When Bobbie Faye wakes up on the morning of the Lake Charles Contraband Days Festival, she's looking forward to balloons, booze, and babies in pirate costumes. Instead, she discovers that her trailer's flooded, her no-good brother's been kidnapped, and the criminals are demanding her mom's tiara as ransom.
Soon Bobbie Faye is committing (unintentional) bank robbery and (fully intentional) car jacking to retrieve her family heirloom. The one bright spot comes in the hard-muscled, impossibly sexy form of Trevor, the guy whose truck she just took hostage. Luckily, Bobbie Faye knows how to outsmart angry bears, drive a speedboat, and handle a gun. As for handling Trevor? No gun-shyness there. Now, if only that pesky state police detective, who also happens to be a pissed-off ex-boyfriend, would stay out of her way . . .
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|File size:||333 KB|
About the Author
Toni McGee Causey lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She and her husband, Carl, are licensed general contractors and, in order to support her writing addiction, they run their own company, specializing in civil construction.
Toni McGee Causey lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She and her husband, Carl, are licensed general contractors and, in order to support her writing addiction, they run their own company, specializing in civil construction. She is the author of books including Bobbie Faye's Very (very, very, very) Bad Day.
Read an Excerpt
Charmed and Dangerous
(previously published as Bobbie Faye's Very (very, very, very) Bad Day)
By Toni McGee Causey
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2007 Toni McGee Causey
All rights reserved.
You know how some people are born to Greatness? Well, Bobbie Faye Sumrall woke up one morning, kicked Greatness in the teeth, kneed it in the balls, took it hostage, and it's been begging for mercy ever since.
— a former Louisiana mayor after Bobbie Faye accidentally ran her car into his office, knocking pages of fraud evidence into the street, which helped land him in Federal prison
Something wet and spongy plunked against Bobbie Faye's face and she sprang awake, arms pinwheeling. "Damn it, Roy, you hit me with a catfish again and I'm gonna —" Whoa. Everything was dark in her cramped trailer. There was no catfish, no little brother Roy pretending innocence. Of course she'd been dreaming, because Roy was twenty-six now, not ten. Still a complete pain in the ass, though.
She swiped at the cold rivulets of wetness running down her face. "What was that?" she muttered to no one in particular. "And why the hell am I wet?"
"You gots a s'imming pool inside."
Bobbie Faye squinted in the half-dark and focused on Stacey, her five-year-old niece, whose blond pigtails were haloed in the blue bug light emanating from just outside the trailer window. Then she peered at the wet Nerf bat Stacey dropped to the floor.
Check that. A Nerf bat floating a good two inches above the lime green shag carpet.
"Shit!" Bobbie Faye stood, flinching as the icy water covered her ankles. "Fuck. Damn fuck fuckity shit."
"Mamma says you shouldn't cuss so much."
"Yeah? Well your mamma should quit drinking, too, kid, but that ain't likely to happen either."
Shit. That was evil. She checked Stacey's reaction, but her niece was preoccupied with the soggy Nerf bat again and hadn't seemed to hear. Thank God. She didn't mean to harm the little rug rat. And how was she supposed to remember to be nice at four-freaking A.M.? Who the hell would expect her to be nice anyway? Lori-freaking-Ann, that's who. Her pill-popping, wine-swigging lush of a little sister whose plastered-on Grace Kelly smile made her look efficient and serene, even when she wobbled into a wall and fell on her ass.
Bobbie Faye never got to look serene.
Sonofabitch. And today was the day the Social Services lady was scheduled to come by. At four-thirty that afternoon. To judge whether Bobbie Faye was providing Stacey with a safe and stable home. Bobbie Faye shuddered as the icy water lapped at her ankles. Somehow, she was supposed to fix ... whatever the hell this mess was ... in time to preside at the opening ceremony of the Contraband Days Festival and get back before four-thirty to prove she could be a good foster parent while Lori Ann was pulling her court-ordered four-month drying-out stint at the Troy House.
