Dead on the Delta

Dead on the Delta

by Stacey Jay

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Once upon a time, fairies were the stuff of bedtime stories and sweet dreams. Then came the mutations, and the dre-ams became nightmares. Mosquito-size fairies now indulge their taste for human blood—and for most humans, a fairy bite means insanity or death. Luckily, Annabelle Lee isn’t most humans. The hard-drinking, smart-mouthed, bicycle-riding redhead is immune to fairy venom, and able to do the dirty work most humans can’t. Including helping law enforcement— and Cane Cooper, the bayou’s sexiest detective—collect evidence when a body is discovered outside the fairy-proof barricades of her Louisiana town.
But Annabelle isn’t equipped to deal with the murder of a sixyear- old girl or a former lover-turned-FBI snob taking an interest in the case. Suddenly her already bumpy relationship with Cane turns even rockier, and even the most trust-worthy friends become suspects. Annabelle’s life is imploding: between relationship drama, a heartbreaking murder investigation, Breeze-crazed drug runners, and a few too many rum and Cokes, Annabelle is a woman on the run—from her past, toward her future, and into the arms of a darkness waiting just for her. . . .

"A sultry start to a promising new series. Dead on the Delta sizzles with action, danger, and romance." — Jennifer Estep, USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439189863
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 05/31/2011
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 4.08(w) x 6.74(h) x 1.07(d)

About the Author

Stacey Jay has published in the genres of erotica, paranormal romance, middle grade, and YA, using a variety of pseudonyms. She’s been a full-time mom/writer since 2005 and can't think of anything she'd rather be doing. Her former careers include theater performer, professional dancer, poorly paid C-movie actress, bartender, waiter, math tutor, and yoga instructor. She lives in California with her husband and children.

Read an Excerpt

Dead on the Delta One
Losing your lunch sucks. It sucks even more when you’re not hungover.

My view on upchucking is that you should’ve earned your punishment. But I haven’t earned it, and neither had she. I don’t need those last three years of med school to know the body at my feet was a child not too long ago. Before the animals got to her face, before the bugs crawled inside to investigate the holes the animals made, before—

I barely make the one-eighty turn in time.

The guilty contents of my stomach—cherry Pop-Tarts, coffee, and a touch of last night’s burger and fries—spill out onto the damp earth, adding another layer to the stench of the bayou. I can barely smell the body over the stink. A few of the fairies have laid their eggs early this year. They don’t usually drop their sacs until September, but there’s no mistaking the smell of fairy babies baking in the noonday sun. Smells like a homeless man’s crotch.

Not that I’ve ever been up close and personal with a homeless man’s crotch, but ...

“Annabelle? You okay?” It isn’t the first time Cane’s asked. His voice is pinched, strained, not the sexy rumble that made my ribs vibrate less than an hour ago. We could still be tangled up in each other, bitching about the heat in my poorly air-conditioned bedroom if I’d only said “yes” instead of “no” to his offer to play hooky.

As my stomach voids itself and I continue to gag, I wish I’d kept Cane in bed. I wish I’d let him call in sick and stay with me, his big hands warm on my skin. But he’s been scary lately. He wants to stick a pin in our relationship and label the specimen.

I fear labels. I fear dead bodies more.

In the three years I’ve worked for Fairy Containment and Control I’ve seen my share of dead things, but nothing like this. I force myself to turn around, take another look. She isn’t much more than a baby and her face is ... gone, eaten away by the scavengers our toxic patch of the Mississippi River Delta hasn’t killed yet.

The chemical spills along the river did their part to make the marshland from southern Tennessee down to Mobile unfriendly to living things. The mutated fairies have done the rest. Fairies can live on animal blood, but the Louisiana Fey hunt humans with a terrifying single-mindedness. Still, most people have the sense to keep safe. Almost no one ventures outside the iron grid that runs throughout Donaldsonville.

As soon as it was confirmed that iron repels fairies, the D’Ville city council cut any program not necessary to keeping people alive, declared downtown refugee central, and sank a million dollars into nailing iron cables to every roof. A sturdy fifteen-foot iron fence completed the protective measures, enclosing the original Donaldsonville of the early 1800s in a metal cocoon, taking the town back to its roots.

