Black Dust Mambo (Hoodoo Series #1)

Black Dust Mambo (Hoodoo Series #1)

by Adrian Phoenix

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439167939
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 06/29/2010
Series: Hoodoo Series , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 280,531
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Adrian Phoenix lives in Oregon with her three cats and travels to New Orleans whenever possible.

Read an Excerpt


“C’mon, scoot your gorgeous ass over, Gage,” Kallie RiviÈre whispered, climbing onto the shadowed bed. “I feel like shit. How much goddamned champagne did we—” She froze when her fingers touched the hot, wet sheets.

She blinked in the dawn light filtering into the New Orleans hotel room. Not shadows. She caught a faint whiff of coppery blood. Something else altogether darkened the sheets.

Nausea flipped through her belly. Swallowing hard, she lifted her hand and forced herself to push the blood-soaked sheets back from the man they covered. Gage. The good-looking and hard-bodied nomad conjurer she’d hooked up with last night after the May pole dance.

Playing with him had been a bendy, bouncy, naked trampoline act; a free fall into pleasure. One part Gypsy-style outlaw biker, one part pagan conjurer, and one part hot-blooded explorer—all sexy nomad. Man was beaucoup skilled.

Or had been.

Kallie stared at the dead man in her bed. He lay on his belly, his face turned to the side. Blood masked his fine features, glittered in his black curls. It looked like blood had poured from Gage’s eyes, nose, mouth, and—given the blood staining the sheets beneath him—from elsewhere, like a spigot turned on full blast. All color had drained from his espresso-brown skin, leaving his swirling blue-inked clan tattoos stark on his muscular back, ass, and thighs.

Kneeling on the bed, Kallie reached over, intending to touch her fingers to his throat and check his pulse, but her hand stopped just a few inches above his blood-streaked neck.

Just a few hours ago, he’d devoured her lips with rough and hungry kisses as they had tumbled together on the carpeted floor, her legs wrapped around his waist—so white against his dark skin. The thought of his skin cold and lifeless beneath her fingers kept her hand in the air, motionless.

His empty, unblinking eyes told her he was dead. Gage was gone. She didn’t need to touch him. Kallie stared at her trembling hand, wondering if she even could.

She’d seen plenty of dead things at home in Bayou CyprÈs Noir, but never a dead person, let alone one she knew.

Well, hey, Kallie-girl, that isn’t quite right, now is it? Shouldn’t keep lying to yourself like that.

Memory tugged at Kallie, taking her back to another morning nine years ago.

Mama pulls the gun’s trigger and the side of Papa’s head explodes in a spray of blood and bone. He slumps down in his chair, a bottle of Abita still in his hand.

Kallie stands in her bedroom doorway, frozen—just like now. Mama turns and faces her, aims the gun carefully between her shaking hands. Her hands shake, but her face is still, resigned.

“Sorry, baby. I ain’t got a choice.”

Mama pulls the trigger again.

Kallie touched trembling and blood-sticky fingers to the scar on her left temple. Traced the lightning stroke of the bullet’s path, just as her gaze traced the contours of Gage’s face. Pain and shock had widened his hemorrhaging eyes, had twisted his fingers into the sheets.

How had he died? When had he died? While she lay curled on the bathroom floor, sick on too much wine and champagne?

She hadn’t heard a goddamned thing.

Kallie reached up and closed her fingers around the pendants her aunt had hung around her neck nine years ago—a tiny onyx coffin marked with a silver X and a medallion for Saint Bernadette—and closed her eyes.

It was too late to call 911, but she needed to contact someone. Report this. Maybe the coordinators of the oh-so-exclusive May Madness Carnival would know what to do, especially when it came to dealing with a dead member of one of the freewheeling ain’t-bound-by-your-squatter-laws nomad clans.

Maybe, yeah, but she thought a friend’s calming advice might be the way to go first. She gave her pendants a quick squeeze for luck before releasing them, then opened her eyes.

Kallie’s gaze fell on the small stylized fox black-inked beneath Gage’s right eye—the tat naming his clan. She wanted to grab a clean section of the sheet and wipe the blood away, wanted to smooth his eyes shut, but her hands remained knotted on her thighs.

