So you can read my books

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Season's Greetings_THE DANSE MARDI GRAS

Season's Greetings
                from the French Quarter!

{Excerpt from Victor's sixth book, DANSE MARDI GRAS. Image: Victoria Frances.}


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 happy hound-style 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 advice.”


  1. Very timely for your city, Roland. That excerpt kept me reading and wondering who of the lovely ladies would deal the swiping blow at Victor. But his gift of gab saved him again.

    I have heard wild things about the Mardi Gras.

  2. D.G.:
    Victor is a lot like Dean Kootnz's Odd Thomas in being able to wiggle out of tight places with his gift of gab! :-)

    New Orleans is wild during Mardi Gras! The only way to enjoy the parades is to watch from one of the balconies along the route. But I would have to become the next JK Rowling to rate that rare position!

  3. Such a sensuous, wonderful post for Mardi Gras, I love it! As for the trailer at the end, I admit despite initial reservations, I'm intrigued.

  4. Thanks, Heather:
    I wanted to do something for Mardi Gras. And I think Warm Bodies may be better than many believe. Ah, I am an optimist! lol.