Oh, flipping yippee.
Water splashed against her knees, and she looked down at Lori Ann's little ankle biter stomping on the carpet as they squish-squished their way down the hall.
"Your hippos are s'imming." Stacey laughed, pointing at the glow-in-the-dark hippos dancing across Bobbie Faye's thin white cotton PJs. Then the monster child jumped again, hard, splashing water up to Bobbie Faye's elbows.
"For Christ's sake, Stacey, if you hop around one more time, I'm gonna turn you into a frog."
Stacey giggled, but at least she stopped jumping.
Bobbie Faye stood in front of the cramped utility closet of her tiny, dark trailer and glared at the culprit: her washing machine, run amok. Water geysered from somewhere behind the vibrating piece-of-crap appliance. If she'd had a gun, she'd have shot it. Several times. Happily. She twisted knobs, pressing buttons broken so long ago, there was no telling what they had originally been meant to do.
She wanted to stomp or snarl that this was so not happening to her, but she was awake enough now to be mature in front of Stacey. She could do mature. She was twenty-eight years old, the oldest sibling and the one the other two constantly turned to when they screwed up; of course she could do mature. And solve problems. She was a paragon of problem-solving, and she slammed her fist down on the machine, hoping to dislodge whatever it was that was causing the crisis. The machine shuddered, the water gushed higher, and in that moment, seriously mature went straight to hell. Bobbie Faye hauled off and kicked the machine, then yelped and squirmed in pain because frozen toes do not take too well to sudden impact with metal.
Bobbie Faye squeezed her eyes shut, hopping on the other foot and biting her lip to keep from spouting a new stream of expletives. Way to use a brain cell, genius. Stacey took one gander at the hopping and went straight back to jumping with the enthusiasm of a five-year-old on a post-Easter-morning sugar high, soaking everything in her path.
And this is the kid who throws a tantrum if I even look like it's time for her bath.
There were two things Bobbie Faye knew for certain. One, a day without disaster would be a day in someone else's life. And two, she was going to kill her brother Roy for not showing up to fix the washing machine like he'd promised.
She sloshed through the kitchen to the back door and opened it, hoping the water would rush out; it barely trickled. The trailer floor had already sagged below the threshold, turning her ancient trailer into a bowl.
Wonderful. The bathtub leaks, the trailer doesn't.
Bobbie Faye slumped a moment, barely resisting the urge to pound her head against the door frame. This was her one day off. She'd worked extra hours all week just to be able to relax this morning and take her time to get ready for the festival's opening ceremonies. She hadn't thought anything could top the thunderstorm that blew through on last year's opening day and knocked a tree onto her first truly pretty car, a slightly banged-up purple Nissan 300ZX. Sure, it was used, high mileage, and pulled heavily to the left, but it was shiny, with only two rust spots. The tree could have fallen in any other direction and nothing would have been damaged. Of course, that would mean this was someone else's life. It didn't help when she learned she had, just that day, received a cancellation notice from her car insurance. (Not a single person, not even her friends, ever believed she really hadn't seen that fire truck barreling through the intersection with all of its lights on and sirens blazing. She thought the fireman was clearly at fault, though she did feel pretty awful when, to avoid hitting her, he slid into a light pole, knocking it through the roof of the grocery store on the corner.) Her insurance company paid all of the claims. And canceled her.
But this year? It was going to be different; she was going to have a pleasant, peaceful day if she had to maim and kill to get it. There were no storms, the insurance was paid up on the rickety cracker-box-on-wheels Honda Civic she'd bought to replace her cool little sports car, she had planned to have plenty of time to get ready and avoid the traffic jams, she had washed her clothes last night and all she'd had to do was toss them into the dryer....
So, of course, she was standing in two inches of water inside her trailer.
