Catch and Release

fish

 

The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer. Spring is on the horizon. I love spring, with the flowers starting to bloom and the trees budding out. It’s like nature wakes up and comes alive.

It’s also when I get the urge to sit on the bank of some body of water and cast the old fishing pole out. There’s something very soothing about just being outside and watching the sun glisten off the water. Sometimes, if the fish aren’t biting, I’ll put my pole aside and just sit down and enjoy a quiet moment with the birds and turtles. There’s probably snakes too, but I don’t like to think too much about those! Lol.

This weekend, I found another benefit to fishing. I was sitting at the computer working on Once and For All, my next novel, and I got stuck.  So, I sat there for a bit, trying to figure out how to get unstuck. It wasn’t happening. It was so pretty outside that I decided to take a walk down to the pond and cast a few times to see if anything was biting.

You know what? I didn’t get a single fish, what I did get was the inspiration to not only finish the scene I was working on, but three other scenes as well! I have enough to write ALL week! So, I’m definitely thinking about adding fishing to my brainstorming repertoire. On a side note, I did go back after I got some words in and I caught a two small fish. So, I have to say that day was a win-win situation!

One of my characters, Carly, likes to fish too. Only most of her fishing is for men. In my novella, Catch and Release, Carly goes on the search to find the perfect man by Christmas. She goes on all kinds of horrible dates in an attempt to find Mr. Right. Will she catch the prize fish or will she end up releasing them all?

Here’s an excerpt…

Joey is sitting at the bar. As always, he’s wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and a ball cap. Joey is quite the looker, and he’s been known to turn heads. He’s a little bit taller than me, has dark hair, dark eyes, and an olive complexion. But my favorite thing about Joey is his dimples. Which he flashes regularly.

“Not much. Been thinking about writing again,” I say. I usually spend a few hours in the morning pondering ideas and writing some down. So far, the only thing that has stuck is something about dating and men. I haven’t completely figured a story out yet, but I will.

“It’s about time,” he says. “So whatcha thinking of writing about?”

“I’m kind of thinking about writing a book about dating.”

He almost chokes. “You? A book on dating? Are you writing about what not to do?”

That gets him a punch in the arm, which he and Ryder get often. Someone has to keep them in line.

“No, I’m serious,” I say. “It’s the holidays. I’m tired of being alone. I want someone to trim the tree with. I want someone to kiss under the mistletoe and to kiss on New Year’s Eve. I’m thinking about seriously looking for Prince Charming for Christmas. I’m thinking about keeping a journal and seeing what I can come up with for writing ideas. In fact, I already put my profile back online. They promise plenty of fish. I just hope they have some fish worth keeping.”

“You know what I told you about bringing home those shad.”

One night when I was complaining about my love life, Joey told me about shad, a type of throw-back fish that no one wants. He told me that night, “Carly, you’ve got to stop bringing home those stinky, no good fish. Look for something you want to keep.”

“You can’t catch a man by Christmas. I don’t care how well stocked the pond is.” I punch him in the arm again. “Oh really?”

“Oh really what?” I smile when I hear Ryder’s voice. I saw him when I came in. He was playing pool. I didn’t want to interrupt so I went to sit with Joey by the bar.

I sigh. “I need a man.”

He smiles mischievously and winks. “Well, you got one right here. What exactly is it that you need?”

My stomach flutters, my mind seizes up like cement, and I blurt out, “Fishing. I need to go fishing.”

He cuts his eyes at me. Ryder is gorgeous. He has a genuine smile that lights up his face. But what gets me is his eyes. He has the most amazing brown eyes of anyone I’ve ever seen. They sparkle with his mischievous sense of humor. When he cares for you, you know it because you can see it. So, I know he cares about me. I just don’t know if it’s more than friendship.

“You? Fishing?”

“Yes. I like to fish.” I stare into his eyes for a moment more, then stammer, “Music. We need music.”

Want to read more of Carly’s search? Check out Catch and Release! It’s FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

https://amzn.to/2vUQdFv

CatchReleaseeBook

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2vUQdFv

https://amzn.to/2vUQdFv

https://amzn.to/2vUQdFv

https://amzn.to/2vUQdFv

Merry Christmas at The Myrtles!

