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September 20 , 2009

Bayou Woman


New Orleans has a special attraction for Jake O'Bryan. At seventeen, his first year in college, he's been fascinated with the history and ambiance of 'The Big Easy.' It was his intense interest in this unique, unchanging culture that drew him into an obsessive relationship with the mystical bayous, and its traditional people. However, his first encounter with one of the true bloods had nearly gotten him killed, in a back alley behind Bourbon Street. -Jolee-

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Grant McCrea's long and tall, lean and mean. Or at least he was, until flying his last sortie mission in Afghanistan. Military Intelligence had it all wrong, and he flies his men into an ambush. He's the lone survivor, taken captive and held for fourteen months before his rescue. So now, he's coming home to what? His parents have perished in a…

He'd heard the legend, Voodoo and wishful thinking, mixed with pure superstition..most likely. Even so, Creole and Cajun alike awaited the child's future as Queen of the Creoles. Therein lay Pierre LeBlanc's greed. Already one of Louisiana's king-pin mobsters, it isn't enough. With Jolee as his wife, he would gain more power and total control over the other crime lords until the entire state would fear and respect his demands. But, he has to wait for Jolee to grow into adulthood, first. For Jake, it had been an introduction into the dark side of Bayou life and one he never forgot.

Right out of college, he was recruited by the War Commission to participate in a special operational tour in Afghanistan. When his tour ends, he returns to the Louisiana Gulf coast, hardened and bitter by the senseless slaughter of the desert, throw-away children, 'sand fleas'- innocents, deemed collateral damage by both governments. To his family's relief, he uses his trust fund to start up his off-shore drilling operation and moves his life forward. Unknown to him, his destiny has already been plotted and meticulously set for him.-

It's three years later and he's been enormously successful, owns a luxury manor in Nashville, a cabin in the Rockies, but spends most of his time rig-hopping just off-shore of New Orleans. Tonight, he's in route to Bluebonnet, Texas for a long overdue, check-in with his parents. He has a couple hours wait time and drops by to relax and beg a meal at his old, all-time hangout, Papa Chas' Blues Bar. Too soon, he feels a change in the atmosphere,.. danger. He waits for it, isn't even shocked when Pierre LeBlanc, the top man on his ten-year-old 'kill' list parades right past him with his four shotgun-swinging thugs in tow.

What did surprise him was the young red-haired woman trailing in the thug's wake. She'd only been ten years old when he'd last seen her in their haphazard, alley run-in. He's relieved that she's somehow survived long enough to grow up.. but she's not a skinny little kid, anymore. She's exotic, beautiful and quite possibly the most dangerous woman he'll ever see, since- it's obvious she still belongs to LeBlanc.

In a grandstand performance, Jolee disappears into the crowd in what appears to be a well-orchestrated escape while he silently sits, sipping his beer and watches. Intuitively, he knows, she won't get far. LeBlanc already controls the bayous and most of the Louisiana coast. After the warlord discovers she's escaped, he and his swamp rats shoot off a few rounds as simultaneously, the New Orleans Police SWAT vans arrive.

Jake's seen enough, finishes his beer and lets Papa Chas give him a ride to his jet. With a surge of adrenaline pumping through him, he can't lose his unease or diffuse his anger. He should've helped her. Ten years ago, he couldn't. Tonight, he should've... but didn't. When he gets to his jet, the passenger door lock shows evidence of tampering. From experience, he suspects another attempt to smuggle contraband on board his jet. To his amazement, after searching the plane, it's not illegal drugs but a stow-a-way- Jolee.

Now, he has to decide how to save her without getting them both killed. In the meantime, he's taking her as far away from New Orleans as he can, somewhere he knows is safe- his cabin in Colorado. Once he has time to plan- he'll make certain she's alive and free...and he'll kill LeBlanc, himself to keep her that way. He wonders. Is this his retribution.. or his one chance of redemption for his own dark sins?

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