As a result, Donaldsonville is one of the few southern Louisiana towns that still welcomes the Adventurous Tourist to its historic buildings, Cajun restaurants, Delta Fairy Museum, and refurbished town square. Despite the modern-day highwaymen that terrorize the roads, tourism is our top source of revenue, and everyone in town acts accordingly. We’re friendly, welcoming, and pride ourselves on being one of the safest places in the South. If you score a ticket on an armored shuttle and actually make it to Donaldsonville, you can breathe easy.

This girl shouldn’t have died.

“Annabelle? Annabelle, do you need me to come over there and—”

“No.” My voice doesn’t sound like me. I sound ... small.

“Crawl on back, girl, I can get a suit and—”


“Come on, Lee-lee,” he says, using a pet name in public, a capital offense in the Annabelle Lee dating handbook. In a different context, I might have flipped him off. If he wasn’t thinking about risking his life to come hold my hand and there wasn’t a little girl behind me. A dead girl, but still ...


“Get the suit.”

“No! Stay there.” Even with an iron suit, Cane won’t be totally safe. The August heat makes the fairies crazy. They’ve been known to bite through metal in their hurry to find a meal. Ingesting iron kills them, but the bite still does its dirty work on the person inside the suit.

For seventy-five percent of the human population, Fey venom leads to insanity, with a slow build to batshit crazy that makes syphilis look gentle by comparison. Another ten percent develop ulcers on the spine that twist healthy bodies into torturous shapes before causing death. And yet another ten percent die instantaneously, hearts stilled within seconds of infection. The convulsions of the severely allergic snap the spinal cord and break teeth, making sure the dying suffer on the way out.

I’ve seen that firsthand. It’s as horrible as it sounds.

“Just ... give me a second.” I motion toward the clutch of anxious policemen a few hundred feet away. They’re waiting for me to tell them what I’ve seen, to come back and pick up the dummy kit and collect the evidence they need for their investigation—dirt samples, tissue scrapings, bug larvae, etc.

Bile rises in my throat again.

I’ve only had to do this to a human once before. It was an adult male, dumped in the bayou outside the grid. Come to find out, a gunshot wound did him in long before he hit the Ascension Parish county line. The coroner in Baton Rouge discovered the truth easily enough. Amazing what they can do with forensics these days, even with hacks like me occasionally collecting the evidence.

Shit. I hate the thought of touching that girl. There are times—more than the non-immune would imagine—when I wish I wasn’t part of the lucky five percent. But I know I’m in the minority on that, as well. Most immune people think they’ve been blessed, that collecting fairy shit and egg sacs is a holy calling. They feel lucky when they’re called in to do non-immune people’s work for them.

Especially cop work. Everyone wants to be a crime fighter. I blame CSI. I’ve never watched it, but I’ve heard it’s like Breeze. Breeze—dried fairy crap mixed with bleach—is the new crack. Brown is also the new black and forty is the new thirty and up is the new down.

God, I’m dizzy. I take a deep breath and immediately wish I hadn’t. I can smell her now, a sickly sweetness beneath the rest of it.

There’s some murmuring from the assembled company. The parish sheriff wants me to hurry it up. He has places to go, people to see, graft to collect from businesses vying for liquor licenses. His brother’s the head of the Alcohol Beverage Commission and the pair of them make a tidy sum extorting the thirsty.

I wonder if he knows it’s a kid out here, probably the Beauchamp girl who’s been missing. I’m guessing not. If he did, there’d be less impatience. The Beauchamps are Important. Their classic (and gigantic) Greek Revival home lures visitors from all over the world. Camellia Grove Plantation is one of Donaldsonville’s biggest tourist draws, and we need it. Badly.

Most of the other rich folks moved north after the mutations, fleeing their Victorian houses, abandoning their restaurants, antique stores, and art galleries, leaving the rest of us to clean up their mess and reorganize the town. Only a few stubborn, hard-core wealthy stick around by choice. The rest of our citizens are here because they don’t have the resources to move somewhere else. The ratio of black and Hispanic to white in Donaldsonville has settled in at around ninety-eight percent to two, confirming that a pasty redhead like me is the true minority.

It’s statistics that I would be dating a black man; it’s good fortune that I’m dating a gorgeous black man who cares about me and makes the best jambalaya I’ve ever had. Cane developed a special recipe without the shellfish so I won’t puff up like a marshmallow the second shrimp protein touches my lips. He also brings me herbal insomnia remedies, fixes my leaky toilet, and calls to remind me to put out my trash on Friday morning. He takes good care of me.

