Review by: Christy Duke
Reviewer for the Paranormal Romance Guild
The year was 1775, Tala, a member of the Kumeyaay tribe, located in what now is the San Diego area, and Father Gregorio Salvador, a priest at the Mission de Alcala, fell deeply in love and had an affair. When Tala was killed, Gregorio forsake the priesthood believing he could no longer follow the God who punished him for his love. Instead, he lived with the tribe he had already grown to love and mourned his beloved. When the tribe shaman gifts him with a visit to the Old One, Gregorio accepts his transformation to an immortal Night Walker as he awaits the rebirth of his love, in exchange for helping the native population to retain their land and their culture from the Spanish missionaries intent on destroying it.
Gregorio’s current incarnation, as Calisto Terana, is as a wealthy philanthropist who owns the Foundation of Arts, a charity devoted to preserving and promoting the arts. One night as he’s visiting Tala’s grave, he meets Kate Bradley and recognizes within her his beloved’s soul. Kate has returned to San Diego to finally deal with her parents estate and move on, especially as she just cancelled her wedding after finding her fiancé with another woman. Coming home has been hard for Kate as it’s brought a return of the dreams she’s had ever since she was a teenager; dreams of being chased down, attacked, and violated. After meeting Calisto outside the Mission, she doesn’t know why she keeps thinking of him, and wanting to spend more time with the gorgeous man.
This could have been a very simple love story except the evil that killed Tala so long ago, the evil that has hunted Calisto all of these years, the Fraternidad del Fuego Santo, the Brotherhood of Holy Fire, will not allow Tala to live again. For you see, all those years ago, Calisto confessed to his brother monk about his love for Tala, a Native American woman, and his desire to leave the brotherhood to become a husband and father. It was this brother who ordered Tala’s death believing he did God’s “wishes”. Now the Brotherhood believes that Calisto will make Kate a Night Walker and unleash another blood drinking abomination unto the world and the Catholic Church. Hoping to prevent this, the Brotherhood sends Brother Montigo to watch and try to keep Calisto away from Kate. But there is more to this monk than either the Brotherhood or Calisto knows.
When Calisto and Kate spend some time together, Kate is frightened of the intensity of her feelings around him and the horrible déjà vu she suffers. Fearing for her strength of will, she runs back to Reno to try and escape her feelings. But, Kate can’t stay away, and Calisto can’t keep from watching over her. So, Kate returns to San Diego and a burgeoning relationship, and all that entails, with Calisto. Meanwhile, a new threat arrives in the form of Brother Montigo, who has plans to be the next god over the miserable humans. Using Kate and Calisto’s assistant, Brother Montigo plots and manipulates to try and get what he wants. Will Kate and Calisto’s love throughout these centuries be enough to save them both?
This novel, particularly considering it was the authors debut, was fairly well done. It started off very strong and then in the middle it began to ramble a bit until ending pretty well with a nice little cliffhanger. It was pretty predictable but enjoyable just the same. The writing was good and the characters were strong, I just think the entire story could have been shortened and tightened up a little so as not to lose the reader’s interest. I did enjoy it however, as it had a lovely romance with just a hint of paranormal woven around actual historical facts regarding the Mission in San Diego. The author managed the constant transitions between current times and the past in a good manner, not confusing me too often by the jumps in time. I am looking forward to reading the next story in the series to see what happens in the world Lisa Kessler has created.