Sun Godby Nan Ryan
The Indian stood naked in the sunlight.
To the world, he is the half-breed Luiz Quintano. But to Amy Sullivan, he is Tonatiuh, the/i>/b>/b>/i>
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USA Today–bestselling author Nan Ryan delivers the intensely passionate, spellbinding story of a man driven by revenge, a woman consumed by desire, and a love that transcends the enmity dividing them
The Indian stood naked in the sunlight.
To the world, he is the half-breed Luiz Quintano. But to Amy Sullivan, he is Tonatiuh, the magnificent son of a Spanish grandee and an Aztec princess—and she has worshipped him since girlhood. After five years at a New Orleans finishing school, Amy is finally coming home to her family’s sprawling Texas ranch—and the man she loves. Until a night of passionate reunion erupts in shattering violence, forcing them to part as bitter enemies.
Tonatiuh has waited a decade to take his revenge on the family who almost succeeded in destroying him. His triumphant return as the feared military commander El Capitán is only the first step in his plan. But after he makes Amy his captive, he once again falls prey to her sensual charms. As passion reignites, Tonatiuh is consumed by the need to reclaim the woman who betrayed him, the woman he will hate—and love—for the rest of his life.
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By Nan Ryan
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1990 Nan Ryan
All rights reserved.
Southwest Texas June 1856
The indian stood naked in the sunlight.
His name was Tonatiuh—Sun God in the language of his mother's people, the imperial Aztecs. The name fit him. Standing there on the rocky banks of the Puesta del Sol River, his tall, wet body glistening in the bright desert sunshine, Tonatiuh appeared to be a young god.
Around his neck, a heavy gold chain supported a gold medallion, his only adornment. The exquisite Sun Stone, resting on his smooth bronzed chest, glittered and flashed with the slightest movement of his lithe body.
Tonatiuh's bronzed face was as smooth and beautiful and innocent as a young child's. His luminous black eyes were warm and friendly, his nose straight, the curving nostrils suggesting a passionate nature. His lips, wide and perfectly formed, were the sensuous lips of his Castilian father, Don Ramon Rafael Quintano.
Tonatiuh threw back his head and shook his heavy raven hair, feeling the rivulets of water slide down his backbone and over his buttocks. Rubbing his long, black eyelashes that clung damply together, he dropped agilely to the rocks, stretched out, and allowed the sun to dry the beads of moisture from his chest and belly and long legs. A slim arm bent and draped across his closed eyes, Tonatiuh lay perfectly still, loving the feel of the hot sun touching his bare body.
He smiled with lazy contentment. This particular secluded bend in the Puesta del Sol was to him a jealously guarded haven. No one else knew of it. It was his own secret sanctuary.
A place he had shown no one, would show no one. Here the river meandered down a sloping waterfall, the cascade spilling into a freeform lagoonlike pool. And, miraculously, from the barren rocky banks sprang lush greenery to shade the splashing falls and the clear water below. And, high above, where he now lay, a huge jutting rock overhang was the perfect place to meditate quietly or to doze in the burning Texas sun.
On this hot June morning, young Tonatiuh had no time for meditation or dozing. He tilted his forearm back from his eyes and glanced up at the glaring sun. It would soon be directly overhead. And, when it had reached its zenith, he was to be waiting, with the Sullivans' fanciest carriage, at Orilla's private railroad spur for the arrival of the noon train from San Antonio.
Amy Sullivan, the patrón's only daughter, would be on that westbound train. She was returning home today after five years away in New Orleans at some fancy girl's finishing school. The homecoming was all her father and his father and the servants and the hands had talked of for weeks. A big celebration party was planned for this evening, and already stay-over visitors filled the many guest rooms of Orilla's sprawling hacienda.
The blistering sun suddenly went behind a cloud. A dark shadow fell across the smooth boulder where Tonatiuh lay. He rolled to a sitting position. His black eyes turned somber as a fragment of a forgotten dream suddenly came back.
She had appeared to him again. Her long, black hair falling down her back, her strange, ceremonial robes flowing about her slender body. She had stood at the foot of his bed and shown him a set of numbers.
A five and three sixes: 5,6,6,6. No. No, it was 6,6,5,6. Nothing more. Just those numbers Then she had disappeared with the dream.
A hawk circled overhead in the cloud-darkened sky. Tonatiuh felt a chill skip up his naked spine. Involuntarily he shuddered, suddenly feeling uneasy.