I know his family thinks he’s too good for a girl who gets around on a bicycle, has no discernible urge to better herself, and isn’t grandchild-birthing material. No matter how sweet they are at Sunday dinner, I’m pretty sure they want Cane to dump me. I honestly don’t know what I want him to do.

“Lee-lee?” Right. I want him to quit calling me that in public. Immediately. “We’ve got to—”

“One second.” My finger shakes, and the sweat dripping down my forearm makes me shiver. It’s nearly a hundred degrees and humid enough that my hair still hasn’t dried from my shower. I shouldn’t be cold, but I am. “I’m going to take another look. Then I’ll come back for the evidence bags.”

I turn back around, trying to take in the body with as much detachment as possible. Blond hair in braids—one tied with a heart-shaped elastic, one starting to unravel. No eyes left to judge eye color, not much of her nose either, and the soft curve of her upper lip ends in a jagged tear.

I drop my gaze.

No shoes, bare legs, and a white nightgown with red bows sewn on by hand. A few of them are missing. So is her right index finger. There isn’t any dirt under the remaining nails or on her feet. She looks pretty clean considering she’s been out in the bayou for ...

I crouch down and inch a finger under the curve of her back. The dirt beneath her is drier than the surrounding ground. She’s been here half the night, at least. Her body blocked the light rain that fell sometime between midnight and two.

I’d heard it on the roof when I got up to chug one final beer before finally falling asleep. I ran out of my sleeping pills a few days ago and have been forced to rely on booze to knock me unconscious until I make it to the field office in Baton Rouge to pick up another bottle of Restalin ... or two or three. Getting to sleep and staying asleep has been a battle since I was sixteen, since the night I saw my first dead body and toted it home in the backseat of my car.

No. Not going to think about that. Now isn’t a good time. Never is a good time.

I take one last look, searching for anything else that might help Cane identify the body as Grace. Her fingernails are painted a pale pink with sparkles, but there’s no jewelry, no defining marks that I can—

Scratch that, there’s something peeking out from under her sleeve. I lean over, snagging the elastic with two fingers.

It’s a tattoo, one of the temporary variety. Even the douchebags down at The Rusty Pin—who’d been all too happy to ink me when I was sixteen and so drunk I’d passed out on the table—won’t work on babies. I pull her sleeve higher, revealing a unicorn with glitter flowing down the tail. It looks like it’s shitting pink sparkles. Who knows? Maybe unicorns are real, too, and they crap cotton candy. After the fairies, we’re all a lot more willing to believe in imaginary things.

Hmm ... fairies.

They will feed on a human corpse, as long as it hasn’t been dead for too long. If the girl was killed somewhere else and carried here, there should still be bites on her skin. But aside from whatever critter’s been at her face—weasel maybe, or possum—there isn’t a mark on her. Not even a mosquito bite.

Of course, mosquitoes have been hunted to the brink of extinction. Fairies don’t mind getting their human blood secondhand. I watched a couple of Fey feed on a mosquito swarm in a containment unit during my first year of FCC training. Intense doesn’t begin to describe it. With their precious faces and delicate wings, it’s easy to forget that fairy mouths are full of fangs coated with deadly venom. For millions of years, those mouths were too small to close around human flesh. But after the mutations, that isn’t a problem.

I can see a clutch of the little sharks circling in the shade of the cypress trees down near the water. The pink and gold glow of their skin gives them away, an insect-luring adaptation that serves as an early warning to humans.

If you see the glow, it’s time to go. Marcy teaches the rhyme to her kids right along with Stop, drop, and roll.

There isn’t much need for concern at the moment, however, even if I weren’t immune. Fairies aren’t fans of direct sunlight. They won’t come out of the shade unless there’s a tempting meal—two or three food-friendly humans, maybe more. It would probably be safe for Cane to come down and collect the evidence himself.

Probably. And if not, you’ve got more blood on your hands.

Blood. Another one of my least favorite things.

I stand and climb up the rise to claim the dummy kit. Cane holds it out as I slip inside the gate, but doesn’t look me in the eye. He knows better than to make eye contact when I’m upset. He’s smart. And prepared. And probably going to make captain after his brother retires if I don’t mess up his life first. I don’t want to mess up his life. He’s a good man and he’s already been through hell with his first wife. I should leave him.

