Book Title: Espejos (South Texas Lore 1)
Author: Michael War
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Cover Artist: Jennifer Gavins
Release Date: July 3, 2019
Genre/s: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy M/M Romance
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 41 000 words
After his mom passes away from a terrible accident, Carlos heads home to Tres Reynas for the funeral—and to reunite with his brother. Given he left after his parents abandoned him for coming out, it's not a homecoming he's looking forward to.
Once home, he learns a neighbor wants to steal his family's ranch, and his brother is considering selling it. Determined not to let the ranch be lost, Carlos works to save it—with unexpected help fom the handsome, rugged Eugenio.
But Carlos can't seem to focus, especially with his mother's image seeming to haunt the ranch mirrors, like she's trying to tell him something—or maybe like he's just losing his mind.
Domingo Menchaca. Just hearing name brought chills to Carlos' spine. One stare from the patriarch of the Menchaca family was enough to make most people freeze in their tracks. Except for Carlos' parents. Domingo used his stern demeanor and formidable presence to bully almost everyone that got in his way. But not Hector and Elena Rocha. They never let Domingo get the best of them, even when he came at them with everything he had. Carlos knew that if they were going to fight, they needed to find a way to dig into their DNA and pull out whatever they could.
"But we can't just sit around and let this happen though. There has to be something we can do." Carlos was pacing at this point. He always did when he got excited or anxious. The way he was feeling he was going to walk straight through the floor.
Beto stayed behind the desk. "There's not much we can do now. I've been calling lawyers all over, and they all say same thing: just sell. And to tell you the truth, I think I just might."
Carlos stopped pacing. "You can't be serious. How can you think of selling all this? This is our family's legacy. We have a responsibility to keep this going."
Beto came around from behind the desk and confronted Carlos. "Do not lecture me on our family's legacy or responsibilities. In fact, you are the last person who can tell me anything about that. Besides, what is it to you? I'm gonna ask you again: Why do you care so much now?"
Carlos didn't say a word. Part of the reason was because he was filled with so much rage. The other was because he didn't really know the answer himself. Beto was right, he never thought of going back, and he certainly never pictured himself taking over the ranch. But there was something pulling him in, making him say those things. He couldn't explain it. One thing was for sure, he was not about to let Beto know that he lost his job. That would give Beto too much ammunition to form his own conclusions.
"Oh, so now you have nothing to say," Beto exclaimed.
"Would you believe anything I told you? Fine, yes, some of this is guilt. I do want to make some things right, especially after hearing that Mom called out for me. But I still hold so much anger, and it's hard to let go. Maybe I just feel that this would help me move past all this. If you sell, then I'll really never get a chance."
For a moment it looked as if Beto might have sympathized. His eyes had a hint of concern. But as soon as it came, it went just as fast, and once again Beto's eyes displayed nothing but anger towards his brother.
"Poor you. You know other people are gonna feel this too? I'll have to let go of everyone. Well, the ones who haven't left. Eugenio was able to convince some people to stay, and luckily, I have an account that Menchaca hasn't found, so I can keep them paid for a bit. But that won't last long, which is why I think it is best that I just sell the place before it is too late. There will be enough time for everyone to find a new job, and the money will help me get settled somewhere before I figure out my next move. So, whatever guilt trip you are on, you need to stop. Your life isn't the only one that matters."
It was now Carlos's turn to return the anger. "I never said it was all about me. That's why I want to fix things, so that no one has to lose their jobs. And we can run this together, like I'm sure Mom wanted."
Beto walked towards the door and stood by it. "What Mom wante– I would love to keep arguing with you about this, but I've got calls to make, and then prepare for the rosary tonight. Though it would be fun to see you try and do some of this type of work. Maybe I should let you do some of the chores around here. Then you might not want to stay and I can sell."
The lamp on Beto's desk flickered a bit, then the small mirror on the opposite wall fell off, shattering into several pieces.
"Great, more bad luck," Beto moaned as he walked over to pick up the pieces. Carlos walked over and helped him.
"Careful, don't cut your hands on that," Carlos cautioned.
Beto laughed. "You sound just like Mami when you say it like that." Beto's look went from laughter to sadness. "I miss her so much. It hurts to sell, but I don't see a choice. Not with how dirty the Menchacas are fighting."
"I feel like there is still more to all this that you aren't telling me."
Beto kept on picking up the pieces.
"Beto, please, what is it?"
"I didn't get a chance to see if there was a will on file. Someone broke into the house the other day and left a mess in here. Papers were scattered and torn everywhere, and the computer and files were damaged beyond repair. I called the police, but they were no help. They said that since I didn't know if the papers existed, then I couldn't be sure someone took them. They said it was probably a kid looking for drugs or quick money."
"But you don't think so."
"No, but I can't prove it was Menchaca. He's not going to stop, and I just don't have the energy."
Carlos stopped collecting pieces and placed his hand on his brother's shoulder. "You'll see. We can fix all this. Just give it a chance." Both went back to collecting the broken glass. Carlos wasn't sure, but while he was examining one of the pieces, he thought he saw something moving in the corner of the room. Yet when he turned, nothing was there. He chalked it up to simply being a figment of his imagination and continued to help Beto clean up.
About the Author
Michael War is a writer whose real life tends to be on the boring side, which is why his imagination seems to float towards gay romance. Aside from writing about beautiful gay men of all types (bears, jocks, twinks) getting it on, he also enjoys writing poetry and screenplays. War holds an MFA in Creative Writing and plans to write more romance themed books in the near future. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook for updates on upcoming stories or with any questions or comments. Or, you can read his blog for some mindless ramblings.
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