidating cost.

It was just mid-afternoon, and the creatures of the town cowered in their shelters. Not even a rat was to be seen. The Yucatan city appeared abandoned to the fury of the storm.

A solitary figure wrapped in a brown cape braved the storm. Rain and sand driven by wind stung at his exposed face and hands. Gusts of crosswinds threatened to blow off his hood. He held the cape closed with one hand and the hood secured over his head with the other. He fought his way through the unmanned Puerta Del Mar of the town's defensive outer wall. He stopped. He hugged the inside of the wall taking temporary refuge there. In short time, he moved northeast intent on his destination but carefully keeping to the protection offered by the wall.

The man proceeded to the main plaza. He followed instructions given to a town unfamiliar to him, Campeche. He did not feel a stranger with the unfamiliar Yucatan town. He had good instructions, and his struggle with the storm gave him a sense of kinship to those sheltering inside their homes.

The town was just as he was told. A high defensive wall encased the town protecting it from pirates and Spain's enemies. Two-storied, pastel homes and buildings stood along cobblestone streets. Wealth from dye, lumber, and coffee had fueled the development of the two-hundred-year old town. A large harbor and a prominent location on the Gulf of Mexico ensured a large garrison to protect it.

He had arrived by sloop. The little ship had failed to outpace the storm's burst onto the Gulf of Mexico. It was caught in the open waters in a terrifying life and death struggle against the storm. The ship's captain had cried the last three hours. He was fearful of losing his beautiful little ship to the waves that pounded and abused her. The captain had shown no concern for his life and that of others, only for the safety of his ship.

He reached the end of the second leg of his instructions. The double steeples of Our Lady de Purisima Conception Cathedral loomed like stalwart sentinels in the storm. They stood prominently just past the plaza seeming to offer assurance that all would once again end well.

He knew that he would have to abandon the wall's protection. He turned right and gave up the wall without hesitating. He walked back into the fury of the storm struggling to keep cape and hood secure.

A loud explosion and blinding flash of light struck the street just feet to his front. Fragments of cobblestone flew in all directions and a blue glow lingered where a lightning bolt had struck. He stopped; the hairs on his arms and legs bristled with static, and his skin tingled making him shudder. He was fearful of the lightning strike. He wondered if it was an omen to caution him not to continue.

He braved on. He moved through a dark street a half-block further. He searched through the deluge of rain and howling winds for sight of his quest. There, finally stood his destination.

He found the two-story home with the four balconies overlooking the street. It was painted a honeydew color just as he had been told. The color was also the only distinguishing feature from the dwellings on either side.

He halted, feet from the door. The storm continued to beat and swirl around him. Lightning illuminated him on a dark street facing the entrance to his destination. He stood as if in a trance staring hard at the door to his fate.

His body began to shiver. Butterflies and knots in his stomach from apprehension questioned the wisdom of continuing. The dangerous struggle to finally reach this point no longer mattered. He now debated whether to take that last step. A painful event would occur once he entered. He was now uncertain if he was ready to engage what awaited him.

His legs stepped forward, but his mind begged them to stop.

The door now stood before him. His legs wobbly from defiance threaten to buckle. His right hand shook as it disobediently reached for the bell rope to announce his presence.

There was no response to the pull of the rope. He debated leaving, but the disobedient hand reached up and pulled the rope again. He waited, undaunted by the wind and rain whipping at him. He pulled the rope a third time, again nothing. He began to question whether anyone could hear the bell over the storm, but he pulled again.

He waited impatient for whatever would occur once inside. He was now recommitted to his quest and pulled a fifth time. Still, there was no response.

Fear and apprehension of what lay inside abandoned him. He was cold and wet and irritated at being left in the storm. He had made his way to this point under difficult conditions and being left unattended at the door would not do.

He pounded at the door. Anger and frustration from months of deep emotional pain now culminated in a lengthy pounding on the heavy door.

The door cracked open. Black eyes cautiously peered out. A tall man with European features showed his face. His hair was black except for white along the temples. He was bewildered that anyone would be at the door in such weather. Only the precaution expected of a proper servant made him check the door.

The door opened wide. The well-dressed servant gave a courteous smile and nod for the stranger to enter. He quickly shut the door behind the man and gave him an unseen look-over.

