AND THEY DANCED
The Tess Corona Chronicles, Book 1
Paranormal Suspense / Urban Fantasy
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: March 6, 2023
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Tess Corona left home thanks to a traumatic experience with the paranormal and has only recently returned home from a secretive military career. Her only desire is to reconnect with her family and find meaningful work. That plan changes when a Texas Ranger lands on her doorstep looking for her twin brother.
Thanks to the suspicious actions of a murder victim’s family, Texas Ranger Crock Ward is asked to investigate the twenty-five-year-old case. With the evidence missing and victim’s husband now deceased, Crock seeks alternatives to solve the murder in the form of Dr. Lazaro Corona and his ghost hunting team.
Laz has dreamed of combining cold cases with paranormal investigation, but he curses the timing. He can’t stop Tess from resuming her role in his investigation any more than he can stop a tornado or a century-old feud that has already destroyed one family and now threatens his.
What makes for a really enjoyable read for me is a book with characters who are not run of the mill, as well as story situations that are surprising at every turn of the page.
That was certainly true for And They Danced
Tess and her brother, Laz, while sometimes coming across a little too childish, are wonderful characters and the strong bond between them is evident in every scene. That kind of bond is something I’ve seen in my twins, so I could relate to that part of their relationship. Loyalty to the nth degree.
The opening of the book when Tess is trying to get her three-year-old niece to get dressed is laugh-out-loud funny. And I was glad I was not drinking my coffee when she opened the door to the drop-dead gorgeous Texas ranger who was introduced to the Corona family by seeing an old lady and a little girl buck-naked jumping on the sofa.
That was just one of the many funny moments that had me chuckling as I read, and made the characters that much more endearing. An ability to joke and laugh in the face of adversity, is always a plus.
The way Ranger Ward slowly came to understand, and accept, the strange behavior of the members of the family was a significant part of his character arc. Gram played a big role in that transformation of the stoic Ranger, and I loved how her tough exterior was offset with the ongoing gifts of brownies. She also evolved from the stern matriarch of the family who tended to disappear just when things got interesting, to someone who brought treats to the other rangers and drove an incredible vintage car decked out with glitter and rhinestones.
As a reader who really likes a story that shies away from graphic sex scenes, I was glad that Tess and Crock weren’t falling all over each other in this book. While there’s a definite attraction between them, their relationship slowly develops and is based on mutual respect. They both have secrets that haunt them, and that makes them wary of taking the leap into a relationship. We can see that possibility for the future, which is a nice way to leave the romantic angle in this first book of a series.
The psychic abilities of the characters, especially Tess, is a major element in the story, and I appreciated the way she struggled between wanting to get away from that – because of bad experiences – but also wanting to help her brother and Crock.
There were times that I did want Tess and Crock to have a little harder edge as law enforcement officers. That would have made a stronger contrast against the humor and other lighter moments. Not to mention contrasting with Laz, who is the perfect absent-minded professor. But, still, they are all great characters and the story has plenty of tense moments as well as all the humor.
This is definitely a book that folks who love paranormal stories, peopled with quirky characters who come alive on the page, will enjoy reading.
Tiffany (T. A.) Seitz is a 7th generation native Texan, married with two daughters and one wonderful granddaughter. She discovered her love of writing in 2013, publishing her first independent novel, If You Touch My Mind, in the summer of 2015. Since then, she’s published several novels and has a story in Next Chapters Unleashed: A Beachy Anthology. When she’s not writing, she works as an occupational therapist and spends her free time reading, writing, and crocheting.
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