Make You Remember, page 1
“If Macy Beckett cooks the way she writes, I want to have dinner at her house! Make You Mine is a lusty romp that’s hotter than a bowl of gumbo and twice as satisfying. Yum!”
—New York Times bestselling author Vicki Lewis Thompson
PRAISE FOR MACY BECKETT
“Written with a sassy wit . . . charming.”
“Sultry, sexy fun in the bayou!”
—New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips
“Delightful . . . a sweet mix of lighthearted romance and down-home charm.”
“Heaping doses of heart, passion, and laughter.”
—RT Book Reviews
“Sweet, fun, and entertaining.”
—Nocturne Romance Reads
“Macy Beckett creates a great hero . . . a little broody and fun—the perfect combination for a swoon-worthy heartthrob.”
“Over the years I’ve read many new authors and no one has grabbed my attention the way Macy Beckett has.”
“Humor and charm . . . pretty darn good.”
—All About Romance
“A wonderful emotional mixture—humorous, sexy, and heartwarming.”
“Macy Beckett creates Southern sizzle like no other.”
—Dark Divas Reviews
Also by Macy Beckett
The Dumont Bachelors Series
Make You Blush (a novella)
Make You Mine
The Sultry Springs Series
Sultry with a Twist
A Shot of Sultry
Surrender to Sultry
Published by the Penguin Group
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A Penguin Random House Company
First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC
First Printing, November 2014
Copyright © Melissa Landers, 2014
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Praise for Macy Beckett
Also by Macy Beckett
Devyn Mauvais looked at the gratitude in her client’s rheumy eyes and said the most expensive words in recent history. “Now, don’t you worry about my fee, hon. Your happiness is payment enough.” Then she helped the old woman tuck a folded twenty back into the pocket of her tattered housedress, along with the talisman she’d just “bought.”
“Thank you, child.” The woman wrapped her bony arms around Devyn’s waist, bringing with her the scent of arthritis cream. “You do your mama proud, God rest her.”
No, not really. Mama would spin in her grave if she knew her oldest daughter was peddling sacred oils and ritual kits out of her living room. The first rule she’d taught Devyn was that it’s bad juju to profit from helping others. Out of habit, Devyn crossed herself while patting her client’s back.
After walking the woman to her car, Devyn returned to her sagging front porch, where her gaze landed on the brand-new sign affixed near the screen door. In odd contrast to the faded aluminum siding, the sign announced: EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, A FEE OF $20 PER HOUR WILL BE CHARGED FOR ALL SPIRITUAL CONSULTATIONS. POTION, SPELLS, AND CANDLE PRICES ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. INQUIRE WITHIN OR BOOK AN APPOINTMENT AT MAUVAISVOODOO.COM.
God, she had a Web site. Could she possibly sink any lower?
She threw open the front door and tried to ignore the prickle of shame tugging at her stomach. A month ago, she never would have accepted a cent for reading the bones. Funny how quickly life could spiral out of control when you lived paycheck to paycheck. Since she’d lost her temp job at the Lord of the Springs mattress store, bad juju was the least of Devyn’s worries.
The rent was overdue, her cupboards were bare, and for the past week, she’d parked her Honda behind a Dumpster a few blocks away in a game of hide-and-seek with the repo man. She’d even resorted to “borrowing” wireless Internet from the trailer park across the street, something no twenty-seven-year-old woman should ever have to do.
But not even she was desperate enough to take grocery money from little old ladies.
“Yet,” she muttered.
Checking her cell phone, Devyn noted she had five minutes before her last appointment of the day, some out-of-towner named Warren Larabee who’d prepaid online via credit card. In preparation, she lit a stick of incense, then mixed a satchel of herbs, coins, and ancestral soil from Memère’s tomb for a Good Fortune charm. Nine times out of ten, that was what men wanted. The other was “natural male enhancement,” which she couldn’t provide. If the flag wouldn’t fly, there was something wrong with the pole, and that was a job for the doctor.
She was a Mauvais, not a magician.
At six o’clock on the button, a gentle rapping sounded at her door, and she ushered a middle-aged man with a thick salt-and-pepper crew cut into her living room. He wore a business suit and an easy smile that told Devyn he wasn’t a true believer in voodoo. With his relaxed posture, both hands tucked loosely inside his pockets, it looked like he’d come here to bring the word of the Lord. Not that she needed it. A devout Catholic, she’d chaired the Saint Mary’s fish fry six years running.
In any case, it was obvious that Warren Larabee hadn’t come here for a reading. Devyn’s eyes found the Louisville Slugger she kept propped in the corner. The man seemed harmless, but creepers came in all sorts of packaging.
