Read Kiss of Noir Online

Authors: Clara Nipper

Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Romance, #Mystery & Detective, #Contemporary, #Women Sleuths, #Lesbian, #Gay & Lesbian, #(v5.0)

Kiss of Noir

BOOK: Kiss of Noir
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Table of Contents
Synopsis
 

“I was thirty-six when I left the big city for the Big Easy. They say New Orleans is like a woman, beautiful, deceitful, and deadly. All I know is, I had to leave Los Angeles on the run and The Crescent City beckoned like a broad on her back.”

 

In the sequel to Femme Noir, Nora Delaney has returned to her job as a college basketball coach in Los Angeles. When she beats up a rival coach on national television, she is fired and flees to a tiny town outside New Orleans to take refuge with her cousin Ellis Delaney and his wife. Working at Ellis’ pawn shop, Nora meets Cleo Sweetleaf, who becomes a mentor and a second father. While Nora takes stock of her life, her everlasting hunger for strange women causes trouble from sunup to sundown. When Cleo is murdered, Nora, spurred on by revenge, is drawn into solving the crime. But after being beaten and left bleeding in an alley, Nora might not solve the mystery alive.

Kiss of Noir

 

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eBooks from Bold Strokes Books, Inc.

http://www.boldstrokesbooks.com

 

eBooks are not transferable. They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.

 

Please respect the rights of the author and do not file share.

By the Author
 

Femme Noir

 

Kiss of Noir

Kiss of Noir

© 2010 By Clara Nipper. All Rights Reserved.

 

ISBN 10: 1-60282-161-5E

ISBN 13: 978-1-60282-161-3E

 

This Electronic Book is published by

Bold Strokes Books, Inc.

P.O. Box 249

Valley Falls, New York 12185

 

First Edition: August 2010

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

 

Credits

Editors: Cindy Cresap and Stacia Seaman

Production Design: Stacia Seaman

Cover Design By Sheri ([email protected])

Dedication
 

To my spark, Kristopher Kris

Prologue
 

I was thirty-six when I left the big city for the Big Easy. They say New Orleans is like a woman—beautiful, deceitful, and deadly. All I know is, I had to leave Los Angeles on the run and the Crescent City beckoned like a broad on her back.

Chapter One
 

Lying on my belly, I tried to move, but it was too great an effort. I opened one eye. The other was gummed shut. Blurry streetlights shone in the dark distance. Sirens wailed over someone else’s problems. Echoing traffic noise told me I was in an alley.

“Jesus,” I muttered through my swollen lips. I tasted the dark iron of my own blood. The asphalt was wet and gritty under my cheek. Garbage smells—rotten bananas, dog shit, bad fish—assaulted me further. For a second, I thought I would vomit, but I willed it back. I tried breathing deeply and decided I had at least one broken rib. A large shadow darted. A cat or a cockroach. I grimly tried to smile.

Little by little, I turned myself on to my back. “Aaaahhh!” I groaned as I lay there, staring up through the buildings at the stars, so far away and indifferent.

I fumbled in my pockets until I found my cigarettes and a wooden match. After my adventure in Tulsa, I had resigned myself to buying cigarettes on the regular. All foolishness of quitting was gone. I flicked my thumbnail across the head of the match and it exploded into tiny fire. I lit my cigarette and inhaled shallow. My crotch felt cold and wet so I touched my pants.

“Lord God, I done pissed myself!” I whispered, shaking my head, my shaved skull rolling back and forth on the ground. Cleo murdered; I’m unemployed and homeless; life is right on track.

And there, laid out on my back in the French Quarter, I started laughing. It started out small and grew to a ripe richness, floating out to mix with the traffic noise.

Chapter Two
 

Nine months ago

 

They lost! My hands hung like dead birds between my knees. I stared, hollow-eyed, at the scoreboard. One of my players lay on her back on the court. The rest of them straggled back to the bench amid the tumultuous applause for the other team. A few of my girls were crying and fighting it.

