“Sugar Roux Voodoo” will be available this Friday April 22nd from Ellora’s Cave Publishing. This is my first historical/ paranormal book and I’m getting very excited!
Excerpt “Sugar Roux Voodoo”
Mississippi River, New Orleans, October 1834
Lark reluctantly picked up the sad, little bundle of tattered fabric, human hair and tiny animal skulls and handed it back to her disappointed client. “I won’t do this and you’d regret it if I did.” She paused. “I know your heart’s broken, chere, but that sort of revenge is always wrong. I don’t do that kind of magic, so don’t ask.”
A bitter frown creased the woman’s face as she accepted the rejected juju bundle into her hand.
Lark allowed the disappointed woman a moment of silence to reflect.
The riverboat’s massive paddlewheel thunked loudly against the murky water of the Mississippi as it slowly steamed upriver.
The woman parted her lips to protest the returned bundle at the exact moment the shrill, double blast of the Sugar Roux Voodoo Queen’s steam whistle blew and drowned out her words before she could even release them into the riverboat’s elegant parlor.
Lark’s palm rose in the air, silently signaling the woman to hold her words until the whistle finished blasting. She reclined against the wingback chair, adorned with cypress armrests carved into the likeness of snarling lions’ heads. Her fingertips absently stroked against the lions’ polished heads as the whistles blew. She knew it was senseless to attempt to speak over them, so she waited.
Lark’s head casually tilted against the nappy, red-velvet upholstery as she silently studied the offensive little bundle in the woman’s hands. She drew a tense breath, knowing once again she had been misunderstood and placed in an uncomfortable situation.
The whistle grew silent, but the lingering echo continued to ring in her ears. She leaned forward and gently confronted the woman. “Who told you I would do such a thing?”
“N-no one.” The distraught woman stuttered. “Everyone knows your name. You’re the queen of the river. You’re reputation is legend. I know you could do what I’ve asked. You’ve helped many others. Why won’t you help me?” Fresh tears trickled down the woman’s cheeks. “I’ve been wronged!”
Lark rose slowly from the throne-like chair. Her aubergine satin dress and layers of crisp, horsehair crinoline crinkled softly as she stood. “I would never deliberately harm an innocent woman.”
The woman scoffed. “She’s not innocent. I can assure you of that. She’s a rouge- cheeked-help-yourself hussy!”
“I’m going to pour you a bourbon.” Lark spoke gently. “You’re going to drink it, and you and I are going to talk.”
She walked to an elegant, glass cabinet and removed a slender, cut-crystal decanter of amber liquid and poured a generous slosh into a crystal goblet that caught the flickering candlelight. A splintered burst of tiny rainbows cast against the lacquered walls of the parlor. She ceremoniously handed the bourbon to the anxious woman.
The woman eagerly accepted the goblet with narrowed eyes. “Did you cast a roux on this?” she asked hopefully. “Is the potion enchanted? Will this bring my man back?”
Lark sadly shook her head. “No roux. Its not enchanted potion, it’s just good bourbon.”
The woman looked painfully disappointed but took a sip anyway. Her lips tensed against the bourbon, as if it burned. “I can find a way to pay you more if that’s the problem?”
“It’s not the problem,” Lark spoke firmly. “I never charge anyone. The most I ask of others is that they do a kind service for someone else in need.”
A dismissive frown darkened the woman’s face. “I’m the one in need.” She gulped the bourbon in a single swallow.
(Lark does use Beneficent Voodoo to help this woman but the sexual situation and the Voodoo gets way more intense with the next client who walks into Lark’s riverboat parlor.)
“Sugar Roux Voodoo” is available Friday April 22nd. It’s part of Ellora’s Cave Legend Line, but be warned there are paranormal elements, wicked soul-swappers, magic and zombies—and that’s a good thing!