“Mr. Larabee?” She swept a hand toward the sofa while taking the opposite chair. “What brings you in?”
He ignored her question and smiled while assessing her strapless red minidress and black stiletto pumps. “You’re not what I expected.”
Devyn laughed when she imagined what he must be thinking: that for an extra fee, she would offer spiritual and sexual healing. “Trust me, I don’
“Well, you look lovely,” Warren said. “I’m sure you’ll make your classmates green with envy.”
“Isn’t that what we all want?” Joking aside, she folded both hands in her lap and got down to business. “You’re not here for a charm, are you?”
“Very perceptive.” He nodded his approval like a proud parent. “No, I’m here to offer you an opportunity.”
Visions of sales pitches danced in Devyn’s head, but she suppressed an eye roll. “You paid for an hour. How you use it is your prerogative.”
“I own Larabee Amusements,” he said. “Maybe you’ve heard of it?”
Devyn shook her head.
“We sell sightseeing packages in cities all over the country.” He shifted forward to rest both elbows on his knees. “Celebrity mansion tours in Hollywood, honky-tonk pub crawls in Nashville, boat trips in the Everglades, that sort of thing.”
“And let me guess,” Devyn said. “You’re branching out in New Orleans?”
“No, that market’s already saturated. We’re opening a franchise right here in Cedar Bayou.” He lifted a shoulder. “It’s only twenty minutes away, and the town has a rich history. I can’t believe nobody’s capitalized on it yet.”
“If you’re looking for investors, I can’t help you.” Devyn had already depleted her nest egg by helping her sister get the Sweet Spot bakery off the ground. Several years later, they were finally breaking even, but not doing well enough to keep Devyn from assembling lunches from free samples at the grocery store.
“That’s not why I’m here,” he assured her with a lifted palm. “I’d like to hire you.”
She perked up. Now he had her attention. “To do what?”
“You’re Devyn Mauvais,” he said as if that fact had slipped her mind. “Direct descendant of Juliette Mauvais, the most feared voodoo queen in Louisiana history. From what I hear, the locals are still afraid to speak her name.” Warren pointed to Memère’s portrait on the wall, where Juliette looked down her nose at them, her full lips curved in a smirk. With her smooth olive skin and exotic eyes, she’d been the most beautiful woman in the bayou, but anyone who trifled with her did so at their own peril. There was a local family—the Dumonts—who knew it firsthand, even after a hundred years.
“You look like her,” Warren said.
Devyn gave a dismissive laugh. “Not as much as my sister. Those two are the living spit.”
“But enough that you could pass for Juliette if you wore traditional period clothing and a headdress.” Warren paused as if for dramatic effect, then made jazz hands. “Just imagine how chilling a haunted cemetery tour would be if you were the one leading it.”
Devyn’s stomach sank. This wasn’t the kind of opportunity she’d hoped for. She would rather spend all day asking You want fries with that? than lead gawking tourists to her great-great-grandmother’s resting place so they could pose for cheesy pictures in front of her tomb.
“There’s more,” Warren added when she didn’t respond. “I’ll set you up in a shop near the cemetery so you can sell”—he thumbed at the rows of dressed candles on display—“your little trinkets when the tour is over.”
“Wait just a minute.” She held up an index finger. “Little trinkets? This is my heritage you’re talking about, not some Tupperware party.”
Warren’s eyes flew wide. “Of course. I didn’t mean to offend.”
“Well, you did.”
“But in addition to a generous salary, you’d make tips from the—”
“No, thank you.” Devyn reminded herself that she’d earned twenty dollars listening to this drivel, which would make a small dent in the electric bill. But that was a bargain for this man, and she’d had enough. “Not even for tips.”
Warren fell silent, taking in the peeling paint on the walls as if to ask Seriously, lady? Don’t you need the cash? “If the salary is an issue, we can negotiate.”
“Do you need spiritual guidance, Mr. Larabee?” When he lowered his brows in confusion and shook his head, she added, “Then I’m afraid our appointment is over.”
To his credit, Warren didn’t push. He fished a business card from his shirt pocket and set it on the coffee table. He then stood up and offered his palm. “I’ll be in town until Halloween, so take a few weeks to think about it. I hope you’ll change your mind.”
Devyn shook his hand and walked him to the door, but that was as far as her courtesy extended. Warren gave a final wave, then strode to the sleek Mercedes parked at the curb. Seconds later, he was gone, taking his job offer with him.
