On June 6th, the next story in the Femme Noir series will release! Since today’s theme is all about strong men, I thought I’d let you meet Baron Samedi, the loa of the crossroads between the worlds of the living and the dead. Enjoy a little taste!
“Under the Rainbow” by Paisley Smith
When novice witch, MeLeah McKinney is sent on a mission to retrieve a talisman from the grave of famed Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau, she’s not sure how she’ll be able to perform the sex magick ritual required for energizing the relic. Especially given that it’s been a long time since she’s had sex. She decides to gather energy at a live sex show on Bourbon Street. But she isn’t prepared for a little help from Celestine Laveau’s ghost who’s crossed the rainbow bridge to spend one night in the arms of a beautiful woman.
In order to defeat the ancient vampire who endangers them all, just one talisman is hardly enough…
“The Mambo’s Door” by Delilah Devlin
Ingrid Kassel is a fledgling witch, uncertain and not in complete control of her powers, especially after drinking a double-shot of vampire blood. With the same instructions as MeLeah—retrieve an object buried with a daughter of the Voodoo Queen—she angers the spirit guarding the tomb and finds herself entering a shadowy limbo, where she meets beautiful Marie, living in fear of a demon who also desires the black magic candle infused with the powerful mambo’s blood. In desperation, Marie tricks Ingrid, capturing her and seducing her to charge the candle for her own bid for freedom.
A crash sounded. The bedroom door splintered, exploding inward.
“Well, well,” came a deep voice, at once dry, rasping and crackling with anger. “Ma’man has been busy. She sends me presents, then fails to deliver ’em into my hands.”
Ingrid couldn’t help it—she tore her glance from Marie’s to stare up at the figment striding toward the bed.
He was tall, so slender he looked nearly skeletal, with skin stretched so tightly over prominent cheeks that she saw only shadow in the hollows beneath. His eyes were black and flat, the pupils narrow slits. It was the top hat, a crazy affectation, that identified him as Baron Samedi, loa of the dead.
“I’m not a present,” she said, lifting her chin and wondering where she found the courage to defy him. Maybe it was the last trace of vampire blood, maybe it was the trembling of Marie’s fist beneath hers. Whichever the cause, anger burst hot inside her.
“Not a present. Also not dead,” the loa said, leaning down to sniff the air around her. “How delicious.”
Ingrid narrowed her eyes. “Also not a meal. Your wife gave me access to this realm.”
“Do you think that protects you?” His thin mouth stretched wide. Large white teeth gleamed in the near-darkness.
“I think she’s jealous of the time you’ve spent with Marie.”
His smile disappeared, replaced by a sneer. “My wife must learn her place. If she wishes to lure me to her side, she shouldn’t place such lovely temptations within mah reach.”
His hand rose and his thin, spindly fingers reached for Ingrid’s hair.
She jerked back. “You are not to touch me.”
His head canted. “Do you dare think you can command me?”
“I think that we have something you want.”
Marie coughed, but Ingrid refused to look her way.
“You’d barter with the mambo’s candle?” the baron drawled.
She hadn’t thought that far ahead, but his assumption held a glimmer of hope. “A trade. Two knobs and we’re returned to the crypt.”
He grunted. “All of it, and I let you leave. You alone.”
She shook her head. “The candle is charged—with her mama’s blood, with her sex magick and ours. Maybe I should use it now.”
His expression turned from irritation to reluctant admiration. Then his eyelids dipped. “And then you’ll have nothin’ left to take with you. Do you forget why you’re here?”
“Of course not, it’s why I can spare only part of the candle. It’s more than you will ever get from her,” Ingrid said, jerking her chin toward Marie, who sat with her head bowed before the loa.
Ingrid squeezed Marie’s hand, forcing her to meet her gaze. She widened her eyes at the other woman in silent warning.
Marie straightened her shoulders and gave her a subtle nod. “You’ll never have my mother’s candle. Not a single piece.”
The loa straightened. His gaze went from Marie to Ingrid. His horrible eyes narrowed to frightening slits. “Done.”
He agreed so quickly that Ingrid worried she’d done something wrong.
“We leave now,” he said, smiling.
“But it’s dark,” Marie gasped.
Ingrid dug her nails into Marie’s skin. “So long as we walk with him, we’ll be fine. Isn’t that right, Baron?”
The baron continued to smile. “Must keep up,” he said, his voice lilting strangely.
Ingrid shivered. “Let’s dress.”
The women dressed one at a time, the other clutching the candle securely in her hand. When they’d finished, Ingrid indicated for the baron to precede them out of the door, then swiped the lantern from the bedside table.
“Clutch my coat,” he said, turning his head to look over his shoulder. “Don’t let go—no matter what.”
Ingrid hesitated, remembering the warning from his wife. “Marie, you hold his coat. I’ll hold your hand.”
The baron sighed. “Did she tell you?
“Tell me what?”
“That with one touch, yo’ mine?”
Ingrid had never been so glad that for once, she’d followed instructions.
The baron strode toward the front door of the cabin. When he opened it and stepped through, Marie whimpered but didn’t let go of the tail of his long frock coat.
Ingrid’s eyes widened.
Even in the dim light from the sputtering lamp, she could see the gray-faced figures standing on the porch. Their heads swung her way, mouths agape, jagged teeth gleaming in the darkness.
Hands reached, but they swept past them, climbing down the rickety steps and into the black swamp below.
Be sure to check out the snippets on these other authors’ blogs:
Megan Hart:Read in bed!
Mandy M Roth