There was no way in hell she was bailing all of this by herself. Roy was going to get his sorry ass over here and help. She went to the phone to call him, flipped on the living room light and gasped. Waves rippled across the floor. Water slapped at the bottom of the more-shabby-than-chic sofa and chair and filled the video bay of her ancient VCR set on the low shelf below the TV. And on the carpet near the sofa where she'd left it was her mom's Contraband Days scrapbook. Drowned.
Bobbie Faye's face hurt with the strain of holding back tears. Her mother had kept that scrapbook for more than twenty years. When Bobbie Faye was seven, her mom had let her glue a pirate eye patch on the cover, denoting the history of the festival. Well, her mom had been drinking and hadn't really seemed to notice the eye patch and sequins until a few days later, but she let Bobbie Faye keep them on there and showed them proudly to her friends, so that was almost as good, especially when her mom made her an eye patch to wear to that year's pirate costume contest.
Pirates, Bobbie Faye had learned the way other kids learned catechism, had found the multitude of bayous and marshlands in south Louisiana perfect for transporting loot and contraband into the growing territory. The pirates had hidden in south Louisiana for the same reasons the Cajuns had fled there from Nova Scotia: sanctuary. It was a place to be whoever the hell you wanted to be. A close-knit, family sort of place, where watching your neighbor's back was as standard as having a nodding awareness that they just might be crazy as loons, and that was okay, too.
After years of digging up half of Calcasieu Parish in a vain attempt to find the buried treasure, the locals eventually, reluctantly, gave up. Well, not entirely. Bobbie Faye remembered when she was a kid and learned there was a place named Contraband Bayou which was said to have been the home of a few pirates who supposedly hid jewels and gold somewhere back where the bayou ended. She tagged along when Roy and Lori Ann's dad took them fishing because he was going to go right by the famous bayou and Bobbie Faye was sure if he'd just let her out, she'd find that treasure. All she got for her trouble was a bad case of poison sumac and a good view of a bunch of deeply dug holes. So much for history.
As it was, history settled lazily into myth, which eased along into celebration, and the Contraband Days Festival was born. It was a crazy, lively festival where everyone dressed up as pirates for twelve days in May for parties, music, dancing, and all sorts of events. Tractor pulls! Races! Parades! Buccaneers! There were "official" pageants every year, but Bobbie Faye's mom (and her mom before her, and so on) were the unofficial "Queens" — a title started so far back in time, no one really remembered how it was handed down generation to generation. Bobbie Faye's mom had kept a scrapbook of all her Contraband memories ... and gave it to Bobbie Faye just before she died, when she had also passed her the duty of being Queen.
Bobbie Faye pulled the scrapbook out of the water, her heart sinking as she slowly turned the first sodden page. Spidery scrawl ran in an inky river, washing most of the words to nothingness; the water had faded the old photos to murky shadows and all of the mementos were a soggy mess. The once-dried petals of a rose her mother had worn on her last parade fell apart under Bobbie Faye's touch.
Fury slammed her adrenaline up another notch; at any moment, the back of her head was going to pop clean off, especially as the cold water wicked farther up her PJs. The scrapbook was Bobbie Faye's hold on a tenuous place, the "before" as she liked to think about it. Before her mom started wearing the big floppy hats when her hair was getting inexplicably thinner and thinner, before she started wearing the weird combination of clothes and her morning eggs smelled just a shade more like rum than eggs ought to smell, before Bobbie Faye recognized her mom was a little too dancey-happy most days, jitterbugging on the coffee table (before it broke), before Bobbie Faye knew what the word cancer meant. She looked back at the destroyed scrapbook she held. If Roy had shown up like he promised and fixed the damned washing machine, this wouldn't have happened. Bobbie Faye stared out her front window, past the gravel road, and fantasized briefly that she could zero in on wherever Roy was with a laser intensity that would fry his ass on the spot.
