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The Double Cross

The Double Cross

4.5 2
by Carla Kelly

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Set against the mountains and high plains of northeastern New Mexico during the decline of Spanish power in the New World, The Double Cross is a story of loss and love regained. A widower, Marco Mondragon lives a predictable life, working as an inspector of livestock brands spending his days among the cattle. Occasional raids by the fierce Comanche Indians


Set against the mountains and high plains of northeastern New Mexico during the decline of Spanish power in the New World, The Double Cross is a story of loss and love regained. A widower, Marco Mondragon lives a predictable life, working as an inspector of livestock brands spending his days among the cattle. Occasional raids by the fierce Comanche Indians interrupt the steady flow of work, but Marco is sensible and always avoids unnecessary risks. Once a year, his work takes him to Santa Fe. In the autumn of 1780, his journey brings more than just business – it brings the prospect of romance and great danger.

Paloma Vega is young and beautiful, but she is being used by cruel relatives. Marco suspects that Paloma’s uncle may have stolen a brand from her deceased parents, forcing the pair to contend with many challenges that threaten their safety.

Life becomes less than predictable for Marco Mondragon as he works to change Paloma’s fortune while the ever-dangerous Comanches become a more dangerous problem.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Kelly has the rare ability to create realistic yet sympathetic characters that linger in the mind. One of the most respected Regency writers."

--Library Journal

"You remember exactly where you were for all of the important moments in your life. Your first kiss. Your first Dove Bar. And your first Carla Kelly book."

--The Romance Reader

The first in Carla Kelly’s new Spanish Brand series, The Double Cross is a late-­eighteenth-­century story set in the Comancheria region of the American frontier that encompasses a large part of both Texas and New Mexico. Don Marco Mondragon, a widower and juez de campo (rancher and brand inspector), is about to meet his unlikely future bride in the form of Paloma Vega, a downtrodden but spunky young woman working as an unpaid servant in her uncle’s home. Marco and Paloma are brought together by, of all things, a small yellow dog that has brought a bit of sunlight to Paloma’s dreary life, a dog which Marco purchases from her with the excuse of needing something to warm his feet. Thankful for the money, Paloma agrees to part with the dog but is nonetheless saddened by the loss of her only comfort. A local priest with good intentions schemes to unite man, woman, and dog but is met with obstacles along the way.

The reader eventually discovers that "The Double Cross" does not refer to a plan gone wrong but, rather, is the nickname of Don Marco’s own cattle brand. Kelly skillfully invites readers to share in this romantic adventure that is played out amidst scenes depicting the harsh landscapes and living conditions on the frontier—all punctuated with an assortment of unsavory characters pitted against the heroic.

--Patricia Morrow, Foreword Magazine

"Engaging and highly entertaining, The Double Cross is Carla Kelly at her best."

--Carla Neggers, New York Times bestselling author of Saint's Gate.

Product Details

Coffeetown Enterprises, Inc.
Publication date:
The Spanish Brand Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Marco would have ridden away if a yellow dog, all fluff and short legs, hadn’t come out of the Moreno house just then, followed by a young woman with lustrous brown hair, blue eyes, and—if we was any judge of what went on under skirts—shapely legs. He sat there, gloved hands crossed on the saddle horn, watching them.

"Can you stop him, Señor?" she asked.

He was out of the saddle just as the yellow dog dodged around Don Alonso. It was an easy matter to scoop up the yellow dog and deposit him in the arms of the young woman with blue eyes.

"A su servicio," he said politely.

He knew he was a blockhead to just stand there, but she had wonderful eyes.

Meet the Author

A well-known veteran of romance writing, Carla Kelly is the author of thirty-five novels, numerous short stories, and four non-fiction works. She has been writing for years. Her first novel was a three-sentence, typed mystery titled, "The Old Mill," written when she was six years old. Her novels are considerably longer now.

Carla is the recipient of two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America for Best Regency of the Year; two Spur Awards from Western Writers of America for Best Short Fiction; and two Whitney Awards, one for Best Romance, 2011, and another for Best Historical Fiction, 2012. She also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Romantic Times.

Carla enjoys writing historical fiction, which she sees as a byproduct of her study of history. In addition to her works centered on the American West, she has written many books featuring the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars.

Carla and Martin Kelly live in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Look her up on carlakellyauthor.com.

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The Double Cross 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A different kind of historical romance that is very well written. I love how she develops her characters.
darjeeling44 More than 1 year ago
This is the first Carla Kelly book I've ever read, and it definitely makes me want to read more.  It's so darn charming.  In list form, here's what I loved about the book: 1. The chapter subtitles: Hilarious.   2. The writing style: The humorous chapter subtitles cue readers in to the sly humor that pervades this book.  While the subject matter is often dark, the writing is just light enough to ensure a pleasant read and to highlight, by contrast, the darker themes discussed.  The book reminded me of Voltaire's <i>Candide</i> .  It's funny, smart, and sharp. 3. The setting: This story takes place in 1780s New Mexico.  The historical details of the setting are beautifully incorporated into the story.  I never felt like I was reading Kelly's research notes. 4. Adorable animal antics: I'm a sucker for animal cuteness in books, and Trece, the yellow dog, filled my heart with happy. In the interest of honesty, there were a few things that I didn't like so much.  The language is occasionally jarringly modern.  On one occasion, one of the characters thinks, &quot;Meh.&quot;  On another, a character refers to herself as a freak of nature.  Those are, I think, rather modern expressions.  But though they didn't fit with the 1780s setting, they fit the overall voice of the book.  (Also, anachronisms don't bother me much.)  This book did seem to be more like historical fiction than romance, though.  The story is focused on Don Marco and his adventures, one of which is falling in love with and marrying Paloma Vega, but the story arc is not about the romance.  That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the story, even though it's not precisely a romance. The bottom line, though, is that this book is a delightful read.  Lovers of historical romance who are jonesing for interesting new settings should be all over this book.  Lovers of historical fiction or any folk who read and liked <i>Candide</i> should pick it up, too.   My thanks to the publisher for sending me my review copy.