Bayou Bonne Chance
Excerpt from book:
The rain had finally stopped. Zachary Winter turned off the windshield wipers of his rental car as he passed the city limits sign for Bonne Chance, Louisiana. Now that the sun had come out, steam rose like tendrils of smoke from the blacktop road and clung to the windshield like shower spray on a mirror. He put the wipers on Intermittent. Rain in south Louisiana was seldom a relief, no matter what the season. Even in April, when most of the country was experiencing spring weather, an afternoon thunderstorm might cool the heat-soaked roads enough for steam to rise, but the tepid, humid air never seemed to change.
The last time he'd been here, in his hometown of Bonne Chance, was more than a decade ago. The name Bonne Chance was French for Good Luck. His mouth twisted with irony. Had his sad little hometown ever been good luck for anybody? He'd certainly never intended to come back. And the reason he was here now was not his choice.
He drove past two national chain grocery stores and a Walmart. "Well, Bonne Chance," he muttered, "I guess you've arrived if Walmart thinks you're worthy of notice."
As he turned onto Parish Road 1991, better known as Cemetery Road, a pang hit his chest, part anxiety, part grief and part dread. He'd intended to get into town in time for Tristan DuChaud's funeral. Tristan had been his best friend since before first grade.
As he rounded a curve, he spotted the dark green canopy that contrasted with the dull granite of the above-ground tombs peculiar to south Louisiana. From this distance, he couldn't read the white letters on the canopy, but he knew what they said: CARVER FUNERAL HOME, Serving Bonne Chance for Over Forty Years.
He parked on the shoulder of the road, glanced at his watch, then lowered the driver's-side window. The air that immediately swirled around his head and filled the car was suffocatingly familiar, superheated and supersaturated from the rain.
One hundred percent humidity. Now, there was a hard concept to explain to someone who'd never been to the Deep South. How the air could be completely saturated with water and yet no rain would fall. He usually described it as similar to breathing in a sauna. But that wasn't even close. The air down here felt heavy and thick. Within seconds, a combination of sweat and a strange, invisible mist made everything you wore and everything you touched damp. And with the sun out and drawing steam from people as well as roads and metal surfaces, it could be disturbingly hard to breathe.
Getting out of the car, Zach shrugged his shoulders, trying to peel the damp material of his white cotton shirt away from his skin, but he knew that within seconds it would be stuck again. Then he took off his sunglasses. They had fogged up immediately when the damp heat hit them. Without their protection, however, the sun's glare made it almost impossible to see. He shaded his eyes and squinted at the small group of people who were gathered around the funeral home's canopy. Most of them were dressed in black. The men had removed their jackets and hung them over the backs of the metal folding chairs set up under the canopy.
He wished he could leave his jacket in the car but that was out of the question. He'd always found it more efficient to travel armed, in his official capacity as a National Security Agency investigative agent. Today, though, a storm had hit New Orleans about a half hour before the plane's arrival time and not even his high-security clearance could clear the runway in time for him to rent a car and make it to Bonne Chance for Tristan's funeral service. It looked as though he'd barely made it to the graveside in time.
He grabbed the jacket and put it on, then blew on the sunglasseTwo federal agents must crack the secrets hidden deep in the bayou
Undercover agent Zach Winter vows to expose the truth behind his best friend's death and protect the pregnant widow left behind. But his de facto partner, Maddy Tierney, isn't the average federal-agent-turned-bodyguardshe's too beautiful, too capable and too damn tempting. It isn't until he rescues her from a kidnapping attempt that their relationship goes from uneasy to explosive. With the criminals closing in and time running out, Zach knows he'd put his own life on the line in order to protect a vulnerable widow. And to ensure the safety of the woman he can't imagine saying goodbye to.