Instead, I let him put an arm around my shoulders, and pull me close.

“Is it her?” he whispers, voice pained.

I nod. “I’m pretty sure. White nightgown with red bows, pink nail polish, and a temporary tattoo of a unicorn on her right arm.”

“Shit.” He runs a hand up his forehead and back over his shaved head.

There’s a shushing sound as the rough skin on his palms brushes the hint of stubble, the same sound my fingers made a few hours ago. It makes me want to get even closer, to wrap my arms around his neck and pull his scratchy head down for a kiss.

But I don’t. I can’t. Now that the kit is in hand, real panic is beginning to set in. The world spins again, and my brain screams in protest. I take a breath and turn it off, promising it a nice, strong toddy when we’ve finished the dirty work. I pull away from Cane and turn back toward the thing in the field, to the thing I will poke and prod and eventually drag within the iron gate for the coroner to collect.

I can’t think of Grace as Grace or I won’t be able to finish this. At least not while I’m sober.

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Dead on the Delta 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
JDeg More than 1 year ago
"Thanks for....thinking about me." "I always think about you." Dead on the Delta is set in Louisiana, after the mutations that changed fairies in to visible, nasty, human blood drinking machines. A bite by a fairy will make a normal person insane. Unless you are 5 percent of the population that is immune to fairy bites, like our heroine, Annabelle Lee (name scarily similar to Edgar Allen Poe's doomed Annabel Lee). Annabelle works for the government obtaining fairy samples, since she is immune. She's mostly a slacker - she doesn't care about herself very much, or her job very much. She is dating the hottest guy in town, an African-American, muscle bound hunk on the police force. His name is Cane Cooper, and he's all sorts of into Annabelle. Unfortunately, she is unable to commit to anything, and she feels very strongly that she's not worth anyone loving. Annabelle has a checkered past (don't all UF heroines?). Her wealthy parents gave up on her when she was a teenager, her sister died and she blames herself, she had a terrible break up with the love of her life over sketchy circumstances, she dropped out of medical school even though she was at the top of her class, etc. She lives in very modest circumstances, forgets to eat most of the time, rides a bicycle, and, oh yeah - she's an alcoholic and she enjoys her sleeping pills, too. She is a gloriously messed up character, and I love her dearly for this. She believes she has a "habit" not an addiction. The drinking and pill popping are brought up in this story frequently, but it isn't a main focus of this book. Annabelle is brought in by the local law enforcement to retrieve the body of a young girl who was murdered. The body was dumped outside of the iron-enforced town limits, and since Annabelle is immune, she had to move the body. She then begins a journey of helping find the murderer of this girl, with many interesting surprises along the way. Her boyfriend, Cane, is running this case, but the New Orleans branch of the FBI gets called in to help. Hitch and Stephanie show up to continue with the case. We find out that Hitch is Annabelle's long lost love-of-her-life. But guess what? He's shacking up with the hot FBI agent, Stephanie. He is judgmental and arrogant towards Annabelle for most of the book. At one point, Cane forces Annabelle to make a decision - either they brake up or get married. She is unable to commit to anything, and as I previously mentioned, she is a remarkably broken person. Hitch and Annabelle broke up in a very bad way - he still doesn't know the truth of what happened to Annabelle. You can tell he is still in love with Annabelle, although clearly fighting it with every breath in his body. Cane is the reliable, full-of-love, safe choice for Annabelle. Which is why I am most definitely a Camp Hitch girl. There are too many emotions left at the end of this book to not think there will be future story lines with these two. Annabelle is visited by a mysterious person who gives her a mysterious injection. The reader does not know the ramifications of this by the end of the book, although this is where the magic comes into play. Annabelle is poisoned, beaten, hidden in a basement, bitten by fairies, dealing with her wonderful boyfriend and her sexy ex, and still finds a way to go on. She is always picking herself off and trying to do the right thing. This makes her a very compelling character, in my opinion.
harstan More than 1 year ago
