So you can read my books

Friday, January 27, 2012

DANSE MARDI GRAS_Friday's Romantic Challenge


I had never seen Captain Sam so happy. Meilori was back in his arms though it meant a target on my back. Mardi Gras was a thing of laughter within his haunted jazz club once again.

I felt like baying like a happy hound myself. Alice was flowing towards me in a black sleek dress whose long skirt was slit for the tango.

Her porcelain shoulders bare, long blonde hair a living waterfall upon them, long black gloves up past her elbows.

She leaned against me to the tempo of Grace Jones singing “Strange, I’ve Seen That Face Before.”

“What is this tune?,” she whispered in my ear.

“The Libertango,” I smiled.

“I do feel liberated,” she husked, running her toe up, then down my right leg.

“Me, too,” spoke Meilori as she slipped between Alice and me, whipping the two of us away.

Jade eyes which had watched Aztec sacrifices scream for mercy that never came stabbed into me.

“So you are the son I could never give Samuel?”

“We don’t have to be enemies,” I whispered, seeing a concerned Captain Sam taking up a frantic Alice in his arms to continue the tango towards us.

Meilori laughed a thing from nightmares.

“Oh, do not worry, Standish. Once I kill you, I will forget all about you.”

She gazed mockingly at Alice as she rubbed her body against mine, and I sighed, “You can destroy me as an enemy in another way.”


“You can make a friend of me.”

A Harlequin spun me from Meilori’s arms, shaking off her belled hat, long silk black hair tumbling down on colorful shoulders.

Maija. I wondered when she’d show.

Meilori gasped, “But you are dead!”

“Your savage of a husband only managed to kill my followers. DayStar saved me.”

I shook my head as Maija spun me in the female’s role of the tango and snorted, “DayStar doesn’t save. He damns.”

“To revenge myself against my sister, McCord, and you, I welcome damnation.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sam sweep Meilori in his arms as she whispered hurriedly to him. Marshall Hickok took up Alice and danced the tango awkwardly towards us.

Maija swept me down in a sudden dip, wrenched me up against her breasts (Aw, jeez, she didn’t believe in underwear), and hissed into my ear.

“Tonight I will pay you back for that ‘Menage a Trois’ lie you spread about you, your ghoul, and myself in 1834!”

I snapped her out, then back into my arms as the tango heated up. “Hey, I happened to ruin my reputation while improving yours with that!”

“I will kill you slowly for those words.”

“Take a number. It’s a long line.”

Another woman, this time dressed as Marie Antoinette, tugged me out of Maija’s arms. Despite the white wig, I recognized the insane cobalt blue eyes. Empress Theodora, ruler of the European Revenant Empire.

“Royalty first, Ningyo swine!”

My dance card was getting too damn full. Theodora laughed throaty.

“Ah, my subjects are whispering that I am renewing our tawdry love affair. Another lie you have sown about your betters!”

Father Renfield and Sister Magda were twirling effortlessly towards us, their faces grim. So was Sam with Meilori and Alice with Hickok. I smiled grimly.

Lady Lovelace and Margaret Fuller were scandalizing the crowd by dancing together my way. They were too far away to get here in time.

Theodora’s steel fingers squeezed my upper arms tight. She was about to pull apart my arms and make a wish.

I smiled sad. “You’re all alone.”

“My subjects are mixed all through this crowd within Meilori’s.”

“And still alone.”

I dipped her suddenly. Jeez, didn’t any of my enemies believe in underwear? I got a terrible mental image of Major Strasser. If I survived this tango, I was going to have to take a bath in Listerine.

“You are surrounded by toadies who are too terrified to say anything but yes to you.”

Theodora snapped up, pressing me close to her, running her own toe up and down my right leg. “And that is bad?”

“One day, your worshipfulness, you’re going to be at a terrible crossroads, not knowing which way to take. And those toadies’ words won’t help worth shit.”

I smiled wide, taking precise quick, flowing steps between her fast moving high-heeled feet as we moved fluid over the dance floor.

“Then, you’ll think of me, too stupid to lie – even to an enemy.”

Theodora studied me. “You would save my life? Why?”

“Because we’re both street gypsies. You’re just a clever daughter of a bear trainer who slept her way to the top. Me? I’m gutter trash. We’re alike and both alone in ways no one but we will ever understand.”

Theodora flicked flat eyes to Alice, and I shook my head.

“She was raised to be a Victorian lady. Like you, I was raised to survive in a world that didn’t want me to.”

“Alike and alone,” Theodora husked.