The foyer was large and well lit. White marble columns rested on black and white marble tile laid in a checkered pattern. A white marble staircase with black marble steps at one end of the foyer wound its way to the second floor. Several matching French salon chairs were stationed about. Large Italian mirrors accented the walls along with portraits of distinguished-looking men. It was a home of opulence. It was a home that resembled the interior of a small palace.

"May I take your cloak, Señor?" the servant asked. The servant did not wait for a response. He proceeded to remove the wet garment. He neatly folded the wet cape and placed it on a black marble table next to the door.

The servant turned to the man and took better inspection of him. The visitor was nearly as tall as he. Brown hair, brown eyes on a long European face and a muscular frame gave him a distinguished appearance. He carried himself as a man of class, but a quick look at his wet clothes begged the question of why would a gentleman be out under such conditions. He could see that the man shivered and clutched at a large leather satchel, but he was unaware that the man shivered from something other than wet clothes. He took the satchel and laid it next to the cape. He stole a glance at a sword on the man's side, a sword no fashionable gentlemen would wear in proper society.

The servant spoke in a slow deliberate manner that was expected of a servant. "I shall bring you a cognac to warm you," he offered and started to walk away.

"That will not be necessary," the man sharply replied. "My business will not take long."

The servant turned back. He politely smiled and asked, "Perhaps a cup of hot coffee?"

"No. But, thank you, Señor," the man stated after a brief deliberation. He had no coffee this day, and the offer was most tempting.

The servant moved closer to the visitor. He stood with arms down his side and his feet together. He was a slim man, tall at nearly six feet. He tilted his head and politely stated, "I am Alberto Gerardo Baldomero Guerrera. I am the chief steward of the Candelaria household. How may I assist with your business?" he asked with a slight bow.

The man gave an unceremonious slight nod of the head intended for a servant and stated, "I wish to speak with your mistress."

"Who shall I inform her desires to speak with her, and what is the nature of the business?" the servant asked almost apologetically as was expected of him.

"Alejandro Luis De La Voca Rivera and I have correspondence from her brother, Doctor Juan Julian Alvarez Peron. My instructions are to hand-deliver the notes to her," the man methodically replied just as he had rehearsed it over and over.

The chief steward's dark eyes widened. He was surprised by the name of the man just out of the weather. He temporarily forgot his station. He took a step forward and demanded, "Colonel De La Voca?"

"Do you know me, Señor Baldomero?" he asked surprised by the servant's bold familiarity with his name.

The chief steward shook his head smiling. He reached out to shake the man's hand. "I have heard of you, Colonel. I would not have thought you here in Campeche much less at this household on this beastly day. My son is a great admirer of yours and has read me the accounts of your military engagements throughout New Mexico and Tampico. It is indeed a pleasure to meet you; yes, indeed, it is."

The servant saw the confounded look on the man's face. He recovered from his enthusiasm and corrected his behavior. "Please forgive my enthusiasm, Colonel. Wait here. I will inform the mistress of your presence and business."

Alejandro De La Voca took a deep breath and smiled. He watched the chief steward climb the stairs surprised and bewildered at the interest he had shown of him.

The chief steward returned minutes later, a solemn expression on his face. An attractive young Negro maid with a fearful look followed carrying a basket of clothes and linens. She scurried her way to the back of the house keeping an eye on the visitor.

Señor Baldomero said nothing. He walked to the table and picked up the wet cape. He held it by the collar and allowed it to fall open to his front expecting the guest to back into it.

He looked at the confused man. "My mistress is unavailable. She wishes you to know that she appreciates the distance and peril you have endured to get here, but that she is nevertheless unavailable." He shook the cape as if to cue De La Voca that it was time for him to leave. "She also instructed me to accept the correspondence from her brother."

De La Voca stood flabbergasted staring curiously at the servant. He had mentally catalogued every possible outcome of their discussion once he met with her. He had not planned for the contingent of an outright refusal to meet. He was now shocked at being so poorly dismissed. It had taken him much courage to come such a far distance to hand her the letters. He had taken great pain to prepare himself to once again look into her eyes and see what had been denied him. It was courage he had been uncertain he had in him.