 

20191213_194322I love The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, LA. I’m a big fan of history, and I love touring old houses and learning about how people lived in other eras. The bonus with The Myrtles is that is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in the nation. So, when you get a tour, you get a dose of the supernatural along with your history.

When I got the opportunity to participate in a holiday market at The Myrtles, I jumped at the chance. Not only was it a chance to market my books and get out and talk to people, I could go tour and ghost hunt again.

The house and grounds were all decorated for the holidays too. It was really beautiful to see! There was a huge tree in the foyer, and other rooms had smaller trees themed to the room. It definitely got me into the Christmas spirit.

Do you know what else gets me into the holiday feeling? A good Christmas romance book! I’ve found some good ones for you! Go check them out!

Visit The Myrtles online: https://www.myrtlesplantation.com/

1. The Worst Christmas Ever by Rebecca Paulinyi

worstchristmasWhen Shirley ‘Lee’ Jones returns home from an awful day at the office, the last thing she expects to find is her husband in bed with another woman. Six weeks until Christmas, and Lee finds the life she had so carefully planned has been utterly decimated.

Hurt, angry and confused, Lee makes a whirlwind decision to drive her problems away and ends up in Totnes, an eccentric town in the heart of Devon. As Christmas approaches, Lee tries to figure out what path her life will follow now, as she looks at it from the perspective of a soon-to-be 31-year-old divorcée.

Can she ever return to her normal life? Or is a new reality – and a new man – on the horizon?

Will this be the worst Christmas ever?

Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2RVcoEf

2. A Picture Perfect Christmas by J.P. Uvalle

PPCUvalleYou never forget your first love. No matter how hard you try.

Darren Hayes, her once-best friend, has been gone longer than Melody Boyer, can remember. Well, that’s a lie. He’s been gone four years, eleven months, three weeks and two days. Since Christmas Eve: the night they took their friendship to the next level. He rocked her world and made all her fantasies come true only to leave her behind in Hudson Heights to see the world through his lens.

And now he’s back, Mr. famous photographer walking into town like he didn’t destroy her world years ago. Showing up on her doorstep asking for forgiveness and a chance to be friends again. But friends don’t kiss like he kisses her goodbye… and when he proposes they become friends with benefits and see what develops, Melody can’t help but wonder what the negatives are. Can she agree to these terms and have the best sex of her life anytime she wants, no strings attached? Or will Darren capture her heart only to break it all over again?

If you like over-the-top romance with a hint of Christmas and some tantalizing sexy times in between, then this delicious treat is for you.

Only 99 Cents!!!

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2EmpMsY

3. Tinder Heart by Bree Pierce

tinderWhen those closest to me stabbed me in the back, I ran away from the city for a chance to heal. Then I met Will, my living, breathing, fantasy man. And the epitome of everything that could break my heart. He might walk away if I tell him the secret I hold so close—if I don’t push him away first. Can I trust a man with my heart one more time?

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2YSj8Uw

4. Unexpected Mistletoe Kisses by Milan Watson

umkMegan fell in love with Kingston when she was four years old. How much longer can she deny the feelings she has secretly harbored for her brother’s best friend?

After he saved her kitten, Megan Price knew that Prince Charming didn’t always ride a white horse. Sometimes he was your brother’s best friend. As the years moved on Kingston became more and more handsome and so did the long line of broken hearts he left in his wake.

The first time Kingston Halloway noticed that little Megan had grown up, was the evening of her prom. He had paid for it with a bloody nose and a promise to Alex to never look her way again. For years he has ignored her chestnut hair and amber eyes and the way her smile lit up a room.

When Megan unwittingly buys the house next to Kingston and hires him to help her renovate, can they both keep denying the attraction between them?

Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2EorzgU

5. Hometown Heroes by Various Authors

HHeBookCommunity. Courage. Compassion.

Hometown Heroes brings you five Christmas romances that celebrate everyday heroes.

From paranormal to contemporary to historical, there’s something here to fill everyone with the spirit of the season.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Cajun Navy Relief, an organization dedicated to helping neighbors in distress.

Only 99 cents for a limited time!

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2YP9jqy

Merry Christmas!

