Chicago born and raised Remy Broussard wants to discover the secrets of the Louisiana Bayou treasure map left by her great grandmother, Rheims Renquist. The secret is steeped in historic voodoo rituals that send chills of excitement up Remy's spine. Cork Renoir, a disillusioned, peace-seeking, ex-jazz player, owns the property that Rheims used to live on and is determined that his peaceful existence will not be disrupted by the treasure-seeking brat! Naturally sparks fly when the two young, headstrong people come into contact with each other and Cork's hard hand flies to the seat of Remy's pants more than once during the resolution of this mysterious tale of dark intrigue!
BDSM category: spanking only
NO EXPLICIT EROTIC SCENES but not suitable for under age 18
The morning mist hung low and heavy like a white shroud over the piece of Louisiana Bayou that Cork Renoir had carved out for himself. The stocky, sunburned, ex-jazz player leaned back and stared broodingly into the shifting mists, feeling the spirit of the Bayou enveloping him as it always did, healing and soothing.
As he lifted the steaming mug of Bayou mud to his lips, a literal cacophony of sound erupted, shattering the eerie morning stillness and sending birds screeching from the trees in a mass exodus of feather flapping fiends.
Cork's sandaled feet hit the deck as he leaped from the rusted metal chair, sending it crashing backwards and sliding off the small dock into the Bayou. With a muttered curse, he spared it an angry glare, making a mental note that someone was going to go fishing for that chair. It was his favorite and had been his Dad's favorite, and his Dad before him. Someone was going to pay all right, and that someone was now drifting out of the mist, bringing the heavy metal racket that modern artists pawned off as music closer to him. It was a poor substitute for the rhythmic cadences of jazz, and Cork lifted his rifle and aimed it at the offending box with the loud speakers.
"Step aside," he bellowed at the obviously feminine figure kneeling in front of the boom box, holding a knob in her fingers as if she were puzzled as to how it came off.
The tall black man with the pole in his hand that Cork vaguely recognized as Augustus, yelled out, "he's got a gun," and grabbed the woman and threw her to the floor.
Cork fired one shot into the middle of the enormous boom box and the harsh, strident cords ceased instantly, leaving his ears in the blissful silence of the soothing Bayou once again.
The small aluminum skiff bobbed wildly as the two humans on board lifted their heads and peered over the twelve inch edge of it, their eyes wide with fright as the current brought them into the dock. Cork found himself staring into the most fetching light blue eyes he had ever seen ... eyes that were quickly darkening with anger as the fear that had swamped them slowly receded.
Remy Broussard stared up at one of the biggest men she had ever seen. The man had biceps as big as her thighs! His powerfully muscled legs were not as sun burned as the broad shoulders and bare arms in the blue tank top he wore, but his face was darkly red as if he had spent many hours in the sun. And he was covered with so much blonde hair that he looked like a golden fuzzy bear! The expression on his square jawed face was anything but a warm fuzzy, but her impetuous nature overcame her reticence in the face of danger.
"You ... you shot my stereo ... how dare you shoot my stereo! That stereo cost me over three hundred dollars you imitation of a Neanderthal! This is going to cost you mister, just wait and see!" She scrabbled to get to her feet in the moving craft and shot a glare at the cowering Augustus that was supposed to be protecting her.
"Be careful, Miz Remy," he whispered, his eyes sliding back to Cork. "Dat man done look dangerous!"
Of course, the man above them certainly was intimidating with that rifle in his hand, but Remy figured if he wanted to shoot them, he would have already. As it was, the only casualty they had was her stereo.
She had brought it along hoping to intrigue some of the swamp animals into coming closer out of curiosity, so she could photograph them. She wondered if she had been gullible when the shop had sold her the CD, promising her she would have all kinds of wonderful wildlife photos if she set this up and lay in wait for them.
Somehow, the station must have gotten changed when they loaded the stereo and when she had jumped and grabbed the volume button after turning it on, it had come off in her hand. She had been in the process of trying to put it back on to turn off that horrendous racket when Augustus had thrown her to the floor. Now her poor stereo lay in pieces on the bottom of the boat ... and someone was going to pay for this indignity!
As the skiff bobbed against the end of the dock, Cork reached down with his powerful right arm, covered in so many freckles they blended as one, and lifted the small, indignant figure by the back of her jeans and dropped her down onto the wooden planks.
"Let go of me, how dare you," came the strident protest, her arms and legs flailing as she scrabbled for something to hold onto until she landed on the dock, sprawling unceremoniously at his feet. "Ummph," she grunted when she hit the wooden planks. Quick as a wink she was on her feet, her riveting eyes spitting lightning bolts as she faced him down, albeit from her diminutive height.
Cork stared belligerently down at the irascible female, his jaw set in his famous "bulldog" imitation, his sandy hair lifting gently in the early morning breeze. Soon, the combination of the rising sun and the bayou breezes would burn off and blow away the hanging shroud of mist he enjoyed waking up too, thereby revealing the bayou in all its humid glory. And this slip of a woman was the cause of him missing his daily ritual with nature.
"I dare what I please in my home," he growled at her. "And right now, you are interrupting my commune with nature with that insane imitation of music. The music world should be collectively ashamed to put up with that hideous racket, let alone allow it to be labeled music." He leaned over and grabbed the back of her jeans again and spun her around. "And further more, you caused my favorite chair to land in the bayou. Now you are going to go get it for me!" With that, he propelled her off the side of the dock and down into the greenish water that lapped against the pilings, ignoring her screams of outrage. He folded his massive golden haired arms and watched as she flailed and sputtered in the water.
