Welcome to Scene-Snippet Sunday! Today, I’m offering another bit of a scene from River Road, the second book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series. It comes out in only two weeks! Please head over to my website to find information about a couple of book signings, and also to learn about the upcoming River Road online tour that will run from November 12-December 15–tons of giveaways and lots of fun tour stops! And read on past the scene snippet to see if you won a book this week!
I picked up the elven staff that had bailed me out of trouble with Jean Lafitte in the past. The thigh holster Alex had helped me rig for it would look ridiculous with my dress. Note to self: get Alex to pick out a nice all-purpose handgun that would fit in an evening bag. If I was going to date outside my species, I needed to be armed. The fact I even considered the need for a gun on a date should have rung a few alarm bells.
On the drive to the French Quarter, I rethought the whole outfit. What if Jean wore his customary black pants and linen shirt? I’d be grossly overdressed. What if he thought my dress was too short? The guy probably liked powdered wigs and petticoats.
Still, I was excited by the promise of an interesting evening. Whatever else Jean Lafitte might be, he was not dull, nor was he likely to dredge up emotional crap that would leave me in tears.
I tapped on the door of the Eudora Welty Suite, and when Jean answered I got an eyeful of early 19th-century gentleman that made me forget about being overdressed. He’d tucked fawn-colored trousers into matching soft leather boots, and a fawn vest topped a formal white shirt. A blue scarf around his neck added a dash of color, and I saw a blue waistcoat draped over a chair.
We stared at each other. I recovered first, and laughed. “May I come in?”
He stepped back and smiled. “You look magnificent, Jolie. More beautiful than even I realized.”
God help me, I blushed. Again. “You look kinda hot yourself.”
He frowned and looked down at his clothing. “But I am quite comfortable. Why would you believe I was hot?”
I bit my lip. “Sorry, it’s just a modern term to mean that you look very handsome.”
“Ah, tres bien.” He smiled, handed me a brandy, and pointed me toward one of the suite’s facing sofas. I sat close to the arm of the nearest one and was pleased to see he sat a respectful distance away. Good pirate. There would be no making out on this sofa.
“Drusilla, I have chosen a special place for us to dine tonight. I reserved a table, but you must decide if you are willing to go.”
I took a sip of brandy, which sent a sweet burn all the way to my toes, and tried to keep a pleasant expression on my face despite being able to tell he was uncertain. I’d done my emotional grounding ritual before leaving the house, but the dress was too clingy for my mojo bag to be hidden anywhere. I’d left it at home, accepting that I’d be pulling in some unwanted emotion tonight.
Jean didn’t think I was going to like whatever he was about to tell me. “What did you have in mind?”
“I would like to take you to Antoine’s.”
I blinked at him. Antoine’s was culinary royalty in New Orleans. I had only eaten there once. My salary was more in the cheap corner dive range.
“Well, of course. I’d love to go to Antoine’s.” I hoped he didn’t try to pay for dinner with gold doubloons. If he did, I could always slip the waiter some plastic and pray my credit limit held.
“Do not answer in haste, Jolie. I do not refer to the modern restaurant, but the original. Antoine Alciatore himself will be preparing our meal.” Jean looked pleased with himself. “Of course, you must accompany me into the Beyond for the evening, to the New Orleans of 1850.”
Or not. I apologize in advance, but I have reinstated the (admittedly VERY annoying) word verification on comments. I’ll try taking it down again shortly, but my email inbox is getting buried in comment spam, most of which seem to be coming from Russia. It has caused my blog’s Alexa ranking to drop dramatically, so I’m trying to get it under control. My apologies for adding the extra step.