UPDATE: The winner is…flchen!
Storm on the Bayou by Elle James
A retired Navy SEAL and a pretty parish deputy hole up in a bayou fishing shack, weathering a violent meteorological and unexpectedly passionate storm.
I love the Louisiana Bayous, the mysticism, the Cajuns and Voodoo! My Brotherhood Protectors needed another location to expand into, and I thought…BAYOU Brotherhood! You can hide a lot of bad guys and bodies in a bayou. “Storm on the Bayou” is a prelude to what’s coming soon. Remy will be back to help set up the BAYOU Brotherhood Protectors. Mamba is Cajun for Voodoo priestess. Loa is Cajun for spirit. What a great name for a bayou and a great place for the Brotherhood Protectors to set up another branch of hunky heroes. Be looking for Remy’s return in July!
A snippet from “Storm on the Bayou”…
Shelby Taylor pulled the cord on the outboard motor for the twentieth time.
She sat on the bench seat, pulled her radio off her belt, took off the back, rearranged the batteries, and put it all together again. Still, no signal, no static, no juice. The damned thing was dead. And the motor on her skiff was dead. She’d tried everything she knew to try, including checking the battery, fuel lines, and all the connections she could reach.
“Okay. It’s time to paddle your ass out of this swamp.” She picked up the paddle and dipped it into the water. Unlike paddling a pirogue or canoe, paddling a skiff with only one paddle was less than efficient, but it was all she had.
No sooner had she started paddling then wind picked up, blowing her little boat in the opposite direction from where she needed to go. The storm they’d predicted had come, and her boat engine couldn’t have picked a worse time to quit. She paddled harder, getting nowhere even faster.
Just when she was ready to give up and find a place to tie off and hunker down, something bright orange caught her attention.
Shelby frowned and rowed over to find a length of engineering tape tied to a tree branch on the point of land marking a fork in the bayou.
She’d been past that point an hour ago, and that ribbon hadn’t been there.
Her heart fluttered. Maybe someone else was on the bayou. Someone with a boat that could get her back to the town of Bayou Mambaloa. But which way would the boater have gone? Not the direction from which she’d come, leaving two others she’d have to choose from.
A movement out of the corner of her eye made her turn right. Wind whipped her hair out of the neat bun she’d started the day with, slapping the strands across her eyes. She pulled the hair back and peered through the low-hanging tree branches, her heartbeat speeding. Was it the escaped convict they’d been searching for?
She could just see the tip of a pirogue moving away from her. The convict had taken a bass fishing boat, not a pirogue. Her pulse calming a bit, she paddled after the disappearing watercraft.
“Hey!” she yelled just as a blast of wind roared through the trees, swallowing her cry. “Hey!” she yelled again, paddling harder in the direction of the pirogue, praying she wasn’t hallucinating.
The first drops of rain plopped into the water around her, landing on her uniform and in her hair, and she still hadn’t caught up to the pirogue. Soon, rain pelted her face, making it hard to see. The pirogue had disappeared into the bayou.
Shelby had just decided to turn back the way she’d come and paddle her ass all the way back on her own. She dipped her paddle into the water, back-paddling on one side to turn the skiff. As the bow swung around, the pirogue appeared through the haze of rain, heading straight for the skiff she’d turned sideways.
He was going to ram straight into where she sat.
Shelby rose, raised her paddle, and shouted. “Look out!”
He was coming too fast. If he hit her skiff dead-on, he could skim up over the sides and plow right into her.
Shelby had mere moments to react She flung herself over the back of the skiff, away from the oncoming pirogue, and plunging into the brackish bayou.
When she surfaced, the motion of her jump had sent her skiff sliding forward, giving her a clear view of the pirogue.
The man dug his paddle into the water. Too late to stop, he turned his craft sideways at the last minute and slid up against the skiff, grabbing hold of the metal side to bring both boats to a halt.
“Are you crazy?” he called out. “Why’d you jump?”
“You were headed straight for me.” Shelby swam toward her skiff.
“You were blocking the channel,” he said.
“I was turning around.” She frowned, her eyes narrowing.
The man had black hair and incredibly blue, familiar eyes. But it was his shoulders and chest that had Shelby blinking the rain out of her eyelashes.
Rain had soaked the T-shirt he wore, molding it against his shoulders, chest, and torso. The guy was built like a gladiator. She could swear she knew this guy. Then again, maybe not. She wouldn’t have forgotten a body that ripped or a voice that sexy.
Shelby grabbed the side of her skiff, kicked hard, and surged out of the water. The weight of her sodden uniform and boots was too much. She fell back into the water.
“For the love of—” The man in the pirogue released the skiff and paddled the pirogue around to where Shelby trod water. “Give me your hand.”
She frowned. “If you try to pull me into your boat, you’ll capsize.”
“I grew up on this bayou. I know what I’m doing.” He waved his hand. “Give me your hand.”
Skeptical, she placed her hand in his.
He leaned back hard, pulling her toward him, up and over the side of the pirogue.
The two fell back, tumbling into the bottom of the boat.
Shelby landed on top of the familiar stranger.
About the Author
Elle James spent twenty years livin’ and lovin’ in South Texas, ranching horses, cattle, goats, ostriches and emus. A former IT professional, Elle happily writes full-time, penning adventures that keep her readers begging for more. When she’s not writing, she’s traveling, snow-skiing, boating, or riding her ATV, concocting new stories.
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me whether a Brotherhood Protectors series set in the bayou sounds like fun—and what about the idea appeals?