Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bayou Blue

Welcome back, Raquel! I was so happy to see the third book out in your Shades of Hope series. I love the way you write romantic suspense! How many more in this series can we expect? (Quite a few, I hope!)

Sorry, Donna, Bayou Blue is the last book in this series. I’m working on a new Gothic romance series that has been such a hoot to write. In this series, The Noble Island Mysteries, the setting and characters are edgier and darker with unexplained happenings that add to the suspense. The first book, Whispers on Shadow Bay, is set to release from White Rose in January 2013. I can’t wait to share it with fellow romance lovers.

Well aren't you just a busy beaver! I can't wait to see what comes next. You're always full of surprises, but for now I'll just share a peek of Bayou Blue.


Caught between revenge and redemption...

With her family shamed and her faith shaken, Riley Drake carries a heavy burden. She returns to Bayou La Foudre Parish to clear her brother's name, but her mission proves difficult and dangerous. The locals are convinced he's guilty of the tragic bombing that left the town in mourning, and she finds her only ally is Jake Ayers. Frustrated and fascinated by the parish's brooding sheriff, Riley hopes she's found someone to trust with her burden...and her heart.

Sheriff Jake Ayers wants peace and healing in his parish, but Riley's presence stirs tempers into a frenzy. Most of the townsfolk want her dead. Emotions run deep in the bayou, and Jake's are no exception. Keeping a level head and an indifferent heart is going to be as difficult as keeping Riley alive.


I don’t know how to do this, Lord. I don’t know if I can.

Footfalls on the wood planks made me catch my breath. I wondered who found me so fast.

“You promised you wouldn’t come back here.” The unmistakable voice, thick with the drawl of a man born and raised on the bayou, floated to me on the warm night air.

I lifted my head and peered over the lip of the canoe at the man standing on the dock.

Jake Ayers. His dark eyes captured mine, held them for a second, and then looked away. The anguish rolled off of him in dark waves, chilling me despite the summer night.

Bayou La Foudre was his home and my brother, a disturbed young man, had blown up a chemical plant in Jake’s parish, killing twelve people and dying in the blast himself.

My breath caught when I saw the sorrow etched under Jake’s eyes. So much heartache there.

Trying for humor, I sat up in the canoe and hugged my knees. “Is that any way to greet a friend?”

“Nous ne sommes pas amis.” He hooked his thumbs through the gun belt at his waist and shrugged. The dark brown Sheriff’s uniform outlined his tall stature against the lights from the dock. He kept his gaze on the dark water. “We’re not friends, Riley.” He pronounced it rah-ley, like he didn’t realize my name had no ‘a’ in it.

I smiled sadly. This place felt so foreign. Louisiana and I would never be friends.

I turned my head, wanting to see what he was looking at.

Tiny lights flickered and bobbed over the surface of the swamp; lightning bugs.

I turned back to him and tried a strained grin. “What are we, then?”

I honestly need to know.

Jake didn’t answer. Instead, he reached down and grabbed a length of the tow rope. He pulled my canoe towards the dock, and I let him, watching his face in the bright light of the harvest moon. Once he tied the boat in place, he extended his hand and wriggled his fingers. “Come on.”

I tilted my head, looking at him from an angle, but didn’t stand up. I didn’t reach out to him. “I’m not leaving. Not till I get what I came for.”

Jake’s face didn’t change expression. He reached out a little further. “Your hand, Riley.”

Reluctant to leave the safe cradle of the water and trees, I sighed and let Jake help me off the boat and onto the dock. The narrow path made us stand much closer than we would have otherwise. Being so near him made me remember what it was like to have his strong arms wrapped around me, and I blinked back more tears. That he didn’t even consider us friends stung more than I cared to admit.

“You helped me once, Jake.” My voice cracked, and I bit my lip. I wished I could get a grip, but being back here in this place wrenched me wide open. “Can’t you do that again?”

“Getting you out of town is helping you, Riley. You just don’t realize that yet.”

Jake gestured for me to walk in front of him.

I glanced back at the water and then up at the trees, but didn’t move. “There’s more, Jake. There’s more than what they’re telling us, I know it. The FBI is—”

“There isn’t more, Riley.” Jake’s voice sounded tight, as if he was holding back anger.

“You don’t know that.” My voice trembled, and I fought to quell the frustration rumbling up my spine. “All those people, Jake. They died and there has to be a reason. They can’t just have…” My voice broke, and I struggled to push back the sorrow that threatened to crush me.

“Randy did what he did and that’s all there is to it. We just weren’t…” He drew in a slow breath. “We were too late, that’s all.”


Wow, Ms. Byrnes really knows how to drop you right into the heart of things. And in this case, not just the heart, but the heat too.

From the start of this book I didn't want to put it down! Riley wears her heart on her sleeve, and not just for the brother that she lost. Yes, she wants to prove him innocent, not just for herself and her family, but for the sake of his memory. She knows all isn't as it appears and she wants to clear his name. And then there's Jake, a man torn between duty and his own heart. He's the kind of hero we all want in our lives. And he already owns a piece of Riley's heart.

This story is fast paced, even in the slow heat of the bayou, and the heat just keeps building inside and out. Great story! If you enjoy unraveling twists and turns from a crime story, you're gonna love this one.

Buy link:

I live in Southern, California with my husband of sixteen years and our six children. I've been homeschooling for ten years.
I enjoy going to writer's conferences and love to do research for my books. From taking a private investigator course to learning to target shoot, I consider writing a way of life. I have written several books to date.
I love to read and consider it a wonderful way to minister to others. Sometimes taking a spiritual journey with a character you identify with can open up your eyes to the awesome generostiy of the Lord.


  1. Nice post, ladies. Wow... Gothic Romance. Is that hard to write?

    Best wishes with this latest release, Raquel!

  2. I've loved the other books in this series. Can't wait to read this one. The excerpt grabbed me by the heart and the throat. Thanks for sharing!