by Debby Grahl
Release Date: January 15 , 2014
Published by The Writers Coffee Shop
Genre: FICTION / Romance / General / Suspense
ISBN e-book: 978-1-61213-318-8
It’s Mardi Gras time in New Orleans. Attending a masquerade ball, wealthy fashion designer Caterine Doucette, dressed as a shimmering ice princess, has her cool façade shattered when she encounters Bayou-born ex-cop Remi Michaud, disguised as the darkly handsome pirate Jean Lafitte. Their true identities hidden, the princess and the pirate come together in an explosion of passion and desire. But when fantasy turns to cold reality, Caterine panics and disappears into the night, unaware this man will soon be sent to rescue her from a killer and will capture her heart.
Orphaned at a young age, Caterine grew up in the home of her beloved grandmother, Miss Dauphine Doucette. Despised by her Doucette relatives for the devotion she received from her grandmère, Caterine suffered years of envy and disdain. The young Caterine learned quickly how easily the love she had to give could be thrown back in her face.
After Miss Dauphine turns over ownership of the century-old fashion house, Ma Chérie, to Caterine, an attempt is made on her life, for there are those in the Doucette family who will stop at nothing to possess what they feel is their rightful inheritance.
Not knowing whom to trust, Caterine goes into hiding. Miss Dauphine, convinced someone in her own family is behind the attack, hires Remi, now working for a private security company, to track her down and unmask her would-be assassin.
Learning that the affluent Caterine Doucette is the beautiful princess he held in his arms at the ball, Remi is torn between his growing desire for her and painful memories of another rich socialite’s betrayal. Caterine finds herself falling in love with Remi, but old embedded pain leaves her afraid to open her heart.
Down in the Big Easy, Caterine and Remi must learn to trust one another if they are to survive in a world of family greed and ruthless revenge.
Guest Post: New Orleans
Caterine stared in disbelief at the man leaning against the door frame. Her mouth suddenly gone dry, she whispered, “Remi?”
“At your service.”
She opened her mouth and closed it several times before she stammered, “Wha-what are you doing here?”
“Your grandmother sent me.”
“Let me in, and I’ll tell you.”
Without a word, she stepped back to let him pass. He quickly scanned the room. “Nice, isn’t it? I’ve never stayed here, but I’ve heard it’s a great hotel. It suits you. But would you care to tell me why you’re here and not on a plane out of New Orleans?”
Caterine’s back stiffened. “I don’t see what concern that is of yours. I called Elaine and expected either Paul or her to come. So, again, what are you doing here instead of Paul?”
“You’re in trouble and need help.”
“But you don’t even know me.”
Remi smiled. “We have met.”
Caterine felt her face turning scarlet.
He chuckled. “I take it you remember.”
Remember? Oh, how she remembered. She’d relived those moments in his arms over and over again. And here he was standing in front of her wanting to help. It took everything she had not to throw herself at him. “I still don’t understand. How did you find out what happened?”
“I was on my way home when I heard Ma Chérie’s alarm. I found your hair clip and the blood on the sidewalk. What did that guy do to you?”
She looked away and in a barely audible voice said, “He held a gun to my back and tried to force me into a van.”
Remi’s jaw tightened. “That fils de putain left some blood. If we find him, we have a DNA sample.” He reached out and took her hand. “How did you get away from him?”
“First I swung wildly and hit him in the nose with the alarm remote I had in my fist. Then I got him with my umbrella.”
“Way to go, Princess.”
She gave him a slight smile. “And I’m pretty sure the remote saved my life. I set the alarm off while he held the gun to my back.”
“You must have been terrified. I promise we’ll get the bastard who did that to you.”
She tried to blink back the tears that suddenly filled her eyes.
“Don’t cry.” With the tip of his finger, he brushed away the tear that slid down her cheek. “You’re safe. I’m here.”
I won't lie to you. What originally drew me into this book was the mask on the cover, and the promise of a masquerade. Then, I found out it was set in New Orleans, and I was sold. I was blown away by this romantic suspense novel and it will definitely be one that I read again.
What stands out for me the most in this book is the setting. I used to spend a lot of time in New Orleans when my dad lived down there, and I became smitten with the city. I miss it every single day that I'm not there. Grahl made me both more and less home sick for the place. It was written so vividly and with the expert eye of someone who's been there and seen it, and that makes all the difference. I could smell the cafe au lait, hear the jazz, and damn near taste the hurricanes. It brought back a lot of fond memories for me and it made me zone-out into the book completely, because the writing made me relive it all over again. So genuinely, thanks for that Ms. Grahl.
I also really loved the characters. Caterine is relatable and right from the first few chapters I ached with her and was completely on her side. She's strong, Southern, and sassy (and not to mention absolutely fabulous) from cover to cover, and I really wanted all the best for her over the course of the novel.
And then there's Remi. Oh lord, Remi. He gets a paragraph all to himself. Every girl (or guy, for that matter) has their dream specimen. I'm not saying Remi is it necessary, but he comes alarmingly close. He's protective and serious and handsome and has a lovable Bayou accent and at some point is dressed like a pirate and I would like to know wear I may order a Remi Michaud for myself, please. (To my girlfriend that's eventually going to be reading this: love youuuuuuu.)
The book was well written and well-paced. I was drawn in slowly in the beginning by the instant connection to characters and the familiar, well-loved setting of New Orleans, and was kept hostage by a series of twists and turns and delicious romance. This book had so many aspects of things that I look for in a book, plus a little something extra. This was my first time reading the work of Debby Grahl and I sincerely hope it will not be the last. I also hope that Remi will join the other men enslaved by means of my bookshelves soon.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves romance, Southern ex-cops, a good ole fashion murder attempt, or the one and only New Orleans. Thank you so much to The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House for my copy in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author:
Debby Grahl lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband, David, and their cat, Tigger. When she’s not writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach, and having a glass of wine at sunset. Her favorite places to visit are the Cotswolds of England, Captiva Island in Florida, New Orleans, New York City, and her home state of Michigan. She is a history buff who also enjoys reading murder mysteries, time travel, and of course, romance. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books. Debby belongs to Romance Writers of America, Florida Romance Writers, Hearts Across History, and Lowcountry Romance Writers. Her first novel, The Silver Crescent, was released January 2014.
Be sure to look for her other book, The Silver Crescent as well!
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Praise for RUE Toulouse
"When privileged fashion designer Caterine Doucette meets sexy Cajun ex-cop Remi Michaud, things get way hotter than usual in New Orleans around Mardi Gras. Caterine's life is in danger, and Remi is hired to protect her - a job to which he applies himself most personally. Hot, and with a genuine mystery, I didn't know exactly who the baddie was until the ultimate showdown." - Andrea