Read Deja Voodoo (A Cajun Magic Novel) (Entangled Suspense) Online

Authors: Elle James

Tags: #Suspense, #Romance, #romance series, #Elle James, #entangled publishing, #voodoo, #Entangled Suspense

Deja Voodoo (A Cajun Magic Novel) (Entangled Suspense) (7 page)

BOOK: Deja Voodoo (A Cajun Magic Novel) (Entangled Suspense)
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“I’ll help,” Alex offered.

“No,
cher
.” Her mother headed her off before she could duck into the kitchen and disappear. “Why don’t you give Mr. Marceau a tour of the garden?
C’est magnifique
in the starlight.”

She pulled her mother to the side. “Mom, stop playing matchmaker. I know you care about me, but I don’t need help finding a man. Besides, like I said, I have Sport staying with me for a little while. Men aren’t going to want to go out with me while I have a man staying at my house.” There, that lie slipped off her lips a lot easier than the last. And it wasn’t totally a lie. Sport
was
a man…for the time being.

Alex’s mom touched her arm, her forehead lined with worry. “Sport seems nice and all, though kind of quiet. Are you sure you want to have a man stay with you, alone in your house?”

“I’m twenty-nine, Mom, not nineteen.” She patted her mother’s hand. “I know what I’m doing.”

“Mr. Marceau is such a nice gentleman.”

“Yes, I’m sure he is.”

Her mother patted her arm again. “Then show him around the garden, and I promise not to bother you anymore.”

She knew better than to believe her. “I can’t leave Sport alone.”

“I don’t know why. He and Calliope seem to have hit it off.” Her mother smiled toward her friend and her man-dog. “She’s quite taken with him. I saw her whispering to him all through the meal.”

Calliope chose that moment to wave at her and called out, “Sport and I are headed back to your house.”

“I’m coming,” she said.

“Alex, please,” her mother begged.

God, she hated it when her mother begged. Since her father had passed, she hadn’t been able to say no to her mother.

“Stay and visit,” Calliope offered. “I can manage Sport by myself.”

“See?” Her mother beamed. “All taken care of.”

This is not happening.
All the effort to parade Sport in front of her mother as her boyfriend had somehow backfired. Now her mother had it in her head that Sport was Calliope’s main man.
If only she knew
. If she had been a good daughter, she’d have been honest with her mother at the start. Unfortunately, the opportunity to tell her the truth had come and gone about the time she introduced Sport in the first place.

“Fine.” She waved her friend off and turned to find Ed. “One spin around the garden and I’m out of here.” She didn’t look forward to spending time alone with the man, not when his touch made her skin tingle and his semi-smiles brought on an attack of butterflies in her belly and a strange ache between her legs. But if it would get her mother off her back, she’d do it, then get back to her real issue—finding a way to turn Sport back into a dog.

Chapter Six

Dolley and Madison had Ed cornered in the living room, refusing to give him the opportunity to escape through the door and out of the Boyette house. They’d filled him in on their summer job duties of guiding tourists through the Beauregard Sugar Plantation House. Then they’d gone into a discussion of the different classes they were taking toward degrees in marine biology at Tulane. Listening to the pretty young girls in stereo was giving him a headache. He glanced around for help getting away and spotted Alex headed toward him.

“Mom said she promised you a tour of the garden. Come on.” She grabbed his arm and practically marched him toward the rear of the house.

As they stepped out into the warm, humid night, he breathed in the thick bayou air and let it out.

Alex didn’t give him time to absorb the ambience, though, jerking him down the steps of the back porch and onto the lush green lawn.

“In a hurry?” he asked.

“A night tour of the garden won’t take long in the dark and you’ll be free to go,” she said, her tone short, clipped. Something definitely had her panties in a twist.

Remembering a pair of black lace panties, he wanted to know what had her riled. If it was him, even better. He purposely slowed.

Because she had hold of his arm, she was forced to match his pace or let go. “Do you always run around with your hair on fire?” he asked.

Her lips tightened and she glanced across at him, letting go of his arm. “I’m sorry. My mother makes me nuts.”

“She obviously cares about her children.”

“I know.” Alex sighed and walked to the edge of the bayou canal. “Sometimes too much. Thanks for keeping this morning’s incident to yourself. I’d never hear the end of it if my mother found out.”

“You’re welcome.” Ed leaned against a cypress tree and crossed his arms. “I have to admit, I’ve seen some crazy stuff, but never a man streaking through town followed by a woman in a sexy nightgown.” He chuckled, the image still fresh in his mind, and equally tantalizing.

Her cheeks grew a deeper shade of pink and her lips twitched into a smile. “Must have seemed pretty strange.”

“I was warned they did some crazy things down in the bayous, but what exactly was your friend Sport doing running around town in the altogether?”

“He was”—Alex glanced in all directions and finally stammered—“he was getting some air.” She shrugged as if streakers were an everyday occurrence in Bayou Miste. “Sport is a bit of a free spirit. A nature-lover.”

“Are you in love with Sport?”

