O'Toole's Promise

Publisher:  Kensington Zebra
ISBN-10: 0821768522
ISBN-13: 978-0821768525
Historical romance.
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Spirited Mexican beauty Damita Delacruz simmered with hatred for Brendan O'Toole, the American who now owned her beloved California rancho-and whose offer of marriage she defiantly refused. To keep her family together in the home she loved, she had no choice but to stay on as a servant. And though she desperately tried to deny her attraction to the rugged, blue-eyed interloper, his demanding kisses tempted her beyond reason.
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Reviews

This is a tense, emotional, fast-moving tale.
MT-Rendezvous Magazine.
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O’Toole’s Promise blends romance and mystery into a satisfying whole...no one captures the passion of love better than Ms. Donahue...Whether you want a spicy-hot love story, or a tightly plotted mystery, O’Toole’s promise is sure to please.  Four Stars.  I highly recommend it.”
Carrie S. Masek – Word Museum Star Reviews.
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A charming romance with a strong, spirited heroine and a magnificent determined hero.  Ms. Donahue has created two wonderful, strong characters.  Expect the sparks to fly when these two are in the same room!  Five Stars.
-- Sabrina Edwards, Scribesworld.
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Excerpt

Santa Ynez Valley, California – 1851
Rancho Delacruz
The servant’s news was not good.  “Señorita, the American is insisting on speaking to you in the study.”
Damita Delacruz visibly stiffened with that word – American.  Oh, how she loathed those thieves who had poured into her country, her land, after Mexico’s sad defeat five years before.  One that handed California, which Damita’s mamá still lovingly called New Spain, to the hated United States government, and with it the Delacruz estate, confiscating all of its lands.  Land the hated American now owned as he did this house, one built by her Papá.  A house where Damita had been born eighteen years before, where she had spent each happy moment of her life.  A home she was now preparing to leave with a frail, weeping mother, and a frightened older brother.  Where they might go, Damita did not know.  A few short years before they had been safely rich, respected.  Now, they were poor, without hope.
But even with that ultimate humiliation, the American was in her Papá's study, which he now called his own, and insisting that she must leave her bedchamber to speak to him? Concerning what? Why she and her family had not yet left their home?  Why they had not expected him to arrive so soon to steal their futures?
Well, they had not.  Just as they had not expected to lose against the United States Land Commission.  But lose they finally had with those American thieves confiscating this property, all while claiming that the Delacruz family did not have the proper paper from Micheltorena and Pico, the last two Mexican governors.  So, Damita and her loved ones were being forced to move.  But that was not enough for the American thief.  Now, he was behaving as if he not only owned the lands and the house, but her, too!  Much as the hated United States government sanctioned the ownership of slaves.
Damita’s dark eyes narrowed into a frown.  Her voice was as dead as her heart.  “You will inform the American that Señorita Delacruz will never speak to him.  His tongue, this American language he speaks, is foreign.  And as savage as he.”
The maid, Carmen, wrung her small, work-weary hands.  She, like Damita, had been born on this rancho.  Her parents had been faithful servants.  But they, too, were leaving to return to relatives in Mexico.  Carmen, alone, wished to remain here because of her hope to wed Luis, the shepherd, which brought her close to tears, now.
“Senorita, I beg of you, the American is insisting.  He will turn me out of this house, I will never again see my Luis if I do not bring you to him.”
The sound of such love in Carmen’s voice, the promise of those tears, finally tempered Damita’s rage.  She rested her hand against one of the high bedposts, and brought her other hand to her eyes.  She and Carmen had grown up together, had played games, had shared girlish secrets.  And now, it was Carmen who so loved a man.  A feeling Damita had yet to experience, though it was one she had continually craved since becoming a woman.  And yet, none of the suitors who had come to this estate had impressed her.  For whatever reasons, she wasn’t certain.  Each had been a handsome man, each still prosperous despite the invasion of the Americans, for these suitors had the proper titles to their land.  And all of them had claimed to adore her.  But there had always been something lacking.  Only what?
Without warning, a picture came into Damita’s mind showing her.  It was an image of what her husband would be...or should be.  A man who would be far taller than all of the others.  His shoulders broad, his body strong.  His hair not dark like her suitors, but pale, the color of sunshine.  His eyes as blue as the sky.
Eyes the American owned.  Hair the American owned.
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Readers' Comments

What I liked best about O’TOOLE’S PROMISE was that it wasn’t only a romance but also a mystery. You had me guessing till the end on who was doing what – I like that!
– Shelly
You really can write some love scenes, you know that? The one in O’TOOLE’S PROMISE where Brendan and Damita finally become man and wife – wow!!! Very steamy. Let me know when your next historical romance is coming out. I’m definitely gonna buy it.
– Jen
I enjoyed your romantic comedy Lady Love and when I saw you wrote O’TOOLE’S PROMISE I had to get it. I was surprised at how romantic it was and at how clever the mystery in it was. I’ve never been a fan of historical romances but your story has made me one.
– Lynne
Your story in O’TOOLE’S PROMISE was really different and good. A lot of historical romances don’t seem real but yours did. Thanks for writing it.
– Norma
I just finished reading O’TOOLE’S PROMISE. The mystery in it was interesting and the romance between Brendan and Damita was thrilling. Please write more.
– Robyn
The cover on your book O’TOOLE’S PROMISE was what made me want to buy it. I was surprised the story was so good and the romance so exciting. I really liked the love scenes between the two characters. They were definitely meant for each other.
– Julie
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