Laura Ann Neuleo. Messages to Jake. Author published, 2021 Romance Softcover, ISBN 9781736349205; ebook
The villagers in Almagro worry about Emma living by herself. But between teaching English, the arrival of HIV testing, and monitoring a mysterious path by her house, loneliness isn’t on her mind. Nonetheless, she experiences moments that trigger thoughts of home—in particular, text messages she used to receive intended for a stranger named Jake.
When Emma discovers that Almagro has cell phone reception, she tracks down Jake’s friend via unexpected help from a villager. Meanwhile, Jake, a third-generation American with Panamanian roots, confronts his past and learns about Emma. After failing to get in contact with her, he heads to Panama.
Emma and Jake develop feelings for each other, but Maya, a villager who resents Emma, gets in the way. To complicate things, Jake has a history of leaving, and Maya holds a secret that affects all three of them.
Will Jake leave Almagro because of village conflict? Can Emma and Maya overcome their differences?
Messages to Jake is a novel about love and loss, secrets and trust, and the danger of assumptions. It showcases the beauty and struggles of living in a rural village, and the challenges of health care in a developing country.
Laura Ann Neuleo. Messages to the Mule. Author published, 2021 Romance Softcover, ISBN 9781736349229; ebook
With her boyfriend gone, Maya is offered a choice: join a South American drug cartel or risk the cartel entering her village of Almagro. Treacherous months hiking through the jungle and lonely nights sleeping on coconut husk mattresses ensue.
Maya knows the cartel’s weapon is to use relationships as a threat. Despite that, she makes a friend, visits Almagro, and develops feelings for a fellow mule-all while banking on the trustworthiness of those she encounters. Meanwhile, scenes from the past reveal information about Maya’s first love.
While she struggles with loving a new man after having lost another, a revelation happens that could upheave her life as a mule.
Will Maya succeed in keeping her relationships a secret from the cartel? When faced with life and death choices, will she be able to resist leaving Almagro’s residents out of the drug lords’ hands?
Messages to the Mule is a story about forbidden love, the power of choice, and discovering self-worth under oppression.
Two other Panamá fiction works can be found here.
Fact: 7 books about Panamá have sold over 10,000 copies each (see: https://bookauthority.org/books/best-selling-panama-history-books)
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