In case you didn’t know this lovely lady is one of my favorite stalkees- you may see me posting things about her Storm Force and Penton Legacy series- she also has the MOST BOOK BOYFRIENDS from me… It seems like she is most talented in her book boyfriend writing abilities 🙂 PLUS she’s a native!! Even if she isn’t in South Louisiana anymore… Once you’re here, you’re always a native- we’re just too cool not to love that much! So, Yes, I know I have shown you these books before BUT I feel the need to remind you how flipping fantastic she is 🙂 PLUS out of all of her lovely men- JAKE IS MY FAVORITE!!! Heh, I really would love to just eat him up. I think I’d kill Alex or he’d probably kill me first, and Jean LaFitte is just way too pretty for me… That and I am so unlady like he’d probably tie me up and duct tape my mouth shut, and then where’s the fun in that 🙂 HEHEHEHE 🙂 PLUS… since Ms Suzanne knows how much I love her men… I so get to have them all over today. 🙂 So let me show you!!!!
Sentinels of New Orleans Book One
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Number of pages: 337
Word Count: approx. 94,000
Cover Artist: Cliff Nielsen
As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ’s boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.
Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters. While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering soldiers sent to help the city recover.
To make it worse, Gerald St. Simon has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and the killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter roux.
Friday, August 26, 2005
“Once [Tropical Storm Katrina] moved over the gulf today, it was expected to wheel north, pick up speed and hit the Florida Panhandle on Sunday.”
―The New York Times
A secluded Louisiana bayou. A sexy pirate. Seduction and deceit. My Friday afternoon had the makings of a great romantic adventure, at least in theory.
In practice, angry mosquitoes were using me for target practice, humidity had ruined any prayer of a good hair day, and the pirate in question―the infamous Jean Lafitte―was two-hundred years old, armed, and carrying a six-pack of Paradise condoms in assorted fruit flavors.
I wasn’t sure what unnerved me more—the fact that the historical undead had discovered erotic accessories, or that Lafitte felt the need to practice safe sex.
Nothing about the pirate looked safe. Tall and broad-shouldered, he had dark blue eyes and a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth as he watched me set two glasses and a bottle of dark rum on a rickety wooden table. A tanned, muscular chest peeked from his open-collared shirt, and shaggy dark hair framed a clean-shaven face. A jagged scar across his jaw reminded me the so-called gentleman pirate also had his ruthless side.
He’d arrived by way of a stolen boat at this isolated cabin near Delacroix, a half-hour outside New Orleans, to pursue two of the world’s most timeless pleasures: sex and money. I’d met him here to play the role of a gullible young wizard falling under the spell of the legendary pirate, at least for a while. Then I’d do my duty as deputy sentinel and send his swashbuckling hide back to the Beyond, where he could rub shoulders with other undead legends and preternatural creatures unfit for polite human company.
My hand shook as I poured the rum, sloshing a few drops of amber liquid over the side of the glass. I’d finally been given a serious assignment, and I needed it to go without a hitch.
Lafitte’s fingers brushed mine as he took the drink, sending an unexpected rush of energy up my arm. “Merci, Mademoiselle Jaco—or may I call you Drusilla?”
Actually, I’d prefer he didn’t call me anything. Despite his obvious hopes for the evening, this wasn’t a date. “Most people call me DJ.”
“Bah,” he said, taking a sip of rum. “Those are alphabet letters, not a name.”
From beneath the red sash that accented his waist, Lafitte pulled a modern semiautomatic handgun and set it on the table next to the rum bottle. I knew how he’d gotten it—he’d rolled the Tulane student that summoned him, lifted the kid’s wallet and iPod, rode the streetcar to Canal Street, and made a trade for the gun. Enterprising guy, Lafitte.
I pondered the odd spike of energy I’d gotten from his hand. Touching increases the emotional crap I absorb from people as an empath, but Lafitte was technically a dead guy. Still, I’d like to say if he touched me again, I’d demand double pay from the wizards’ Congress of Elders. Triple if it involved lips.
