I’d like to thank Annette for hosting me today. It has been a long time since I released a new romance. Many changes have happened in my life. Oftentimes I’ve wished I could have known the future. Hindsight is always 20/20, as the saying goes.
Often when people think of fortune tellers they think of gypsies. All forms of fortune telling such as astrology, palm reading, tarot cards, etc. continue to be very popular. In fact, there is a business in my town that advertises such services, although I’ve never been there myself.
In my new release Alpha’s Voodoo, the Voodoo Queen’s daughter Marie Laveau II tells the hero’s fortune, specifically relating to his love life. I had a lot of fun bringing Marie Laveau and her daughter to life.
With her reputation in tatters, debutante Violet Creed is forced to exchange her life of luxury for one of uncertainty. Mark Afton wants nothing more than to take his rightful place as the leader of the Bayou Pack, but he needs a mate. Is Violet Mark’s destined mate, or is their attraction merely Voodoo magic? Haley Whitehall is pleased to present Alpha’s Voodoo, Book 1 of her hot, new paranormal romance series, Bayou Pack.
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Mark stiffened in his seat, sitting across from the daughter of the Voodoo Queen. Coming here had been a terrible idea; however, he couldn’t back out now. The young woman would realize he’d lost his nerve if she couldn’t sense his apprehension already.
“Let me take your hands, Mr. Afton. Please relax your mind.”
Marie Laveau’s tender dark fingers closed around his rougher white ones.
“This won’t hurt, I assure you,” she said with a hint of teasing. “I’m sure you have a bright future ahead of you, sir. Let me peer into your soul.”
Mark tried to relax, focusing on her sonorous voice, but his inner wolf remained alert, afraid to let his guard down. When he’d received word that Marie Laveau had taken to bed with fever, he’d jumped at the chance to have his fortune read by her daughter. He didn’t trust any of the other Voodoo practitioners in New Orleans. Hell, he didn’t even trust her mother.
He blew out a breath softly, trying to banish all thoughts from his mind. Perhaps his wolf did not want to be seen by the Voodoo Queen’s heir. The fact his family were shifters was a closely guarded secret. He knew his mother would not approve of him seeking out Marie Laveau’s services, but he was a grown man and did not need her to treat him as a child when it came to matters of the heart.
Marie Laveau’s energy pulsed from her hands into his body. Their connection grew stronger and then suddenly ceased as if her magical power had been dowsed. She drew a deep breath. “I cannot see your future if you keep this wall between us.”
Mark looked into the Voodoo priestess’s hickory eyes. The contrast of her brightly colored red, green, and yellow head wrap against her dark skin was striking. Golden hoops dangled from her ears. Her mother’s pet snake, Zombi, rose behind her and rested his white head on her shoulder, similar to a pup seeking affection.
Seeing the large snake, Mark bristled and his inner wolf snarled.
Unfortunately, the snake seemed very content perched on her shoulder and did not feel threatened.
Marie Laveau stroked Zombi’s scaly head. “He bothers you,” she stated.
“Yes,” Mark admitted, hoping she wouldn’t take offense. He knew the snake wouldn’t harm him, but his inner wolf did not like him nonetheless.
Marie Laveau petted Zombi several times and then spoke softly to him. The snake slid off her shoulder and curled up in a large wicker basket sitting by her chair.
“Now, perhaps you will allow me to work. You have paid me handsomely, Mr. Afton, and I do intend to tell your fortune.”
“I want to know who I am to fall in love with,” Mark clarified, not wanting to get her distracted on financial or other matters. He had heard that the Voodoo Queen’s specialty lay in matchmaking. Hopefully Marie Laveau had trained her daughter in that specialty as well. Surely, she couldn’t do any worse than his mother when it came to finding him a suitable wife.
Most wolves knew their mates instantly, but that was not the case in his family. They had become wolf shifters against their will and the curse made finding the perfect mate difficult. Thus, he came to the daughter of the Voodoo Queen as a last resort. He needed to know which woman to court and woo. Who was the perfect woman to stand by his side and help him lead the Bayou Pack when it was his time to take over for his uncle?
Marie Laveau took his hands again and began humming in a soft, sweet voice. His inner wolf fought to remain alert, but the woman’s power was too strong. Slowly he felt the beast relax, lulled into a sense of security, as if wrapped in a protective embrace.
The young Voodoo priestess quit humming and instantly the trance ended. His inner wolf rose to just under the surface. Mark opened his eyes slowly and blinked, struggling to keep his facial features from turning wolfish. How long had he been under her spell?
“A half hour,” Marie Laveau announced as if reading his mind. “Normally my readings are a lot shorter, but I had much to see. You, Mr. Afton, are more than meets the eye.” Her tight smile and the knowing glint in her eye made him swallow hard. She was aware he was a shifter.
Damn it, he knew this was likely to happen.
“Your family has been cursed,” she said. “By my mother no less.” She tilted her head and looked wistful. “I learned to recognize her magic at an early age. It is like a signature.” She let out a small sigh and then returned her attention to him. “My mother cursed your family and yet you come to me. Why?”
“I knew nowhere else to turn.” The honest ring to his words made him wince. He was desperate. “Being a wolf shifter is all I know.” He shrugged. “I suppose my grandfather deserved to be cursed. When I was a young boy he told me the story, and I have since learned more details.”
“Hmm. Interesting.” She hummed a few notes and tapped two fingers to the side of her cheek. “You don’t come to me asking for the curse to be removed?”
Mark’s eyebrows winged up. “I never figured there was a way to revoke the curse.”
Marie’s feminine laugh filled the room. “There is always a way to remove a curse. However, it is seldom easy.”
Did he want to give up his duel nature? Running wild in the woods was freeing, and taking over leadership of the Bayou Pack had seemed his destiny. No, it was something he’d have to think over long and hard. Whether living as a man or as a shifter he still needed to find a wife. Love first.
Where to find Haley Whitehall
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Haley Whitehall lives in Washington State where she enjoys all four seasons and the surrounding wildlife. She writes historical romance set in the 19th century U.S. When she is not researching or writing, she plays with her cats, watches the Western and History Channels, and goes antiquing. She is hoping to build a time machine so she can go in search of her prince charming. A good book, a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains make her happy.
Midnight Caller — Moonlight Romance Book 1
Midnight Heat — Moonlight Romance Book 2
Midnight Kiss — Moonlight Romance Book 3
Soldier in Her Lap
Wild and Tender Care
Civil War Valentine