Search through today's Most Popular authors, titles and publishers.
Add as many books as you'd like to your sample shelf.
Each day, you'll receive the next sample on your shelf by email.
Publisher Bayou Brew Publishing
eBook Kindle Edition
Jolie Bourque is trying to finish her thesis on mass hysteria and get on with her life. Enter Follette, Louisiana. The small town has been plagued by ghost sightings and a rash of missing children. She is convinced everyone in town is crazy. Hutch and Tucker Landry seem to be the only people willing to help when she starts asking questions, and then she begins to have dreams and visions of her own. Who is preying on the town's children? Can Jolie afford to fall in love while drowning in madness? If she does — how on earth will she choose between brothers?
Jolie could see Hutch Landry standing at the edge of the bayou just outside the backdoor of his aging frame house. The structure stood fourteen feet off the ground as a guard against the waterway that was threatening to overflow its banks. With the window down on her SUV, she could smell salt blowing in from the Gulf, despite the eighty miles of marsh and highway separating her from its beaches. The clouds wove a thick blanket of gray over the tops of the cypress trees. She saw him push at the mud with a fallen branch from the pecan tree overhead, and watched as the hem of his blue jeans soaked up the black water. A storm was brewing; she felt the change in pressure by way of the pounding in her temples.
When her midnight blue Jeep Cherokee finally reached his driveway, the gravel cracked beneath the tires. She saw him check the bayou like he was watching the willowy fog lift from the water, then he turned to approach the vehicle. He didn’t know her, and as he squinted through the windshield she was reminded how far removed she was from her urban home.
Jolie had already learned that anonymity was a rarity in Follette, Louisiana. She also knew Hutch had graduated from Follette Academy four years before, with virtually anyone his age who ever bothered to stop and stay in the town of four thousand. There was no compelling reason for a stranger to stay; the place was a haven for bad omens. Or so she had heard.
She checked the rearview mirror, even though she knew he was looking. It bothered her a bit that she resembled most of the girls she went to college with. Her dark hair had been streaked with blonde highlights, and she wore it long just the way most coeds did. She was sporting a pair of jeans, and a purple and gold LSU T-shirt that made her blue eyes iridescent in the morning light. At least there was that. Her eyes were amazing and she knew it. She pressed her lips together and slid from the Jeep, ready to finally meet him.
When she reached out to shake his hand, his skin was rough and his grip firm. He obviously worked harder than the soft-skinned boys at school. “Oh, my gosh, it’s so beautiful here,” she gushed.
He seemed to follow her stare to the Spanish moss hanging on the cypress trees above his head. “You obviously haven’t been here long.”
Jolie hadn’t expected him to be good looking. The teenage girl at the bait shop had wrinkled her nose when she spoke of him, and Jolie was expecting something more akin to the river-rats that hung out on the Amite River near home. Hutch was not a river-rat, or at least he didn’t dress like one. His jeans were low-flung like the kids she went to school with, his brown hair fell across his forehead and had been shaved in a neat square across his neck. He was more imposing than the figure she’d conjured up in her imagination on the short drive over. She figured him for six-feet or maybe an inch taller, and his body was muscular from whatever kept him occupied in the tiny town.
“I’m Jolie Bourque.” She felt her face soften as relief washed over her. The possible key to her research was unaffected and she felt at ease.
Hutch leaned against the bumper of his ancient Chevy truck and pulled at a chip of red paint on the rusty tailgate. “Yeah, well, what can I do for ya, Jolie Bourque?”
Her face warmed as she willed her eyes to leave his mouth. She wanted him to see the self-assured woman she was pretending to be, but she stuttered as she shoved her keys into the pocket of her jeans. “The girl at the bait shop said you could help me. You are Hutch Landry—right?”
“Help you with what?” His eyes moved to the clouds and a tree of purple lightning above them. The sky had darkened in the West and the rain was pouring in columns a few miles down the road.
Jolie swallowed hard, realizing she was not going to get the warm reception she’d wanted. Her hands were starting to sweat so she pushed them into her back pockets. “I’m doing a thesis for my psychology class about the hauntings here. The girl said you would know more than most. I just have a few questions.”
“I don’t know anything about anything, ma’am, and if it’s all the same to you, I have to check the crawfish traps before the storm hits.”
Jolie was at a loss for words as she shifted her weight anxiously from one foot to the other. She had already been shut down by a waitress at the only diner in town and the clerk at the drug store. The people of Follette were proving to be rude, or at least uncooperative, and she needed to finish her report within a month to get her master’s wrapped-up. “I just…never mind. Thanks for your time.” She turned and headed back to the door of her SUV frustrated.
“What exactly is your paper about?” He seemed to be talking more to himself than her, but his raised eyebrows said she’d piqued his curiosity. Besides, the girl at the bait shop had said he didn’t get many visitors, so maybe her presence was more welcome than he was letting on.
Jolie let her breath out in a rush. It felt like she’d been holding it for hours. “Honestly?” She felt her face contort and wondered if he noticed the crack in her confidence. She wasn’t sure she even wanted to bother with an explanation, because he was clearly annoyed by her presence. Her hand was still on the door, leaving her the option to bail without putting further effort into the conversation.
He shrugged, and for the first time favored her with a huge, sideways grin.
Jolie watched the billowy clouds merge into the darker ones, and decided the truth couldn’t possibly damage his opinion of her. Besides, she had nothing to lose, and he’d quit smiling, and instead was staring a hole through her. “I’m doing a psych paper on mass hallucinations.” She only paused because his nostrils flared when the word ‘psych’ rolled off her tongue.
Hutch laughed, shook his head, and slammed the tailgate. “Ms. Bourque, I can’t help you. In fact, no one in this town can help you. You better head back to your dorm and find something else to write about.” He pulled a pair of white rubber boots over his tennis shoes, as if he was making an exaggerated effort to disregard her while the ridicule in his sneer worked to unravel her cool exterior.
“It’s Jolie—and why can’t you just answer my questions? What happened here?” She pushed away from the door. She was more affected by his mood than she wanted to admit.
Hutch stopped and propped an elbow on the bed of the truck. His face was expressionless as he continued to glare at her. “Well, I’m sure you’re not interested, but there are no hallucinations going on here, City Girl. You obviously haven’t done your research. Maybe you should know what this town has been through before you go making assumptions. Your opinion won’t mean much to these people, honestly. There’s bound to be another place you can lay your judgment on, or better yet, head on back to the beautiful people and make it up as you see fit.”
“If you care so much, why don’t you set me straight?” Jolie could feel the heat rise in her face again. She was suddenly hot and angry all at once.
“Because I don’t have the time, and frankly, I couldn’t care less what you think.” He heaved an ice chest into the truck, then stood still as if watching her reaction brought him enjoyment.
“Fine, it was nice meeting you, Mr. Landry.” Jolie slammed her car door shut and tore out of the gravel, as she headed back to the cabin she had rented just down the bayou. There was no way she’d let some conceited country boy break her.
Thanks for reading! Join BookDaily now and receive featured titles to sample for free by email.
Reading a book excerpt is the best way to evaluate it before you spend your time or money.
Just enter your email address and password below to get started:
Instant Bonus: Get immediate access to a daily updated listing of free ebooks from Amazon when you confirm your account!
Monique is the mother of two beautiful children and lives in a small community outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She currently works full time as an insurance agent, but her favorite jobs are mother, wife, and author.