WILD MAN’S CURSE, by Susannah Sandlin
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.
WILD MAN’S CURSE by Susannah Sandlin / A Wilds of the Bayou Novel / Montlake Romance trade paperback / On sale April 5, 2016 / ISBN: 978-1503934740
Susannah Sandlin Bio
Chapter One: I am born. Oh, wait, I’m not Dickens, am I? The “boring official bio” is below. In the unofficial bio, I am ridiculously nearsighted, have a weakness for reality shows (anyone for a marathon of “Cutthroat Kitchen?”) and am somewhat obsessive-compulsive. Well, okay, my critique partner calls me “Rain Man.” Whether writing as Suzanne Johnson or Susannah Sandlin, you can count on quirky characters and a lot of action.
The “Official” Bio
Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series for Tor Books. Click on the links to find ROYAL STREET (Book 1), RIVER ROAD (Book 2), ELYSIAN FIELDS (Book 3), PIRATE’S ALLEY (book 4) and a novella/story collection, PIRATESHIP DOWN. Book 5, BELLE CHASSE, will be out in November 2016. Suzanne is also the author of a paranormal holiday short, CHRISTMAS IN DOGTOWN.
Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the multiple award-winning Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series (REDEMPTION, ABSOLUTION, OMEGA and ALLEGIANCE), the standalone paranormal romance STORM FORCE, and The Collectors romantic thriller duology, LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP and DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD. She also is the author of a short paranormal story, CHENOIRE.
Susannah’s new suspense series, Wilds of the Bayou, begins with the April 5 release of WILD MAN’S CURSE, available in print, digital and audio.
A longtime New Orleans resident, Suzanne is a veteran journalist with more than fifty national awards in writing and editing nonfiction for higher education. She is currently the editor of the quarterly magazine for Auburn University in Alabama.
Suzanne is an active member of Romance Writers of America, Novelists Inc., and is a member of the Southern Magic, Kiss of Death, and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapters of RWA.