A.L. Vincent/Jolie St. Amant

 

Tales from Rougarou Fest!

RR

A couple of years ago, Houma, Louisiana started a new festival all about the Rougarou. What is a rougarou, you ask? It’s like a Cajun werewolf. It has the head of a wolf or a dog, and the body of a human. This new festival also wants to raise awareness of our disappearing coastline and donates proceeds to the Wetlands Discovery Center.

This festival has a little bit of everything, and if you love Halloween like I do, then you’ll be a fan as well. There’s a costume contest, and I saw Minions, Michael Myers, Clark Kent, and others enter to win. But that’s not all, there’s the witches, and the Voodoo Kings and Queens too!

Oh, and there’s a parade! Who doesn’t love a good parade? Watch as the aforementioned witches do their thing, the zombies dance to “Thriller’, and see huge skeleton puppets. It’s family and dog friendly so feel free to bring the entire family.

Want more information? Click the link below:

https://rougaroufest.org/

In the spirit of the rougarou, I’m including some links to books with all kinds of  werewolves and shifters. Enjoy!

1. Phoenix Rising by Madison Granger

prTorie Masters is a curvy, middle-aged, divorcee with a normal job and family life. Her penchant for paranormal romances leaves her longing for the day she will meet the man who will sweep her off of her feet. She’s been dreaming a long time.

Quinn McGrath is Liege Lord to a centuries old clan of shifters known as The Kindred. All have been promised a destined mate by the Goddess. He has all but given up finding his.

Sparks fly when Quinn meets Torie. Could his ‘Promised Soul’ finally be real? The eternal mates might not stand a chance as man and nature work against them. From assassination attempts to hurricanes, their future is put to the test across the globe.

Is their bond strong enough to see them through to forever?

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/324l1xn

2. Infinite Blue by Natalina Reis

IBlueWhen a shifter and a human are bound by fate, neither man knows if their connection will be enough to save not only their growing love, but their lives.

Shahin Halcón has been taught that if and when he meets his soul mate, he’ll know immediately. Always the rebel, he doesn’t believe it until the day he crosses paths with Cai, a full-human.

Plagued by unsuccessful relationships and heartache, Cai Banes’s life is quiet and unexciting. When he meets young and wild Shahin, his life is turned upside down, and he’s not sure he likes it.

But neither can deny the powerful pull that draws them together.

Old secrets and ancient myths about cross-species relationships plague their romance and threaten to put their happiness and life at risk. Will their love for each other be strong enough to survive?

ONLY 99 CENTS FOR A LIMITED TIME!!!

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2oBMsBi

3. A Deal With Death, by Carrie Pulkinen

dealdeathShe pissed off the Voodoo Spirit of Death.
Now she has to make amends…

Death doesn’t scare Voodoo practitioner Odette Allemand, but dying sure as hell does. Every time she meets her soulmate, her life ends in a horrific murder.

Then she’s reincarnated to have it happen all over again.

Odette is determined to survive this lifetime, but when a sexy werewolf knocks on her door, unearthing emotions she thought she’d buried, her fate is sealed with his enticing kiss.

James Malveaux hasn’t seen Odette since junior high, but the moment they reunite, his wolf wants to claim her as his mate.

That’s if the monster they’ve awakened doesn’t kill them first.

Without the help of the Spirit of Death, they can kiss their lives goodbye. Can James help Odette make peace with her inner demons and the Spirit? Or will the couple be doomed to the same gruesome ending as their countless lives before?

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R4PRC3H

That’s it for me for now!

Bon Chance!

A.L. Vincent/Jolie St. Amant

For even more on the rougarou, check out this article!

“History of the Rougarou: Louisiana’s Warewolf”

https://bit.ly/2BVHySv

Hurricane Season

barry

It’s that time of year again in the South…Hurricane season. No, not the drink, the storm. And we’ve already had our first one. Hurricane Barry. It’s early in the season for us. Generally, our storms come later in the year, in September and October. It was an interesting storm, it moved very, very, slow. This meant it lasted longer than usual, and increased the threat of flooding. We fared very well through the storm. We had some street flooding, but didn’t lose power and since it’s July in Louisiana, power is necessary!

