EXCERPT: Beyond the Blue Cypress by Ann Clay

Beyond the Blue Cypress
by Ann Clay

Like the bald cypress, Drace Breaux anchors her family on the soft muddy soils of Grand Isle, determined to never abandon the homeland she loves more than anything. But when a stranger comes to town, stealing her heart and soul, she is torn between two affections. Demarcus Grimillion’s insertion into her life thrusts her on a rocky journey packed with love, calamity, and a yearning that only one man can fulfill.

Demarcus Grimillion nearly lost his tread the warm summer night he stumbles on the young woman wandering the secluded beach. He blindly steps into her world, not overly concerned with the deep traditions and colloquialisms of bayou living. He vows to walk through hell to love and protect her. Only he doesn’t count on the jaws of swamp gris-gris to be so powerful; enough to kill them all.

Drace and Demarcus’s story starts on the coastal island in the 1950’s, a time when the rural south challenged the will of even the strongest of families. But through the spirit of time they finally meet the chance to keep their sacred promise.

Note from Ann:
The crew from Gumbo Love has stirred the mixture a bit with Drace Grimillion adding shrimp and blue crab to the bayou's favorite meal.  Many readers wanted to know more about Autumn's mysterious grandmother, from the title Blue Autumn in the Bayou. Well, Drace's story is revealed and begins on the coastal Grand Isle in the 1950's. Meet the Grimillions on their journey to promise.

Excerpt from Beyond the Blue Cypress by Ann Clay

“Hi, beautiful. What are you up to this morning?”  He looked so different than he did last night, taller, more handsome. He had a small cleft in the center of his clean-shaven chin. Her gaze traveled from his eyes to the prominent lines of his jaw, chin, and then the root of her admiration, his lips. She stared at them remembering how soft and tender they felt, how unbelievably sweet they tasted.

He stepped closer and all the air in her lungs forced her chest to rise up and forward. Drace tilted her head up to keep him in her line of sight. His lips moved and she actually heard the words, but her mind would not free her mouth to speak.

“Are you just gonna stand there, darling, or must I kiss you into speech?” His smile widened and the heat of his body made her woozy.

“I came to see you.” She moved closer to the fence poking her nose and mouth between the holes.

When he lowered his face, he kissed her nose, and she pulled away, disappointed his kiss had not met her hopeful target. She gazed up into his smiling face again.

“You look beautiful this morning, cher. I was hoping to see you today. I have to admit I didn’t think it would happen so soon.”

“Are you disappointed?” Drace finally found her voice and most of her senses began to work again.

“Mais, not at all. You’ve been on my mind since I left you last night.”

She looked away. The penetration of his bold appraisal, especially in the light of day made her feel naked standing beneath him. “I must admit I wanted to see you again.”

He touched her face, bringing her eyes to his. “Your words make me happy, Drace. I don’t have much time, but would you meet me again, tonight? Same place, maybe?”

“Yes, I’ll meet you tonight.”

“I get off at six. How about I meet you at your favorite spot? I’ll come after I wash up.”

“Okay. That will be fine.” She shifted from one foot to the other awaiting his reply. Her fingers closed tighter around the wire coils in hopes Demarcus would touch her again. She didn’t have to wait long.

“Then seven. I’ll see you tonight, darling.” He stuck the set of gloves beneath his arms, leaned forward, and placed both hands against hers. His mouth moved mere inches from her now parted lips. “I’ll see you later, okay?” The fence denied her the opportunity to tip up and capture them.

“Okay.” Drace smiled and stepped back once he released her hands and turned to leave. She stood and watched him and when he was almost to the wide opening to the building he turned briefly before stepping through the doors.

The sun stood high and bright in the sky, adding heat to the already muggy air. Still its brilliance did little to compete with the heat ignited by Demarcus’s simple touch. She rubbed her hands down the sides of her face until they landed at the center of her chest. She sighed and continued to watch until he totally disappeared from her view.

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Ann Clay. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 

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