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Synopsis: When Catalina Rodriguez is attacked by a would-be rapist and rescued by the dashing Ricardo Garcia, she not only becomes more aware of the handsome man, but also vows that she’ll never be a damsel in distress again. Using the timeless method of blackmail, she convinces her uncle to teach her to fight and becomes a masked crusader in the night, saving other damsels from robbers and rough handling.
However, scandalous rumors and dwindling funds force Ricardo and Catalina to marry. Not immune to each other’s charms, their marriage starts fiery, but when one of Catalina’s nightly escapades results in dire consequences, she is forced to spurn her husband’s amorous advances…or reveal a secret that could turn him away from her forever.
Ricardo’s not a man to be cuckolded or left in the dark. Is his wife having an affair with El Capitan, the masked savior? If so…they will both pay.
Tara Chevrestt’s Maiden Behind the Mask is a fun whimsical read! Even though it’s a novella, characters are drawn out. Catalina Rodriguez is no fainting miss! Realizing what her fate could have been had she been raped she seeks out to defend the innocent and in the process wreaks havoc on the pueblo! Ricardo Garcia isn’t your typical hero. Sure he’s arrogant, but he’s not interested in marriage nor does he go around sleeping around. Even though Catalina forces his hand, he takes it in stride, but doesn’t count on falling in love. Both Catalina and Ricardo are blindsided by love, but it’s a lovely romance.
The writing is engaging and it’s a fast paced read. I had a lot of fun with this book, but I do have a slight complaint. It’s more of an annoyance and personal preference. Chevrestt uses a lot of Spanish words intermixed with English sentences. For example, “I shall call you La Reina, because once in my establo, I shall treat you like a queen. Your body may be beaten, but your spirit is not broken.” Maiden Behind the Mask is set in El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles, which would become modern day Los Angeles. Although the exact time period isn’t explained, I’m going to assume it’s either right before Mexico’s War of Independence or shortly after and my mind just can’t wrap itself around the use of spanglish. I understand why Chevrestt uses it and it is effective, but it just annoyed me and as I stated it is personal preference.
I have several favorite scenes, but I have to say Catalina finding Ricardo defending the honor of another woman to be my favorite especially when she gets involved to defend Ricardo! Her reaction to the woman afterward is priceless! Any scene with her flatulent horse will leave you smiling. I adored how everything comes together at the end especially Ricardo’s reaction.
If you’re looking for a quick read with a feisty heroine and a flatulent horse that steals the show, Tara Chevrestt’s Maiden Behind the Mask is for you. Either way you can’t go wrong with this fun novella.
You can read an excerpt here.
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