The hawk winged away. The cloud drifted past. The blazing sun came out again to warm Tonatiuh's troubled soul as well as his chilled body. The dream and the numbers had flown with the hawk, and the corners of Tonatiuh's black eyes crinkled with a smile.
He draped his forearms atop his bent knees as his thoughts returned to Amy Sullivan. He recalled a plain-looking child—skinny, freckle-faced, and blond. Feet always bare and dirty, knees and elbows constantly skinned.
Little Amy. She was the only one who called him Tonatiuh. Even his father called him Luiz. Walter Sullivan, the patrón, and all the ranchhands called him Luiz. The servants called him Luiz, and even the people in the village.
He was Luiz Quintano to everyone except the beautiful Aztec princess who had named him Tonatiuh. And to little Amy.
Tonatiuh suddenly shot to his feet. He went up on his toes, stood poised for a minute, then came back down on his heels. He clasped his hands behind his head, thrust his pelvis forward, expanded his chest, and sucked in his belly. He inhaled deeply of the dry, desert air, his face lifted to that fiery God for whom he had been named.
Sighing, he bent and picked up the tiny scrap of well-tanned, supple leather that served as a breechcloth. When his groin was covered and the thong tied securely atop his right hip bone, Tonatiuh gave a low, soft whistle and his favorite stallion came prancing toward him.
On a slow-moving train steadily snaking its way west across the endless emptiness of southwest Texas, a beautiful young girl was smiling. Unbothered by the heat and the dust and the mile after mile of monotonous scenery, Amy Sullivan was aglow with excitement.
Five long years since she had seen this magnificent land of flowering cactus and swirling dust storms and relentless heat and blazing sun and starry nights. Leaning up to the train's open window, Amy inhaled deeply, catching the familiar scent of the creosote bushes.
She yipped with joy when a couple of rugged vaqueros, laughing and shouting in Spanish, galloped alongside the train, twirling lariats high over their heads, making as if they would lasso the steam-driven locomotive.
Amy joyfully swept her new straw bonnet off her head and waved it wildly to the laughing cowboys. She felt her heart race with exhilaration when they reined in close enough for her to make out the distinctive SBARQ brand on the rumps of their horses.
She called to the riders. "It's me! Amy. Amy Sullivan. I've come home!"
The expert horsemen yanked up on their reins, making their mounts rear their forelegs high in the air as they swept the sombreros from their dark heads in a welcoming salute. Amy responded to their gallantry by clapping and blowing kisses and watching until the pair finally pulled up, wheeled about, and turned back.
Still smiling, Amy sighed contentedly and leaned back. Already the train was traveling across Orilla land! She was back on the ranch. Within the hour she would be home. Would it have changed much? No, she happily answered herself. Her big, good-hearted daddy would still spoil her unmercifully. And her two older brothers would still resent it. And Don Ramon Quintano would still tell exciting stories of the Aztec princess who had been his wife. And his son, Tonatiuh, would ignore her. Just as always.
Amy continued to smile. She wouldn't mind. She had been a bit of a brat before she'd gone to New Orleans, and she couldn't blame Tonatiuh for not wanting her tagging after him constantly. What twelve-year-old boy would want an eleven-year-old girl trailing him?
Amy tried to imagine how Tonatiuh would look at seventeen. It had been so long since she had seen him. There were times when she could not recall his face. Would she recognize him? Would he recognize her?
The slackening train made Amy sit up straight. It was slowing and she knew that the moment had finally come. In seconds she would be stepping out onto the platform to be greeted by her daddy. She was already up out of her seat when the sound of the brakes screeching to a halt made her put her hands over her ears. The train stopped with such a sudden jolt, she pitched forward against the empty seat.
Her heart thundering, Amy stepped out into the aisle and hurried forward, so anxious she nervously sprang up and down in place while the conductor threw open the train door. A big smiling porter jumped out and placed a small wooden stoop down for Amy to step on.
Taking her hand, the porter announced needlessly, "Orilla, Miss Sullivan. You is home."
Amy never answered. She couldn't.
While the grinning porter piled valises and trunks and hatboxes on the wooden platform behind her, Amy Sullivan stood in the hot Texas sunlight on Orilla's private railroad spur staring at the silent man who had come alone to meet her.
He was tall and slim and awesomely handsome. He wore a pair of snug, buff-hued trousers that clung to his lean flanks and long legs. A collarless pullover shirt of pale- yellow chambray, open at the throat, stretched across wide shoulders. He held a dark sombrero in his hands before him, his tanned fingers loosely clutching the wide brim. His blue-black hair gleamed in the noonday sunlight and his eyes, almost as black as his hair, held a warm light that was frighteningly compelling.