Have you ever been through a hurricane or big storm? I would love to hear your stories! And speaking of stories, the storm gave me a lot of motivation and inspiration to work on Once and For All. This novel starts with an approaching hurricane and the rest of the story is about rebuilding after. Here’s a little excerpt…

As they approached the apartment, Gemma said, “When I grabbed my hurricane supplies this morning, I grabbed some extras for you as well. I got a couple flashlights, some water and ice, extra oil for the hurricane lamps. There’s a small grocery store at the intersection where the light is, but I’m not sure what they’ll have at this point. I’m sure you know how it is when a storm rolls in. It’s like the end of the world.”

“Thank you so much,” Emily said.

“You’re very welcome. Can I help you unload?”

“I think we got it,” Emily replied. “We don’t have too much.”

“Okay, then, I’ll get back to the shop. I have a few things to attend to there.”
Gemma hugged Emily, then Carly. “Text if you need anything. And keep me posted on how things are here.”

“Will do,” Emily said before turning to Carly, “Let’s get this stuff unloaded, then head over to the cafe and check on things.”

“You got it,” Carly said. She looked up at the sky, “We better get a move on. It looks like the big rain will be here soon.”

The storm clouds twisted around in the darkening sky. The wind picked up too, whipping through the trees. Carly felt a churning in her own stomach, a sense that something bad was coming. Had they made a mistake coming to Lafayette?

Want to read more? Check out the story on Wattpad!

https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/155292374-once-and-for-all

Once and for All

Want to read a real-life hurricane story that involves a wedding? Check out this story from Lee St. John’s, She’s a Keeper!

“Rain, Rain, Go Away”

While in Raleigh, North Carolina for the wedding and reception of a teacher friend in December 1982, Future Hubby and I met an older gentleman who became interested in our recent engagement and the date we had set for our upcoming nuptials. We replied that we settled on May 14 that coming year.

“May fourteenth, well, well,” he said. “According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the second weekend in May is always the nicest weekend in the South. You should check it out and see for yourself.” The next day, we immediately bought a 1983 Farmer’s Almanac before leaving North Carolina.

Sure enough, the almanac mentioned that the upcoming second weekend in May was the best weekend for farming because of the slightly warmer temps and no rain showers. It was like getting the green light to a perfect wedding day from a crystal ball. We were elated and trusted it completely.

As I counted down the days until the ceremony, I was especially concerned about the weather because my parents and I planned an outdoor reception on my front lawn on the thirty acres where I grew up. Everything for the wedding reception was to be outside—the band, the tables and chairs for guests, the tables for food, the wedding couple’s dance, pictures, everything.

All this effort made my mother and me especially nervous that the weather might not cooperate. The almanac was the only proven information that it was going to turn out well. But what if there was an off year, and what if it was 1983?

As the wedding day drew closer, my fears heightened, and so did the chance of rain. With only a week to go, the Atlanta news and weather stations reported it did not look all that good. If it rained, how were we going to get all those people in my parents’ house? Leaving the church to ride home, getting in and out of the car in my wedding dress, and grey skies in pictures just seemed unthinkable.

In 1983, there were no rental props in my small town. There was no Weather Channel either. I became so concerned that I called the meteorologist at the national weather service…every day. I called the national weather office because our local stations didn’t see the big weather picture in 1983. They only forecast local weather in the here, now, or tomorrow. I called so much we knew each other on a first name basis. I was totally afraid the weather was going to move in and ruin my day. He assured me that was not going to be the case. All looked clear for that week and weekend from California to Georgia.

Then it happened. There was a squall from the Gulf rumbling into Georgia just two days before the wedding. Mother and I panicked and scrambled to solve the problem. If only we knew someone who had university tailgating tents we could borrow. The only tents we knew about were the tents from our local funeral home…with their name emblazoned across the scalloped hem. They were not even in my wedding ensemble colors. And a few of them might have said, “We’re the last to let you down.” I was almost in tears.

A day later, the meteorologist and I spoke again and he knew I was in agony. He calmed my fears and told me that there was no need to worry. The storm had moved off in another direction and the next few days were going to be perfect.

And they were.

