Katalina Leon

Today I’m excited because my dear friend has a new release. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected in her books, but the end results are always the same: a fascinating amazing journey. Kat’s on my auto-buy list and today is no different. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find in her newest release Sugar Roux Voodoo:

Blurb:

New Orleans, 1834. Lark
La Beau is a green-eyed beauty and respected beneficent voodoo priestess with the sometimes uncooperative gift of clairvoyance. Captain Valcour Curry is a
debonair, larger-than-life buccaneer with ambition to burn and a taste for fine things. Following a whirlwind romance with Lark, he disappears at sea, leaving Lark with a riverboat and a child to rear—alone.

A guilty act of piracy causes Valcour to fall victim to a shapeshifting magician who practices the dark art of soul-swapping. For five years Valcour has been enslaved as an emotionless zombie with no memory of his loved ones or past. From dusk to dawn he is cursed to toil in the cane fields while the evil magician uses his soul to lure women and have his brutal way with them.

Lark will risk hell and journey to the oppressive Broken Oak Plantation to break the curse. It’s a terrifying place. Her only tools to call Valcour’s lost soul back to life are
voodoo and the sensual power of love.

An Excerpt From: SUGAR ROUX
VOODOO

Copyright © KATALINA
LEON, 2011

All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave
Publishing, Inc.

Chapter One

Mississippi River, New Orleans,
October 1834

Lark reluctantly picked up the sad, little bundle of tattered fabric, human hair and tiny animal skulls and handed it back to her disappointed client. “I won’t do this and you’d regret it if I did.” She paused. “I know your heart’s broken, chere, but
that sort of revenge is always wrong. I don’t do that kind of magic, so don’t ask.”

A bitter frown creased the woman’s face as she accepted the rejected juju bundle into her hand.

Lark allowed the disappointed woman a moment of silence to reflect.

The riverboat’s massive paddlewheel thunked loudly against the murky water of the Mississippi as it slowly steamed upriver.

The woman parted her lips to protest the returned bundle at the exact moment the shrill, double blast of the Sugar Roux Voodoo
Queen
’s steam whistle blew and drowned out her words before she could even release them into the riverboat’s elegant parlor.

Lark’s palm rose in the air, silently signaling the woman to hold her words until the whistle finished blasting. She reclined against the wingback chair, adorned with cypress armrests carved into the likeness of snarling lions’ heads. Her fingertips absently stroked against the lions’ polished heads as the whistles blew. She knew it was senseless to attempt to speak over them, so she waited.

Lark’s head casually tilted against the nappy, red velvet upholstery as she silently studied the offensive little bundle in the woman’s hands. She drew a tense breath, knowing once again she had been misunderstood and placed in an uncomfortable situation.

The whistle grew silent, but the lingering echo continued to ring in her ears. She leaned forward and gently confronted the woman. “Who told you I would do such a thing?”

“N-no one.” The distraught woman stuttered. “Everyone knows your name. You’re the queen of the river. Your reputation is legend. I know you could do what I’ve asked. You’ve helped many others. Why won’t you help me?” Fresh tears trickled down the woman’s cheeks. “I’ve been wronged!”

Lark rose slowly from the throne-like chair. Her aubergine satin dress and layers of crisp, horsehair crinoline crinkled softly as she stood. “I would never deliberately harm an innocent woman.”

The woman scoffed. “She’s not innocent. I can assure you of that. She’s a rouge- cheeked-help-yourself hussy!”

“I’m going to pour you a bourbon.” Lark spoke gently. “You’re going to drink it, and you and I are going to talk.”

She walked to an elegant, glass cabinet and removed a slender, cut-crystal decanter of amber liquid and poured a generous slosh into a crystal goblet that caught the flickering candlelight. A splintered burst of tiny rainbows cast against the lacquered walls of the parlor. She ceremoniously handed the bourbon to the anxious woman.

The woman eagerly accepted the goblet with narrowed eyes. “Did you cast a roux on this?” she asked hopefully. “Is the potion enchanted? Will this bring my man back?”

Lark sadly shook her head. “No roux. It’s not enchanted potion, it’s just good bourbon.”

The woman looked painfully disappointed but took a sip anyway. Her lips tensed against the bourbon, as if it burned. “I can find a way to pay you more if that’s the problem?”

“It’s not the problem,” Lark spoke firmly. “I never charge anyone. The most I ask of others is that they do a kind service for someone else in need.”

A dismissive frown darkened the woman’s face. “I’m the one in need.” She gulped the bourbon in a single swallow.

A moment of embattled silence settled between the women. The riverboat’s massive paddlewheel churned slowly beyond the partially opened window, carrying a stream of cool, moist air into the overheated parlor suite.

Lark’s fingers fussed with an errant hairpin and carefully tucked a falling curl back in place. Her glossy, chestnut-brown ringlets spilled over the crown of her head and spiraled past her shoulders.

The woman slumped in the chair, sobbing quietly and slowly rocking back and forth.

“Listen to me carefully.” Lark gazed at the teary-eyed woman fidgeting nervously before her. The woman had puffy, crimson rings surrounding her eyes from days of crying. Lark spoke calmly. “I don’t do the sort of magic you want with good reason—it ends up being bad for everyone—especially you.”

Defiance and disappointment burned in the woman’s eyes. “How so? Who’s going to know?”

“You must understand.” Lark delicately folded her hands across her heart. “I’m a sworn beneficent. I don’t hurt no one—ever. It is against my code of duty.” She paused. “I must warn you, seeking revenge against the woman who stole your man will most likely harm you. I strongly advise you abandon such plans.”

The woman bit down on her fist in anguish. “I don’t want her to suffer—much. I just want her dead! I want my man back. He’s my man. I had him first. Why won’t you help me?”

Lark moved closer to the woman and placed her hand on her shoulder. “Chere, she didn’t make your man leave you, he left on his own for his own reasons.”

The woman glanced up at Lark in utter desperation. “It’s unjust. I gave that man my youth, my heart and my trust. There must be something you can do?”

Lark slowly shook her head. “I wish there was, but love doesn’t work that way. It’s often unfair and others are always free to do as they like. It’s not right, but that’s the way it is.”

Lark leaned closer. “Can I tell you a secret? If you can forgive him and allow your heart to heal, you can be happy again, and everyone loves a happy person who knows how to forgive. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if a better man with a loyal heart came into your life and filled the empty space.”

The woman looked appalled. “I don’t want another man. I want my man. I gave him everything—he owes me!”

“I agree, he does owe you, but most likely it’s a debt you’ll never have the satisfaction of being repaid. You have to be brave and walk on without him.”

The woman collapsed in tears. “I’m afraid of being without him. Even when it wasn’t good, at least I knew I belonged to him and I had some idea of what the future held. Now I’ve got nothing!”

Lark gently patted the woman’s wild head of unkempt hair. Obviously, the woman had done nothing to care for herself in recent days. “I understand. I really do. I’ve had a man I loved more than my life leave me.”

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