Holiday Foreplay with Suzanne Johnson – Exclusive Sentinels of New Orleans Short Story + Giveaway

Posted December 13, 2012 by Carmel in / 100 Comments

Holiday Foreplay

A short-short from the world of the Sentinels of New Orleans

I checked the figures my partner Alex and his cousin Jake had painstakingly etched into the wooden floor of my library. Three perfect circles, one inside the other. I could load all three with magical energy and create a summoning space so strong even the most murderous preternatural couldn’t break out and try to kill me.

            Killing DJ seemed to be a common prete goal lately.

            “Let’s try it.” Jake sat on my worktable, legs dangling off the sides, while Alex put the tools away. “Summon Louis Armstrong. I’d like to see him again.”

            I shook my head. “He’s still kinda freaked out after that whole turning-him-into-a-spy thing.” Never mind that he’d been the worst spy in the history of the world. But he wasn’t the only member of the historical undead among my list of acquaintances. “I could summon Jean Lafitte.”

            Alex set the toolbox down in the corner with an exaggerated thud and assumed his best French pirate voice, which sounded more like the skunk Pepe le Pew. “There is no need to summon me, Jolie. I am two miles away in my expensive French Quarter hotel suite.”

            Yeah, yeah, whatever. He was right; I could only summon someone from the Beyond, not from the French Quarter. “Forget the pirate, then. The Beyond is teeming with the Historical Undead. What about William Faulkner or Truman Capote?”

            Alex shook his head. “They’re still pissed off that we turned them into cats that time. Especially Faulkner. He wanted to be a Siamese instead of a tabby.”

            “It’s almost Christmas,” Jake said. “What about Santa Claus?”

            Alex and I stared as if Jake had grown an extra set of ears. “I can’t summon Santa Claus.”

            “Why not?” Jake hopped off the table and pulled my dogeared copy of Beyond Human: Species of the Beyond from the shelf of spellbooks and grimoires. “I was lookin’ at this the other day and Santa has his own chapter.”

            I snatched it away from him and stared at the chapter heading: Father Christmas, Saint Nick, Santa Claus, and Other Holiday Faeries.

            “Holy crap, I didn’t know Santa was fae.” Which probably meant Santa’s elves weren’t elves at all, but some type of faeries instead. Good thing. I hate freaking elves.

            I didn’t know enough about faeries to hate them. I’d heard they could be difficult, tricky, and a tad vindictive. But this was Santa, after all. Santa loves kids and nasally challenged reindeer. Santa loves everybody.

            Santa would never try to kill me.

            “Jake, go to the downstairs closet and pull a red bow out of that box of wrapping paper.” I studied the circle. “Alex, dig in that drawer with all the candles and pull out a red one that looks festive.”

            I filled in the etched outer circle with iron filings—the strongest containment medium at my disposal. I might be impulsive but I’m not stupid, and a circle of cold iron would contain even the most malevolent faery. At the northernmost point of the circle, I placed the book open to the Santa entry, and at the south I set a small holiday bell made of ruby glass. Once the guys brought the bow and the candle, I place those items at points east and west.

            Alex crossed his arms and narrowed chocolate brown eyes at me. “You sure about this? Do I need my shotgun?”

            “I got a knife,” Jake said.

            Cancel that order to the testosterone factory. “Give me a break, guys. This is Santa. Why would you need a knife or a gun?”

            Alex shrugged and took Jake’s seat on the worktable. Jake leaned against the nearest bookcase with his arms crossed. “Go to it, then, sunshine. Do your thing.”

            I tugged my own small silver folding knife from my jeans pocket and made a small slice into my thumb. Grabbing the elven staff I’d named Charlie, I squeezed a dollop of blood onto the circle near the bell, and said the words to summon Santa Claus.

            A swirl of mist materialized inside the containment circle, gradually dissipating to reveal…a guy. A tall, heavyset guy. Dark-haired and clean-shaven, with oversized sideburns. A guy wearing a red suit. Not a Santa suit, either. More of an….Elvis suit, from his Vegas cape period. Frilly white ruffles circled his wrists and stretched down the front of the suit jacket.

