Friday, April 14, 2017

Adventure by Christine DePetrillo

I released my 16th book last month and I’m pretty happy about that. I thought I’d take today’s post to the past in order to highlight a book I had published in 2010, LAZULI MOON. It’s an Indiana Jones-esque tale with a female adventurer and a sexy doctor both on the hunt for a fabled blue diamond with healing powers.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Three people search for the legendary Lazuli Moon in the Valdivian Rainforest. 

Two of them will find a treasure they never expected.

One won’t live to see another day.

Archaeologist and professor Dr. Nivia Charu can’t let the Lazuli Moon remain hidden forever. With her teaching position threatened and no funds for an expedition, Nivia fears the blue diamond fabled to have healing powers will never be unearthed.

Physician Dr. Benjamin Forrester wants to cure his uncle’s cancer. His attempts at manufacturing a remedy, however, have failed. Desperate and out of options, Ben needs a miracle, and Nivia may just hold the key.

Up against a crazed boat captain and ancient curses, Ben and Nivia join forces to seek the Lazuli Moon. What waits for them in the depths of the rainforest will either make them famous or kill them.


Chapter One

They came. Great pale beasts. Part man, part animal in the eyes of the people. All with the smile of the serpent. Wielding blades of silver that reflected the sun’s rays and sliced into the skin of the Palol. Blood spilled in the stone-paved streets, pooled at the feet of the children, dripped from the bodies of the finest warriors. The beasts showed no mercy as they trampled through the gardens, knocked down the homes, ravaged all the Palol held dear.

A wretched sickness descended upon the Palol. A fierce disease brought by the hands of the Spanish beasts as they touched the people. Soon even the warriors were brought to their knees by the sores. In desperation, a Palol princess, having watched her one true love turn ill, came to the shores seeking the sea god, Dirai, and his great power. Tears fell into the sea with her plea for a cure, a healing for her people.

As the full moon rose in the black sky, a magnificent gemstone washed up onto the sand. The color of sky and big enough to fill the princess’s palms, the jewel glittered in the night. The princess took it, sure it was a gift from Dirai, and ran back to the Palol capital city, Simad. She held it high in the city’s center, and moonlight cut through the flawless blue diamond. All who stood in its light were healed.

Shouts of joy filled the streets. Children danced. Lovers kissed. Warriors took up their spears and drove the Spanish beasts to the sea. The foreign paleskins were cut from their four-legged bodies. They bled the same scarlet river as the Palol, threw the same cries of agony into the wind, fell to the sand as
the same life spirit left what remained of their shells. The Palol were about to claim their empire as their own once again. Dirai had shown them mercy, offered his mighty protection, and delivered them from Death’s ruthless stranglehold.

Then a storm raged and drew the water up into a mountainous wave that washed the land clean…of everyone. The ocean swallowed the Spanish and the Palol, for the sea god, Dirai, grants wishes, but not without sacrifice.


Dr. Nivia Charu ran a slender finger along the tattered pages of the ancient volume open in front of her on the desk. Her gold-brown eyes shifted to the picture she used as a bookmark. Dr. Arjun Charu, legendary archaeologist and beloved father, stared back at her, a faint smile on his lips as if he knew a great secret or had done something truly clever. Probably both were the case. He had always been full of mysteries and witty charm. From his contagious laughter to his enthralling stories of the Palol, Nivia’s father was her hero. She had adored him as much as he had adored her, his only child.

“You wouldn’t be so proud of me now, Pitaji.” Nivia sifted a breath through her teeth as she glanced at the letter under her left hand. The college crest spread across the top of the letter, and in tiny print, her superior had assaulted her with words. Again.

“If I don’t publish something within the next month, I’ll lose my teaching position,” Nivia told her father’s picture. “I’m out of extensions. Out of time.”

She rested her head on the still open book, her long curtain of black hair spilling about her face. The pages had always smelled like salted air to Nivia, and she inhaled until her lungs couldn’t expand any farther. Letting the air gush out, she watched the dreaded letter ripple in the breeze she’d created and fall off the edge of the desk.

If only it were that simple. If only she could blow her troubles away so easily. If only she could make some headway on finding the blue diamond of the Palol. The Lazuli Moon, as it had been termed through the ages due to its lapis lazuli coloring and full moon shape. The search for it had consumed her. She spent all her free time—and some of her working time, to be honest—on deciphering the legendary stone’s whereabouts. Her father had sought it, had died trying to find it, and Nivia feared her obsession was as unhealthy as her father’s had been. She hadn’t gotten together with friends in years. Hadn’t been on a date in a decade.

Instead, she dreamed, read, analyzed, hypothesized, wrote. All the book manuscripts she had in files on her laptop revolved around the Lazuli Moon and the Palol Empire. If she had any hope of finishing one of them in time to save her job, she had to find the blue diamond fabled to have healing powers. The legend surrounding the gem had captivated her father since he’d obtained the book now open on Nivia’s desk from a colleague. He couldn’t shake the compulsion to find the diamond, and now Nivia suffered from the same affliction. Without the diamond, all her information was conjecture. Myth. Nonsense.

“I can’t lose my job, Pitaji. I can’t. Even for the Lazuli Moon. Even for you.”

With tears in her eyes, Nivia kissed her father’s picture and wedged it into the binding of the book. She closed it and placed the tome into her tote bag. She had a place for it on the shelves in her home office. The book rarely occupied that space because Nivia was forever rereading the same passages, looking for some clue she’d missed. Some morsel that would uncover the stone’s resting place. Most of Nivia’s colleagues didn’t believe the diamond existed. Those few that did believed it to be lost at sea during what probably was a devastating hurricane when the Spanish arrived in what was now the city of Valdivia in Chile. Her father, however, had believed otherwise. He had read accounts of miraculous healings in that area of the world, and had been convinced the Lazuli Moon was on land somewhere. He made it his life’s quest to find the blue diamond. He’d used his last breath trying to recover it.

Nivia shook her head. When news of her father’s death had reached her, she’d made a vow to continue her father’s pursuit. She’d made a good go of it too. Had turned up additional information. Had confirmed some of her father’s musings. The only thing she needed was the actual location and the money to go, but her bank account was almost empty, her job in jeopardy, her professional reputation in question. She couldn’t afford to go on an adventure.

The Lazuli Moon would have to stay buried.

If you’re ready for an adventure in the rainforest, download LAZULI MOON today!

The Maple Leaf Series, Books One to Six, available now
The Shielded Series, Books One to Three, available now

Wolf Kiss, Book One in The Warrior Wolves Series, coming soon   


Leah St. James said...

Wow...that's one tough goddess! :-) The book sounds great, Chris!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Fabulous excerpt. Way to set up the drama. I'm hooked!

Jannine Gallant said...

Visiting our past books is like catching up with old friends. They get better with time. Great excerpt, Chris.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Exciting, Chris. Thanks for posting an oldie but a goodie.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Wow! Such imagination and belief in the healing spirits. Interesting way for the natives to explain away the diseases brought by the Spanish. The tone of parable and myth here. Nice work!

Alicia Dean said...

Congratulations on your 16th book!!! Wow, excellent excerpt & blurb. Exciting!

Diane Burton said...

Congrats on your 16th book, Chris. How exciting. This story sounds like so much fun.