Merry Belated Christmas and Early Happy 2016! May it be a blessed one, in whatever way that means to you this year. We had an extremely WET Christmas Eve–as in, nine inches of rain, flash floods, and Suzanne wasn’t about to get out in that mess to pick up the Christmas ham and fixins. So we had leftovers from the freezer from Thanksgiving and some andouille. Hey, works for me. Our actual Christmas dinner will occur tonight.
I haven’t done a lot of holidays in my books–just a hint at Thanksgiving at the end of PIRATE’S ALLEY. So here’s some holiday prep from BELLE CHASSE that might or might not make it into the book, depending on when, how and if it comes in for revisions. DJ is stuck hiding out at Jean Lafitte’s house in Barataria in the Beyond, but has gotten a message from her cousin Audrey to be at a particular hotel in Old Orleans on Christmas Eve. Everyone agrees it’s probably a trap, but she goes anyway, with Jake as backup, at his fiancee Collette’s insistence. Oh, and the Baratarian transport is about a foot out into the Gulf of Mexico…at low tide.
“You could go with DJ while I watch the transport, and make sure it’s really her cousin and not a setup,” Collette said. “Just don’t stay gone too long.” Her smile held all kinds of promises, and not the kind Quince Randolph was asking for.
“Good grief, guys. I don’t need a chaperone.” I did, however, need a rubber wetsuit. “I’m going to move this transport above the tide line.”
“Nope, don’t move it.” Jake checked the clip in his pistol and stuck it back in his shoulder holster. “Jean decided he likes it where it is. The water will throw off anyone who comes in not expecting it, so it’s safer for us to keep it open. In fact, he’s talking about having you move it farther out.”
If I moved it much farther, I’d be completely underwater, and this little wizard wasn’t going there.
“Come on, a little water won’t hurt you,” Jake said. “And don’t argue—I’m going with you.” He rolled up his pants legs, like that was going to help anyone shorter than Andre the Giant. “Let’s see the address.”
I handed him the note. “Is there a transport near that spot so I don’t have to use the big one at St. Louis Cathedral?” If I ran into anyone I knew, it would happen at the cathedral transport.
“Yeah, there’s one on Dauphine that’s gotta be closer. Let’s do it.”
He gave Collette a lingering kiss, so lingering that I was up to my hips in water by the time he sloshed out to join me. “Does that magic stick work in water?”
“This magic stick works everywhere.” I loved Charlie, who gave and gave and never asked anything in return except an occasional polish. If only I could find a man as dependable.
I didn’t need the staff in this transport since it was open, however, so I simply spoke the transport name Jake gave me: Dauphine Express. Cute.
Turns out it was the name of a hotel and bar a few doors from the transport, which lay in the middle of Dauphine Street. Jake looked at the note again. “This is it, the Dauphine Inn Express.”
It lay on a quiet block—at least it was quiet for Old Orleans, a mind-boggling mirror version of the modern city, with working artifacts from different eras. A few places had electricity, and they were always crowded with a variety of species. Goblins took up space at most of the bars serving modern alcohol smuggled in by Rene and Jean, from which they earned an enviable income. At least on this block, there weren’t hookers of every species offering their services from open doorways and windows.
One would never know it was Christmas Eve, either. Not a bit of mistletoe in sight.
Jake started toward the hotel but stopped when he realized I wasn’t following. I need to send him back to Barataria, unless… “Is this an open transport?”
I knelt and touched a finger to the interlocking circle and triangle etched into the brick of the street. It had an odd vibe to it. It was open, but what the hell had it been powered with?
“It’s an old wizard transport that Christof adapted to work with faery magic, so it’s a secretly open transport we can use. If you tried to use wizard’s magic on it, it wouldn’t work,” Jake said. “Of course, now that I’ve told you it’s here, I’ll have to kill you—unless you promise not to tell.”
I’d heard a lot of that today. Since he didn’t need me to get him back to his fiancée in Barataria, I’d let Jake be chivalrous and escort me to the mystery room. I couldn’t imagine what Audrey had done, and half expected to see Lennox or Zrakovi, backed by a cadre of enforcers, when I knocked on the door.
What I didn’t expect to see was Alex, wearing nothing but a tight pair of black boxer briefs and a red velvet bow around his neck. I swear I almost swooned. I definitely drooled.
“Oh my God. I’m scarred for life. I’ll never be able to unsee that.” Jake slapped his hands over his eyes and headed back down the hallway, so he missed Alex’s grin. “I’m outta here. Use that transport to get back, DJ.”
Heh. Kinda makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it?
We had only one giveaway this holiday week, and BOOKLADY won the Readers Choice. She chose Ben Elton’s TIME AND TIME AGAIN. Let me know if you prefer print or digital.
Stay tuned later today, as I’ll begin putting up a new page called TBR JUNCTION. If you win a TBR book, you can choose a title off that list. I’ll be adding new books on a daily basis, or that’s the plan. After a couple of months without being claimed, I’ll have a “fire sale” day where you can take as many as you want for the cost of shipping and anything unclaimed at that point goes to Goodwill.
Also if you’ve been coming to the blog site (the rest of the website looks fine) and getting black type on a dark purple background that situation, hopefully, has been repaired. At its last update, one of the blogroll entries misfired and threw everything off. If you see it happen again, please let me know (thanks Roger, for this time)! And thanks to the folks at the Killion Group (Kim and Samuel) for responding so quickly on Christmas!
Back tomorrow for another light Reader’s Choice and then our releases should be back to normal-ish.