Cordelia O'Keefe was a most remarkable woman determined to live her life her way and gaining the respect due an intrepid explorer regardless of the fact of her sex. She needed funding for her latest expedition to Africa and went to an unlikely source - a tight-fisted curmudgeon millionaire Samuel P. Blackburn, who was unaware of her existence as his granddaughter. Not convinced, he reluctantly would fund her expedition but with a different destination in mind. Rather than Africa she would set out for the Mexican Mayan ruins and discover the truth behind some stone carving rubbings he'd obtained referencing the "Gift of the Jaguar". BUT with one other caveat, she would not be going alone, but would take Hardacre's `agent' to accompany her - his impertinent and arrogant butler -- Hartford Goodnight.
*** Betina Krahn has consistently come up with some original and uproariously funny stories and in this fully robust entry you'll find no exception. Similar in tone to that of `The Raiders of the Lost Ark' the excitement and adventure is non-stop with well-drawn characters, thrilling escapes, battles at sea and a dangerous trek through the jungles including poisonous snakes, a mysterious jaguar, and the vilest of villains hot on their trail.
Cordelia is a fabulous heroine, strong, competent, completely convinced of her own self-worth and is not looking for romance although she suspects that there is more to Hartford Goodnight than meets the eye. In spite of him being a sardonic contrary, priggish, inept British domestic he could also kiss like the very devil and his amazingly trim body seemed to set her on fire! Neither was looking for love, but since when does love ask for permission to happen.
Witty dialogues abound from the cheeky one-liners coming from Hart, judiciously sprinkled throughout the text, as well as some of his very clever telling and amusing journal entries. Add to this a cast of quirky and engaging well-drawn characters, including Rita the pregnant `eat anything in her path' donkey and you are sure to enjoy and relish Krahn's latest fabulously adventuresome romantic tale and discover the true `Gift of the Jaguar'.
Marilyn Rondeau - RIO - Reviewers International Organization
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