“I’m so sorry,” she whispered, the sound of her words hollow and inadequate even to herself. “Eternal rest grant unto him, O bon Dieu. And let perpetual light shine upon him. All flesh must come to you with all its sins; though our faults overpower us, you blot them out. Baron Samedi, I ask you please to accept this man into Guinee. Guide him safe from the crossroads and from the land of the living.”

Course, it might be nice if God and the loa actually listened to prayers without needing a rum-soaked bribe first. Kallie sighed. Still, old habits and all that bullshit.

Kallie scooted off the bed and, not sure where her cell phone was, grabbed the room phone. Her finger shook as she punched in the number to Belladonna’s room.

“Whazz?” Belladonna slurred, her voice thick with sleep.

“It’s me.” Kallie cupped her hand around the receiver’s mouthpiece like she was trying to keep her conversation private or trying to curl her fingers around something normal and real. “Something bad’s happened . . . beaucoup bad, Bell. I need you to come over right now.”

All the sleep evaporated from Belladonna’s voice. “I’ll be right there. You alone?”

“Yes and no.”

An exasperated snort. “Which is it, girl? Do I need to bring muscle or a spell?”

“Just you, dammit. Please.”

The line went dead. Kallie re-cradled the receiver, then sat down on the carpet, amid the wreckage of her clothes and Gage’s, her arms wrapped around her bare legs. She shivered, teeth chattering, caught in a cold trembling that vibrated up from her core.

Mama’s hands shake, but her face is still, resigned. “Sorry, baby. I ain’t got a choice.”

Kallie thought she’d put all that aside, all the darkness and fury and tight-throated hurt, when she’d gone to live with her ti-tante Gabrielle; had sworn she’d never let her goddamned mama steal another moment of her life.

Looks like I just broke that promise.

Knuckles rapped against her door, and Kallie’s heart jumped into her throat. “Hold on,” she said, unfolding her shaking limbs and climbing gracelessly to her feet. Belladonna must not’ve even bothered to dress, must’ve just thrown on a robe and hustled her ass into an elevator.

Kallie padded to the door, unlocked it, and eased it open. “Thanks for getting here so—” The words withered in her throat.

Not Belladonna in a robe, but a tall and fine-looking guy wearing a hastily tugged-on sage-green tank, jeans, and scooter boots with painted flames licking up from the soles. Blue-inked Celtic tattoos swirled from beneath the shoulders of his tank and down his arms. Thick, honey-blond dreads coiled nearly to his waist, and sideburns, stiletto-thin and sharp, curved along the lines of his jaw.

A shock went through her as she met his pine-green gaze. For a second, everything quieted inside of her as though he’d pressed a soothing finger against her lips and whispered, “Shhh.” His eyes widened a little as though he felt the strange connection too; then Kallie noticed the small black fox inked beneath his right eye, and her heart sank.

“Hey, you must be Kallie, Gage’s hoodoo honey, yeah? Sorry to bug you so early, but is he still here?” the nomad asked. His gaze slid past her and into the room. “I really need to talk to him.”

“Now?” Ice sheared off from the glacier encasing Kallie’s heart and flowed into her veins, froze her thoughts.

On pure instinct, she stepped into the hall, pulling the door shut behind her. Too late, she realized she was wearing only her red lace please-undress-me bra and bikini-cut panties. Face burning, she pulled one dangling strap back up onto her shoulder.

An appreciative but teasing smile curved the nomad’s lips. “Rosy cheeks to match the undies. You wear ’em well, sunshine. I’m Layne, by the way.”

Kallie opened her mouth, unsure of what to say, but knowing she needed to say something, anything. But before a single word could emerge from between her lips, the nomad’s gaze locked onto her hands. He sucked in a sharp breath. She looked down. Blood smeared her fingers. Her pulse thundered in her ears.

“I don’t know what happened,” she stammered, looking up at him. “He was dead when I—”

Layne stared at her, all expression gone from his face. “Dead?”

Temples throbbing with hangover pain, Kallie nodded, holding his pine-green gaze, unable to think of a single worthwhile word to say.

“You’re kidding me, right?”

“I wish I was,” Kallie said.

Shoving past her, the nomad pushed open the door and walked into the sunlight-laced room.