"I can't swim," she screamed helplessly, trying valiantly to stay on top of the water. The man had caught her completely off guard! What kind of a beast threw a lady into the bayou? Besides, she only knew how to float a little bit, never having learned how to swim. He was going to kill her for sure, and no one would even know what happened to her! She sputtered on murky green water; sure she was going under any second as her arms began to get tired. This is it, she thought, I'm going to die ... right here ... right at the dock of my great grandmother's old voodoo grounds. Now I'll never find out if there really is a treasure. A sharp command penetrated the fog of fear that surrounded her, causing her to stop thrashing abruptly.
"Stand up!" Cork rolled his eyes and shook his head at the panicking young woman.
She stood up then, her dark brown hair hanging in strings around her face and a piece of moss clinging to her cheek in the breast deep water. She looked fearfully around and tried to hoist herself up on the dock, but he stood in front of her, blocking her progress. "Oh no, you don't. You're not getting out of there until you get my chair." He pointed at a spot next to her.
Remy felt incredible gauche and stupid as her feet hit the mud on the bottom and her anger at this brute of a man increased ten fold. "I don't see any stupid chair and I'm not looking for it either." She turned and began to wade out of the water, headed for the shore about four yards away. She wasn't going to put up with this kind of treatment; she didn't care if he shot her! That is, if an alligator or a swamp moccasin didn't get her first! He certainly wouldn't care, she was sure of that, the beast!
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," he said silkily, enjoying her unease when she turned to glare at him. He kept a sharp eye out to make sure there were no gators around.
He gave a sharp whistle and a huge dog appeared out of the mist and stood staring at her with baleful eyes. "Because Old Joe guards my dock and no one gets on land that I don't approve first." Old Joe must have been half Doberman; half God knows what, because he was the ugliest dog Cork had ever seen. He seemed to have adopted Cork however, so he fed him regularly and let him stay. No one got near the shore without Cork hearing the bay of Old Joe resounding across the bayou.
Remy gasped in fright, turning pale at the sight of the monstrous dog. Legend in her family had it that Argonaut still existed, that he had never died. That his immortality was born of an ancient voodoo ritual given him by her great grandmother, and he was there to guard her treasure.
She girl eyed the dog warily and then she turned back to Cork, a decided gleam in her eye. For now, she would keep her secret, but soon ... soon she would come back and play her grandmother's flute for Argonaut. It had always soothed the giant beast ... or so it said in her great grandmother's diary. "Okay, so where's this dumb chair?"
"That's better," he replied smugly. "Once you return my chair, I'll let you up." He pointed once again to the spot where the chair had slid off the dock.
Shading her eyes, Remy peered down into the murky water in front of her. Seeing nothing, she kicked her leg out, feeling for something with her foot. When it touched something solid, she took a deep breath and bent her knees, lowering herself into the water and reaching down with her hands. Finding the back of the chair, she grasped hold of it and brought it to the surface. Holding onto it with one hand, she wiped the water from her face and stared doubtfully at it. "Is this what you wanted?" She asked scornfully, glaring at him. "I can't imagine anyone wanting to rescue this piece of junk!"
"Don't insult my chair," he ground out, taking it from her. He sat the chair on the dock and then bent down to grab her hands and pulled her slickly straight up and onto the dock. Her weight was nothing compared to some of the alligators he had wrestled. His eyes narrowed as the water sluiced off her body, revealing the rounded contours of her breasts, even the dark aureoles of her nipples through the white, cotton, button down shirt she wore. Muttering a silent oath, he hustled her into the skiff the black man was holding against the dock as he surveyed the proceedings with a watchful eye. "Now you can get the hell out of here and quit bothering me," he said gruffly. He shoved the craft away from his dock and stood up, ignoring the outraged protests from his unwanted visitor.
He had picked up his gun and nestled it beneath his arm when he heard her call him.
"Hey you ... you'll be hearing from me," she yelled as the boat moved out of reach. She shook her fist at him. "I'll be back, and in the meantime ... kiss my ass!" She turned and dropped her jeans, revealing a deeply creamy bottom outlined in red briefs.
Cork laughed mirthlessly at her audacity. "If you come back here, I'll blister that ass until it's the same color as those panties," he yelled back. He turned and headed up the dock, patting Old Joe on the head as he passed him.
The dog was stiff as a board and didn't respond to the caress in his normal fashion and Cork looked down curiously. The black animal's gaze was steady on the spot where the skiff had disappeared, his ears cocked intently as he seemed to listen to the departure of the young girl and her guide. He growled when he heard the strident tones of the female drift back through the mist, and Cork nodded in assent. "I feel like growling too, boy, I'm with you on that one. That is one noisy, bothersome specimen of the female persuasion." He patted the dog's head again and chuckled as he turned toward his cabin. "She did have a nice ass though, not to mention other parts."
Cork threw off the tank top, picked up an ax and began to work on the dead tree that had fallen during the last storm. Nothing like a little hard work to keep bitter thoughts at bay ... and he had a few. Mostly though, he was just plain tired. Tired of the rat race that had been the music business. As much as he had loved being a jazz musician, he had abandoned his dream last year and bought this overrun piece of bayou, intending to retire permanently. He felt as if parts of him that had grown numb with the commercialization of his trade were finally beginning to unthaw. Here in the healing isolation of the bayou, Cork Renoir was slowly coming back to life.