A killer walks the streets of New Orleans, eviscerating men and leaving them in the streets, and for madam Trula Boudreaux, it's bad for business. Trula needs help but she’s not prepared for Zeke Barnes, the charming would-be savior who darkens her doorway—or the yearning he awakens. For while Trula knows well the delights of lust, she avoids love at all costs…
Investigating the killer was one thing, but Zeke can't help but be enchanted by the gorgeous mystery woman who runs an exclusive brothel. Caught between his duty to protect the city and his clear-as-day desire for Trula, Zeke sets about capturing Trula's heart—or at least a place in her bed. But with every moment Trula resists, Zeke falls into greater danger.
For his investigation into the haunted city and madam doesn't just risk his heart but both their lives.
Julie Mulhern always wanted to be a writer. She spent her childhood creating pen names and dreaming of exotic, mysterious, romantic places. To that end, she went to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia (because, when you’re from the Midwest, the South is both exotic and romantic). There she earned degrees in politics and French. She even spent a year living in Paris. But the Midwest beckoned and she returned home. Now she lives with her husband, two daughters and a dastardly dog. It might not be exotic or mysterious but it is romantic.
Excerpt: “You’re still here, Mr. Barnes.” Apparently he meant to continue plaguing her. He showed no sign of leaving. She wanted him gone, yet she was glad he’d stayed. Her lips pursed. She was annoyed and wasn’t precisely sure with whom.
“You keep late hours, Miss Boudreaux.”
She wandered about the room, too bothered by him to be still. Instead, she collected empty glasses and lined them up on the narrow table used for the bar.
“Nothing to say?” Zeke’s voice mocked her.
“It’s early. On the weekends, we stay busy ‘til dawn.”
“Well then, I imagine you still have plenty of energy.”
His eyes skimmed her body, lingering on her breasts. Her body tightened beneath his gaze and she silently cursed its betrayal. She yawned bigger than Diddy. “It’s a shame there’s nothing worth staying up for.”
He chuckled, a low sound from deep in his throat. Again her perfidious body responded. Heat pooled, tempting her to abandon the tenets that protected her. Worse, the accursed man raised an eyebrow and smiled as if he could detect her body’s yearnings from the comfort of his chair.
“Who are you and why are you here?” she asked. Real emotion colored her voice. Well, why not? His mere presence had bedeviled her all night. And now his eyes stripped the dress clean off of her. How dare he disturb her well-ordered existence? She had responsibilities. She didn’t need the distraction of a man who would leave her. She scanned the room. There were no more glasses for her to gather, so instead she collected ashtrays.
“I work for the government. I’m investigating the murders.” He’d deliberately misunderstood. “I think you know something about them.”
She paused, an ashtray filled with the soggy ends of Cuban cigars clutched in her hand. Could she hurl the dirty crystal fast enough to hit him with it? At the very least, a few cigar butts might mar the pristine whiteness of his shirt. She set the dirty ashtray down on a table with a resounding thunk. “I already told you, I don’t.”
He shook his head and a lock of his hair fell across his forehead. With a careless gesture, he brushed it aside.
Trula arranged the dirty ashtrays in a neat line so she didn’t have to look at him.
“I’d also like to know you better.”
Trula took a slow breath. “You seem to ignore answers you don’t like. I’m not available.”
“Ever?” Disbelief lurked in the gravel of his voice. That gravel—it was the sound of lust—dark and tempting and forbidden. Her heart leapt for her throat.
She squared her shoulders and stared straight into his eyes. “Never.”