“Wait, hold on.” Kallie hurried into the room after him. Her belly knotted as she drew in a breath of air tainted with the coppery scent of blood and, underneath, something she’d missed earlier—the faint brimstone stink of discharged magic; scents that seemed to register on Layne too.

He swung left and stopped in front of the rumpled and blood-drenched double bed. The color drained from his face. “Gage. No. Oh, shit. Shit.”

The shocked grief on Layne’s face tightened Kallie’s throat. “I’m so sorry.” She desperately wished her hung-over brain would toss her words a little less trite, give her a verbal lifeline. But no. The only other thing it coughed up was: Sorry for your loss.

“You’re sorry,” Layne repeated, voice flat. “My draÍochtbrÚthair—my brother-in-magic and my best friend—lies dead in your bed. And you’re fucking sorry?”

“Look, I had nothing to do with Gage’s death.”

Layne spun around and grabbed Kallie by both arms, his road-callused fingers clamping around her biceps. “Nothing? Ain’t that his blood on your fingers?”

“Get your goddamned hands off me before I forget you’re grieving.” Kallie met his eyes, glare for glare, her hands knuckling into fists.

“Or what? You’ll hex me to death too?”

Too? Oh, hell, no. Is that what you think? I told you—I found him like that. I sure as hell didn’t kill him!”

“I smell spent magic. If you didn’t kill him, who did?”

“I don’t know, dammit!” Kallie wrenched free of Layne’s grip, suspecting—given the strength of his hands—that he’d let her go. Chin lifted, she held his gaze and pulled her bra strap back onto her shoulder again.

Layne folded his arms over his chest. “So where the hell were you when it happened, anyway? The only blood I see on you is on your hands, so you couldn’t have even been in the goddamned bed with him.”

“We never made it to the bed, per se, not together, because we downed a ton of champagne and wine, and I passed out in the bathroom. When I woke up . . .”

“Passed out. Pretty damned convenient, huh?”

“A damned relief at the time, truth be told, considering all the puking.”

“You okay, Shug?” another voice said, all purring velvet tones; a voice Kallie knew well. “Or am I looking at a soon-to-be-dead nomad?”