But who was I kidding? My bargaining position was nonexistent. My boss Gerry only sent me on this run because he had something else to do and knew Lafitte might respond to my questionable seduction skills.
I’d pulled my unruly blonde hair out of its usual ponytail for the occasion, loaded on some makeup to play up my teal eyes, and poured myself into a little black skirt, short enough to show off my legs while not offending Lafitte’s nineteenth-century sensibilities.
It must have worked, because the pirate was giving me that head-to-toe appraisal guys do on instinct, like they’re assessing a juicy slab of beef and deciding whether they want it rare, medium, or well-done.
“You really are lovely, Drusilla.” The timbre of Lafitte’s voice shivered down my spine, and I fought the urge to check out the biceps underneath that linen shirt.
Holy crap. This was just wrong. I should not be absorbing his lust.
My 5 PAW review is HERE 🙂
Sentinels of New Orleans, Book 2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Number of pages: 336
Word Count: approx. 92,000
Cover Artist: Cliff Nielsen
Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.
Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.
It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.
Short Excerpt River Road
The minute hand of the ornate grandfather clock crept like a gator stuck in swamp mud. I’d been watching it for half an hour, nursing a fizzy cocktail from my perch inside the Hotel Monteleone. The plaque on the enormous clock claimed it had been hand- carved of mahogany in 1909, about 130 years after the birth of the undead pirate waiting for me upstairs.
They were both quite handsome, but the clock was a lot safer.
The infamous Jean Lafitte had expected me at seven. He’d summoned me to his French Quarter hotel suite by courier like I was one of his early nineteenth-century wenches, and I hated to destroy his pirate-king delusions, but the historical undead don’t summon wizards. We summon them.
I’d have blown him off if my boss on the Congress of Elders hadn’t ordered me to comply and my co-sentinel, Alex, hadn’t claimed a prior engagement.
At seven thirty, I abandoned my drink, took a deep breath, and marched through the lobby toward the bank of elevators.
On the long dead-man-walking stroll down the carpeted hallway, I imagined all the horrible requests Jean might make. He’d saved my life a few years ago, after Hurricane Katrina sent the city into freefall, and I hadn’t seen him since. I’d been desperate at the time. I might have promised him unfettered access to modern New Orleans in exchange for his assistance. I might have promised him a place to live. I might have promised him things I don’t even remember. In other words, I might be totally screwed.
I reached the door of the Eudora Welty Suite and knocked, reflecting that Jean Lafitte probably had no idea who Eudora Welty was, and wouldn’t like her if he did. Ms. Welty had been a modern sort of woman who wouldn’t hop to attention when summoned by a scoundrel.
He didn’t answer immediately. I’d made him wait, after all, and Jean lived in a tit- for- tat world. I paused a few breaths and knocked harder. Finally, he flung open the door, waving me inside to a suite plush with tapestries of peach and royal blue, thick carpet that swallowed the narrow heels of my pumps, and a plasma TV he couldn’t possibly know how to operate. What a waste.
“You have many assets, Drusilla, but apparently a respect for time is not among them.” Deep, disapproving voice, French accent, broad shoulders encased in a red linen shirt, long dark hair pulled back into a tail, eyes such a cobalt blue they bordered on navy. And technically speaking, dead.
He was as sexy as ever.
“Sorry.” I slipped my hand in my skirt pocket, fingering the small pouch of magic-infused herbs I carried at all times. My mojo bag wouldn’t help with my own perverse attraction to the man, but it would keep my empathic abilities in check. If he still had a perverse attraction to me, I didn’t want to feel it.
He eased his six-foot-two frame into a sturdy blue chair and slung one long leg over the arm as he gave me a thorough eyeraking, a ghost of a smile on his face.
I perched on the edge of the adjacent sofa, easing back against a pair of plump throw pillows, and looked at him expectantly. I hoped what ever he wanted wouldn’t jeopardize my life, my job, or my meager bank account.
“You are as lovely as ever, Jolie,” Jean said, trotting out his pet name for me that sounded deceptively intimate and brought back a lot of memories, most of them bad. “I will forgive your tardiness— perhaps you were late because you were selecting clothing that I would like.” His gaze lingered on my legs. “You chose beautifully.”
