DO YOU LOVE BOOKS SET IN EXOTIC LOCATIONS?
WHAT ABOUT EXOTIC BUT DANGEROUS LOCATIONS? READ ON!
AUTHOR ELLIE EDEN SET HER ROMANTIC SUSPENSE IN BRAZIL.
My romantic suspense novel, LETTING EVIL IN, is set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With miles upon miles of white sandy beaches, tropical breezes, strange peaked mountains, deep rainforests, girls in dental-floss bikinis, wild dancing, cool music, cooler cocktails, and a dangerous crime scene, Rio is a perfect place to set a book. I totally enjoyed losing my heroine in the deep, dark rain forest. Matching and mating my hot young drugs lords. And being part of my hero and heroine’s wild tender love on the above mentioned white sand beaches.
And then there’s the strange voodoo religion. As soon as I read about Brazil’s Candomble religion and discovered Pomba Gira, the goddess, the powerful protector of women, I knew I had to include her in the book. I loved that the goddess couldn’t be totally trusted. A temperamental sort of goddess. Perfect!
I visited the little Voodoo shops, shadowy out-of-the-way places offering all the tempting magic portions mentioned in the book. Can a body oil smoothed in and rubbed around a man’s groin really keep him faithful forever? Well I would guess maybe not. But why would the label on the gleaming bottle guarantee it if its a lie? Huh? Maybe, just maybe the stuff works. And what fun to try. At the very worse all its going to give him is a nasty rash. Probably deserved or you wouldn’t be doing it in the first place.
The bad girl in my novel, drug-dealing and manipulative – but really rather appealing – Nara, visits one of the voodoo stores in her home city of Rio. Nara needs a love portion to win herself a wealthy man. Unfortunately the man she seeks is Michael, the heroine’s unfaithful husband. Here is the excerpt. I hope you enjoy it. Hey, you might even learn something about black magic from it
EXCERPT – LETTING EVIL IN – BY ELLIE EDEN
Mother Isadora’s Voodoo Store was in the basement of a crumbling tenement building at the entrance to Rocinha favela. Nara found the hot, musty smell of the building familiar and comforting; she’d slept there in the alley many times when her mother kicked her out of the house. She loved the store’s dark corners and shelves filled with shimmering little bottles, the devil dolls with their empty eyes, the spooky white skulls, and the painted statues of the saints.
From the room inside, the dark room where Mother Isadora cast her spells and called up the magic of the invisibles, she could hear a woman sobbing and the murmur of Mother Isadora’s soothing voice. She checked out the stuff on the shelves. She needed a powerful love potion. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. A real live American. Better to be safe than sorry.
She picked up a flower patterned sachet with a fascinating name: Love-me-long Powder. Yes, she’d try some of that. And another sachet labeled Lilith Feminine Power—Assert Your Power in Matters of Love and Sex. She’d take them both. A Chase-me-no-more-rival bracelet was tempting too. The tag promised that it worked extremely fast. Longingly she fingered the yellow and black beads.
Mother Isadora came in, so beautiful, so tall and slender, dressed in a filmy, long white dress and smiling her sweet, calm smile. “Nara. I haven’t seen you for a while. What can I help you with, my child?”
Nara cleared her throat nervously. Mother Isadora always affected her like that. “I want to buy these love potions.”
The priestess looked at the sachets and raised her eyebrows. “You seem very nervous, my child. Is this something that is important to you?”
Nara nodded. “It is my whole future, Mother Isadora.”
The priestess nodded. “I can say a powerful prayer for you. Would you like that?”
Nara blushed. “I don’t have much money for an offering, Mother Isadora.”
“I will accept a ten reais offering. The prayer and the sachets.”
It would be worth it, Nara thought. Totally worth it. She nodded her agreement.
Mother Isadora led the way into a darkened room. Nara looked around, wide eyed. She’d never been into this inner sanctum before. Statues of the invisibles surrounded her. On a red velvet altar, red candles flickered, and wisps of blue smoke and the sweet smell of incense and herbs filled the room.
“I will say a prayer to Pomba Gira, the protector of women. That’s her statue over there.”
Mother Isadora pointed to the small statue of a beautiful gypsy-looking woman dressed in a flared red dress. Pomba Gira’s eyebrows were arched and she smiled devilishly.