            “Who the hell are you?” Alex slid off the worktable and walked closer to the circle, coming to a halt in front of Vegas Santa. My partner’s fingers twitched as if wishing for a trigger to pull.

            “Ho-ho-freaking-ho.” Santa flicked a glance at Alex, then shifted his gaze to Jake and finally rested it on me. His eyes were a disturbing shade of pale, icy green. “What do you want, wizard? I was almost through with my gig letting drunk gamblers sit on my lap at the MGM Beyond-Grand. I have to finish in time for Liberace’s set. He gets overwrought if he has to start late.”

            Jake and Alex turned wide eyes to me. Guess Liberace was one of the historical undead now, and playing in some prete version of Vegas. “We, um, had a few Christmas requests for Santa. We were expecting someone a little…fluffier.” And saner.

            “There are hundreds of Santas, and I was closest; deal with it.” He waved his hands in circles, giving me the universal symbol for go ahead and spit it out. “You have thirty seconds to tell me what you fools want for Christmas. Otherwise, I’m out of here. The Cirque du Beyond show starts at midnight.”

            Who did this overgrown pomegranate think he was? I was the wizard here. “You can’t leave until I release you from my circle.”

            Santa stopped fidgeting with his frilly cuffs and stared at me. The longer he looked, the more I saw things in those eyes. Dark things. Moving things.

            “Last chance, Drusilla Jaco,” he said, and even the tone of his voice changed to something deeper, richer, with an edge that made me swallow hard. “What. Do. You. Want?”

            “Um. I want you to leave?”

            Yeah, okay, so I’m a chicken. But at least I’ll live to cluck another day without falling victim to an insane faery Santa in a bad suit.

            “Right answer.” His grin was dazzling as he disappeared in a puff of mist.

            I reached out a shaky hand to break the plane of the circle.

            “He left something behind,” Alex said, and leaned over to pick up a black lump. “I think it’s supposed to be a lump of coal.”

            Cheap faery. “Looks like a charcoal briquette to me.”

            Jake held a hand out for the charcoal. “C’mon, let’s go down to the Gator. We’ll grill a steak in the courtyard and watch the Saints get the crap beat out of them.” Now that sounded like Christmas.

Copyright 2012 Suzanne Johnson

Author Bio
Suzanne Johnson Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance from Auburn, Alabama, after a career in educational publishing that has spanned five states and six universities. She grew up halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.

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Honorary Sentinel/New Orleans Prete Squad T-Shirt

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson
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As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ’s boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters.

While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering the soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerry has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and for the serial killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.

River Road

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Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.

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About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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100 responses to “Holiday Foreplay with Suzanne Johnson – Exclusive Sentinels of New Orleans Short Story + Giveaway

  1. I read where Suzanne said it would be a fun day on Thursday and she was right. LOL. Thanks for the short story. The Sentinels of New Orleans is my favorite series. Still time to buy the book for Christmas.

  2. Really, Carmel, Suzanne, this is a very easy question! 😉 I would ask for more books from my wishlist of course! *grinning* Thanks for a great story!

  3. So cute^^ and there were several names so several possibilities after all^^, Alex helping her with magic yes that’s a good treat ( for me Saint nicolas and santa claus/père noel can’t be the same at all^^;;)

    thank you Suzanne you did made this day very special^^

  4. oups i forget: what i would ask santa: more books of course^^ my wishlist is going to explode ( and a job for my brother would be a great bonus)

  5. awww, I love suzanne’s writing!!! And I think I’ll ask for a Skype chat with an author. Being an international reader in a non-English speaking country kinda sucks, since I don’t get to go to signings and such, but I’d LOVE to chat with authors. I met a few in Bologna during book fairs and I was amazed by their kindness. I’d love to do a skype chat, even if my English pronuntiation is terrible and I would probably be author-struck all time!

