Dr. Lina Taylor drove into the staff parking area of Houston’s Museum of the Maya. Good, she thought in relief. Nearly empty. I can park close to the back entrance. Thank God for winter break.
In a gesture that had become automatic over the past few months, Lina checked around the area before she turned off her little Civic. Nobody was paying any attention to her. There was no reason for the back of her neck to tingle in primal warning.
Yet it did.
Just before she opened the locked doors, her cell phone rang. The tone told her that it was her mother, Cecilia Reyes Balam—Celia to her friends, business associates, and family. Is she calling for family or business? Lina wondered, hesitating. Some of both, probably. No doubt my great-grandmother is talking about a bad heart and a great-granddaughter who doesn’t visit often enough and should be long married, hip-deep in children.
It would be Celia, her mother, who carried the complaint. Celia orbited between family and business like a planet with two suns. Lina wished she could handle the balancing act with half of her mother’s grace. Lina was more like her father, an academic with a deep love of working in the field, discovering ancient cities and temples a single brushstroke at a time. Yet it was being one of the public faces of the Museum of the Maya that paid Lina’s salary, not working on the isolated Yucatan digs she loved.
For the third time, Lina’s cell phone burbled out its merry little jingle, a hot salsa beat. She thought about letting the call go to voice mail, but decided against it. If Celia wanted to talk to her daughter, she’d track her down in person. With a glance at her watch—plenty of time before she had to teach class—she opened the cell phone.
“Morning, Celia. Are you in town?” Lina asked.
“Not unless I have to be.”
“Is everything all right with the family?”
“Abuelita complains of her heart,” Celia said. “She calls me daily, asking when you will visit.
So does mi primo.” “Your cousin Carlos has always done whatever Abuelita wants.”
“Do not disrespect him,” Celia said. “Without Carlos, you would not be surrounded by the artifacts you love more than anything else.”
Oh, I don’t know, Lina thought. Hunter Johnston might give the artifacts some real competition. . . if he ever stayed put Guiltily she yanked her attention back to her mother. “No disrespect intended. I don’t know Carlos as well as you do.”
“You do not see him enough.”
Lina couldn’t argue that. Growing up, she had never felt close to her mother’s cousin Carlos. She felt no need to pretend closeness now, despite his recent, repeated invitations to confer with him about Reyes Balam artifacts, and how they might be used to celebrate the coming baktun in a worthy way. The Turning of the Wheel of time was a great celebration among the Maya in general and her great-grandmother in particular.
If Carlos wants help decorating for the baktun, let him go to Philip. Neither one of them has asked me for so much as a nod in the past.
No matter how hard she had tried to please her father, she’d never managed that feat.
From the book BEAUTIFUL SACRIFICE: A Novel by Elizabeth Lowell. Copyright C 2012 by Two of a Kind, Inc. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins publishers.
Archaeologist Lina Taylor has devoted her life to studying ancient Mayan artifacts, splitting her time between digs in South America and the college classroom. But her structured life is about to spin out of control. According to Mayan legend, the end of the world is drawing near. And now some extremely valuable Mayan artifacts have gone missing. Is it the work of fanatics determined to usher in annihilation?
Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer Hunter Johnson is determined to recover the missing pieces and he needs Lina’s help. A man used to calling the shots, he isn’t comfortable letting anyone get close, even a brainy beauty like Lina. And she’s had little experience handling men, especially one as fascinating and exasperating as the secretive, headstrong Hunter. Yet Hunter’s gift for reading people tells him there’s a lot going on beneath the lovely professor’s professional exterior, and his powerful attraction motivates him to find out what that is.
Elizabeth Lowell’s Beautiful Sacrifice follows these two unlikely partners as they set out to find the missing pieces and plunge into adventure, romance and danger more thrilling, sensual and deadly than either has known….
Hardcover Book : 400 pages
Publisher: William Morrow & Co, Inc. ( May 22, 2012 )
Item #: 13-578870
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.9inches
Product Weight: 14.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
You could say this book felt like a picture without a frame, or pants without the legs,or a toaster with no toast, I could not get past all those little useless words, sometimes twice on a page, totally turned me off from this book. Way overuse of this for me, so for me Lowell's next book will be a book not worth buying!
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, especially the way the author weaves the fascinating history of the ancient Mayans into the contemporary plot. I'm a long-time fan of Elizabeth Lowell's and would rank this one right up at the top of her books I've stuck on my keeper shelves. (note the plural of shelves...)
Reviewer: Kate D
I Elizabeth Lowell's whole series on the "precious stones" and a few after that. However, this book delves into a dark and gruesome ancient Mayan sacrifice history and weaves it into todays drug cartel. Even without the blood and gore, this subject just doesn't interest me. Love the Mayans, Inca, and Aztec history but this misses the mark in my opinion.