Chanting softly, Mother Isadora arranged red roses, fully blown but still beautiful. “Pomba Gira loves roses,” she said. “She is a goddess for the independent women of today. Women who do not rely on men. Women who choose their own lovers. Women who work for their own financial security and do as they please.”
Nervously, Nora nodded again. She wasn’t sure where this was all going. Actually, she didn’t want to work. She wanted to marry the wealthy American and never, ever work again. Maybe this Pomba Gira was the wrong goddess for her. But she didn’t dare interrupt Mother Isadora who seemed to be on a roll. The thick smoke made her dizzy and the room spun slowly.
“Who is this man you wish?” Mother Isadora asked.
“An American,” Nara whispered. “He’s an American.”
Mother Isadora nodded. She thought for a minute and then lifted up her hands and began to chant: “Hear me, my queen Pomba Gira Maria Padilha of the Seven Crossroads, Mistress of the Night. Go wherever the American is. Don’t let him rest,don’t let him be cheerful, don’t let him feel pleasure, until he talks to your faithful servant, Nara.”
Nara was amazed, delighted, at the prayer. Head bent, she murmured in agreement.
“Hear me, Pomba Gira,” Mother Isadora said. “I ask you to bring this American to your servant, Nara. Move air. Transform fire. Move air. Transform fire. The wheel turns. The wheel turns. It brings the American to your servant, Nara. He won’t desire another woman. He will be happy only at Nara’s side. He will ask her to neverlet him go. He will want Nara and will not stop thinking about her. It is and it will be.”
Nara kept her head bent. It sounded good. Very good.
“Hail Pomba Gira,” Mother Isadora continued, her voice growing louder. “Hail Seven Skirts. Defender of women. My kind and glorious princess, know your strength and your power. I ask the following: I ask that this man’s body burn with desire for your servant, Nara. He will be blind for other women; they will not give him pleasure. Your servant, Nara, is the only one who will have this power. Hail Pomba Gira, I know you are already blowing Nara’s name into the American’s ears and he will not eat, sleep, or do anything unless he is with her. We trust the power of the Seven Crossroads and will continue spreading this powerful prayer. Like this it is, so it will be.”
Mother Isadora took a deep breath. The very candles seemed to shudder. Nara could almost feel the goddess in the room. Wow! What a prayer. That was totally worth ten reais. The American would be hers.
“If the goddess grants your desire, make sure you reward her.” Mother Isadora said. “Wear red in her honor. Keep a red rose in your room. Never, never make her mad or neglect her. This is a powerful goddess. See Pomba Gira’s one hand is up bestowing her favor, and the other is down, denying it.” Mother
Isadora gave a low chuckle. “My child, if this man treats you badly make sure you come and tell me. See the switchblade in Pomba Gira’s high-heeled shoe? The goddess is the switchblade sister who will defend you.”
Nara nodded, her head spinning triumphantly. “Thank you Mother Isadora. Thank you.”
As she walked out into the urine-smelling street, she could feel the aura of the goddess protecting her. Almost, she could swear, she could smell red roses.
When Michael goes on a photographic assignment to Brazil and fails to return, Kristi and her son fly to Rio de Janeiro, desperate to find him. Instead she finds that during the cold New Jersey winter, her husband has spent his time in steamy chat rooms with Nara, a young woman desperate for attention and involved in the Rio drug world.
As she searches for Michael in exotic but crime-ridden Rio, Kristy finds herself way out of her league. She turns to Italian-Brazilian Federal Agent Tony Lamazzo for help. As the harsh truth of her marriage brings a dose of reality to her life, she finds the temptation of getting closer to the strong, capable—and totally hot—Tony difficult to resist. She’s in Brazil on the Day of Dead, a day when Brazilians go wild. Why shouldn’t she go wild with Tony, for just one night, before returning home to start the new life alone she’ll have to learn to make for herself?
But when her son vanishes too, Kristi doesn’t know where to turn. Michael’s affair with drug-dealing Nara has exposed them all to the murderous wrath of a ruthless drug lord, and while she longs to trust Tony, she can’t trust his powerful and politically corrupt family. But in the dangerous slums and rainforests of Brazil, the danger mounts for both Kristi and her son, and a cold-blooded enemy has an agenda of his own. If she trusts Tony, she might save her son. Or it might just get them all killed…