Her cobalt eyes deepened, became wet. Before I could react Theodora crushed her cold lips into mine.

“Hey, no tongue on a first date!”

Alice was suddenly by my side. Theodora laughed oddly, linking her arm with an uneasy Hickok. “Standish, you live … for tonight. You have given me much to think over.”

Alice’s pale face became all eyes. “What was that kiss about? What did you do, Victor?”

Sam and Meilori danced to a halt in front of me. I looked into the disturbed eyes of Meilori, sighing, “Followed my own advise.”

{Excerpt from Victor's sixth book, DANSE MARDI GRAS. The 4th & 5th? THREE SPIRIT NIGHT and DEATH AT CHRISTMAS.}

For other entries :


(steamy in the middle and towards the end)



  1. Ha! I love how he's constantly complaining about her lack of underwear. The setting and pace was practically flawless. :)

  2. Hi Roland .. I did love this ... and particularly like this sentence:

    Jade eyes which had watched Aztec sacrifices scream for mercy that never came stabbed into me.

    Also your tango sequence in Scent of a Woman .. I haven't seen the film .. so that was a great addition ..

    Cheers Hilary

  3. Firstly, Scent of a Woman is wonderful as is Al Pacino - always. I expect we'll see the tango popping up in quite a few stories, but none with the character list you bring to us. Marie Antoinette indeed. Quite the party!

    As always, ghoulish, riveting with dialogue to die for. Great job Roland.


  4. Expert use of the dance to add tension to a killing scene.

    As always, loved your music choices :)


  5. Hello Roland,
    Haha. This was quite the dance...guess everybody was "dressed to kill"! LOL
    Your music choices were great...gosh that Grace Jones voice brings back memories. I saw Scent Of A Woman too. Excellent movie & dance scene. The Tango is such a sexy dance...definitely a "lovers" dance! (smile)

    Another fine job from you, my friend! Loved it all.

    BTW, Blogger wasn't successful in grabbing me from your followers...I'm still hanging around (smile).

  6. Wonderful as ever Roland, and now I have so many questions ...

  7. First time on your blog. I'm a little overwhelmed. There's so much to read here. It's wonderful.

    I'll be following.

  8. Fantastic! Bravo, Roland.

    Grace Jones kinda scares me, though!

  9. Jasmine :
    It seems every woman he danced with (who also wanted to kill him) wasn't wearing any! It was like discovering the librarian disapproving of you wasn't wearing any!!

    I worked hard on the pacing, and your kind words made me feel like I might have succeeded. Thanks.

    Hilary :
    SCENT OF A WOMAN is a true winner. I hope you can find a DVD of it. Meilori is certainly a frightening, complex demigoddess. Thanks for liking that sentence. It creeped me out just imagining those eyes, and I wrote it! LOL!

    Denise :
    Your praise means a lot coming from you. CASABLANCA taught me when very young how important dialogue was. Chandler and Parker re-taught it to me. Often when dealing with monsters in our lives, like Victor, our wit is our greatest weapon, right?

    Thank you, Donna :
    All three of those music videos have always been some I watch over and over again. I thought the juxtapositioning of dance with death might be interesting. I'm so happy you thought so, too.

    Andy :
    Glad to hear that Blogger hadn't torn you from my followers. Yes, it seems all the women on that dance floor were "dressed to kll!"

    The tango has long been my favorite romantic dance.

    Sarah :
    Good to see you back! I've missed you. Meilori and Sam are reunited in NEW ORLEANS ARABESQUE (a Sam McCord urban fantasy) and THREE SPIRIT NIGHT (a Victor Standish urban fantasy) -- both as yet not totally written.

    Ah, the 'Menage a Trois" gambit Victor pulls on Maija is in THE RIVAL, the sequel to UNDER A VOODOO MOON that I'm writing now.

    The rumor that Theodora and Victor are wildly mismatched lovers is started by Victor to escape her Siberian stronghold in UNDER A VOODOO MOON.

    Thought those might be some of the answers you were wondering about. LOL.

    Myrna :
    Yours is a lovely blog. I have a bit of everything here. Posts on how to write better. Excerpts from some of my work. Ghosts of famous writers taking over and helping all of us. Thanks for visiting and following. I hope you come back.

    Jay :
    I think Grace Jones scares a lot of people! Love LIBERTANGO though! Your post on firearms misuse in literature was fascinating and fun! Roland

  10. A nice piece to work the theme. Well done.

  11. Hi Roland. Back to read again. A killing scene this is.