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Orion’s Foot: Myth, Mystery, and Romance in the Amazon is a Summertime Books pick #romanticmystery


Orion’s Foot: Myth, Mystery, and Romance in the Amazon


M. S. Spencer


Romantic suspense/Mystery

Book Blurb:

Excerpt: Orion’s Foot

After supper, she sought the hammock room, hoping to see the capybaras again, but the lawn was empty. For once, the sky was clear, and she wandered out and down to the dock to enjoy the stars. Ah, there’s Orion. Usually people chose Venus or Polaris, but Petra always wished on Orion’s left foot. Nick had once asked her why. “Because it’s his foot that takes the first stride across space.”

“So what does that have to do with your wishes?”

“Whenever I’m faced with a scary decision, Orion gives me the courage to take the first step.”

Nick had laughed at her.

As she closed her eyes and pondered her request, a rustle sounded behind her. “Don’t fall in.”

Petra sprang forward and nearly did fall in, but a strong hand caught her around her waist and pulled her back. She felt warm breath in her ear. “Emory!”

He let go. “What are you doing anyway? You had one leg hovering over the water.”

“I guess the stars distracted me.” She glanced at him shyly. “I was wishing on Orion. Or rather, on his foot.” She pointed at the star twinkling below the famous belt.

“Why Orion?”

No need to let on how weird I am just yet. “It’s…uh…the only constellation I recognize?”

“It’s probably the only constellation most people recognize.” He looked down at her. “Okay, do you have a foot fetish, or what? Why wish on the foot?”

Just because Nick made fun of me doesn’t mean Emory will. “It brings me luck.”

“Like a rabbit’s foot, only better?”

She didn’t answer. The thing that had been simmering in the back of her mind for the last two days, obscured by the chaos of events, had made itself known. She knew what she wanted to wish for.

“Petra? Did you hear my question?”

Petra lowered her eyes to Emory. “I don’t know about better—but it serves the same function. See, everyone zeroes in on Orion’s belt, or his dog, or his manly physique, but his left foot—Rigel—is actually the brightest star in the constellation.”

He inspected the night sky. “True. And?”

“Well, it reminds me that when you have to take that first step into the unknown you…um…put your best foot forward. I look at Orion striding across the cosmos, and he helps me believe I can meet any challenge.”

Emory was silent for a minute. Petra was about to take her leave when he said, “Did you know that Orion claimed he was the greatest hunter of all time? Gaia sent a scorpion to kill him.”

“Huh. Who is Gaia?”

“Gaia means Earth—she’s the goddess the Greeks called the mother of all life—the primordial deity. The cool New Age kids all worship her. Don’t tell me you aren’t into crystals and yoga?”

“No. So why did Gaia want to kill Orion?”

“Because, to prove his prowess, he announced he was going to hunt down and kill all the animals in the world. Since Gaia is the guardian of every living thing, you might say his threat kinda ruffled her feathers.”

“I’ll bet. So she decided to kill him before he massacred her subjects. Did she succeed?”

“No. Another god—I forget his name—gave Orion the antidote. That’s why you never see both Orion and Scorpio in the sky at the same time.”


“So,” he said softly, “Orion is hardly the hero you want to set your heart on. All the stories of him involve power, lust, and murder.”

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What makes your featured book a must-read?

You’ll want to read this fantastical suspense story if only to learn about cryptids. You know of Bigfoot? The Loch Ness monster? How about the Yeti? They are cryptids—mythical creatures possibly derived from real living things that are rare or extinct. In Orion’s Foot Petra and Emory tangle with the Mapinguari, a monster of the deep jungle who may be the last of the giant land sloths. Along the way, they encounter rodents of unusual size (for real), swim in the mud-brown river with pink dolphins, fish for piranha, and fall in love. If you like stories set in steamy, dark, exotic Amazonia, you’ll love Orion’s Foot.

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.

Runs June 20 – June 28, 2023.

Winner will be drawn on June 29, 2023.

Author Biography:

Social Media Links:


M. S. Spencer
Jun 23, 2023

Thanks for letting me share a bit of the novel I based on the most incredible trip I ever took--to the Peruvian Amazon!


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Jun 23, 2023

Thank you, M.S., for sharing your book in our Summertime Books Bookish Event!

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