by Mara White
Publication Date: July 22, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Taboo, Romance
If you have not read the first book in Mara White's Maldeamores (Lovesick) series, stop right now and go read that one first, these stories do not standalone. Now with that being out of the way, this book was as forbidden and addictive as the first one. While the subject matter may put some people off, I personally found this book to be a completely well thought out, beautiful love story.
I had never anticipated there being a sequel, and was left with a massive book hangover by book one. These stories pushed my boundaries and pushed me out of my comfort zone, but in the best possible way. Like I said, it may not be for some people, so proceed with caution. But if you give it a chance, this book will suck you in, completely.
Mara White is a talented author, and weaved Malentendido with such heart, it kept me flipping the pages, engrossed and completely besotted with Lucky and Bey this entire book.
~ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars
Four garbage bags full of old clothes and books for the Goodwill. I promised Mami I’d clean out my room so she can use it as a real guest room. I leave the boxes under my bed for last; they’re filled with letters and pictures, yearbooks and school notes from when I was a kid.
Every letter from Lucky that I ever received lies under this bed. I’m afraid to even touch them. Irma says it brings bad luck to touch things that belonged to the dead. So all I really end up doing is shuffling the boxes around, dumping some half-filled ones into others to consolidate the mess. I’m emptying one when a letter floats to the floor. Lucky’s handwriting. His words. My heart and all of my skin immediately catch fire.
I stare at it without breathing for what seems like an eternity’s worth of cascading memories scrolling through my mind. I pick up Lucky’s words with a trembling hand and hold the yellowed paper to my heart first before raising it to my eyes.
You got me chewed up and spit out, girl. I can’t do this anymore. I’m twisted and fucked up, thinking about you more than is normal.
So what if I’m lit, who gives a fuck if I’m violent? Ese dolor is filling up inside me, sometimes spilling out and taking prisoners wherever it can find ’em. I’ve fucked people up for less than looking at you the wrong way. I can’t live my life like this. But I can’t stay away.
See, part of me wants to run and hide and take back everything we ever done, but there’s another side that won’t quit—that ain’t afraid of no shade they throw or no one.
Anybody would say that me and you ain’t right, that it’s evil—that we holding hands with the diablo mismo, going against God and what’s natural. I been around long enough to know that what I feel for you is real. People don’t get to feel that way, shit, sometimes never in their lives, so even if it’s wrong, I still want it—whatever it is that we got.
I know I’ll never give this to you. You got enough to deal with—y no quiero meterte en esa vaina. But still, for some reason, I need you to know how I feel about you.
Course we always been tight, you always been a mi lado far back as I can remember. Fuck. Then one day it changed and there was no going back from where my mind had taken me, from where my body was going. My feelings were moving forward no matter how much it cost me. Like the bridge done fell all the way down and there ain’t no going back across that water.
Sometimes I’m so lost, sometimes I get so fucking angry. And there’s nothing in this world that can soothe me ’cept the sound of your voice or the way that you touch me.
It’s like there’s a war taking place and the battleground is my life—there’s two sides to me, and all they ever do is fight.
Bey, I’m not a bad guy, it’s just that nobody gets me. I swear to fucking God. I’d do right by you if someday you’d let me.
No soy malo, sólo malentendido.
But you set that straight, Belén, you douse out the fire.
Ain’t shit in this world that can touch me when I know that you love me.
I don’t remember reading this note and I wonder if I was supposed to, or if it was left here by accident. Maybe Mami found it and put it with my things. Maybe it’s been waiting here this whole time for the exact moment when my eyes would finally be ready to see it.
The bowl of milky, honeyed water fits right next to his photo. I light the white candle and with its flame, burn the note. I want to break the tether and set Luciano’s spirit free. He shouldn’t be chained to my memories, my need to hold onto the pain. God gave me a son and Luke is more than enough; I’m grateful. I’ve got to let go.
Lucky and I ignite one another’s hearts and I’m the only one left to put out the fire.
The flames lick higher and graze my fingertips, sending sharp bites of heat and singing the baby hairs on my wrist. I plunge the flaming letter into the bowl of goat milk and honey.
Go free, Luciano. You don’t belong to me.
My Lucky, born with fire on his heart, gave me the most exhilarating love for the first twenty years of my life. But it’s not fair to him, my husband or my son, for me to keep holding on to this so fiercely, clutching what’s now and forever left me.
My love spells didn’t work.
by Mara White
Publication Date: June 22, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Taboo, Romance
Purchase: AmazonBelén: I’ve loved Luciano ever since I can remember, desired him before I even knew what it meant. He’s always been the only man in my life—my constant protector, and his rejection only intensifies my need.