Note to self: always trust the Farmer’s Almanac.

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Click the link to read more! https://amzn.to/2Ku8bl2

Stay safe out there my friends!

Bon Chance and Happy Reading!

A.L.Vincent and Jolie St. Amant

Take a Staycation!

A friend of mine and I were on way back from an Aaron Lewis concert when we decided to take a small detour and visit a local distillery. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and when the tour guide suggested we go see one of the oldest wooden bridges in the state, we decided to do that too. Our little detour ended up being a whole day of stopping in to different places we had never been. It was a fun experience we plan on doing again. It doesn’t cost much. The distillery tour was free, as was the samples. 🙂 So was the small campground we visited. Here’s a highlight of our stops.

  1. Bayou Rum Distillery

staycation1Located in Lacassine, LA, it’s a beautiful structure just off the interstate. It’s open 7 days a week, with hourly tours. Our tour guide was friendly and knowledgeable. I highly recommend a stop here if you are in the area. Learn a little about the area, local farming, and how rum is made.

Website:  https://bayourum.com/distillery/.

2. Lorrain Park

staycation5

A short drive from Bayou Rum is Lorrain Park. A perfect place to stop for a picnic lunch, if you happened to plan ahead. It’s quiet, scenic, and picturesque. Take some time and snap some shots of the Lorrain Bridge, one of the oldest wooden bridges in the state.

Website:  https://www.cppj.net/services/parks-and-recreation/lorrain-park.

3. Uncle T’s Oyster House

staycation4

All our traveling worked up an appetite and we decided we wanted some crawfish. It’s getting late in the season, and we wanted to make sure we got in one last feast before the party was over. After several phone calls and one stop that go us nowhere on this adventure, we finally found some at Uncle T’s in Scott, La. We were not disappointed. The mudbugs were perfectly seasoned and not that hard to peel, which can happen as the crawfish get larger. I’ve had the raw oysters there before, and I recommend them as well.

Website: https://uncletsoysterbar.com/

 

4. Parish Brewing Company

staycation3

We made one last stop on our staycation. The Parish Brewing Company in Broussard, La. They too, also free tours, but only on Saturdays, and we arrived too late to take one. We did try a few of their craft beers in a sampler you can purchase. I found one flavor I will definitely go back for. Pets are allowed as well, so feel free to bring your furry friend along.

Website: https://www.parishbeer.com/

Have a free day? Get out and see what your area has to offer. It’s fun!

Here’s to new adventures!

Bon Chance and Happy Reading!

A.L. Vincent/Jolie St. Amant

Want to read more about our area? Check out my Boonie series set in South Louisiana!

Run away to the Gulf Coast

A.L. Vincent’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/A.L.-Vincent/e/B016X3YYW2

 

Rescue Me!

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I love Mardi Gras! As an Oklahoma transplant, it’s not something I grew up with. My first MG experience actually happened many years ago, and I was in New Orleans for the first time. First NOLA experience and first MG. It was then that my love for Louisiana began to blossom. Years later, I would end up moving down here and have experienced many parades and celebrations. I even rented an apartment on the parade route here in Lafayette so I wouldn’t miss a thing! I’ve ridden in a few parades. Want to feel like a rock star? Ride in a Mardi Gras parade. Everyone is vying for your attention for those precious throws.  Throws can be anything from fake roses, to stuffed toys, to the coveted plastic beads of all colors and shapes. These things usually end up in a storage container after the season is over, but for the Carnival season, they are displayed with pride.

One of my favorite parades is the Krewe de Chien parade. This is a day when the dogs get to strut their stuff. There are best costume awards and the royal court gets to ride in awesome looking cars and be celebrities for the day. The best part of this is that the money raised from this event goes to pet charities. Adoptable dogs are shown off before the parade starts, and get to walk in the parade in hopes of finding their forever homes.

