While on an early morning patrol in the swamps of Whiskey Bayou, Louisiana wildlife agent Gentry Broussard spots a man leaving the home of voodoo priestess Eva Savoie—a man who bears a startling resemblance to his brother, whom Gentry thought he had killed during a drug raid three years earlier. Shaken, the agent enters Eva’s cabin and makes a bloody discovery: the old woman has been brutally murdered.
With no jurisdiction over the case, he’s forced to leave the investigation to the local sheriff, until Eva’s beautiful heir, Celestine, receives a series of gruesome threats. As Gentry’s involvement deepens and more victims turn up, can he untangle the secrets behind Eva’s murder and protect Celestine from the same fate? Or will an old family curse finally have its way?
From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes the first book in the Wilds of the Bayou series.
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Wild Man’s Curse
by Susannah Sandlin
Wilds of the Bayou #1
April 7, 2016
Wild Man’s Curse Excerpt
Gentry whipped his Wildlife and Fisheries truck into the parking spot next to Celestine’s, and the fury in her face when she turned to look at him through the window took him aback. She’d been shaky when she called, frightened, and rightly so. Now she looked like a volcano on the verge of covering some poor village in molten lava. She didn’t need comforting anymore; she needed calming down.
He motioned her toward his truck. Better to go in his vehicle since they were “acquaintances” anyway, or so he’d told his counterpart at the sheriff’s office as a rationale for horning in on their investigation.
Ceelie jumped out of Eva’s beat-up Chevy and climbed in his passenger’s seat, throwing a gray plastic Walmart bag ahead of her. He picked it up and peered inside at a tactical knife still in its packaging. “Planning to cut somebody?” From the look on her face, the answer would be yes.
“You better believe it.” Water beaded on Ceelie’s black hair, and she swiped an already-wet sleeve across her face and shook her head like his dog Hoss after Gentry had insulted him with a bath. Her wet black top clung to every curve. He jerked his gaze back to the knife. “Acquaintances” didn’t notice things like curves.
The woman had no clue how sexy she was, which made her even sexier. And wet. Gentry reached behind him in the extended cab, grabbed a roll of paper towels, and handed it to her. He tried not to watch as she pulled off a few sheets and scrubbed them over her face and hair.
He failed; that was sexy too. Damn.
She snatched the Walmart bag out of his lap and stuffed the wet paper towels in it, retrieving the knife. She handed the paper-towel roll back to him. “That SOB gets close enough to me, he’s going to know how Tante Eva felt. I’m not afraid of blood.”
Celestine Savoie might be mighty and fierce, but she was too petite to take on a six-foot-plus killer, especially using a knife straight out of the Walmart display case. That wasn’t sexist; it was just fact. He’d explain that to her. Later.
“Tell me what happened before we go to the cabin,” he said. “I called the sheriff’s office and they have a deputy en route. It’s probably better for him to get there first and look around.”
She’d been tearing at the knife’s packaging and almost had it open. “Thanks for calling them. I realized after I got you on the phone that it was probably something the sheriff’s office would handle. I just . . .” She stilled her hands and looked up at him. He’d give half his next paycheck to read her expression, but he couldn’t. He could read a criminal’s body language like a pro, but women had always been a mystery. Good thing he didn’t encounter many female criminals as a wildlife enforcement agent or he’d have to find a new line of work.
“I don’t know why.” She shrugged. “Calling you felt like the right thing to do.”
He smiled and cleared his throat when their gazes stayed locked too long. Good thing her skin flushed and she looked away so she wouldn’t see him practicing his Creole tomato impression.
Yeah, they had chemistry, all right. He was out of practice but he wasn’t blind, deaf and dumb. At least not that kind of dumb.
About Susannah Sandlin
Susannah Sandlin is a native of Winfield, Alabama, and has worked as a writer/editor in educational publishing in Alabama, Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana. She currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, and has a no-longer-secret passion for Cajun culture, Canadian French pop music, and redneck reality TV. She writes The Penton Legacy paranormal romance series (REDEMPTION, ABSOLUTION, OMEGA, ALLEGIANCE and the spinoff STORM FORCE); The Collectors suspense duology (LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP; DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD); and the new Wilds of the Bayou series, which began with the April 2016 release of WILD MAN’S CURSE. Book two, BLACK DIAMOND, will be released on Oct. 18, 2016.
* LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP, book one in The Collectors series, won the Holt Medallion for romantic suspense in 2015 and the Booksellers Best Award for romantic suspense, also in 2015.
* ALLEGIANCE, book four in the Penton Legacy series, was nominated by RT Book Reviews Magazine for the 2015 Reviewer’s Choice Award in paranormal worldbuilding.
* Penton book three, OMEGA, was nominated by RT Book Reviews Magazine for the 2014 Reviewer’s Choice Award in paranormal romance.
* ABSOLUTION, book two in the Penton Legacy series, won the Holt Medallion for paranormal romance in 2013 and was a finalist for the 2013 Prism and Gayle Wilson awards.
Susannah is a member of Romance Writers of America and the following chapters: Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Southern Magic, Georgia Romance Writers, and Kiss of Death. She also is a member of Novelists Inc.
As Suzanne Johnson, she writes the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series.