© 2010 Adrian Phoenix

Customer Reviews

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Black Dust Mambo (Hoodoo Series #1) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
dalnewt More than 1 year ago
This book interweaves multiple plot lines to form a gripping and delightfully unpredictable story. An intense and twisting crime investigation combines with darker mysteries surrounding the female protagonist's traumatic past and inexplicable supernatural powers. In addition, the book contains lighter, more humorous scenes and some erotic moments. The novel also features sympathetic/engaging/amusing primary characters, mesmerizing descriptions, a truly diabolical villain, excellently described hoodoo and voodoo magic, distinct and diverse dialects (including Cajun, English and Irish expressions) and an evocative southern bayou ambiance. Written in the third-person, the book follows the experiences/perceptions of diverse and attractive main characters. The cast includes the hot-headed, twenty-something hoodoo (root worker) apprentice Kallie Riviere; her funny and loyal voodoo priestess friend Belladonna Brown; a 'hot' and blond dreadlocked nomad biker who is a 'Vessel' (a spirit cabinet for the dead); an Irish pixie-like woman who is divorced from the biker but remains his protective friend; and, the conjurer head of magical Hecatean Council who leads the investigation and demonstrates an intelligent/droll wit and particular proclivities. Then, there's the hoodoo villain who's completely dedicated to revenge and practices the blackest, soul-stealing magic. The story begins with the female protagonist, Kallie Riviere, waking up after a wild Hecatean carnival night and hook-up with a hot nomad conjurer. She finds the conjurer's bloody and lifeless body in her bed. Eventually, she and her friend Belladonna discover that the man was killed by a soul stealing hex placed underneath the sheets of her bed. The clan brother of the dead nomad, the 'Vessel' Layne Valin, arrives at Kallie's room only to be infected with the death curse when he touches the body. Inexplicably, Kallie is able to channel the dark juju, and, then, is taken into the custody by the Council's head, Lord Basil Augustine. In a surprising plot twist, Lord Basil is killed when an attempt is made on Kallie's life, and his spirit takes up residence in the body of Layne Valin. In time, the souls of both Layne and Basil agree to take turns controlling Valin's body. The criminal/investigative plot is fast-paced and twisting. It resolves in an intensely supernatural climax. Further, the deeper mysteries of Kallie's inexplicable powers/abilities and dark past are explained but remain essentially unresolved in the finishing scene. I truly enjoyed this book and recommend it to any urban fantasy fan.
kitkat3ny More than 1 year ago
I'm a sucker for a good voodoo/hoodoo mystery. I love Adrian's The Maker's Song series and this new series has intrigued me just as much. Set in Louisiana's dark and dangerous world of hoodoo practitioners. Adrain successfully created a world that felt like Death lurked around every corner, the character's felt completely authentic and Adrian seamlessly blended the American-African-Cajun cultures. This book hooked my attention from beginning to end. The story was dark, fast paced, with lots of action, magic and humor. I highly recommend this book to fellow dark urban fantasy and look forward to the next book in this new hoodoo series, BLACK HEART LOA due out 2011 and I can't wait for the next book in the Marker's Song series, Etched in Blood due out 2/22/2011.
bookaphile on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is as unique as her Maker's Song series. I liked the tough heroine and the world created by the author. There were alot of surprises too. The only objection I had is the characters seem to more like college kids on spring break than those dealing with murder.
Readingfanatic1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is the start of a great new series that easily surpasses the ¿Maker¿s Song Series¿. Ms. Phoenix, while she continues to write from multiple perspectives in this book, has 1) decreased those perspectives down to a manageable level and 2) brought those perspectives quickly together so that the reader is not left hanging, wondering why the heck you are reading about some minor character who happens to be the maid. The story is dark, and fascinating. Ms. Phoenix has created a world, a language, and a unique way of being in this book. Magic is a way of life, not needing explanation, it just is. It is hard to explain what is going on in the book because I find myself writing spoilers every time I try. To avoid spoiling the book, I will just tell you the mystery is good and I did not predict the ending, it was quite the twist. In addition, for those who read the Maker¿s Song Series, there is no glossary in the back.
FantasyDreamer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Black Dust Mambo kept a fast pace with action packed scenes, a few that were very intense, that included bits of snaky humor. It encompassed the stereotypical Cancun people speak along with the traditional superstitions of voodoo/hoodoo conjuring and practices, which are two of the reasons that I really enjoyed this book. Adrian Phoenix made these stereotypes work for this book in the form of making more authentic and turned it into an intense, fun, sit-on-the-edge of your seat story. Kallie kept me laughing and cheering her on with her boisterous personality and the intense scenes surrounding plot gave me a very real feel for those in danger. Oh, and there is a very sexy nomad with blond dreads that I have a particular fondness for named Layne. Can't wait to read more about him.I found Black Dust Mambo to be written in a different style from Adrian Phoenix's Maker Song series. The world building didn't seem as complex, which made this story move at an easy fast clip. I'm definitely going to pickup the next book in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A really great book, fast and attention grabbing! I loved it and can't wait to read the next book!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did finsh it but I didn't like it, can't really say why without giving the ending away. To me it left me from curious enough to buy it to wishing I had bought another book instead. It is rare for me to say but I won't be buying the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
aeynera More than 1 year ago
I'm not done reading it just yet, but one thing that bothered me about the book in the beginning was this character, that character, the next character-- they were introduced at weird times (such as not even in different chapters) and it feels like there are just too many. The ex-wife of the vessel for example really serves no purpose that I can discern. But...once I got past that, it's actually pretty decent. Just the overwhelming amount of characters still bothers me.
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8ntFrogn More than 1 year ago
Great new author with a newer twist for me with the magics that we associate with New Orleans. The story was a bit predictable but I would read again and suggest to someone looking for a good read. The characters were real and interesting and you know the fireworks are going to continue in the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lightbar20015 More than 1 year ago
downloaded book two before i finished this one
Kronoberger More than 1 year ago
Good. I loved the characters introduced in the story, but didn't like the feeling like crucial character information was left out of the book. Also, this seems to be a book that features a story arc that goes over several books. A book can be part of a series and still contain a story where are loose ends are wrapped up without having to buy the next book. I'm on the fence about purchasing #2.
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Jimi Wells More than 1 year ago
First time I have read anything like it. I have the second one now and cant wait to read it.
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