My mind was stuck. I couldn’t move. This couldn’t be true! This
did not
just happen! Even the tiny buzz I had received from sipping gin-spiked water had evaporated. My team surrounded me. The awkward silence thickened. The happy noise from the winners was terrible. Some of my team stared at their shoes. The cheering continued, fans pouring onto the court to embrace the victors, who were leaping and doing cartwheels. I tasted aloe and tiny green apples. I glanced at the scoreboard, shook my head, and looked at the opposing coach, who was smirking at me.

This roused me. I glared a look of dignified royalty to my nemesis, who was fake blond and fake chipper and utterly detestable. I stood, stretched my arms to take my team into a group hug. Like lost, grieving lambs, they obeyed. I murmured encouragements I had memorized, hoping my team believed them. I didn’t. Not tonight.

“The important thing is that we played our best. We gave it our hearts and souls. In order to be winners, we must also sometimes be losers.” Blah, blah, blah, blah.

The teams lined up parallel to congratulate and console each other. The insincere mumbling and hand slapping drew us, two enemy coaches, closer and closer together.

I remember you, Camille. My thoughts like dirty knives chopped infection into my mind. We went to college together, played ball together. You were the baddest perky white bitch I ever saw. You got away with more shit in school and in play than anybody because of your bouncy bleached hair, big innocent eyes, and toothy grin that nobody but me saw as the polar freeze that it was. You fouled against your own teammates and you never even got your dainty wrist slapped. I bet you don’t even remember that bad ankle sprain you caused me, and I lost play in three games just because you had to lunge for the ball.

We were slowly approaching each other.

And you weren’t very good, either. My stomach boiled as I sent Coach Camille waves of hate. I don’t know how you
ever
made coach, you fraud. And you’re just as big a pussy lover as I am, but you wear makeup and do your hair and wear skirts that show your legs. You’re a lesbian coward. My lip curled into a sneer.

I should’ve buried you tonight, you sorry-ass cracker. I am better than you as a player and as a coach and damn sure as a dyke. I’m braver, bolder, blacker, better, buffer, butcher, and bitchier than you on your best day. I stood up straight, extending my body its full six-foot height and expanding my chest as I drew close to Camille.

“Hey, girl, long time no see!” Camille grinned, her eyes twinkling.

“Yeah, you haven’t changed a bit.” I stood, full of venom.

“Oh, Nora.” Camille pulled a mock sad face. “You just have sour grapes.” She shrugged, dimpling. “Nothing new there.”

We still clasped hands, each trying to crush the other.

“No, no, it was a good game. Let me just point out that my team is new. Your seniors almost didn’t beat my
freshmen.
” I laughed, looking at the scoreboard again. “I ain’t got nothing to be bitter about because I know for damn sure I won’t see you here at the playoffs again next year.”

Camille pulled me close, our hands welded together. She threw an arm over my back and whispered in my ear, “Yeah, you won’t see me here next year because I got your job. It’s a done deal. You’re out and I’m in.”

I jerked away, struggling for composure, and stared at Camille.

“Oh, they haven’t told you yet?” Camille giggled, “I’m sorry.”

I snorted. “That’s bullshit. Somebody just promised you that while you gagged on his dick.”

Camille’s eyes went dark as she swung her fist at me and I dodged it easily, laughing. There was a gasp from the players and the remaining fans. I clocked Camille with a hook.

Oh, my God that felt good! I shook out my fist.

Camille hit the floor hard. I was on her, ready to punch all of my rage into Camille. We scrabbled and hit, me remaining on top. It was but a few stunned seconds before people rushed to break it up. I was pleased that I got in some respectable blows before the fight was stopped by meddling crybabies. I stood, panting and smiling, bouncing on my toes, ready for war. I didn’t have a mark on me. Camille was weeping and needed help to stand.

“You hit like you play. Weak!” I spat. Camille was carried off the court, her sobs ricocheting around the stadium. The remaining fans, previously galvanized, now broke the spell and continued leaving.

BOOK: Kiss of Noir
2.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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