In 1884 New Mexico, Madrid (Maddie) Arrende, the independent daughter of a wealthy rancher, insists on going with the men to drive the cattle across the river. Although her father warns her to stay home, she refuses to shelter at the hacienda while her ranch hands take the risk. Apache warriors capture her, not because she is a woman, but because they have learned she can talk to a chidn, or spirit. There’s just one problem. Maddie’s mother had the ability to speak to ghosts, but Maddie can’t.
Deacon Bannister has one mission, to rescue his sisters from the Apaches who kidnapped them seven years ago when they attacked his parents. He and his brother Gideon have searched for their sisters everywhere but haven’t found them. Deacon and Maddie fell in love. They planned to marry but he abandoned her at the altar a year ago because he couldn’t allow himself to find happiness while his sisters were in captivity.
Despite Maddie’s engagement to Emmet, a prominent businessman, when Deacon hears of Maddie’s abduction, he goes after her. While her fiancé stays behind to run his business, Deacon tracks the group and finds Maddie, but they seize him in the process.
When Maddie meets Sacheen, a beautiful young woman ostracized from the tribe because the chidn follows her, they team up. First, they free Deacon, then head back to the hacienda.
After Sacheen fights with Gideon, who has followed his brother, and shows up in the middle of the night while Sacheen is on guard, they call an uneasy truce. The four work together to save themselves from the evil ghost intent on making Sacheen his own.
Maddie is my favorite kind of heroine, strong, feisty and smart rather than overly stubborn. She is not a pushover for Deacon, who has hurt her deeply, but she realizes she needs all the help she can get in order to survive.
Deacon is a principled man who sometimes does the wrong thing for noble reasons. I can forgive him his flaws because his heart is in the right place. His lack of perfection makes him realistic and relatable.
Sacheen is fascinating because not only is she the one in the most danger, but she must cope with a totally unfamiliar environment while having to depend on strangers who have been traditional enemies. Her survival depends on figuring out who she can trust and adapting to an alien world with no time to adjust. She does all this with courage and grace and is another capable woman I admired.
Gideon is a minor character in this book, but will no doubt have his own story. I can’t wait to read it.
This novel is intended to be the first in a new series about the Bannister brothers. I hope Ms. Diablo releases the second one soon. I loved the characters, setting and blend of western and paranormal romance. Historical details, a glimpse into Apache and Mexican cultures of the time, and a diverse group of men and women working together as equals makes Chasing the Dead a must read. Buy from Amazon