Remaining totally motionless, Luiz Quintano stared with unblinking intensity. He had expected a child, but a very grown-up young woman stood before him. Tall and slender and excitingly beautiful. Beneath a small hat of rose straw, gleaming golden hair was arranged in an attractive mass of silky ringlets that framed her lovely oval face. Her eyes were as blue as the clear Texas skies and her mouth, full and moist, held a hint of restrained humor at the corners. Her lissome body was pleasingly draped in a stylish suit of rose linen, its narrow lapels lying across a surprisingly full bosom.
The train chugged away and left them.
And still the pair stood as they were, staring at each other, the very air around them crackling with a strange, unexplained tension.
It was Amy who finally broke the spell.
"Will you take me home, Tonatiuh?" she said, and smiled prettily at him.
He took a step toward her. His voice was low and soft when he answered, "Only if that's where you want to go."
Flustered, Amy nodded.
He came even closer, so close she could see the powerful pulse throbbing in his smooth bronzed throat and the hot light in his beautiful black eyes. He smiled then, an endearing, boyish smile.
And he said, "Welcome home, Amy. We've missed you."CHAPTER 2
"I Hope," Said Luiz, putting his hands to Amy's slender waist and carefully lifting her up onto the front seat of the gleaming black landau, "you're not disappointed that the Patrón did not come to meet you." He climbed up beside her and turned to look directly into her eyes.
"Do I look disappointed?" Amy said boldly, feeling as if her cheeks were afire.
Luiz's dark eyes dilated. He swallowed hard. "You do not. You look you look " He stopped speaking, tore his eyes from hers, and hastily unwrapped the long leather reins from around the brake handle.
She touched his shoulder. "Go on. How do I look? Tell me."
"Very beautiful," he said, not looking at her, and Amy could have sworn his handsome olive face was suffused with high color.
Tingling with a wonderful excitement that had little to do with being home, Amy smiled and managed a sweet, sincere thank you. Luiz spoke softly to the matched bays and the carriage rolled away, its wheels churning up fine dust to hang suspended in the still, dry air.
Amy, clasping her hands in her lap, stole covert glances at the classic male profile beneath the dark sombrero. As she studied the heavily lashed eyes, the high slanting cheekbones, the full, perfectly shaped lips, she found herself wondering jealously if there was already a woman in Tonatiuh's life. Or perhaps women.
"There's a homecoming fiesta for you tonight," Luiz said, turning to catch her frowning. "What is wrong?" he asked.
Amy shook her head. "Nothing. Not a thing. You will be at my party, won't you?"
"If you want me there," Luiz said, and then he smiled at her. A flashing, sensual smile that managed to communicate fully the message that he knew very well she wanted him to be there. And that he wanted to be there just as badly.
"I want you," Amy said, purposely pausing, then adding, with an appealing coy smile of her own, "at my party."
And she thrilled at the flash of dark fire that leapt into his ebony eyes.
His blue eyes aglow, his blond head lowered, a man sat behind a large pine desk in the upstairs library of Orilla's thick-walled, salmon-hued adobe hacienda. Before him, a worn brown leather journal was open, and stacks of cash were scattered around on the desk's smooth surface. The man's forefinger was skimming down long columns of black figures filling the leather journal's white pages. The neat rows of sums brought a pleased smile to the blond man's wide lips.
Across the spacious room, lounging lazily on a long rawhide couch, was another blond man, slightly younger and larger. A half-full tumbler of Kentucky bourbon in his hand, booted feet stretched out before him, he too was smiling.
The Sullivan brothers, Baron behind the desk, Lucas on the couch, were taking full advantage of their sister's homecoming. Amy's long-awaited return had caused quite a stir at Orilla. The flurry of activity suited the brothers fine. With so many distinguished guests arriving at the ranch, everyone in residence was pressed into service. From the youngest Mexican boys who saw to the carriage and horses to the old retired black house cook whose barbecue was famous across Texas, everyone at Orilla was busy.
Walter, the elder Sullivan, and Don Ramon Quintano, joint owners of Orilla, had graciously hosted an early-afternoon riding party of visiting dignitaries, an illustrious group that included the governor of Texas and the governor of the state of Chihuahua. The all-male contingent was—at this very hour—inspecting the huge Orilla spread with its large herds of cattle and horses.