Rescue dogs are near and dear to my heart. My last three dogs were rescued. Sammy the dachshund was being shifted from vet to vet to keep from being euthanized. She had been in a very abusive situation and had her moments when she was hard to get along with, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a better protector. Oscar was next. He was given to a family who left him out in the cold on a chain without even a dog house. He was quite the character. Then there was Furby, named because when we got him, he looked like a little furball. Furby had been headed to the shelter when my son grabbed him up and brought him home. I had just lost two pugs, bonded brother and sister, and had sworn never to have another dog. I immediately told my son to find Furb a new home, but that new home turned out to be ours. These three eventually became characters in my Boonie books. Sammy is Carly’s dog, Oscar is Emily’s, and Furby became Grace’s rescue in Running on Empty. 

If you’d like to read more about these “characters”, I’m including pics and the links to the book they star in. 🙂

Tangled Up In You 

Oscarpromo

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2VYMTQU

Running on Empty

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Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2JvVcmf

Catch and Release

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Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2Fj0blV

Are you a writer who would like to help out with rescue charities? Bienvenue Press is looking for submissions for Finally Home, a charity anthology benefitting pet rescues. Click the link for more information! 

https://bit.ly/2SdDcAJ

finallyhome2

 

 

 

A House Divided, by Deborah Leblanc

ahdA House Divided

by: Deborah Leblanc

Book Synopsis:

Keith Lafleur, Louisiana’s largest and greediest building contractor, thinks he’s cut the deal of a lifetime. The huge old, two-story, clapboard house is his for the taking as long as he can move it to a new location. It’s too big to move as it is, but Lafleur’s solution is simple: divide it in half. He has no idea, though, that by splitting the house he’ll be dividing a family- a family long dead, a family that still exists in the house, including a mother who will destroy anyone who keeps her apart from her children.

My Review:

5 STARS!!!

I saw Deborah LeBlanc at a writer’s conference, and knew I wanted to read one of her books.  How could a ghost hunter not have a great paranormal novel? I picked up A House Divided, and once I started reading, I could not put it down.

First, I love books set in south Louisiana written by local authors. LeBlanc does a great job of capturing the local color and character of Cajun country. Her characters feel like people I would meet while standing in line for groceries.

Second, the storyline moved at a perfect pace. I was able to read this book in two days, its flow was so smooth. I kept turning pages wanting to see what was coming next. The story was also unique. Haunted house stories can become clichéd and predictable, and this book was neither.

The story is about a house that is literally split in half. A local contractor purchases the huge house and moves it to another town. In the process, he divides the house into two sections. Each has an apartment on the top floor and a business on the bottom. Lara and Tawana, take one section and open a beauty salon. Matt Daigle opens a new location for his successful café. Soon after opening, the euphoria of new beginnings is replaced with fear. Waking up one morning, the inhabitants of the house find flocks of dead birds littering their yards. And that’s only the beginning…..

What happens later is a journey through a family’s history that will leave one of the characters reeling.

I give this book five stars for a flawless Southern ghost story.

Buy Link:

Link: http://a.co/bOXqOdD

That Voodoo That You Do, Chapter One

I love stories set in New Orleans, so I decided to write my own. This will eventually be a Love Boat style series set in a haunted French Quarter hotel. This is the first chapter. 🙂 

