Early evening, the hostesses of the AR&T gather on Bourbon Street with their guest, author Alana Lorens, to celebrate Mardi Gras. Revelers flood the area but the women gather in a tight knit circle, consternation upon their lovely faces
"Ladies, we have an emergency," Melissa says, aiming a deadly stare at AJ. "Could everyone please put away their iPhones and pay attention?"
"She means you!" Lyn elbows AJ, jostling her so that her attention is forced from the screen. Grumbling, AJ puts away the device.
"The Voodoo Priest from Alana's VOODOO DREAMS hexed Mary,"Lilly supplies with a tearful sniffle. "She ran off offering to trade her bra for a handful of beads."
"Can I have one of those?" AJ chases after Oliver as he walks past, carrying a tray of Hurricane cocktails.
"Doesn't sound like an emergency to me," Mac mutters. "More like par for the course."
Before we send out a search party for Mary, and settle down to scoff the food and drink, let's welcome Alana Lorens and hear more about her latest novel - Voodoo Dreams:
Attorney Evan Farrell has Mardi Gras vacation plans too. When he encounters fiery and attractive Brianna, however, he puts the Bourbon Street party on hold. He'd much rather devote himself to her--especially when a mysterious riddle appears in her bag, seeming to threaten danger.
Strangely compelled to follow the riddle's clues, Brianna is pulled deeper into the twisted schemes of a voodoo priest bent on revenge. To escape his poisonous web, she must work with Evan to solve the curse. But is the growing love they feel for each other real? Or just a voodoo dream?
EXCERPT: Set in a scene where Evan and Brianna have been lured into the swamp by the voodoo priest...
He held the boat steady while she climbed in, shadows deep from the trees overhead. Something splashed in the water behind him just as he was about to step into the boat, and he missed his step. He fell headlong into the bayou.
Brianna laughed weakly. “Come on, I don’t want to ride with you all—”
Something swished past his legs underwater. Something big. “Shhh,” he said, jerking himself upright. “There’s something in the water.”
“What?” She leaned forward, scrambling in her pack for a flashlight, which she waved from side to side around the boat, scanning the water for danger. “What is it? An alligator?” she cried. As if she’d summoned it, the animal’s ridged back snaked past the boat, rocking it by the force of its passing. The damned thing was huge. She shrieked and grabbed on to the sides of the boat.
He had to get her out of the water, now. “Come on, Brianna, throw the rope. You’re safer on shore here.”
“Brianna, now!”To his dismay, she only fumbled with it, staring at the water where trouble now waited. The creature made several more passes, surfacing just enough for him to see it was a monster, maybe twelve feet long and thick as a submarine. It bumped the boat, jarring it violently.
She clung to the sides of the boat, ignoring him, her eyes focused on the alligator.
He debated the efficacy of jumping in the water and physically manhandling her onto dry land, but that ‘gator seemed determined now. “The rope, Brianna?”
Finally, she seemed to grasp his words. Still not taking her regard off the reptile, she tossed the rope toward the shore. It fell short, but it was something. He lunged into the shallow water for the rope and grabbed it. With one strong yank, he pulled the boat half onto shore while the alligator swam away, perhaps startled by the movement.
“Give me your hand, Bri. I think it’s gone,” he said, relieved. “Come on, let me help you over here.”
“Are you sure?”
Hell, no, I’m not sure. “Of course I am. Hurry now.”
She shivered and took a deep breath, still studying the water. When nothing happened, she stood up, a little shaky, and held out her hand. He seized it and pulled her ashore just as he caught movement in his peripheral vision. Across the inlet, the alligator’s huge tail smacked the water in challenge, and it charged straight for the boat.
“Look out!” Brianna yelled. She snatched up the wooden oar Evan had dropped on the ground. She barreled for the water before Evan could stop her. The alligator launched itself into the now-abandoned boat, its mouth open, hissing horribly, and inches-long teeth snapped at her.
Brianna swung the oar toward the open mouth of the creature. The impact of its jaws clamping down on it nearly shook it loose from her hands, and they played tug of war for several long seconds during which Evan actually thought the alligator might win.
Idiot woman. What’s she thinking? I’ve got to do something before she gets eaten.
A distraction, that’s what was needed. He launched himself into the swamp downstream from the monster. “Hey!” he shouted. “Hey, over here!” He smacked the water, trying to get the alligator’s attention.
“Evan, what are you doing?” Brianna gasped, yanking the oar back in a final win.
“Come on, you big jerk, come and get me!” He continued to splash, only then wondering if there might be more alligators in the water. Certain he felt nips at his legs and ankles, he tried to be logical. Surely with an old daddy this big, no one else dares come in his territory, right? We should be fine.
He waited until the gator slid back over the edge of the boat into the dark water, its claws scraping down the wood, an awful sound, as it shoved off. That’s my cue…
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THE WILD ROSE PRESS
I’m a single mom of seven children, three of them on the autism spectrum, four of them grown, who works part time as a family law attorney and the rest of the time as a multi-published author. I write under the names of Alana Lorens for my romance and suspense
titles, and Lyndi Alexander for my sci-fi, fantasy and young adult titles. I published my first article at 18, my first story at 25 and my first novel twenty years later. The detailed story of my writing career is available in a series at Novelspot, beginning with A Dead Rabbit and the Letter. I’m addicted to good coffee, beautiful scarves and Firefly, and I grow some pretty tasty tomatoes each summer.
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