I’d picked a conservative black skirt and simple white blouse with the aim of looking professional for a business meeting, part of my ongoing attempt to prove to the Elders I was a mature wizard worthy of a pay raise. But this was Jean Lafitte, so I should have worn coveralls. I’d forgotten what a letch he could be.
“I have a date after our meeting,” I lied. He didn’t need to know said date involved a round carton with the words Blue Bell Ice Cream printed on front. “Why did you want to see me?”
There, that hadn’t been so difficult—just a simple request. No drama. No threats. No double- entendre. Straight to business.
“Does a man need a reason to see a beautiful woman? Especially one who is indebted to him, and who has made him many promises?” A slow smile spread across his face, drawing my eyes to his full lips and the ragged scar that trailed his jawline.
I might be the empath in the room, but he knew very well that, in some undead kind of way, I thought he was hot.
I felt my face warming to the shade of a trailer- trash bridesmaid’s dress, one whose color had a name like raging rouge. I’d had a similar reaction when I first met Jean in 2005, two days before a mean hurricane with a sissy name turned her malevolent eye toward the Gulf Coast. I blamed my whole predicament on Katrina, the bitch.
Her winds had driven the waters of Lake Pontchartrain into the canals that crisscrossed the city, collapsing levees and filling the low, concave metro area like a gigantic soup bowl.
But NBC Nightly News and Anderson Cooper had missed the biggest story of all: how, after the storm, a mob of old gods, historical undead, and other preternatural victims of the scientific age flooded New Orleans. As a wizard, I’d had a ringside seat. Now, three years later, the wizards had finally reached accords with the major preternatural ruling bodies, and the borders were down, as of two days ago. Jean hadn’t wasted any time.
My 5 PAW review is HERE!
My UTTERLY AWESOME interview with Jake is HERE – trust me, there’s a reason Jake ranks at the top of all my book boyfriends 🙂
The lovely Author Guest Post 🙂 The Sentinels Guys Dish on DJ
If you’ve read any of the Sentinels of New Orleans series so far, you know that we spend a lot of time in heroine DJ’s head as she ponders the various men in her life—at least when she’s not zapping preternatural enemies (or hapless coffee tables or trees) with her elven staff.
To quote the undead pirate Jean Lafitte from a scene in the upcoming Elysian Fields, “You have too many men about which to be concerned, Jolie.” Understatement, much?
So I thought it would be fun to turn the tables a bit and ask the guys what they think of DJ. Turns out that it’s not all unicorns and puppies. Unfortunately, I feared getting them all together in one room lest a fight lead to an interspecies incident, so I had to catch them one at a time.
I find Alex Warin behind his house, washing his Mercedes and sudsing up his new Range Rover, since he’s now a two-vehicle household all by himself. Guess what color it is? Yep, exactly. Here’s what Alex has to say about DJ: “Well, here’s the deal with DJ. She’s stronger than she gives herself credit for, and her heart is solid. But the woman is a chaos magnet. She doesn’t do it intentionally, but wherever she goes, mayhem follows. It’s giving me an ulcer. And if you tell her any of that, I’ll shoot you.” *Sprays water on author to make his point*
After drying off, I drive down to the Green Gator, looking for Jake Warin. He’s sitting behind the long wooden bar, wearing ripped jeans and a t-shirt and the glasses you don’t catch him in very often. He’s drinking bourbon at two p.m. while he works on the ledger for the bar, and doesn’t let me catch a glimpse of the infamous dimples until he’s sure I’m not going to comment on it. Uh-uh, not me. So, what does Jake say about DJ? “You know I like my sunshine. She’s funny and smart and sexy. But she’s gotta stop trying to fix everybody and everything, you know?” I nod, and decide to try out Alex’s theory. “So, you think she’s a chaos magnet?” I ask. Jake grins, giving me a heart-stopping glimpse of the dimples. “Only if you’re a tightass like my cousin Alexander.”
