A Vivid Romance - New Orlean's Style
Sharon E. Cathcart
Diana Corbett’s childhood was plagued by unceasing dreams of smoke and flames. The nightmares went away, until the noted travel writer’s first night on assignment in Louisiana … when they returned with a vengeance. Could the handsome Cajun, Amos Boudreaux, be the key to unlocking the secret of BAYOU FIRE?
Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart presents her first full-length historical paranormal tale, set against the backdrops of modern-day and 1830s New Orleans.
This vivid, atmospheric peek into the beating heart of New Orleans is a winner. -- In'D'Tale Magazine, July 2017
Your use of language is clear and direct, and I truly appreciate the work you've put into the research for the historical and cultural aspects. It's a lively and entertaining book. Good work! - Judge, 5th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published eBook Awards
A vivid New Orleans setting and an intriguing romance. -- The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Evangeline heard the murmurs at her coming-out ball before she saw him.
“Alcide Devereaux is here,” Juliette Dubois squealed as she went by on her way to the punch bowl. Her blonde hair was tied up in an Apollo knot, and she wore a green-sprigged ballgown with sheer lace idiot sleeves. Juliette was always at the height of New Orleans fashion. “He’s sure to be the catch of the Season now.”
Evangeline wanted to be unsurprised by the news; Antoine, Alexandre, and their father Edouard had all succumbed to yellow fever that summer. Alcide had been away from the Quarter for almost ten years, coming back to help his mother and claim his inheritance. And, of course, Marie Laveau had hinted broadly at Alcide’s attendance. Still, she couldn’t wait to see the man on whom her childhood hopes had set. She wondered whether she would even recognize him.
Evangeline and her father led out the reel, and she found herself watching the crowd. Luckily, she knew the steps so well that no one noticed her attention was elsewhere. It was one of the skills she’d learned in Paris that stood her in good stead.
There he was, leaning against a wall and watching the dancers. Alcide was still taller than just about every other man in the room, but now he was lean, his skin bronzed by the sun. His hair was slicked straight back with macassar oil; none of those silly curls over his ears that the other men sported. He also had a thin, closely trimmed black mustache but no beard. For those things alone he would have stood out from the other men, but there was also an air of fearlessness about him that none of the others possessed. Gone was the soft, coddled planter’s son. Evangeline had heard that he’d been at sea or some such before reading the law in up in Illinois among the American Yankees. It seemed impossible, but the man was even more handsome than the boy she remembered. His sharp profile and steady gaze put her in mind of a hawk watching for likely prey.
After the reel, the local boys and men started making their rounds to sign dance cards. Each of the women had a little card and tiny gold pencil tied to her wrist with a ribbon.
“Surely this is not the little Mademoiselle Evangeline who bade me good night so many years ago.”
There he stood, right in front of her. His evening attire was flawless, but for the gold hoop that hung in his ear. Alcide’s dancing slippers were polished to the ideal sheen; his linen was crisp and perfect. Where some of the other men layered three or four waistcoats, in what Evangeline thought a ridiculous and vain fashion, he wore two. Next to his shirt, the figured China silk was celadon green. Atop that, the waistcoat was the same figured fabric in burgundy. A garnet the size of Evangeline’s thumbnail hung from Alcide’s watch fob. He looked the way Evangeline had imagined the pirate Lafitte: swarthy and handsome.
“I’ve never seen another girl with hair like yours. Who would have guessed that the curtseying little girl in ringlets and ruffles would grow up to be such a fine young woman?"
Indeed, she had grown into quite a lady, he thought. Her powder, rouge and kohl were applied with a light hand, and she stood out from the crowd in her fine Parisian ball gown of pink silk and blond lace. The rest of the debutantes wore simple white gowns, each one blending into the next in their sameness. Evangeline was like a rose among lilies.
“You flatter me, Monsieur Devereaux."
“Not at all." He gestured for her dance card and pencil, writing his name in for two dances and the waltz right before supper … which meant they would go in together.
“I’ve never forgotten you, Monsieur Alcide,” she blurted out.
“And now you flatter me." His smile was wry.
“Not at all,” she rejoined.
Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart (she/her) writes historical fiction with a twist!
A former journalist and newspaper editor, Sharon has been writing for as long as she can remember and always has at least one work in progress. She is a member of the Archaeological Institute of America, Sisters in Crime and the Historical Novel Society.
Sharon lives in the Silicon Valley, California, with her very patient husband and several rescue cats.