By Janie Franz
Anthropology grad student Kate Ferguson and Paul Rodriguez are in the steamy jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Dark secrets lurk around Paul, locked in the shaman stone he wears. They beckon especially to Kate who reads psychic impressions left in objects. Paul’s search for answers leads them and Dr. Juan Vasquez from the Museo National de Antropologia in Mexico City into the jungles of Mexico, the heights of Machu Picchu, and the art world of Lima and beyond.
When Paul launches out on his own, leaving Kate in Juan’s care, the anthropologists follow, hoping to reach Paul before old enemies from his past with murder on their minds find and kill him.
But the journey reveals disturbing answers and hidden secrets about Paul and Juan and a dark legacy for Paul’s heir. Kate is the key to the answers but finds herself very unsure where to place her trust.
Kate wasn’t sure what awakened her. Had it been the clatter of a lizard across the wood floor of the inn? Or had it been a snatch of disturbing dream that only vanished upon awakening? She stirred under the thin sheet covering her sweating body. As she rolled onto her back, the yards of mosquito netting swathed over the bedposts filled her vision in the dim light. Thin, gauzy, and delicate—how like bridal veiling it looked! But it was deceptive—not only did it protect her from flying pests, but it trapped air so well, breathing became a chore. Kate began to wonder if the netting, like a giant web, had not trapped her, too, to be offered up as sacrifice to a primal god like those just outside the window.
She shivered even in the muggy heat and squeezed her eyes shut, trying to keep memory from breaking into reality. But images leaked out—images of a blood-drenched stone, a bird figure, and an obsidian knife.
Kate reached across the pillows for Paul, needing to feel his healing presence. Her hand found only heavily starched muslin, coarse under her fingertips.
Character Interview Questions for Kate Ferguson
- Level of schooling: I’m a graduate student in anthropology. I’m just finishing up my final year and will be diving into my Master’s Thesis after this trip to the Yucatan.
- Currently residing in… I live in Phoenix, AZ
- Significant other: Paul Rodriguez, an enigma of a man, an architect who builds things but seems afraid of building a foundation with me.
- Wealthy, poor, or somewhere in between: I grew up in a lower middle class family. My parents were hard workers. Paul has thrown me into a slightly different word with his apparently comfortable income.
- What would you do if you won the lottery: Me? I have no luck whatsoever. But if I did, I would probably not change my lifestyle very much. I’d use the rest of the money to create a foundation for archaeological research.
Janie Franz comes from a long line of Southern liars and storytellers. She told other people’s stories as a freelance journalist for many years. With Texas wedding DJ, Bill Cox, she co-wrote The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book and The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book, and then self-published a writing manual, Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid! She also published an online music publication, was an agent/publicist for a groove/funk band, a radio announcer, and a yoga/relaxation instructor.
Currently, she is writing her tweveth novel and a self-help book, Starting Over: Becoming a Woman of Power.