Okay, well, that was fun. I leave Jake to his bourbon and bookkeeping, and stroll along Royal Street to the Hotel Monteleone. Because you know who I need to visit next. Jean Lafitte welcomes me to his suite at the Monteleone, which I think is rather feminine-looking but decide not to tell the pirate so. He appears to be in a good mood, so why spoil it? Besides, the man looks damn fine in a cobalt blue tunic the color of his eyes, and he is oozing French charm in my direction. Not surprisingly, his view of DJ differs greatly. “Ah, ma Jolie. Drusilla is a stubborn and indecisive woman, or she would realize that I am the man to whom she should give her affections, oui? After all, I cannot die. I’m told she thinks I am ‘hot,’ although I do not understand what the temperature has to do with the art of love. And it would be quite profitable for me to have a union with the wizarding sentinel, would it not?” I point out to Jean that his last sentence could be interpreted as meaning that he wants to use DJ to further his own agenda. To which he declares, “Bah!” and shows me the door. So much for that good mood.
I’m hungry after all that testosterone, so I drive over the river and down to Belle Chasse, where I park in the lot of Lil G’s next to a black extended-cab pickup. The merman Rene Delachaise is already there, sucking down oysters on the half shell. “Hey, babe. I ordered the Soft Shell Crab Lafitte for both of us,” he says around a mouthful of oyster. I ponder the irony of eating a dish named after the undead pirate who’d just tossed me from his room like last week’s French bread.
I’m interested in Rene’s take on DJ because they’re buddies now—not a hint of romance in sight, so he might be a little more objective. “DJ, she’s okay for a wizard,” Rene says, spooning the cream sauce over his fried soft-shell crab. “Woman needs to learn to swim, though. In a bad way.” So, why isn’t Rene interested in DJ? “You mean like, for sex?” Well, I point out, there is also love. He chokes on his Brabant potatoes. “I ain’t got time for that s*it. And it ain’t gonna be with a wizard, babe. No offense.”
Hey, no offense taken. I’m not a wizard.
I drive back to uptown New Orleans and pull my car in behind DJ’s house, making sure Alex is no longer in back to see me going inside to tell DJ everything they said. Because he probably would shoot me.
As I’m walking up the steps to the back door, I notice a tall, extremely pretty man standing in front of Plantasy Island, the nursery/landscaping business across the street. Quince Randolph has his shoulder-length blond hair pulled back today, showing off fine cheekbones and a strong jaw line. He’s watching me, arms crossed over his chest, his face expressionless.
“What’s with him?” I ask DJ when she opens the door, sticking out a foot to prevent Sebastian, her chocolate Siamese satanic spawn of a cat, from escaping to terrorize the neighborhood. “He’s creepy.”
“Oh, that’s just my neighborhood creep-stalker. You don’t know the half of it.” DJ sticks her head out the door as I go inside, and slams it when Rand raises his hand in a wave. We go to the parlor and I glance out the stained-glass panels inset into her front door. He is still there, watching.
Looks like there’s another guy in DJ’s orbit, but I think I’m not gonna talk to this one.
Which guy would you like to have a longer visit with? Leave a comment for a copy of Royal Street or River Road, one of the Penton novels from Susannah Sandlin (Redemption, Absolution, or Omega), or an author swag bag! International entries welcome.
About the Author:
Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance from Auburn, Alabama, after a career in educational publishing that has spanned five states and six universities. She grew up halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.
Publisher Page: http://us.macmillan.com/author/suzannejohnson
I just first want you guys to all know you should ALL stalk this author! She is hilarious, so down to earth, and seriously always giving something away! YES, if you read the guest post, you will see there is a GIVEAWAY 🙂 So… you now know what to do to win! GO COMMENT NOW! 🙂 LOL
Ms J! I LOVE YOU. That was a hilarious guest post, which I of course am DROOLING over for Elysian Fields to come out! Thanks for always giving me something so cool 🙂 For the rest of you, I will show you the cover to her newest book in the series coming in AUGUST! Jeez that feels like so long hahahaha 🙂 Good luck everyone! Don’t forget to stalk Ms J and as always Happy reading and later gators!!