  6. Christina K. in the rafflecopter

    DUDE! That’s a cool story) And I’d love a library like that, with those kinds of reads:) Suzanne’s series is awesome! Especially the legends she creates – they’re all so unique especially the Historical Undead:)

    I’d love story-inspired earrings – as in Harry Potter wand earrings, or something from Shadow and Bone!

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

    Thank you:)

  7. Thanks so much for the chance. If money was no object Id ask for my own library 😉 Since Im not a bazillionare Im asking for a tablet and some books!!!

  8. Hmmm.. well.. my wish isn’t sexy. I’d ask Santa for a job. The job market can be extremely frustrating these days. 😉 But books are *always* on my Xmas list.

  9. @Katy–I don’t think there is ever “enough” books!

    @Sullivan…I seem to be seeing “books” a lot–LOL. (And I happen to know you have some on the way!)

  10. I would love to win Royal Street! I have to agree with all of you in saying that I can not get enough books. A book store to me is like a candy store to a child lol…. 🙂 You would not believe the books I have that I have not gotten to yet to read, but I always want more and more and more and more and more………. lol 🙂 Can not get enough!!
    Happy reading and writing*

  11. OMG.. hilarious and I friggin love this author and her books. Carmel, I am going to feature a link to this on my Sunday Post. While I have read all of her books, I’d love signed copies and oh yeah I would rock that t-shirt!

  12. That was fun 🙂 I can’t believe she chickened out…lol..I wouldn’t have. I would ask Santa for an all night date with my favorite fictional character….it changes often and right now it’s Jericho Barrons…tomorrow it will probably be Bones…then Alex 😉 Thanks for the post and contest.

  13. lol I’d ask santa for an early retirement so that I could have time to read, scrapbook, and travel and with early retirment I could afford it lol.

  14. Thanks for the very fun post and giveaway! To be perfectly honest, the only thing I really want for Christmas is a few days off from work! I have books calling my name!

  15. Thanks so much for the fun and just awesomesauce post and giveaway! 😀 Santa…Gosh, I think what I always dream of is what I would ask Santa (this is going to sound crazy)..I would ask to live in a bookstore complete with a kitchen, bathroom, and bed…and then I’ll be a VERY happy person for the rest of my life! 😀

  16. Thanks for the contest. River Road was awesome. Looking forward to the next book! I would ask Santa for the time and space to enjoy all my books. I’m running out of room in my house and even my ereader is running out of space! Reading is my only vice, so all my “free” money and time goes towards books!

  17. Omygoodness I hope I’m not too late! That last line was priceless! Yeah… sounds like Christmas for the Saints to get beat – but it shore is big fun Mardi Gras when they WIN!

    Love it Suzanne!
    Oh… I want… a million dollars! *ding!*
    Hot Dog!

  18. Well since I have to fight my hubby for the computer I would love for Santa to bring me a laptop. I don’t see it happeninng but a blogger and wish. LOL

    I’m almost done reading River Road and I would love to have a signed copy of the paperback to go with my signed copy of RS.

  19. I would love for Santa to bring me an Ipad – I could really use it for when I’m on the road and when I have to do blog related things at work

  20. I´d ask Santa for some love to all, after this day and every bad thing that has happened, we could all use some Holiday peace and quiet IMHO.
    Thanks for the giveaway & Happy Holidays!

  21. @Linda…You are so right. What a sad, sad day yesterday was. I keep thinking of those parents going home and looking at their Christmas trees, and gifts that their child will never be able to open. Just heartbreaking.

  22. Jo

    I would love for Santa to give my toddler the ability to consistently sleep through the night.

    jochibi AT yahoo DOT com

  23. I’d love to ask for some willpower to resist all of those lovely holiday treats. Maybe then I wouldn’t gain the usual couple of pounds over the holidays.

  24. Health to all the people I love. And of course books. In the first two months of 2013 there are releasing too many books I want for my own good.

  25. I’d ask for a new pair of boots and happiness and health to all of my friends and family. Thanks for the giveaway!

  26. Books….and gift cards for books….and more shelves for books!

    Happy Holidays & thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com