“We’ve known each other for a while and I love him dearly…as a friend.” Alex blinked. “Not
that
kind of friend. I mean, we’re not doing anything. Although he did sleep in my bed last night, but that was before I knew—” She stopped, clapping a hand over her mouth. “I’m sorry. I must sound totally crazy. It’s been a helluva day and I’m having difficulty processing it all.”

“You seem to be popular in these parts. Your mother says you’re single, but I ran into a guy in Morgan City who said his girlfriend was an Alex Boyette. Is there more than one of you?”

Alex moaned. “For the record, I don’t have a boyfriend. I don’t want a boyfriend, and the man you met—”

“Theo,” Ed offered.

“Right. He is on the verge of being slapped with a restraining order.” Alex dropped onto a nearby stone bench and buried her head in her hands. “All I want to do is run my business and be left alone. Why can’t my mother understand?”

He sat on the bench beside her and stared out at the canal in front of him. “You’re lucky to have a family who cares.”

“I know.” She sat back and stared out at the water, too. “My life is too complicated right now.”

For a few minutes he said nothing, enjoying the peace of the bayou as the cicadas began their song and frogs croaked. “I take it you’re the sister who taught Teddy and Roosevelt all they know about fishing?”

Alex snorted. “It doesn’t even touch what my dad taught me, but I’m trying to fill the void.”

“When did he pass?”

“Two years ago.” She sniffed and touched a finger to the corner of her eye. “I miss him,” she whispered, her voice catching.

Ed slipped an arm around her.

When she stiffened, he assured her, “Don’t worry, I’m not interested in a relationship either. I’m here for a short time, then I’m gone.”

After a moment, she leaned into him.

He marveled at how natural and warm and good it felt, her body nestled into his. “Whose idea was it to name all of you after famous people?”

“Dad’s.” She laughed. “He thought it would be easier to remember our names.”

“He had a point,” Ed said. The stars laid a blanket of diamonds across the water and the big blossoming flowers all around gave off a soft, pleasing scent. He could almost see the attraction one might have to bayou living. Almost.

But the longer he sat with Alex curled into the crook of his arm, the more uncomfortable he became. His groin tightened, his body heated, and those damned black lace panties flashed through his mind like a persistent neon sign. Finally, he removed his arm and stood. “Well, that should satisfy your mother. I’ll just duck in and tell her thank you and be on my way back to my cottage.”

Alex stood and laid a hand on his arm. “Ed?”

Her touch lit his blood on fire and it was all he could do not to pull her into his arms. “Yes, Alex?”

“Thanks for not saying anything about…well, you know.”

“It’ll be our little secret.”

Then she leaned up on her toes and pressed a kiss to his lips.

That was all he needed. Before she could get away, he captured her around the waist and deepened what was probably meant as a chaste thank-you kiss into a damn-you-and-your-black-lace-panties bruising kiss that left him breathless.

When he set her back on her feet, he wondered who was more surprised by the kiss, him or her. “In case your mother was watching,” he lied, and beat a hasty retreat, afraid if he stayed he’d be in a lot more trouble than he already was.

Now would be a good time to get out on the bayou and check out how his witness was faring. Things had gotten far too dangerous in town.


Alex hurried back to her house on the other end of Bayou Miste, her head in a whirl, a deep ache building at her core. All because of one little ol’ soul-defining, curl-a-girl’s-toes kiss. What was supposed to have been a quick walk in the garden had turned into something a lot different.

Ed.

What woman in her right mind fell for a guy named Ed? “Not that I’m falling,” she muttered aloud. “Not in a million years. I have a house of my own, a business in Morgan City, a family who needs me, and a dog…” She clutched her hair, ready to rip it out. “Oh, my God, I have a dog who needs to be returned to his rightful body.” She knew she didn’t have time in her busy schedule for romance, no matter how badly she now wanted to get laid. Relationships required time—a commodity she didn’t have a lot of. Besides, Ed would be leaving town at the end of his vacation to return to New Orleans.

From what she had observed of friends with long-distance relationships, they didn’t work.

Besides, her business and her family were here and took up all of her time.
Get it through your thick head!

Alex jumped back and screamed as a large male figure stepped in front of her.

“Hello, Alex.”

Pressing a hand to her thundering heart, she funneled all her frustration into the one person she had no desire to see. “Theo Ledet, you scared the bejesus out of me.”

“Sorry, I just wanted to see you.”

“By slinking around in the dark?” She planted her fists on her hips. “What the hell are you doing in Bayou Miste? I told you, I don’t want anything to do with you. That one night at the Raccoon Saloon was a mistake.”

“I thought you loved me.”

“Read my lips, Theo. I. Don’t. Love. You.” She’d tried letting him down softly, but nothing had gotten through to him. Not talking to him, not yelling at him. “I had too much to drink. I wasn’t thinking clearly. What happened was a
huge
mistake.”

“But I want to marry you. Make an honest woman out of you.”

She stared at him, realizing she was talking to a very dense brick wall. “Tomorrow, I’m going to march down to the county courthouse and file for a restraining order. Do you know what that is?”

He nodded. “Uh-huh.”

“It will mean that if you get anywhere near me, you will be violating the law and they will throw your sorry ass in jail.” She inhaled and let it out slowly, trying to bring her pulse rate down. “Theo, leave me alone. Please.”