Luciano: I’ve never known a love more fierce than the one I feel for Belén. But I force myself to deny her no matter how much it hurts.
Our love is a sickness and both of us are infected.
Because there’s no cure for being from the same family.
There ain’t too much that can shake me. I was born into the belly of the beast on a blazing hot day in July. A heat-wave scorcher that brought the caps off the fire hydrants and everyone out on the street. Old men pulled their wife-beaters up over their bellies to cool off and the girls wore even less clothing than normal, which ain’t much, in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. Air conditioning was a luxury afforded to the rich; the only place to cool down was either at the hospital or the car service on the way there. Just don’t bleed out from a bullet wound before they get you through the lobby.
My ma says her water broke while she was walking back up the stairs to take a piss. Being that I was her first, she thought for a second she’d peed her pants. She hobbled back out onto the street and yelled for somebody to get her a cab before she gave birth to her son on the makeshift corner domino table.
Ma likes to say that she carried so big with me that she could barely walk—that she knew I was macho from the very first kick in her gut, knew that she’d call me Luciano after the first light of the morning sun.
Like I said, ain’t too much that can flap me. South Bronx, Spanish Harlem, then to West Harlem and the Heights—I’d seen it all by age ten. Seen it all and then some. I ain’t no stranger to violence.
But war is different when it moves from rival blocks and gang-claimed school yards to open desert or caves and tunnels dug two miles deep into a mountainside. Out here you’re not fighting your own war. You’re part of a machine that is unimaginably bigger than you are. When you’re out on a mission, you pray with each footstep that the machine will take care of you.
One thing is for certain—whether you’re ready or not, the machine will make a fucking man of you.
Out here under the white-hot sun, I think about that scorching day in the South Bronx in ‘89 when my Ma brought me into this world. And who knows if she was ready, but she struggled alone, like a roach on its back, her whole life just to take care of me.
The sky is empty and an endless, deep blue. What I wouldn’t give right now for the propeller beats of an army chopper to break the monotony. My warm, sticky blood seeps through my fatigues and the sand soaks it up like it’s been waiting its whole goddamned life to get a drink of me. Alls it would take is a single sandstorm for me to get buried out here forever—no record, no closure, no body to recover and fly home for an honorable funeral service.
So I think about how she would describe to me the day I made an entrance: hot, sleazy summer. Beaches too polluted—no swimming, no air but the devil’s own to breathe in the city. She swears the bachata music stopped when she hit the street and screamed she was in labor.
That the old men upset their domino game as they all stood simultaneously in attention.
That the sky momentarily lit up with a flash of heat lightning. She thought for a second, rain, but then realized the sensation was only her own water dripping down her legs.
That the temperature broke one hundred and five on that day. She said the heat made labor easy, that it helped to loosen all of her muscles. She said she knew I would be a boy and that the heat would make me just as stubborn as I was strong.
And she knew that I would take care of her—that we would take care of each other.
My ma told me the story whenever there was a heat wave passing through the city. Nothing could ever compare to my heat wave in her head. I couldn’t know that day better if I’d been there to see it. My Luciano’s heatwave was worse, it was better, we were lucky we survived it. That the heat was a blessing disguised as a curse, that her boy would be hot-blooded and naturally drawn to the fight. But my ma wasn’t scared. She clenched down on her teeth instead of screaming in pain.
In Spanish, for giving birth, they say, giving light. My ma swears up and down that I was born to save her life. Luciano, she named me, the giver of light.
That night a five-alarm fire burnt down almost our whole block. Faulty wiring, they said. Six people died, all of them in our rundown building. Everything she owned became ash. The only reason we weren’t too was on account of my spontaneous entrance.
We moved less than a mile away into a tiny apartment my Tía Betty shared with their uncle. A year later, Belén was born, and from that moment on, we slept in the same crib. It seems like my whole life my cousin has always been right next to me. I would wake up when she’d cry and drift back to sleep as she did.
Now I lie on my back, wounded, probably mortally. Alone, unarmed, in prime enemy territory. What I wouldn’t give to be by her side now.
Belén. My cousin. My own heat wave. The flame to my fire.
About Mara White
Mara White is a contemporary romance and erotica writer who laces forbidden love stories with hard issues, such as race, gender and inequality. She holds an Ivy League degree but has also worked in more strip clubs than even she can remember. She is not a former Mexican telenovela star contrary to what the tabloids might say, but she is a former ballerina and will always remain one in her heart. She lives in NYC with her husband and two children and yes, when she’s not writing you can find her on the playground.