Authors: Joan Rylen
Tags: #new orleans, #kidnapping, #vacation, #stripper, #girls trips
Named one of “20 recent releases, worthy of
“The book is SASSY and FUN. All women can
identify with the escapades of the characters. Couldn’t put it
— Rebecca Lopez, senior reporter, WFAA-TV
BIG EASY ESCAPADE
By Joan Rylen
Copyright © 2013 Rita Rox, Inc.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
dialogue, places and incidents either are the product of the
authors’ imaginations or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to
actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events or
locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may
be reproduced or distributed in any printed or electronic form
without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage
piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the authors’
Lyrics of Josh Weathers used with
ISBN 13: 9780985673642
Library of Congress Control Number:
To Mom, if I can be even half the mother you
are, my daughter will turn out amazing. Thank you for being a great
Mom, teacher and friend.
To Gran, Your sassy Southern ways have guided
me well and filled my heart with love. Thank you.
Detective Leffall pointed a latex-clad finger
toward the built-in dressing table. “Be sure to get the vase,
flowers and the card.” White lilies, lavender roses and pink calla
lilies lay strewn across the table and floor. A water-logged card
read, “As always, I’ll be watching. Love, H.”
Heat radiated from the bulbs outlining the
mirror, spotlighting a disarray of cosmetics, body paint, glitter
and hair products, several of which had fallen to the floor.
Leffall pushed aside a few of the costumes that hung from a rack on
the wall, then knelt and inspected those on the floor. Using his
pen, he lifted a feathered bustier, revealing a broken hanger and a
hot-pink, fake fingernail tip.
“Record all the clothes and rack, and
especially this hanger and what looks like her fingernail.” He let
the bustier fall back into place, next to a jungle outfit. He stood
and glanced around the room while the crime scene videographer
recorded the mess. His eyes stopped on the strappy, metallic,
five-inch heel in the doorway.
“Looks like our girl pulled a Cinderella. You
see the other one anywhere, Bud?”
Bud turned the camera to the lone shoe, then
scanned across the floor. “Negative.”
Leffall paused in the doorway, looking into
the dressing room. “This one feels different.”
Bud kept filming. “They all feel
“Dammit,” Leffall said and sighed as he
continued looking around the room. “When you’re done here, meet me
by the back door.” He walked toward the rear exit and knelt to get
a better look at an abandoned phone, the green message indicator
light flashing, waiting for its owner. Bud’s Nikes squeaked coming
down the hall.
“The screen is cracked. Get a close-up of
Bud zoomed the camera to the hot-pink phone,
then down the hallway in both directions.
Leffall shouldered open the back door. The
stench from the dumpster across the alley reminded him of another
crime scene that hadn’t turned out so well. He walked down three
steps and over to a uniform. “Dumpster’s been checked, right?”
The young officer nodded. “Yes, sir. We did
an initial search, didn’t see her.”
“I want someone to go through it again. I’m
missing a stripper shoe. The match is in the doorway of the
Leffall clicked his pen as he walked back
toward the club. A Plexiglas dome covered a security camera, angled
down at the entrance.
To no one in particular, he said, “Hope that
stepped off the escalator, into baggage claim, just as the buzzer
sounded on carousel two. The belt jerked to life and bags pushed
through the plastic dividers. Her UT burnt-orange, grandiose
suitcase was in the middle of the pack. She went to check the
monitors for Wendy, Kate and Lucy’s flights, but before she could
pinpoint the Denver arrival, she heard, “Hey, sexy momma!”She
turned toward Lucy’s cheery voice but didn’t see the familiar face
she’d known since sixth grade. Lucy’s normally auburn, curly hair
was now almost black, and straight. Dark eyeliner around her
sparking green eyes was a new touch, too.
Lucy met her at the monitor and wrapped
Vivian in a big hug. “You look great!”
“So do you,” Vivian replied, “and I like your
hair, but it’s just so different. When did you do it?”
Lucy tugged on a strand and shrugged.
“Yesterday. I don’t know why. I guess I needed a change. Do you
hate it? Be honest.”
Vivian touched it. “No, I’ve just never seen
you with straight hair. It’s a good change.”
“Where are the other girls?” Lucy asked,
referring to their childhood friends, Wendy Schreiber and Kate
Vivian had known Wendy since kindergarten and
Kate since ninth grade. They’d all grown up in a working-class
suburb southeast of Houston, Pasa-“Get-Down”-dena. Nobody knows
where the “Get-Down” came from, though they joke it’s either to
shield yourself from the high winds of a hurricane or the
occasional refinery explosion, both of which the four girls had
been through. Just another day in the Get-Down.
“Monitor shows they just landed. Should be
here any minute,” Vivian said.
“Good, because I’m ready to boogie on
“Yeeehawww! Now that’s the Lucy I’m looking
Yeehaws echoed from the escalator and they
looked up to see Wendy and Kate waving and shouting, wearing
matching green T-shirts. As they got closer, Vivian could make out
the details of the shirts. The top said “Wendy’s last hurrah” in
emerald green letters and had the four of them portrayed as
caricatures. Vivian standing under a Bourbon Street sign, slinging
a boa around a guy’s neck, Lucy and Kate, doused in beads,
hurricane glasses held high cheersing, and Wendy, also holding a
hurricane but wearing a veil and sash that said “bachelorette.”
“Hey there, soon-to-be-married lady!” Vivian
gave Wendy a big hug, then Kate. “I love the shirts!”
“Yeah, they look great,” Lucy said, reaching
out and touching Kate’s. “Love the soft cotton and the V-neck.”
Kate squeezed her back. “Thanks, I made them
online. Thought we needed something to commemorate the trip.” She
whipped two more out of her carry-on. “You gotta change into your
getaway gear!” She tossed them to Vivian and Lucy.
“Yes, go change!” Wendy clapped.
“Okay, we will, but first I have something
for you,” Vivian said to Wendy, reaching into the outside pocket of
her suitcase. She pulled out a gold sash decorated with purple,
sparkly letters that spelled out Bachelorette. Condoms were glued
here and there, along with little mini-penises and shamrocks. “I
made it and you gotta wear this the whole time we’re here.”
Wendy shook her head and made no move to grab
it. “Oh no, no way. I’ll wear it tonight on Bourbon, but that’s
Kate delicately placed it over Wendy’s head.
“We knew you’d say that, but we’re here to celebrate you getting
hitched, so you’re wearing it! Plus, it’s decorated for St. Patty’s
“Yes,” Vivian said. “It’s a multipurpose
penis Patty sash!”
Wendy threw her head back in defeat and
laughed. “You guys are too much.” She straightened it out and
grabbed her suitcase. “Y’all go put on your shirts. Let’s go!”
Vivian and Lucy hustled off to the restroom
to don their new duds, while Wendy and Kate hung out with the bags.
New shirts on, the girls headed outside to the taxi stand. An Astro
van made in the previous century pulled up. The cab driver opened
the back and assisted with their luggage, his underarms and back
wet with sweat. Lucy gave everyone the look, then climbed inside,
inspecting her seat before sitting down.
Once everything was loaded and the van was in
gear, the driver asked, “Where to?”
“Hotel De Lis on Canal Street,” Kate
instructed, then she turned to the girls. “Have y’all been watching
that ‘Swamp People’ show?”
“Uh, no,” Lucy said.
“I’ve seen the commercials, it looks
awesome,” Vivian said. “I just don’t have time to watch trash