Devyn blew out a breath and told herself she’d made the right choice. Selling a few satchels of gris-gris during a time of need was one thing, but cashing in on her heritage was another. No amount of money was worth her dignity.
So why was she still on the porch, watching his Mercedes fade into the distance?
She shook her head to clear it and went back into the house for a quick lipstick touch-up. There was free booze awaiting her in the Cedar Bayou High gymnasium, and she was overdue for a good time.
• • •
Devyn parked her Honda behind a Salvation Army clothing receptacle at the rear of the school, then locked the doors and paused to admire her reflection in the driver’s-side window.
She had originally planned to skip the reunion, but that was before she’d found this amazeballs Gucci dress for thirty dollars at a thrift store in New Orleans. Fire-engine red and so short it barely covered her butt, it hugged her curves like it was hand-stitched for her—by angels. The only thing wrong with it was a tiny spot of ink on the side hem, but who cared?
It was Gucci!
This dress almost made her forget how far she’d fallen. Maybe she didn’t have a job or a family of her own, but her body was still bitchin’—if she did say so herself—and one out of three wasn’t bad.
Devyn clicked across the parking lot and through the school’s back door, her peep-toe stilettos echoing in the narrow hallway. She had a sway in her hips tonight, the kind only a custom-fitted designer dress could inspire. Even Jenny Hore—appropriately pronounced whore—would eat her heart out. The one girl in school unfazed by the last name Mauvais, Jenny had made it her unholy mission to steal everything that mattered to Devyn: her lunch money, her project ideas, her spot on the varsity cheer squad—even her junior-year boyfriend, Slade Summers, may they both rot in hell.
With any luck, Jenny and Slade had aged horribly and grown miserable in each other’s company. The prospect put an extra pep in Devyn’s step as she approached the sign-in station.
The table was unmanned, so she scanned the rows of name-tag stickers for her own. When she didn’t find it, she picked up the attendance clipboard and ran her fingernail down the class roster.
“Excuse me, Miss,” said a familiar baritone voice before its owner plucked the clipboard from Devyn’s hands. “That’s mine.”
Instantly, her jaw clenched. She slid a glare toward the voice, which brought her eye-level to a gray polo stretched tight over the broadest chest in Cedar Bayou. She would know. From there, she craned her neck toward the ceiling and met a pair of arrogant green eyes smiling beneath a thatch of auburn hair. Mirrored sunglasses were pushed atop his head, despite the fact that the sun had set an hour ago. His name tag said HELLO, MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA, but she knew better. This overgrown muscle head was Beau Dumont: high school football star, ex-marine, class demigod, and a constant pain in her ass since the day he’d returned to town a few months ago.
“I was hoping you’d stay home,” she said. “But then, who would the idiot masses have to worship?”
His gaze took a leisurely stroll up and down her body. “With you in that dress, nobody’s going to notice little ol’ me.”
The compliment didn’t touc
“Why wouldn’t I be in charge? I was voted Most Likely to Succeed.”
“What’s that?” She leaned in, cupping an ear. “Most Likely a Sleaze? I’d say that sounds about right.”
Beau chuckled low and deep, then lifted a dark curl from her shoulder. He rubbed it between his thumb and index finger before using the end to tickle her cheek. “You didn’t always think I was sleazy, Dev.”
Devyn’s knees softened, and she discreetly grasped the folding table for support. “That was before you—” said you loved me and disappeared for almost a decade. “Left me on the hook for what we did after graduation.”
His lips slid into a crooked grin that used to make her panties fall off, back when she’d naïvely thought she could break the curse that had turned all Dumont men into liars, cheats, and runners. Now that cocky grin made her palm itch to smack him upside the head.
“Best night of my life,” he said.
She narrowed her eyes. “That’s because you weren’t the one who got arrested.”
“Aw, now. I said I was sorry for that.” He pulled her name tag from his pocket and began scanning her dress for a place to stick it. “Besides, I heard the charges were dropped.”
Devyn snatched the name tag from him. “Bite me.”
“Any time you want.” Beau tipped her chin, leaning close enough to fill the space between them with the scents of shaving cream and male body heat. “I still remember all the delicious places you like to be nibbled, Kitten.”
The casual use of her old nickname sent fire rushing through Devyn’s veins. She batted away his hand. “In your dreams. The only thing giving you a good time tonight is your hand. It’s a match made in heaven. Not even you can ruin that relationship.” She whirled toward the gymnasium and strutted away, shaking her moneymaker to give him a sweet view of what he was missing—what he had abandoned ten years ago.
Screw Beau Dumont and his big, gorgeous chest. She was so over him.
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