Wyatt McKenna is a talented pre-med student attending Tulane University in New Orleans. He is researching a paper on commercialism in New Orleans when his trip takes him into Big Momma Ledoux’s voodoo shop. Inside, the proprietor herself tells Wyatt that the person he seeks is at home. Wyatt, skeptical of any religion, voodoo, or other mumbo jumbo, blows her off and heads back to school.
The woman’s words stick with Wyatt, and he begins to have urges to return home to Caldero, Texas, despite his miserable childhood. Wyatt’s father left when he was young, and his mother was a raging alcoholic. Their housekeeper, Carmen, was more of a mother to him than his biological mother.
Not long after returning, Wyatt meets a tall, gorgeous young lady named Natalie, who is staying with her aunts in town for the summer. Wyatt is infatuated and begins to make attempt after attempt to see Natalie. Finally, she agrees, making certain to remind him that their time together is not a date, and they have a wonderful time together.
Their budding romance isn’t without conflict, however. Wyatt’s ex-girlfriend attempts to interfere at every chance, and Natalie occasionally shows some very out of character behavior. At one point, she is getting quite comfortable with Wyatt’s best friend, Ty, when he stops by.
Natalie finally reveals that she is a healer – a descendant of the Great Priests, who can actually use magic to cure wounds and sickness. Wyatt realizes that her aunts, and even Carmen, have the same powers. She also reveals the mystery behind her odd behavior, and Wyatt, the love-smitten skeptic, must decide if Natalie is worth challenging every belief he’s ever had.
Author Claudia Lefeve is a fantastic storyteller. She is incredibly hungry for detail and that shows in her work. The minutia helps with imagery as she injects regional dialect, accents, weather, and scenery to help readers feel immersed in a hot Texas summer. Her characters are created well, and “Darkly Beings” opens up a wonderful universe for future installments in the series.
Wyatt and Natalie are a nice contrast and the jock best friend and cheerleader ex-girlfriend add an element of humor and immaturity that serves the story well. Carmen and the sisters are busy little helicopters, hovering over their children and their customers at every opportunity. Healers are the focus of this book, but Lefeve gives herself ample ground to build on the elements introduced here. The ending hints that there will indeed be plenty more of Wyatt, Natalie, and others in this growing universe.
Read the Travelers series and more from Claudia at www.claudialefeve.com