After being a mosquito size harmless species that adults assumed were mythological, the fairies changed. They became human blood seekers biting mortals. The Fey toxin leaves 75% of the humans insane; 10% physically misshapen before dying; and another 10% instantly dead. The remaining populace contains immunity, but so far no one knows why. Following Katrina, New Orleans has become a breeding ground for the fairies. This does not prevent Fairy Control and Containment evidence collector Annabelle Lee from riding her bike and doing her job at often horrific crime scenes. Annabelle is one of lucky ones who are immune to the fairies toxin. She works with police detective Cane Cooper on the murder of a six year old girl just outside the fairie levees surrounding her town of Donaldson. Also inexplicably on the case is her former boyfriend and FBI Agent who should not be involved. This is a super urban fantasy police procedural that intelligently extracts from real life to make the case of a Fey infestation. For instance, the Louisiana Governor is running for reelection on his hard on Fey crime platform. Although readers never learn what caused the Fairie plague, the fast-paced story line is action-packed as Cooper and Lee supported by others investigate gruesome murder on the Bayou. Harriet Klausner
AbbieLeeAE More than 1 year ago
I love everything that Stacey Jay writes. This story sounds like it is going to be very good. Her main character will be a strong one and I hope she is a little funny too. Make sure you check out her other books too.
MrsMich02 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not the YA typical faeries, here. These are nasty little Tinkerbells. Poor Louisiana. You have all the bad crap happen down there even in fiction. I like Jay's interesting take on the CSI slash crime novel slash urban fantasy genre. Looks like a promising start of a new series for her.
MisfitRhi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Everything I'm Looking For in Urban FantasyWhen terrorists hit a chemical plant the last thing they're expecting is to cause a massive mutation of the Louisiana delta's fairy population. Lesson learned a little too late for the people who call the delta home. Now the fairies have a taste for human blood and if their venom doesn't cause a massive, deadly allergic reaction it'll drive you mad. The tiny percentage of the population who are immune get stuck slogging through fairy infested swamps to deal with things the rest of folks can't. from researching the little monsters to investigating Breeze houses. Oh yeah, fairy poo and a little bleach make Breeze, a drug that rivals ecstasy for popularity.Enter Annabelle Lee, a little lazy, at risk for a DUI most of the time and one of Donaldsonville, Louisiana's immune. When a local child is found murdered outside the iron fence that seperates D'ville from the fairy infested bayou she gets sucked into the investigation quicker than she can drain a rum and coke. As if that wasn't complicated enough her current beau, Cane Cooper, is one of the DPD cops on the case and the FBI sends in a team to aid him... a team that consists of a hard-assed female agent and her partner Hitch, Annabelle's ex. Trying to be professional with her ex and sort out her feelings for her current boyfriend is complicated but the investigation gets even more crazy when Annabelle discovers a Breeze house out in the bayou and an arrest is made for the little girl's murder. Strange stuff keeps happening to Annabelle and if she's going to get to the bottom of this murder mystery to save the day she just might have to lay off the hooch and avoid getting dead herself.As the great debate of paranormal romance versus urban fantasy races on it's easy to start drawing lines in the sand. I feel safe saying that Dead on the Delta is exactly what the readers on the Urban Fantasy side are looking for. It might not sound like it based on the blurb but there's no romance here. No HEA ending. No steamy smutty goodness. I love a good romance for certain but when I'm in the mood for a good mystery peppered with paranormal elements and plenty of rich world building DEAD ON THE DELTA is exactly the kind of book I am looking for.DEAD ON THE DELTA is not about the fae, these are killer mutant fairies, think Tinkerbell with a retractable jaw and a taste for human blood. Throw in venom that is a death sentence for 19 out of 20 people and temper it with the fact that fairies can't live in colder climates and this is scarily real. The deep South cut off from the rest of the world by iron fences and still recovering from Hurricane Katrina? Yup, quite easy to buy into. Add in a murder mystery centered around the adopted daughter of a local family of wealth and status, drug dealing and a small town where folks know far to much of one another's business and this plot packs a punch.As a reader a great, fast-paced plot is a plus but without a great protagonist backed up by a cast of memorable secondary characters I don't get pulled in. Annabelle wormed her way into my top three heroines of the genre with an ease that shocked me. She's richly flawed and annoyingly charming for it. I love her because aside from her immunity to fairy bites she's utterly human. Her relationships with Cane and Hitch are complicated by realistic issues people face. Annabelle's drinking has roots that somehow make it seem okay even as I¿the child of an alcoholic¿wanted to smack some sense into her. In contrast Cane and Hitch are interesting characters that we barely get to scratch the surface on. Fans of Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom series will recognize a similar quality in the Annabelle/Cane relationship that we love in Allie/Zayvion. Meanwhile, as we are introduced to Hitch he's a character to love and maybe dislike a lot.D'ville is peppered with other characters of note. In a way the town as a whole is essential to this story, taking on a personality based on the mi