Chapter One
“Bienvenue! Welcome to the Gilded Lily.” Josephine Jacobs, or J.J., said automatically as she heard a customer approach the front desk.
Holy crawfish! J.J thought as she looked up from the elegant front desk of the New Orleans hotel and fell head over hormones into lust.
“Checking in.” said the object of her affliction, “Name’s Rhett. Rhett Butler.”
This is bad. J.J. thought. I’m about to climb over this desk and molest a customer with a fake name.
“Rhett Butler?” J.J. asked, raising an eyebrow. She blew a lock of hair out of her face and hit some keys on the computer keyboard. J.J. looked up at him. Again, she was hit with a white-hot wave of lust. His head was shaved underneath a black ball cap. Black tribal tattoos wrapped around arms the size of Amazonian anacondas. He wore a simple black t-shirt and fashionably tattered blue jeans. His eyes were deep brown as was his five o’clock shadow. He was just her type, masculine and ragged around the edges.
“What can I say, my dad was a Gone With the Wind fan.” he replied.
“Is that right?” J.J. asked.
“Yes ma’am.” He said leaning in over the desk, closer to J.J. “You look like a woman that should be kissed. And often….” His smoky voice trailed off.
“And by someone who knows how.” J.J. finished for him breathlessly. She took a deep breath and stepped back. “You are in the Red Light Suite, Mr. Butler. Are you here for the Voodoo Music Festival?”
“Yes, I am.”
Her eyes met his and the air between them sizzled. The flame seemed to burn the oxygen out of the air, leaving her feeling light-headed and half giddy. She sucked in a breath, catching a whiff of his woodsy cologne. She closed her eyes as the floor seemed to shift.
She exhaled a breath and choked out, “This key unlocks both your room and the gate to your private courtyard. Enjoy the festival and your stay with us. If you need anything,” J.J. cringed inwardly as her voice broke on the word anything. “Don’t be afraid to call the front desk.”
J.J. held the key out, and Rhett’s fingers brushed hers as he grabbed it. His fingers moved slowly and deliberately over hers as he took it.
Anaconda Arms, aka Rhett Butler, pocketed the key. “If I need any….thing,” he winked at her. “You’ll be the first one I call, Miss?”
“Jacobs,” she replied, “J.J.”
“J.J.” he said, then nodded toward the brass plated sign over her shoulder, “Complimentary Happy Hour?” he asked.
“Yes. At six.”
“Will you be off?”
“Maybe.” she said smiling. Damn right she would be, she thought, she was only covering the front desk while Andrea took a break.
A smile flashed across his face, “Maybe I’ll come down then.”
J.J. watched as he disappeared into the elevator. Something about him seemed familiar. Who was he? He was not Rhett Butler, and he wouldn’t be the first person to
That Voodoo That You Do, Short Long Series Contemporary/3
check in under a fake name.
“J.J.” someone was calling her name.
“J.J.”
“What?” she snapped. She shook her head and looked to see who it was. It was Zoey and J.J. instantly felt bad. The twenty-something bartender, was smiling at her from the adjoining door of the hotel’s lounge.
“I’m sorry, Zoey.” J.J. said “What is it?”
“He was hot, huh?” Zoey teased, flashing a pierced eyebrow in the direction of the elevator.
J.J. frowned at her and started needlessly straightening the top of the Queen Anne desk. “Isn’t it time for your shift? What did you do to your hair?” J.J. asked Zoey, gesturing to the streak of burgundy in her dark hair.
“I dyed it this morning. Do you think Dean will notice?” she asked.
J.J. smiled, “If he doesn’t, he’s blind.”
“I hope so.”
“It looks good.” J.J. said.
“About tonight, you can handle the delivery from Jagneaux’s today. Just leave the invoice by the register. I’ll pick it up after happy hour.”
“No problem. Are you coming down for happy hour tonight?”
J.J. thought of Rhett. She wouldn‘t miss happy hour tonight for the world. “Yes.”
“Good. Tobias has been unusually rowdy lately.”
“He’s probably fussing with Lucy again. You know how they are. I’ll come down
keep any eye on things.”
“Good. He doesn’t listen to me. He almost broke the beer mugs last night.”
“Tobias doesn’t really listen to anyone. But, I’ll come down and check it out.” J.J. said and turned her attention to the couple walking through the door.
“Bienvenue! Welcome to the Gilded Lily.” J.J said.
As the desk clerk returned from her break, J.J. checked the time on the slim gold watch on her wrist. Five o’clock. She had an hour to go to her room, shower, and change for happy hour. J.J. started mentally rifling through her closet. What would she wear?
J.J. gave the lobby a last look. Every detail from the elaborate crystal chandelier, to the tapestry wall hangings, to the tall white and blue flower arrangements had been chosen by a Jacobs. The hotel had been in the family for generations. A former Jacobs had purchased The Gilded Lily, a former bordello, and opened it as a hotel.
J.J. grew up here and now ran this hotel taking over after her mother retired. When other hotels around had been bought out by big companies, her family had held on. And for that J.J. was grateful.
Satisfied that everything was as it should be, J.J. smiled and headed to her suite.

