Authors: Deanna Chase
Tags: #Contemporary, #Urban, #Romance, #Fantasy, #Paranormal, #Fiction
Shadows of Bourbon Street
Starting a new job is tough…especially when your boss thinks nothing of interrupting your wedding.
After a year of battling ghosts and demons, white witch Jade Calhoun is finally marrying the man of her dreams. Or is she? Minutes before Jade and Kane say I do, the High Angel arrives with a job for the newly appointed shadow walkers. Another witch’s life is on the line and it’s up to Jade and Kane to save her.
With a black magic user intent on destroying one of Jade’s friends, more demons on the loose, and a hard to find incubus, can the almost newlyweds save the witch and get their own happy ending?
Shadows of Bourbon Street
A Jade Calhoun Novel
Bayou Moon Publishing
Copyright © 2014 by Deanna Chase
First Edition 2014
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
ISBN: 978-1-940299-14-3 ebook Version
ISBN: 978-1-940299-15-0 Trade Paperback
Interior Design: The Printed Page, Phoenix, AZ
Cover Design: Janet Holmes
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the publisher of this book.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locals, business establishments, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.
Bayou Moon Publishing
A big thank you to all my readers. Your enthusiasm for the Jade Calhoun Series is more than I ever dreamed possible. It’s because of you that we’re on book five. A special thanks to my editor Rhonda and the rest of my crew: Lisa, Susan, Angie, and Chauntelle.
Foreboding wasn’t the emotion a girl wanted to experience minutes before she was supposed to walk down the aisle. Yet that exact emotion was streaming off Lailah, my soul guardian. I tucked the skirt of my silver wedding dress up and walked to her side with all the nonchalance I could muster. “What’s wrong?” I whispered.
“Huh?” She glanced up from her smart phone, startled.
Mom eyed us from across the bedroom. We were upstairs in the master suite, finishing the final touches before my wedding started at Summer House, the southern Louisiana home Kane had given me as a wedding present. Located in the small town of Cypress Settlement, it had been in his family for years and was where his grandparents had been married. Pasting a smile on, I waved at her, pretending nothing was wrong. The expression on her face softened and she went back to putting the final touches on her makeup.
“You’re giving off a vibe that would make dogs whine,” I said.
Lailah tucked a lock of honey-blond hair behind her ear, exasperation now clinging to her as she forced a smile. “I’m just doing my job. Nothing to worry about.”
I could feel her trying to summon joy and excitement to mask whatever was causing her such turmoil. But she couldn’t hide her emotions from me, an empath. “Don’t try that with me,” I scolded gently. “Something’s going on. Is it Kane? He’s here, right?” I’d been perfectly fine five minutes ago, ready to commit myself to the man who’d been by my side through all the crazy that had happened in the last year. Now nausea rolled through my stomach. What if he’d decided I was too much trouble? That life would be better spent with a normal woman? Not a witch-slash-empath with angel blood.
“Of course he is,” she said, her eyes wide with surprise. “Why wouldn’t he be?”
I took a deep breath and clutched my hand to my chest. “Sorry. Just a momentary bride freak-out.”
She laughed, and more of the turmoil slipped from her. “I think we can let you slide this time. Don’t worry. Everything is fine. Promise.”
“Famous last words.”
The door crashed open with a bang, rattling the small cluster of framed photographs hanging on the wall. “Jade,” Kane’s mother gushed as she fingered the half dozen strands of Mardi Gras beads hung around her neck. That wouldn’t have bothered me if one of them hadn’t sported flashing penises. On any other day I would have laughed, but on my wedding day I didn’t appreciate it, and I had to bite back a scowl. “You look amazing, darling.”
She wore a bright red, low-cut, form-fitting silk dress that was several inches too short for a woman in her sixties. Her lipstick, the shade a perfect match, was smeared slightly on one side as if she’d been making out with someone moments before. What was this? A frat party?
“Thank you, Shelia.” I took another step toward Lailah, hoping I could avoid another of the inevitable bone-crushing hugs she’d bestowed on me five times already today. No such luck. She barreled into me, the strong scent of rum wafting from her.
Lailah gave me a sympathetic smile. “I’ll go check and see how close we are to starting.”
I glared at her over Shelia’s shoulder and mouthed,
“Shelia!” Pyper said as she strolled past Lailah into the bedroom, wearing a sleek woman’s-fit tux. “Kane was just looking for you. It’s time to seat the mothers.” She paused and eyed my future mother-in-law. “Have you been outside flashing for beads again?”
Shelia grinned and touched one of the plastic penises. “It’s Mardi Gras. What else was I supposed to do while I waited for this shindig to start?”
Pyper laughed, but when she saw my face, she covered with a cough. “Maybe it’s better to wait until after the ceremony to partake in the parades.”