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun and easy read. A different twist on the supernatural. I enjoyed this quick read very much. I purchased the second in the series and read it the next day.
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Cari-Bella More than 1 year ago
Dead on the Delta is the first book I've read by Stacey Jay. I found it in the Frisco Library - the best library I've visited in a long time. The cover art caught my attention - gloomy/supernatural background with a young fierce looking woman sitting down, staring at the reader. The tag line "If you believe in" made a promise (to me) of good supernatural fun. After reading the back cover, I thought it would be a quick read along the lines of the Sookie Stackhouse novels - some mystery, some supernatural elements, and some romance. It was actually a bit more complicated and thoughtful than the usual supernatural romance brain candy I expected. The story is more supernatural mystery with a dab of romance. The main character of the story is Annabelle. She is a human that has a rare immunity to fairy bites. Annabelle uses her immunity to help the government, usually by collecting fairy poop, eggs, and other remnants. Annabelle's current love interest is Cane and when we first meet the two of them, they are collecting evidence from the body of a young girl that was recently kidnapped and murdered. During the investigation, Annabelle has to deal with the return of her former lover, Hitch, and his FBI partner Stephanie. Annabelle is not an ambitious, hard-working fairy poop collector and she has to deal with the consequences of occasionally being a drunk slacker. The murdered young girl and the discovery of a breeze house (breeze is a new fairy drug) are the plot vehicles for most of the novel. The love triangle of Annabelle, Cane, and Hitch is interesting as well is the interaction between Stephanie and Annabelle. Annabelle is not a likable character. I don't relate to her world or her choices. Does Annabelle care about the consequences of her actions? I couldn't really tell. Her ambivalence about life made me somewhat ambivalent towards her. My desire for some fairy carnage kept me reading. I enjoyed the world that Jay created with the mutant Fairies, but I would like to know more about what caused the mutations and how/why the Delta was the only area that seemed to have the mutated fairies. To fully believe the angst that Annabelle feels at Hitch's return, I would like more back story and give that back story earlier in the novel. I'd also like to know more about Cane and why he is so attracted to Annabelle. What is it about her? And, because I like zombies, I'd like to know more about people that are bitten by the fairies. What really happens? I'd like to SEE that. This is an interesting novel and I will read the second book in the series. I recommend it if you enjoy supernatural mysteries with a bit of romance. I do hope for more action, carnage, and back story in the 2nd novel.
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H20SkiGal More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in what I hope to be a long, long, long series because THIS folks, this was a really GOOD read. It was a murder mystery type story set in the horrific world where the strong have made it and the weak really rely on the strong to help them get through it. Its fascinating really, fairies are the bad guys here, being little blood sucking death vehicles. But there's more than that killing people. The body of a six year old is found and that is how we meet Annabelle and start to learn about how the world has changed. The author does a superb job of setting the scene and my only complaint is that the information is delivered inbetween dialogue spurts and your brain has to keep up with two different things going on. There was sometimes so much going on in the descriptive world being delivered, that I forgot about the conversation. A small complaint. There is humor (quite a bit actually) and some hunky guys, some lovely friends and even a really rather sweet kitty (and I'm not a cat person). I loved this story immensely. Blood on the Bayou, Book 2 in this series, will be available in Spring 2012. I'll be one of the first in line to buy it. What I liked: I loved the character of Annabelle Lee. She is strong, but gentle, crazed yet uber intelligent, street-smart and vulnerable. She contradicts herself time and time again but in the end, she's a wonderful woman just looking to be loved and taken care of and shielded from the madness of the world around her. What I disliked: I really would have liked more romance. Annabelle has soft spots (literally and figuratively) and it would have been nice to see her be loving and vulnerable in a romantic situation. It was alluded to in certain parts of the book, but I would have liked more, more, more sex. I hope future books have more of the good stuff in there.