After her shower, J.J. donned a soft, white, robe and stepped out of the bathroom. Her blonde hair was wet and floating around her shoulders. She thought again of Rhett, or
whatever his name was. This man was already taking up too much parking space in her mind. She didn’t have time for this distraction. She was still in men-o-pause after her last dating disaster.
Like the proverbial moth to the flame, and despite men-o-pause, she headed to her closet anyway. Maybe she should take a pause from taking a pause from men.
“What do you think we should wear tonight?” she asked as she stared into her closet.
Silently, a slinky black little number slid off a hanger and onto the floor.
She picked it up, “No, not this, not yet. It’s just happy hour.” She said. “Something else.”
A tight black shirt covered in silvery sequins was next to fall to the floor. J.J. sighed and put it back on the hanger.
“Lucy, seriously.” She said. “Something less dramatic.”
A red sweater was next to fall. It was one of her favorites. It hugged her curves and showed a slight tease of cleavage. “This is perfect. Thanks, Lucy.”
She smiled as she laid the sweater and a pair of slim black slacks on her bed and crossed back into her bathroom. With her sliding glass doors open to the courtyard, she could hear music. Someone was strumming a guitar in the courtyard. The melody hit J.J. in the stomach. It was the song she had listened to repeatedly while going through her divorce.
“No, it can’t be.” she said and inched toward the courtyard balcony.
Someone started to sing softly and J.J.’s knees went weak.
She now knew who Rhett really was.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Give Up! Or Not.

Being a transplant to South Louisiana, I’ve always had a difficult time with Lent. Where I grew up, there weren’t many Catholics. In fact, I can’t think of one person I knew that was Catholic until I moved here. I never understood Lent. I simply thought it was a time to repent after the debauchery of Mardi Gras.

In the years I’ve lived here, I’ve come to more fully understand the Catholic faith. I even started taking Catholic classes. I think “classes” is a bit of an exaggeration, I think I attended ONE class, until I found out that whole process ended in a public baptism and that did not appeal to me at all. So, that was that.

I have embraced parts of the Catholic faith. I love the quiet reflection, being alone with your thoughts to offer up prayers or meditations. It’s how I’ve started my days for the last few years. It’s a little bit of peace and quiet before the chaos of work, home, and life in general.

But, back to Lent, I’ve tried to give up something every year for Lent. I’ve tried beer, carbs, red meat, you name it. I’ve never made it until the end. This is probably because I’ve never really took it as seriously as I should. I think I’ve done it because I thought it was a good idea.

I’m going to try something new this year. I’m going to give back something rather than give up something. I’ve never been good at self-deprival anyway. As soon as I tell myself that I can’t have something, my mind instantly fixates on that one thing until I become borderline OCD.

I’ve already been trying to give back in small ways by doing “small things”. I’m just going to be like Emeril and “kick it up a notch”. I’m going to keep doing the small things I’m doing, throwing a few cans into the local Food Bank basket every week, and trying to encourage my students to do small things. But, I’m going to brainstorm new things to do.

I read an article yesterday (see below) that confirmed what I’ve already been thinking. In these times of recession and unemployment, it is really a time to give back rather than give up. So many have had to give up that those of us that do have should give back.

So, my goal for the next 39 days is to give back, not give up.

After all, doesn’t a benevolent Queen keep in mind the needs of others? (Oh yeah, I rolled my eyes at myself on that one.)

For now, I’m off to figure out what to do with the rest of my day. I love vacations!

Peace!

Queen Out

For those of you interested in learning more about Lent, or haven’t figured out what you want to give up or give back. Here are some resources I’ve found….

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/christians.encouraged.to.give.rather.than.give.up.this.lent/25313.htm

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1BtbnM/learnthis.ca/2010/02/100-ways-to-serve-others/

A Lenten Reflection
Give up complaining——focus on gratitude.
Give up pessimism——become an optimist.
Give up harsh judgments——think kindly thoughts.
Give up worry——trust Divine Providence.
Give up discouragement——be full of hope.
Give up bitterness——turn to forgiveness.
Give up hatred——return good for evil.
Give up negativism——be positive.
Give up anger——be more patient.
Give up pettiness——become mature.
Give up gloom——enjoy the beauty that is all around you.
Give up jealousy——pray for trust.
Give up gossiping——control your tongue.
Give up sin——turn to virtue.
Give up giving up——hang in there!

Click to access quoteslent1.pdf

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