There was just no telling where he was, and getting him on the cell phone would take an act of God. Check that. It would take an act of some willing life-sized Barbie type. He could be anywhere: his fishing camp south of her trailer park, where there were hundreds of little bayous and marshy wetlands (or as Roy put it, plenty of escape routes); or, just north of her trailer park, hiding in a hole-in-the-wall bar somewhere in the muddy industrial city of Lake Charles, a place Bobbie Faye thought of as the kind of cranky, independent southern town that had never really given a rip what its image might be, although if someone had labeled it "home of the hard drinkers who make Mardi Gras revelers look like big fluffy candy-asses," it might have staggered to attention and saluted. Knowing Roy the way she did, she figured he wasn't anywhere near his own apartment in the heart of the city. Probably in some stupid poker game or, God help him, at one of his many girlfriends' places. He can run, she thought, but he can't hide.
Hiding was exactly what Roy was trying to do right at that moment. He slammed on his jeans and then squirmed his six-foot frame into a large, dusty compartment under the window seat situated in the bay window of his married girlfriend Dora's house. He wriggled silently to try to ease the contortion, but his toes were already starting to cramp. The layers of dust inside the seat tickled his nose and he pinched it to keep from sneezing. He squinted through the decorative tin grill on the facing of the window seat and saw two sets of Muscles of the steroid persuasion barge into the room. Dora, his very tanned, very bosomy (bless Jimmy and his penchant for giving his wife all the plastic surgery she wanted), very blond girlfriend who was sitting above him on the window seat, shifted her legs to block the view into the grating, to better hide him.
"Where's Roy?" the smaller of the two sets of Muscles asked Dora.
"I ain't seen Roy since he left the bar. Besides, I'm married. What would Roy be doing here?"
"Same thing he's been doing ever since your Jimmy's been out on the oil rig," the shorter man said. He peered around the room and allowed himself a small shudder. "You get attacked by lace or something? This is a fucking nightmare. No wonder Jimmy's always gone out on the rig."
Roy knew without being able to see her that Dora had poufed out her collagen-enhanced bottom lip, pouting.
"Nice doorknobs, though," the larger man said, and Roy grimaced. If he was in a bar, and really really drunk, he'd fight a guy that size for mentioning Dora's boobs. Even if you're boinking another guy's wife, there was a certain etiquette to maintain.
"I don't know nothin' 'bout Roy," Dora insisted.
"You know where he is," the smaller of the Muscles said. "Roy's got something we want, and we know he came here."
"Yeah," the other mountain of muscles chimed in. "He always comes here. Don't he, Eddie?" He broke into a giggle, and although the Mountain was almost double the smaller guy's size, Roy pegged him as younger and a little simple, maybe; despite the fact he lost at poker every other Friday, Roy considered himself a pretty good judge of character. Whoever they were, they couldn't be here for his bookie debts because he was kinda sorta caught up, and the three he still owed usually didn't send knee breakers until you were more than a couple of months past due (he still had eight days). And he was pretty sure the guy who bought that boat hadn't figured out that Roy hadn't owned it in the first place. No, these guys had to be here about something personal. Nothing he couldn't talk his way out of. God knows he'd done it a hundred times before.
Roy saw Dora's calf contract as she inhaled quickly. Past her very fine calf, Roy could see that the smaller set of Muscles, apparently named Eddie, had a gun aimed at her.
The seat creaked as Dora shifted above him, and dust fell into his twitchy nose just as Roy's cell phone, adjusted to maximum volume so he could hear it in the bar, vibrated against his jean pocket and trumpeted the LSU fight song. His heart ramped up three billion beats in .02 seconds as he frantically tried to slap the phone off.
And managed to turn it on so everyone in the room could hear Bobbie Faye's shout, muffled, but not nearly enough, by his jeans.
"Roy! You sonofabitch! You promised you would fix this washing machine for me and I even paid you already! Now get your ass —" He slapped it off and stayed very still, pretending to himself it hadn't really happened and no one heard it.
Excerpted from Charmed and Dangerous by Toni McGee Causey. Copyright © 2007 Toni McGee Causey. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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