Read To My Senses The Nicci Beauvoir Series Book 1 Online

Authors: Alexandrea Weis

Tags: #romantic suspense, #new orleans, #contemporary romance, #romance adult erotic, #romance and erotic story, #alexandrea weis, #romance and steamy sex, #contemp, #nicci beauvoir series

To My Senses The Nicci Beauvoir Series Book 1

BOOK: To My Senses The Nicci Beauvoir Series Book 1
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To My Senses

By

Alexandrea Weis

 

This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be
construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locations,
organizations, or person, living or dead, is entirely
coincidental.

Copyright © Alexandrea Weis 2015

Smashwords Edition

Smashwords Licensing
Notes

All rights reserved. No part of this book may
be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written
permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in
articles and reviews.

Cover: BookFabulous Designs

Editor; Jodi Shaw

Chapter 1

 

The magnolias and the
debutantes blossomed onto the New Orleans social season with great
fanfare, even though the flowers were much more appealing than many
of the young ladies. Luckily, I was not among this spring’s
unfortunate few, and would not have to spend hours in the afternoon
heat wearing a long, white taffeta gown and feasting on wilted
cucumber sandwiches. I had already suffered my own humiliation
three seasons ago when I was primped, powdered, and paraded across
the lawns of many of the city’s finest homes.

The entire affair resembled
a horse auction, as observers tried to determine what type of wives
these young women would make for the lawyers, bankers, and doctors
of tomorrow. Of course, they had to have the proper physique to
interest any potential suitors: small enough to remain feminine,
but large enough to breed half a dozen healthy little future social
climbers. Their teeth had to be white, buffed, and polished as a
sign of good breeding and their parents’ ability to afford premium
dental care. A girl had to be able to walk without slouching, speak
without saying anything of importance, and act as if the only
reason for living was to carry on the traditions of polite society.
This was the essence of being a debutante in the minds of all of
the best of New Orleans’ oldest families.

For this particular lawn
party, I was to act as cheerleader for my cousin, Colleen. She was
the latest member of our family to suffer the piercing gazes and
snake-like charm of the old guard—what we younger folks
affectionately called the long-standing members of the ruling
social sect in our city. They were a rather elderly group of bored
women who held firm to the belief that having one or two ancestors
who had died in the Civil War put them on a slightly higher
pedestal than those who just had a whole lot of money. My cousin
Colleen, however, was parading among the elite of our city not
because she was interested in pedigree, but because she was very
interested in finding a husband with money.

The main job of these
functions was to arrange matchmaking services for the children of
suitable families. The old guard would provide important
introductions to a boy’s family that they felt best suited a lady’s
individual class, breeding, and matched her family’s income. It was
considered a detriment to her social standing to question the
judgment of these esteemed and rather stuffy individuals. It was
similar to a type of protective inbreeding program. Unfortunately,
that resulted in a great deal of idiocy among their offspring. If
my particular generation was any example of what faulty genetic
material could produce, then Colleen could have been their poster
child.

Colleen had been given all
of my Aunt Hattie’s looks and none of her social graces. She was
short and plump, with dark brown hair and sad brown eyes. Like my
aunt, she had an annoying habit of sucking large gasps of air in
through her teeth when she laughed. This habit always prompted my
father to refer to the two women as the “Hoover girls.”

I had spent the entire
afternoon at Colleen’s designated white linen table, observing as
my aunt downed mass quantities of tea sandwiches and champagne. The
more champagne my aunt drank the louder her laugh became, drawing
the occasional curious stare from neighboring tables. I tried to
find the appropriate moment to make a speedy departure, but Hattie
kept calling or waving at friends to come over and join us, making
it impossible for me to sneak away. Colleen, who was constantly
fidgeting, looked completely miserable as the barrage of
well-wishers breezed past our table.


Do you think I look stupid
in this thing?” Colleen questioned, pulling at her white,
off-the-shoulder dress.


You look great.” I brushed
her heavy bangs from her eyes. “You’re the prettiest girl
here.”


Ha! You’re the prettiest
girl here, Nicci!” Colleen surveyed the crowd. “You’ve always been
the pretty one, but thanks for the…well thanks.” She patted my hand
just as Hattie came waddling up to our table.


Colleen, come on girl. Sit
up straight.” Hattie fussed over Colleen’s hopelessly rumpled gown.
“Mrs. Jacobs has someone she wants you to meet.”

Colleen was terror stricken
at being summoned to a command performance with the captain of the
old guard, Eileen Jacobs. I stood and helped her straighten out her
dress.


Don’t worry,” I whispered.
“You don’t have to marry him. Just smile and make some small talk
and you’ll never have to see him again.”


Yeah, right. You don’t
know Mom,” was all she could get out before Hattie dragged her
away, still fussing.

Colleen was right, of
course. All Hattie wanted for her was a good marriage to a socially
suitable husband and about six children. But then again, Colleen
didn’t want much more than that for herself. She would have been
happy with any man.

Across the lawn, Hattie
primped Colleen’s dress, then nervously danced about as Colleen
shook hands with her prospective suitor. I chuckled, remembering
how different my aunt was from my mother.

