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|Publisher:||J&R Publishing LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Jana and her brother spent thousands of hours combing the bayous in a flat-bottom aluminum boat, studying the natural habitat of many birds, nutria and alligators. She would like you to know that no animals were injured during these "studies," but they kept makers of peroxide in business.
Jana has never stumbled across a mystery or a ghost like her heroines, but she's still hopeful.
She now resides in Dallas, Texas, with the most spoiled Sheltie in the world.
Read an Excerpt
Rumble on the Bayou
By Jana DeLeon
Copyright © 2006
All right reserved.
"This day just keeps getting better." Deputy Dorie Berenger
stared at the alligator in front of her. It had to be the
Why anyone below sea level and not even a mile from the Gulf
of Mexico would install an in-ground pool was beyond her.
Even the houses in Gator Bait, Louisiana sat on fifteen-foot
stilts. An in-ground pool was just asking for trouble.
And trouble was just what they had.
The pool owner, Maylene Thibodeaux, bulged out of a lawn chair
next to the structure of cloudy water, jug in hand, wearing a
pink bikini and sitting in stoned silence. Which was rare
when you considered her usual mouthiness, but understandable
since it was almost evening and she had probably been at happy
hour since before noon.
Dorie stepped right up to the pool's edge and studied the
alligator more closely. He was a good-sized one, probably ten
or twelve feet and currently floating like the dead in the
center of the pool with what looked like a backpack hanging
out of his mouth. His eyes were half-closed, as if he would
drop off into sleep at any moment.
"What do you think?" Deputy Joe Miller asked. Joe had been
the first to arrive at Maylene's, but had immediately called
for backup. This one was definitely out of his league.
Dorie blew out a breath. "I think this isnot my usual fare.
What about Curtis? This is his specialty."
"I tried. He's still on a call at the shrimp house. Turned
out to be three gators instead of just one."
"Damn it, Joe, that's four times this month. Did Buster get
those traps repaired?"
"Not that I'm aware of."
"Then I'm charging him this time. The taxpayers aren't paying
us to keep his shrimp house running, and trappers like Curtis
don't come cheap."
"I agree," Joe said, "but what about the problem we have
Dorie sighed and tossed a sideways glance over at Maylene, who
was working her jug like a prize-fighter with a water bottle.
"How much homemade wine has Maylene had?"
"She was drinking when I got here."
It figured. Maylene Thibodeaux was hard enough to please
sober. Drunk was a whole different story. "You didn't let
her give you any, did you? That stuff's worse than drugs."
Joe looked surprised. "No way, boss. I'm still thinking
that's how she bagged Mr. Thibodeaux."
Dorie smiled. Joe was probably right. Maylene Thibodeaux had
been making her own stash since she was a little girl. Rumor
had it Mr. Thibodeaux behaved oddly and had a strange tone to
his skin on the day of their wedding thirty-five years ago.
Folks around town said his skin was the same exact color when
they buried him six months ago, making Maylene the most
patient hunter in the parish.
After all, it had taken her only minutes to trap her prey, but
thirty-five years to kill it.
Maylene's ears must have been burning because suddenly she
came alive and rose from her chair, kind of. Actually, the
chair rose a bit with her, and there were a couple of seconds
of detachment necessary. Then she glared at Dorie.
"Damn it," she said. "I did not have this expensive piece of
concrete put in to swim with the gators. I could go down to
the bayou to do that. And I'm at least a mile from any water
whatsoever." She hiccupped and staggered a little towards the
edge of the water. "What the hell is this one doing in my
"I don't know," Dorie replied. "Did you ask him?"
Maylene shook a finger at her. "Don't you get smart with me,
young lady, or I'll have a talk with your daddy." She pointed
back at the gator. "Now, just what are you going to do about
Dorie squatted for a moment and assessed the situation. At
five foot ten, she towered over most of the women in Gator
Bait and a whole heck of a lot of the men. And sometimes
getting an eye-level look at things was the first order of
business. She noticed, however, that all six-foot four of Joe
didn't feel compelled to hunch down on the cement with her,
but then, standing at the edge of the pool was probably much
closer than he ever wanted to be.
"You poked him with the cleaning brush, huh?" she asked Joe as
He nodded. "Not a peep. If I didn't know any better, I'd
swear he was drunk." They both looked at Maylene.
"Maylene, you didn't put any of your special brand in the
pool, did you?" Dorie asked.
She looked offended. "Why, I'd no more waste the good stuff
on a dumb animal than I would a woman."
