Welcome lovelies! The Solitary Bookworm is proud to feature Savage, book 1 of the Daughter of the Jaguar series written by Willow Rose. Savage is the introductory novel of the series so I am very excited to feature the book today. For readers who are not familiar with Willow Rose’s work, she wrote the Afterlife series (Beyond, Serenity and Endurance) and a few others.
Title: Savage (Daughters of the Jaguar #1)
Author: Willow Rose
Published Date: June 15, 2012
The year is 1983. Christian is 22 years old when he leaves his home in Denmark to spend a year in Florida with a very wealthy family and go to med-school. A joyful night out with friends is shattered by an encounter with a savage predator that changes his life forever. Soon he faces challenges he had never expected. A supernatural gift he has no idea how to embrace. A haunting family in the house next door. A spirit-filled girl who seems to carry all the answers. An ancient secret hidden in the swamps of Florida. One life never the same. One love that becomes an obsession. Two destinies that will be forever entangled.
Savage is a paranormal romance with some language, violence, and sexual situations recommended for ages sixteen and up.
“So how much do you know about St. Augustine, Chris?”
The woman driving gently touched her elegant yellow hair, careful not to mess it up with her colored nails. She spoke with a strong southern accent and was incredibly beautiful for her age, which I guessed was more than twice my age of twenty-two. Her name was Mrs. Kirk. I had just met her at Orlando Airport for the first time a few minutes before. She was waiting for me holding a sign with my name, Christian Langaa, printed on it.
The year was 1983 and I had recently finished my third year of med school at a university in Denmark. I had just left my country of birth for St. Augustine in Florida. Leaving Denmark was my father’s idea, really. I guess he thought it was about time I left the nest, so he called in a favor with an old friend of his, an American eye surgeon, to take me in and help me get a year at a medical school “over-there.” I can’t say I was unhappy about it. At that time all kids my age wanted to go to the States where stone-washed jeans and Michael Jackson came from. His latest album “Thriller” had just been released and was played on every radio station all over the world. Like so many else I bought the cassette and played it again and again on my Walkman. Where I came from anything that was American was considered hip and cool. That summer before I left, my friends and I had watched the movie Flashdance that made ripped sweatshirts popular and we loved the TV show Dallas and Dynasty that made everybody wear increasingly oversized shoulder pads – even us guys. We drank lots of Coke and dreamt of watching MTV, which at that time wasn’t something you could do in Europe yet and especially not in my small home-country Denmark, where we only had one national channel on our TV.
The older generation in our country thought we were indifferent to the times we lived in and didn’t understand us at all. They named us the “So what-generation” or the “No future-generation” because they felt like we didn’t care about what went on in the world around us. We weren’t even rebellious. We didn’t have ideals and dreams about changing the world like they had back in ’68. Meanwhile they were terrified of the A-bomb, the Cold War and the communists. While we listened to disco music on our ghetto blasters and danced electric boogie, they fought with a bad economy and the fear of someone deciding to push the big red button, dropping the A-bomb and ending the world as we know it. Not to mention the increasing fear of AIDS that was spreading among people, commonly referred to as the “Gay-Plague” since it was believed back then to be an “epidemic of a rare form of cancer triggered by the lifestyle of some male homosexuals,” as the headline said in one newspaper.
The older generation simply felt like our generation just didn’t care about anything. And maybe they were right. We weren’t that concerned about political affairs and foreign threats. Politics simply didn’t interest us, especially not me. I was fed up with listening to my father talk about politics and war during my upbringing. I was a dreamer not a fighter. You can’t be both. Not in my book. And AIDS? Well, I guess we thought we couldn’t get it since it was a disease for the homosexuals. Plus we were in our twenties. We didn’t think we could die at all.
We ran over a bump and I was rudely jolted out of my reverie.
“Not much,” I answered Mrs. Kirk a little timid. “I know it calls itself the nation’s oldest city. I know it was here Ponce de León came to look for the legendary Fountain of Youth. I know the city of St. Augustine is home to the Fountain of Youth National Archaeological Park, a tribute to the spot where Ponce de León is traditionally said to have landed. Though there is no evidence that the fountain located in the park today is the storied fountain or has any restorative effects, visitors drink the water. The park exhibits native and colonial artifacts to celebrate St. Augustine’s Timucuan and Spanish heritage.”
Mrs. Kirk looked at me with a small impressed smile. “Very well, you have done your homework. Dr. Kirk will be pleased to hear that you have not come unprepared.”
“My dad gave me a book on Florida to read on the plane. I have a photographic memory. I remember things easily. It helps me a lot in school.”
I stared out the window at swamps and what seemed to me like wild-growing brushes and forests. I was desperately hoping to catch a glimpse of an alligator, an animal I had never seen before and of which I had been told you could find in pretty much every waterhole in Florida. I was deeply fascinated by creatures of the wild. By predators of any kind. But as a city boy, I had only seen them behind their bars at the zoo, never in the wild. By now we had passed several waterholes and I had still not seen any to my great disappointment.
It felt like my headband was getting tighter, and I was sweating in my tight jeans and jacket with shoulder-pads and rolled up sleeves. I took the jacket off and put it in my lap. Florida was a lot warmer than I had expected it to be. And a lot more humid, too. I wasn’t used to this kind of heat, coming from a country where we would be lucky to have three weeks of summer. I still remember the feeling when I stepped out of the airplane in Orlando airport for the first time. It felt like someone had taken a winter jacket and swept me in it. Like the air itself was hugging me and welcoming me home. I remember sweating just from walking from the airport to the big black Mercedes that Mrs. Kirk picked me up in.
She cranked up the air conditioning and I soon felt a little cooler. I touched the nice leather seats and suddenly felt so insignificant. Coming from a rich family by Danish standards I was used to some luxury, yet I had never been in a car like this.
“Well, maybe you will have to think about losing some of those unruly curls once you become a doctor,” Mrs. Kirk said.
I touched my hair gently. I liked my blond curls and had let them grow past my ears. And I wasn’t the only one who liked them. The girls did too. Along with my deep-set blue eyes, my curls were my finest feature. Why parents and others older than thirty-five insisted they want me to cut them off was beyond me. My dad was the worst. “You look like a savage,” he would say. But I didn’t care. Deciding what I was going to do for a living was one thing, but he wasn’t going to change the way I looked, too.
He was the one who wanted me to go to med school, not me. All I wanted to do was play my acoustic guitar. “But you can’t make a living out of just playing the guitar. You need to grow up, Chris. It is about time,” my father said just before he told me about his plans for me. It wasn’t like he gave me a choice. I was going to take over the family practice. It had always been his dream for me ever since I was a child, so I never questioned it, simply because it would break his heart. I never said no to my father in these matters and I didn’t argue when he told me he was going to send me away for a year, either. Instead, I decided to make the best of it.
Willow Rose writes Paranormal Romance, fantasy and mystery. Originally from Denmark she now lives on Florida’s Space Coast with her husband and two daughters. She is a huge fan of Anne Rice and Isabel Allende. When she is not writing or reading she enjoys to watch the dolphins play in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.