Gone was the dirty, disheveled boy with a worn cap pulled over his head. Long, black hair, as shiny as a crow’s wing hung about the face of a beautiful young girl heading straight into womanhood. They stood staring at each other while Cameron collected his thoughts.
And she smirked.
“What did you say your name was?”
Soft laughter rolled out of her. “Alexia, dear Papa. Alexia Thibodeaux. From Bayou St. Laurent.”
Her sweet, silken voice sounded too old, too wise for a young girl. She stepped forward, bold as you please. “You remember my maman, don’t you? Solange?”
“I . . . I can’t say as I do. How old are you?”
“Near thirteen, Papa.” She tilted her head. “My maman was Solange Thibodeaux. Oh, wait. She was Sally to you.”
Well, he had her there. Even in his misdirected youth, he had known better than to have anything to do with a woman out of the bayou. The idea that they could be even remotely connected was absurd.
“Non? Then you must remember my uncles, René and Bastien? They near beat you to death for lovin’ my maman in Madame Olympée’s whorehouse.”
Dear God! The young woman who’d squired him into manhood was this girl’s mother? He’d forgotten about her, hadn’t a clue at the time that she might be a French Cajun. She’d told him she was an orphan from the Quarter. “It can’t be . . . you can’t be. You’re lying. I wouldn’t trust anyone related to René or Bastien to give me the correct time of day. Who put you up to this, your mother?”
“I never knew my maman, Papa. She died when I was born.” She sauntered forward. “Do you like my eyes, Papa? Family been tellin’ me all my life dat I look just like my papa. I wanted to believe I was more like Maman, but now I see dey was right.”
What the hell was he supposed to do now? “I was only seventeen when that fight took place at Madame Olympée’s. I was shipped off to England immediately afterward. There’s obviously some mistake.”
“There be no mistake.” Her eyes hardened. “Maybe you only be seventeen at the time, but you done slid dat big snake of yours right up inside my maman and let loose a powerful poison.”
She took another step closer and shoved her chin in the air, her eyes flashing crude determination. “And dat poison you let loose turned out to be me, Papa. Now, wach’ya tink?”
History chapter and has been a contributing editor for an online romance magazine as well as writing and producing successful seminars and meditation CDs.You can learn more about Kathleen and her books at kathleenbittnerroth.com