Dorie glanced over at Joe, who tried not to smile, then
grabbed the pool-cleaning brush and pushed on the gator's
side. His body moved a couple of inches across the water, but
only because she was pushing, not because he was helping. She
shoved again. Still nothing. He seemed perfectly content to
be propelled through the pool.
Dorie looked at Joe, who shrugged. "Got me," he said. "I
ain't ever seen anything like it."
She continued to push the gator until he was right up next to
the far wall, then crept around the pool, first tapping his
tail with the brush and slowly working her way up to his head.
When she got to the front, she poked him square in the nose.
He didn't even flinch.
Dorie leaned the brush against a patio table and grabbed the
long blonde ponytail hanging halfway down her back. Twisting
it in a knot, she secured it at the nape of her neck with a
pair of handcuffs and rolled her sleeves up over her
shoulders. Her usual "uniform" of jeans and a T-shirt would
be able to withstand a splash of Maylene's pool water, but she
didn't even want to consider what it would take to wash the
slimy substance out of her hair.
Hair and clothes securely in place, she reached down and
pulled on the backpack, but it didn't budge. "Damn. He's got
it locked in his teeth."
"I hope he ain't got whoever was wearing it locked in his
belly," Joe said.
Dorie shot him a derisive look. "Joe, you know we would have
heard by now if someone's angel hadn't made it home from
school. Besides, I haven't seen a kid around here actually
carry one book, much less a whole sack of them."
Joe rubbed his forehead and nodded. "So, what are we going to
She studied the gator again. "Well, first I'm going to try
and pry his mouth open with one end of the cleaning brush.
Given his altered state, it might work. Then, I'm going to
get the backpack out."
Maylene jumped up again, chair still attached. "Wait a
minute," she yelled as she lumbered back towards her house,
the piece of lawn furniture trailing with her, swinging from
left to right. "I gotta get my camera for this one."
The chair popped off Maylene's rear as she hurried between the
stair railings and up to the house, and she was back a minute
later, camera in hand. "Okay. Do your stuff," she said,
looking excited for the first time since Dorie had arrived.
"Be careful, Dorie," Joe said from the other side of the pool,
and she noticed he didn't offer to come any closer.
Knowing it was now or never, she made the sign of the cross
and picked up the cleaning brush again. She gently inserted
the pole into the gator's mouth right beside the backpack then
pushed down on the pole, prying his mouth open. To her utter
amazement, it worked, and the lethargic animal still hadn't
Reaching down slowly, she carefully lifted the backpack from
between the razor-sharp teeth, Maylene clicking furiously on
her camera the entire time. Dorie rose swiftly with her prize
and received cheers from Joe and Maylene.
Backing a few steps away from the pool, she opened the pack.
"I think I found our problem," she said and pulled out a
handful of wet plastic bags containing a white substance. She
opened one baggie, dipped a long nail into the powder and
tasted it, then made a face and spit into the grass next to
the pool. "Heroin. He's higher than an eighties rock band."
Joe stared at her in obvious surprise. "Heroin! We ain't
ever had no problem with drugs in this town. Well, I mean,
Dorie nodded and began to dig in the pack again. "I know.
That's what makes it so interesting." She piled more bags of
heroin on the patio table then brought out a wad of wet money.
"Hundreds. It's all hundred-dollar bills, and there's more
in the bottom of the bag."
She looked back at the gator. He still rested peacefully, his
mouth propped open with the cleaning brush. She bent down and
studied him again just to make sure she hadn't missed
"Shame everything got wet," Joe said. "We probably can't get
prints off of anything."
Dorie nodded in agreement then caught sight of something at
the tip of the gator's mouth. It was small and cylindrical.
About three inches long. "You got any salad tongs?" she asked
Maylene put her hands on her hips and pursed her lips.
"You're not putting my salad tongs in that thing's mouth."
Dorie looked at the woman's round figure. "Maylene
Thibodeaux, when was the last time you actually ate a salad?"
Maylene glared for a moment, then started towards the house
again, stomping as she went.
"What is it?" Joe asked.
Dorie shook her head. "I'm not completely sure. That's why I
want to check."
Maylene returned shortly with the salad tongs. She handed
them to Dorie who squatted back down next to the gator and
gently put the tongs into his mouth, clamping down on the
object and pulling it out. Taking a brief look, she smiled.
Joe had finally gotten up a little nerve and crossed to her
side of the pool, although he still stood several feet away.
"Well?" he asked.
Dorie tossed the object at him. Reflex made him catch it, but
when he looked down and saw what he held, he immediately
"Damn it, Dorie! A finger?"
She smiled. "Guess we can run that print now."
Excerpted from Rumble on the Bayou
by Jana DeLeon
Copyright © 2006 by Jana DeLeon.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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