She didn’t give him the opportunity to respond. Instead, she pushed past him and jogged the rest of the way home. The entire way she felt as if she was being watched. Twice, she almost tripped over her own feet looking back to see if he had followed her. The street was clear, but the feeling continued all the way to her house.

The door was locked and she had to knock. A creepy sensation like a spiderweb floating over the back of her neck made her knock again, louder than she’d meant to.

Calliope yanked open the door. “What’s wrong? Where’s the emergency? Between you and Sport, you’d think the bayou was on fire.”

She fell through the door and slammed it behind her, shooting the bolt home.

Sport stood beside the door, his eyes narrowed, his lips pulled back over his teeth, a rumble building in his chest.

“Is he growling?” she asked.

Calliope stroked Sport’s arm. “It was the weirdest thing. Just before you started banging, he rushed to the door and did his human version of barking, then growled. What’s out there?”

“Theo, for one.”

“That jerkwad. What did he want?”

“What do you think he wanted?” She pushed the spooky sensation to the back of her mind and kicked off her shoes.

“To marry you and give you a dozen children just as dumb as he is?”

“You got it.”

“Well, you said you wanted someone who would love you no matter what.”

“Yes, but I also want him to be able to string more than two words together in a sentence and sound halfway intelligent.”

Calliope’s lips twitched up on the corners. “Like Ed Marceau?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Her ears burned.

“Ha! So you two did more than smell the roses as you walked through the garden, didn’t you?” Calliope pointed a finger in her face. “Don’t lie. Your ears are turning red. Fess up. You have the hots for the mediator.”

“He’s here on vacation. When he leaves, he’s gone.”

“So?” Calliope spread her arms wide. “What’s it hurt to have a short fling? Who knows, you might end up tossing your dirty sweatshirt in the ring and moving to the Big Easy.”

“I’m not moving to the Big Easy. My business and my family are here.”

“You aren’t responsible for raising your siblings. Your mother has a good handle on that, and besides, they’re growing up.”

“Yeah, but they don’t have Dad around anymore to teach them the things they need to know that Mom doesn’t have the time or inclination to teach.”

“Like what?”

“Fishing, karate, self-defense. How to tie a slipknot.”

“Honey, they can join the Boy Scouts.”

“My love life is not what’s in question at the moment.” She stared at Sport curling up on the couch, yawning. “We have to get Sport back to normal.” She squared her shoulders and pulled on her mud boots. “Can you stay with him while I pay a visit to Madame LeBieu?”

“At night?” Calliope shivered. “In the dark? Aren’t you afraid of getting lost?”

“I know my way around the bayou, day or night. Besides, there’s a sky full of stars and a nearly full moon rising. Plenty of light to get around. I shouldn’t be gone for long.”

“Promise me you’ll be careful.”

“I know the risks.” Yeah, but she didn’t know why she’d been so spooked minutes earlier. She passed it off as a residual effect of her encounter with Theo. “Don’t stay up.”

“Where do you want Sport to sleep?”

“He seems comfortable where he is. You can have my bed or the futon in the spare bedroom.”

“I’ll take the lounge chair, just in case Sports wakes in the night.”

“Thanks for helping.”

“I’m glad I had the night off. Remember, tomorrow night I have to work.”

“Oh, yeah. And Mom volunteered me to take Ed out fishing at night. I hope Madame LeBieu has an answer to our Sport problem by then.” Alex grabbed a flashlight and let herself out the front door. She glanced right, then left, peering into every shadow, that creepy sense of being watched still as strong as when she’d entered.

Theo must have scared her more than she originally thought. Bayou Miste was a quiet corner of the bayou, free of crime and bad guys. Well, for the most part. There was the time when Ben had come to flush out the man responsible for the attacks on congressional candidate Jason Littington. And the guys who’d tried to kill Craig Thibodeaux’s fiancée, Elaine, when she’d discovered them dumping pollutants in the bayou.

Okay, so it wasn’t as quiet and safe as she liked to think. But, damn it, she had to get to Madame LeBieu and undo the damage to Sport. She’d be careful, and keep her eyes and ears open for bad guys and alligators.

She set off across the road and down the bank to the canal where she kept her pirogue tied off to a cypress tree. She stepped in and, with her paddle, pushed away from the bank and pulled the rope to crank the motor. It chugged, spit out a cloud of smoke, and engaged. With her hand on the tiller, she spun the boat around and skimmed along the still surface of the canal. As she passed the marina, a movement caught her attention and she turned to look back, studying the shadows at the corners. Nothing moved, no one stepped out. Yet that sense of being watched persisted until she reached a fork in the channel and headed out into the bayou where Madame LeBieu’s shack had stood for as long as Alex could remember.

She could find her way with her eyes closed, as many times as she’d visited Lisa and Lucie LeBieu growing up. It still felt strange to know that Lucie wouldn’t be there. Having married Ben, she’d moved to Baton Rouge over a year ago. Lisa, her twin, was in and out, between her life in New Orleans and her home here in Bayou Miste.

BOOK: Deja Voodoo (A Cajun Magic Novel) (Entangled Suspense)
11.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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