Walter Sullivan had strongly suggested that his grown sons go along; Baron had declined for them both. Prior commitments, he had told his father without apology. Some other time, Dad.
Baron had hardly waited until the last mounted rider passed beneath Orilla's tall white ranch gates before he turned, grinned at his younger brother, and said, "How about it, Lucas? Ready to go up and have a look at the stingy old bastard's bankbooks?"
"What are we waiting for?" said Lucas, picking up a glass and a stoppered decanter of whiskey.
As the visiting gentlemen guests galloped across the desert rangelands, and their ladies rested in cool, dim Orilla guest rooms, and the servants cleaned and cooked and decorated for the evening's party, Baron sat behind his father's desk and counted the stacks of cash and pored over the accounting books he had removed from the wall safe behind the life-sized portrait of his long-dead mother.
"Jesus, Lucas, we're gonna be a couple of rich sons a bitches one of these days." Baron's blue eyes twinkled with joy as he opened bankbooks and saw huge accounts in El Paso del Norte, San Antonio, Pecos, and in the village's little bank, the Ranchers Bank of Sundown, Texas.
Nodding, Lucas took a long pull of whiskey. "How much, Baron? How much we gonna be worth?"
"Millions," said his brother. "If Don Ramon is still alive when Dad dies, we'll offer him some cash, buy him out."
Lucas swallowed another drink of whiskey. "I don't know. That little Spaniard is one smart fellow. I'm not so sure. "
"Well, I am," Baron cut him off. "When the time comes, I'll make it very clear to the don that he and that pretty-boy Indian son of his are no longer welcome on Orilla. By the time I'm through explaining it, he'll be more than willing to take Luiz and some cash and disappear."
Lucas grinned, then asked, "Think we'll be able to get our hands on Amy's share?"
Baron rose from the chair. He too was grinning. "I've already started working on that."
"You have? How? She's still just a kid. You can't—"
"She's a grown woman and it's time she started thinking about marriage." Baron gathered up the cash, the account journals, and the bankbooks and carried them to the wall safe. Over his shoulder he said, "And I've got the perfect husband in mind."
Lucas chuckled loudly. He knew Baron was talking about their close friend, Tyler Parnell. Tyler liked a good time, same as they did, and the three of them had spent many a rip- roaring night together at the saloons and bordellos on both sides of the border.
"It'd sure be fun to have old Tyler for a brother-in-law. Only trouble is, he don't have no money or land or nothing."
"Exactly," said Baron, giving the safe's combination a spin with his forefinger, replacing his mother's portrait, and turning to face his brother. "The prospect of a life of ease here on Orilla should make Tyler Parnell perfectly willing to take our sister for his blushing bride."
"Well, I guess he might, but how are we gonna make Amy say yes to him?"
Baron shrugged. "Women seem to find Tyler attractive. I've invited him here tonight in hopes he and Amy will discover each other."
Lucas chuckled. "Amy'll have to be a derned sight prettier than when she left Texas or there ain't gonna be no man discover her."
Excerpted from Sun God by Nan Ryan. Copyright © 1990 Nan Ryan. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Nan Ryan (1936–2017) was an award-winning historical romance author. She was born in Graham, Texas, to Glen Henderson, a rancher postmaster, and Roxy Bost. She began writing when she was inspired by a Newsweek article about women who traded corporate careers for the craft of romantic fiction. She immediately wrote a first draft that she refused to let see the light of day, and was off and running with the success of her second novel Kathleen’s Surrender (1983), a story about a Southern belle’s passionate affair with a mysterious gambler. Her husband, Joe Ryan, was a television executive, and his career took them all over the country, with each new town providing fodder for Ryan’s stories. A USA Today bestseller, she enjoyed critical success the Literary Guild called “incomparable.” When she wasn’t writing, she was an avid sports handicapper, and a supporter and contributor to the Shriners Hospitals for Children and Juvenile Diabetes since the 1980s. Ryan passed away peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by her proud and loving family.
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I had never read any Nan Ryan books before and omg it will not be my last.You are on this rollercoaster of emotions from beginning to end. And you will be gripping the book until the LAST two lines of the LAST chapter on the LAST page of the book. YOU MUST READ IT..I bought the book and I will cherish it...never in my life have I cried over a romance...This book is unbelievable I can't even explain the emotions I felt...
This was an amazing story! It has a great story line ! A romance that touched my heart Please read this book you wont be sorry!