“I’m here now, aren’t I?” Shelia pulled off a strand of white beads with three miniature beer bottles attached. In the process, her dress slipped open, and Pyper and I were treated to a peek at her braless chest. I closed my eyes momentarily and prayed for patience. Kane had told me his mother was a little…
. “I didn’t miss anything,” Shelia continued. “Anyway, I was out there to get beads for Jade. She can’t have her wedding Mardi Gras weekend and not wear beads.” She moved forward with the beads outstretched as if she were going to settle the strand over my head.
“Whoa.” I held my hands up. “I’ve already got beads on.” I touched the intricate glass-bead flower necklace I’d made specifically for the wedding. All of my bridesmaids had something similar. I’d given Pyper a strand of roundels that matched the cuff links I’d made for Kane.
“And it’s beautiful,” Shelia said. “But those have nothing to do with Mardi Gras.” She laughed. “Come on, Jade. Loosen up a little.”
I stood frozen as she forced the tacky beads over my head.
“Perfect! Now we’re ready to start.” She flashed a sauced grin and sashayed out of the room, her hips swaying hard enough I was surprised she didn’t throw her back out.
“Holy shit,” Pyper said, smoothing back her jet-black hair. “She’s worse than Kane said she was.”
“Jade!” my mother called as she hurried over. “What are you wearing?”
“A gift from Hurricane Shelia.” I started to sink down onto an ottoman, but Mom wrapped her hands around my arms to stop me.
“Oh, no. You’re going to wrinkle your dress.” Mom marched me over to the door. “Wait here. Your father will be up in a minute to get you.”
“Okay.” At this point, all I cared about was seeing Kane.
Mom eyed me one more time, sneered at the beads and then ripped them off me, nearly poking one of my eyes out with a mini beer bottle.
“Ouch!” I cried.
“Sorry, sweetie, but think of the pictures.” She took off down the hall, her heels clattering against the old wooden floors.
Pyper put a hand on my arm. Her silent mirth rushed into me, and my mood brightened instantly. She shook her head. “Family. They’re both crazy.”
I laughed as her humor washed away all the apprehension that had built up over the last few minutes. “I’m pretty sure Shelia gets the crown.”
“True.” Pyper picked up the beads Mom had thrown on the ground and pulled them over her head.
I gave her a horrified look. “Pictures. Remember?”
“Oh, Jade,” she mimicked in Shelia’s voice. “Loosen up. It’s a party.”
“Hey!” Kat said as she strode into the room. “Where are my beads?”
“No one said anything about Mardi Gras beads,” Lailah said as she followed her in.
“There are no beads. No one but Shelia is wearing beads.” I turned to Pyper. “Take those tacky things off right this moment before I spell you into submission.”
“Geesh,” she said and did as I asked. “No need to be a bridezilla.” Winking, she dropped them on the dresser. “Maybe if you wear them during the reception, that will appease Shelia.”
“After the ceremony is done and the pictures are taken, anyone can wear them, but don’t look at me. I’m not wearing that strand. I’m more of a wine girl. Unless we’re talking about Guinness.” I made a face. “I don’t do Bud.”
“Snob.” Pyper stuck her tongue out, and we all giggled.
“True,” I said. “Admission is the first step to recovery.”
“I hate to break up the girl fest, Jade, but it’s time.” Lailah held her hands out. “Form a circle and we can start the spell.”
Everyone sobered and we did as we were told.
“Nothing is going to interfere with this wedding,” Lailah continued. “Not if I have anything to say about it.”
The spell was my wedding present from my guardian angel. Since I seemed to have a penchant for attracting trouble, my one wish was that Kane and I would have a peaceful ceremony and reception. And with my history, we weren’t taking any chances.
The four of us stood in a circle, our hands clasped, as Lailah chanted, “Four to one and one to four, combine our strengths forevermore.”
A tingle sparked from her fingers to mine, ran through me, and transferred to Kat’s fingers in my other hand. She let out a small gasp and tightened her grip.
“From north to south and east to west, we bind our hearts over this house. Over our friends. Over this day. No one uninvited shall trespass over this land. Let the day be full of love, laughter, and joy. From one to four and four to one, let our will be done.”
We all parroted the last line, “Let our will be done.”
The spark zapped our fingers one more time. Then a complete peacefulness settled over my nerves, and my heart filled with all the love radiating from my friends.
“It’s perfect,” I said to Lailah.
She shrugged, pretending nonchalance, but even if I couldn’t feel the happiness and slight pride clinging just below her surface, I wouldn’t have believed she didn’t care. I knew her better than that. Lailah held her emotions close to the vest, and the only reason I could sense them was because we used to have a psychic connection. That was gone now, but her emotions still came through loud and clear.