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    From the Ashes – Part One


    Mazatlán, Mexico, Thirty-five years ago

    At twelve years old, Vasco Sánchez had the survival skills of Rambo. Orphaned two years earlier following a massive earthquake, he became a street urchin out of necessity. When the fat wallets of unsuspecting tourists couldn’t fill his belly, he relied on table scraps. He’d rummage through the large resorts’ garbage bins north of the city in an area known as La Zona Dorada. At any time of day, he could tell you what leftover delicacy lined which hotel trash bin.

    Partial omelets and mango from Laguna Resort trash bins tasted good, but an angry stomach growl reminded Vasco he ate those hours ago. After checking his khaki shorts pockets, he realized two sticks of chewing gum and thirty-five American cents wouldn’t satisfy his adolescent hunger. Tapping his fingertip against his chin in the midday heat, he then snapped his fingers as if he’d just solved a puzzle. “It’s Saturday.” That meant two things; pepperoni pizza and a fresh crop of tourists at Las Flores Hotel.

    After checking the diver’s watch he palmed off a drunk American tourist last month during a scuffle at the open market, he realized he needed to hurry. The street children favored American pizza, and it disappeared fast.

    After tightening his tattered backpack with his “work” clothes over his shoulder, he dashed through service alleys like a gazelle to shave time off his route. When he turned the corner, he came to an abrupt stop, and his shaggy black hair flew in his face. Someone had beaten him to it. A younger boy, not over ten, stooped pawing at the plastic garbage sack Vasco had his sights on. Hungry and broke, he didn’t have time to negotiate a share of the find. If he hurried, he could make enough money for a week of meals.

    Towering over the kneeling boy like a giant, he recognized him, having dealt with this waif before. “Ese es mi almuerzo.” (“That is my lunch.”)

    The boy turned his head.

    Vasco clenched his fists, then his eyes bored a hole through the boy’s skull.

    The boy gulped. In a blink of an eye, dirty napkins and potato chip bags blew up in a dust cloud when he ran down the alley and out of sight.

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    1. Hi CN

      Delighted we’re starting another, what I know will be, great story from you.

      Remembered a lot of the previous background enough for my appetite to have been whetted and look forward to your next posts.


    2. Hi CN:

      Amazing, I already read the first part of this in your old story (the original), but it was incredibly good to read about Tina and Bette together in this chapter.

      Bette is very hurt and look for revenge, but fortunately, Tina is there for soothing her and make her understand the unworthy of her impulses.

      I love how Tina is helping her, how understanding, caring, patient and loving she is with Bette; she is giving her everything, even the L word, and how Bette’s feelings for Tina are reborn from their school time.

      Great relationship between Tina and her dad; I hope that Reagan could understand Bette’s feelings for Tina; of course the girl is a little shocked, her mom died a few months ago and the problem with the Santoses; she and Bette have to move on slowly.

      Great team Bette and Tina, that is a very good ingredient in all love relationship, to make a good team.

      Wow, the sex between hands was impressive and hot; hoping for those fingers to do more… soon.

      Great chapter CN, pps.


      • Proteonomics, As I’ve learned the hard way, no one ever gets through grief without love. Oh sure, we can eventually function, but healing only happens through unconditional love. Tina provides that, which makes her and Bette a great team. To your delight, they will continue growing closer. Thanks so much for reading!

    3. Truly enjoy this story…much like your “Delayed” series. You are definitely in my top three favorite authors😍! When I begin reading each story, I stay transfixed until the chapter’s end.
      Eagerly awaiting your next post Thank you!

    4. Great opening to the new book, CN! Now I understand why you moved Caco’s background story from Out of the flames to FtA. With the prologue in Mexico and the unidentified survivour of the wildfire you set the focus on what the book will be about. I’m curious to see how the story unfolds.

      Bette revisiting the scene of the car crash was very emotional. Fantastic scence! It is significant that she only found the strength to do so with Tina by her side. I just hope that making love to Tina in that very place will help her overcome her childhood trauma.

      I like the talk between Tina and her father. He seems like the right person to ask for advice. Hopefully Tina will not be afraid to continue telling Bette that she loves her.

      Thank you, CN, for posting. Can’t wait for more!

      • kiwipit, You pegged why I moved Caco’s background to Ashes. The people I introduce in the prologue will play an important role throughout the story. Often facing a painful past proves the only way to get beyond it. What better way than to face it than with a piece of it with you? Thanks for reading!

      • I think there is a breach of time, between Tina and Caco’s brother in law school; the last one went there 24 years ago, and just 20 years ago Tina and Bette were still in junior school, I believe they didn’t meet at Stanford, otherwise Tina would recognize who of those three they suspect was Caco’s associate. Anyway, I have my suspicions about who is Caco’s brother.


    5. So, Caco still alive, hmm?
      I like Reagan reaction on Bette’s words about Tina – very mature.
      But i don’t know how i feel about Tina’s three words to Bette. First – it’s too soon on my opinion (they practicly still don’t know each other) and second i think it was wrong place to tell this words – where died Bette parents not the best place for love declaration. But we will see how you lead them in future

      Waiting for the next!

      • Zhenya, Ahh, sweet memories. Saying “I love you” first is so scary. Did I ever say it too soon? Most definitely. Did I know every detail about my lover when I did? Heck no, which made it even scarier. But what is life without these giant leaps of faith? Lonely. Like Tina, I’m a romantic and never regret opening my heart. Bette is a different story, but here’s to hoping Tina will turn her around.

    6. I suppose making a new memory that is not associated with tragedy at the scene of one of the most tragic events in Bette’s life is one way of embarking down a path to heal. I do tend to think that perhaps Tina’s declaration was a bit premature under the circumstances. It’s also interesting to me that rather than think she, herself, is cursed, that Bette does not associate Tina’s presence with those painful moments as she was the last person Bette had contact with before both her parents and Avery met their respective fiery deaths.

      As for Caco, I was wondering if we will see any additional flashbacks that help to piece the story together. Of course, I already have my ideas about the brother and will not spoil it for anyone by speculating, but knowing that El Padrino created a new identity for his youngest son helps connect the dots. But we never actually learned the younger son’s real name (Or El Padrino’s for that matter). Looking forward to the next 5 weeks or so with this adventure.


      • Mell, I wrote that Mexico scene carefully to not reveal certain names. Gotta keep you readers guessing. As I told kiwipit, what better way to face a painful past than with a piece of it with you? Thanks for reading!

      • izzie, So glad you enjoyed that scene. After bonding over reliving the accident, intimacy was important at this point, but Bette was nowhere near ready to share bodies. I was nervous about writing this scene and doubted whether I pulled off the emotional aspects. Sounds like I came close. So glad you’ve joined me on this ride.

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