His dismay quickly simmered into anger. He had also physically endured great difficulties to arrive here to complete a service for an old friend and for the mistress of this house. Now, he was being ordered to leave. He was being dismissed by a servant without so much as a 'hello' or 'thank you' from her.

The anger was now evident in his eyes. It was an anger he never thought he would ever harbor for any woman, much less this woman. He had already endured much suffering from her, and he was damned if she would now deny seeing him.

He turned sharply and looked to the stairs. His mind went dark. Demons emboldened by rejection overtook him. It was the very demons that had seized his mind days after her abrupt departure from Santa Fe. Without a word, he started for those steps angry at her continuous abuse of him. He would see to it that she made herself available to him, and she would do it now.

He heard his wet cape hit the tile floor and a drawer opened. A second later came the distinct sound of a pistol flint being cocked. He stopped, froze and closed his eyes on the fourth step of a cold stone staircase. He took a deep breath. He turned slowly so as to not provoke any regrettable action.

Señor Baldomero was aiming a Spanish pistol at him. The man acted as if he knew how to handle the weapon. He stood as if at a duel prepared to fire at his opponent.

"Colonel De La Voca, it would pain me greatly to pull this trigger, but I am prepared to do just that," he calmly but authoritatively stated. He stood with his right arm and pistol extended straight forward and his left arm tucked at his back. "I am instructing you to leave now and not return," he warned while reaching behind him to open the door.

De La Voca walked back to the table and picked up his satchel. He slung the strap securely over his shoulder while staring at the pistol. He reached down for the cape and draped it securely over him. He smiled at Señor Baldomero, took a deep breath and calmly offered, "Good day, Señor."

He stepped back into the tempest. The wind was not showing signs of slowing, and the rain continued to pour down in sheets. A black sky above continued casting an eerie darkness upon the town.

His stomach grumbled. It was an old friend reminding him that he had not eaten since yesterday. He had boarded the sloop at the port town of Sisal just before dawn. Breakfast had been foregone to catch the predawn wind. He had always promised himself to take better care, but events had a way of interfering with such plans. The grumbling reminded him that he had once again failed himself.

He suddenly smiled while rain stung at him. He realized the demons that had tormented his mind for months were unexpectedly gone. A feeling of euphoria washed over him. A sense of once again being in charge of his own destiny overcame him with joy. He turned and looked smiling to the sky. A slight movement in the curtains of the window directly above caught his attention. He did not care. It only served to confirm that he was finally free of her. He stood smiling and allowing the rain to cleanse him of all that had weighed him down the past months.

"Colonel!" Señor Baldomero shouted over the wind and rain. "Are you not well?"

He turned to the chief steward with a smile. "I am now," he shouted.

"Then, Señor, the correspondence," he hollered with pistol still aimed at De La Voca.

De La Voca continued to smile. "No, my instructions were to hand-deliver the letters directly to her!" he added and pointed up to the window.

"Colonel, please!" the chief steward screamed out brandishing the pistol.

"Señor Baldomero!" De La Voca shouted and stepped closer to be heard over the rain and flashes of lightning. "In your haste, you failed to notice that there is little gunpowder in the firing pan, perhaps from the pistol lying in that drawer for far too long. What little powder is in the pan is caked, likely from humidity. I strongly suspect that the powder in the barrel is no different."

He started to walk away, but looked back with a smile. "I saw a cantina on the other side of the Puerta Del Mar. I will seek accommodations there. I shall likely be there for several days while the weather calms and repairs are made to the sloop that brought me. If your mistress desires the correspondence, she can come for them there."

Señor Baldomero stepped out into the rain to get closer. "There is one last thing, Colonel," he spoke cautiously choosing his words with care. "I wish to ask a favor of you," he added with discomfort.

De La Voca laughed. There, in the midst of a severe storm, with a pistol pointed at him, he found laughter. He continued laughing for some time before composing himself to speak, "You have removed me from the premise at gun point, and now, you beg for a favor with the weapon still aimed at me. Is that not rich?"

A look of shame overcame Señor Baldomero. He slipped the barrel of the pistol into his coat pocket. He cast his eyes down, "Please, forgive my actions; I was only performing my duties."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from When Shadows Come Home by O. G. Diaz. Copyright © 2016 O. G. Diaz. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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