Saturday, April 27, 2013

Snippet Saturday - Author's Choice

Cajun Magic Book #2
by Elle James
April 29th Release
Available for pre-order

Be careful what you wish for…
Determined to marry the most eligible bachelor in the parish to save her family, Lucie LeBieu turns a “love bug” loose to cast its Voodoo spell. What she doesn’t count on is hitting two targets—the golden boy congressional candidate and her Cajun-hot ex. To set things right, she must undo the spell before she falls into bed—and back in love—with a certain down and dirty heartbreakin' cop or breaks another man's heart.
Undercover investigator Ben Boyette is back in Louisiana on special assignment when he runs across his old flame, brewing up trouble as usual. But when hometown threats turn deadly, Lucie's life is on the line. Determined to protect both her and his politician assignment from falling victim to a murderer, Ben finds that he's the one who's falling hard for the irresistible bayou temptress.

Bayou Miste, Louisiana

Nothing was blacker than nighttime deep in the swamps. Stars couldn’t penetrate the cypress canopy laden with long tendrils of Spanish moss dripping down over land and water. Silence reigned as if all the creatures of the murky waters and dense underbrush held their breaths for something—a cue, a signal, a happening—A drum thrummed to life, stirring the night air in an ancient rhythm. The gentle sway of a breeze wafted through the gossamer moss, dancing in time to the placid swishing, lulling the insects and frogs into song.

“Breathe the air, touch the earth, stir the waters, and play with fire.”

Just when Lucie LeBieu thought she couldn’t stand still for another moment, the scrape of a match cut across the calm hum of the night. Bright flame slashed through the darkness, illuminating the faces of three women standing in a circle. This dark and mysterious place in the midst of the Atchafalaya Basin, on the edge of Bayou Miste, just happened to be home to Lucie, her twin sister Lisa, and her grandmother, the locally infamous Madame LeBieu, Voodoo queen of the surrounding bayous.

“Do you feel de rhythm of de night?” Mamère LeBieu’s voice caressed the darkness, the sound an extension of the drum’s beat.

Lucie shifted, not liking the creepy feeling she always got when her family did these kinds of things. “Gran, this is silly.”

“Shh!” The older woman, dressed in a flowing red caftan, set the flame to a fat candle, then an incense stick, and placed them on the ground at the center of the circle. “We must commune with nature, become one wit’ de power, de energy present in de darkness.” Her grandmother’s accent was as thick as the humid air and tepid waters of Bayou Miste.

Lisa and Lucie had been raised in New York City for the first eight years of their lives. Any accent they might have acquired in Louisiana since then was out of pure self-preservation, and it wasn’t anything to talk about, in their grandmother’s book.

“Feel de magick ,” her grandmother insisted, tipping her face back as if soaking in the moonlight that wasn’t visible through the canopy of trees.

“Mamère, I never do it right.” She tried to shake off the sense of impending doom.

A hand reached out and pinched her arm. “Shut up and listen, Sis,” her twin grumbled. “Can’t you feel it? It’s hot, alive, and sensuous.”

“Lisa! Dis is not da time,” Mamère LeBieu admonished.

Lisa snorted, but kept any further comments to herself.

Lucie stood still, closed her eyes, and tried.

She really tried, but all she got out of the beating drums, the chirping crickets, and the croaking frogs was a healthy case of the heebie-jeebies. “It’s no use. I’m not cut out for this Voodoo

“It isn’t nonsense, Lucie,” Lisa said. “I’ve used it to get guys all hot and bothered on several occasions and it worked great.”

“You don’t need potions to get guys all hot and bothered, Sis. I’m just not cut out to do this. I mess it up every time.” Lucie slumped.

“Den be quiet while I work de magick,” her grandmother demanded.

When Mamère LeBieu took that tone, Lucie obeyed. The woman didn’t get angry often, but when she did, woe be unto whoever roused her ire. The woman had a wicked mean streak.

Though Lucie didn’t believe in her own version of Voodoo, she’d seen what a dose of Mamère’s special powder could produce. Maurice Saulnier had the wickedest itch a man could have for two solid weeks after he’d trampled Mamère LeBieu’s favorite azalea bush.

She itched just thinking about it.

“Ezili Freda Daome, goddess of love and all that is beautiful, listen to our prayers, accept our offerings, and enter into our arms, legs, and hearts.”

“Here we go,” Lucie muttered. “Another spell.” She exhaled a long breath. Why couldn’t she have been born into a normal family, with normal parents and grandparents?

Her grandmother swayed with the candle’s flame.

“Goddess of light and stars from above,
Help dose who lost de way to love.
Grant dem de courage to open de heart
De intelligence dey need to make a new start
De humility to admit when dey been wrong
De determination dey need when dey mus’ be strong.
Ezili Freda Daome, goddess of light
Bring dis misguided woman de love tonight.”

Lucie backed away from the circle, holding up her hands, anger swirling in her gut. “You did not just work a love spell on me. Tell me you didn’t, Gran.”

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