Where Aunt Hattie was
scatterbrained, my mother had been witty. Hattie had always been
overly excitable and demanded attention like a puppy. My mother, on
the other hand, had been calm; people gravitated to her like a
beautiful work of art. Mother had been tall with deep auburn hair,
creamy white skin, and warm gray eyes. She lacked all the classical
features of her Italian heritage, but she had been the pride of the
Bascelli family. Her musical laugh lit up a room. And men, well men
found her to be the most fascinating creature they had ever seen.
My father had worshiped her until the day she died.


God, it
was awful,” Colleen reported, returning to our table. “He was very
snooty and had huge buck teeth.”
The
inbreeding
no
doubt
, I thought. “Never
again.” She eased into the chair next to mine and snatched up her
glass of champagne, downing the contents with one
gulp.


I’m sure it wasn’t that
bad, Colleen.”


Easy for you to say. Who
got introduced to Parker Roy at her first lawn party?” She rolled
her brown eyes. “Parker Roy! Only the best looking and richest guy
in town.” Colleen reached across the table for her mother’s
half-empty glass of champagne. “You always get the great guys,
Nicci. You just never go out with any of them.”


Colleen, you know Parker
and I are just friends. Anyway, I consider myself selective, that’s
all. Looks and money are not important criteria for me.” I stared
off into the crowd, wanting to avoid another heated confrontation
with my cousin.


There you go again. You
know, I think you’ve turned down half the male population of the
city.” She glimpsed the table, searching for more champagne, no
doubt. “Nicci, can you ever just look at a man for the sake of
looking?”


So are we now talking
about the rating of buns or the general appeal of the guy’s
body?”


You’re hopeless.” Colleen
rose from her chair. “I’m going in search of more booze. Care to
join me?”


No thanks.”


Nicci, you can’t keep
hiding up in your room with your books all your life. You have no
friends and you never go out. Christ, you’re missing out on
everything.”


Colleen, I don’t think you
need any more champagne.”


You know what else?” She
shook her head. “Oh, never mind.” And with that, Colleen walked
away, trying to look poised as her high heels stuck in the
grass.


At least I can wake up the
next morning and remember the night before,” I mused.

I knew once Colleen started
drinking, she wouldn’t quit until someone pried her hands off the
bottle. Then again, this was New Orleans, where one’s first
encounter with alcohol usually occurred before puberty.

As Colleen stumbled her way
to the bar at the far end of the lawn, I was pondering how I was
going to get her to my aunt’s car when I noticed the new face in
the crowd.

What immediately struck me
was that he didn’t seem to belong there. He was poised, tall,
slender, and dressed in a dark tailored suit. I was dazzled by the
stranger’s ability to glide his way, smiling and laughing, through
the party. The head of every woman followed him as he moved. He
appeared indifferent to their gazes, but I could sense he was
acutely aware of the attention he was attracting. It was as if
every movement, every nuance of his performance, was perfectly
timed and executed. Like the way he recklessly carried his
champagne glass, but never spilled a drop. How he ran his hand
through his thick brown hair, then raised his eyes and stared off
into the throng. What probably attracted the most attention from
the crowd was the woman on whose arm he strolled. It was Samantha
Fallon.

Samantha, Sammy to her
friends, was a woman who used any means at her disposal to
perpetuate her many lucrative enterprises. She owned stocks, real
estate, oil wells, and dabbled in scrap metal. My father considered
Sammy a formidable competitor to my family’s own scrap metal
business, Beauvoir Scrap.

Sammy had married into her fortune and
status, and unlike my mother, she lacked the ability to enchant
people with her beauty and charm. Any beauty Sammy possessed had
long since faded. So she had become another of the plastic surgery
addicts among the old guard. If it had not been sucked, lifted, or
stretched on her body, it was silicone. She had the face and figure
of a centerfold model, but the eyes of a well-worn and cruel old
woman.

It was rumored Sammy had
started out as a stripper in the French Quarter, and that was
supposedly how she met her late husband, a powerful Louisiana
attorney named Gerald Fallon. Mr. Fallon was a notorious gambler,
drinker, womanizer, and bully. Their union had lasted twenty years,
with Sammy spending most of that time in Europe. She would often be
overheard saying there were only two things Gerald had given
her—money and her son, Edward.

Edward, or Eddie as he
preferred, was also among the guests at our social affair. I had
seen his bright red mop of hair hiding among the magnolias
throughout the afternoon. Most people generally tended to steer
clear of Eddie. Like his father, he had an affinity for drinking,
gambling, and fighting. Women, however, scared Eddie to death. It
was well known among our circle that Eddie’s fighting rampages
usually correlated with Sammy’s interest in a new man.

I eagerly searched for
Eddie in the crowd, wondering if he was aware of his mother’s
newest conquest. I became alarmed to see Sammy continually kissing
and touching her escort, teasingly trying to evoke a response. The
gentleman, however, was more discreet with his affections. I
couldn’t help but think that Sammy was not getting her money’s
worth with this one.

BOOK: To My Senses The Nicci Beauvoir Series Book 1
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