Absinthe…the drink they call the Green Fairy…addictive and deadly, destroying sanity.
Absinthe…a beautiful young man, as seductive and habit-forming as the liqueur for which he’s named…amoral and beguiling, once he’s tasted, he can never be forgotten.
A marquis’ son raised in a New Orleans whorehouse, ripped from his lover’s arms and thrust into the world of French nobility, Absinthe strives to be what his father wishes. He may escape his past but his voudou teachings follow him, causing death and madness to those he loves.
Absinthe …behold, a beautiful monster.
Unlike some of my characters who arrive full-fledged onto my computer screen, Absinthe developed along with his story. I had intended a “simple” tale of love gone wrong, thwarted by magic. What I got was the story of a man raised to have no conscience, only to be destroyed when the glimmerings of morality begin to develop.
Absinthe lives his life in an ambiguous atmosphere. He’s a whore…yet because of his very obvious physical charms, can pick and choose his patrons. This beautiful young man, believed by most of his clientéle to be the child of a slave, is actually the son of a marquis, given in calculating revenge by his abandoned wife to his mistress to raise as a putain de garçon. Abused, subjugated, kept in a life of debauchery through the threat of magical punishment, Absinthe has one true love: Rouge Meurtrier. It’s Rouge to whom he gives his heart though others possess his body but it’s Rouge’s heart which is broken when Absinthe’s father learns of his existence and rescues his son, taking him to France and his rightful place in the nobility.
Étienne Delafée has no idea what he’s about to unleash upon his world…
No doubt some readers will view Absinthe as the villain of the story, a manipulator and a calculating schemer who gets what he deserves. Some may view him as a victim, a casualty of circumstance, someone to be pitied and the story of his life a tragedy. He’s all of those things but most importantly, he’s a very human character who tries to do what he believes is right in the face of the most difficult choices. I hope most will see him that way.
From the moment Célestine left l’Hirondelle Blanche a short time after her husband, Geneviéve and the Marquise had no further contact. The madam considered Célestine’s suicide as cancelling their bargain. After all, she’d done what she agreed to. She made Étienne’s son into a whore. The Marquis would never return. He’d never know of his child. Other than Geneviéve, no one alive, not even Mathilde, knew of the boy’s origins. They all believed him a foundling, so life would go on as it had, with Absinthe whoring for her forever.
And now, Étienne was back, and in Absinthe’s suite. As a customer. Now what Célestine wished was about to happen, if Geneviéve didn’t prevent it…a latent speck of morality flared to life in the madam’s breast. . “Oh, God, I hope I’m not too late.” He mustn’t touch Absinthe. He mustn’t. Please, God, don’t let it happen.
She was panting by the time she opened the door and stepped into the corridor. She could see Absinthe’s door at the end of the hall, couldn’t run toward it fast enough. Her legs seemed leaden, her skirts and petticoats wrapping around her calves, conspiring to hobble her. Oh, dear God…
Geneviéve’s flight was stopped by her body striking the door. Her fists pounded the dark wood. When there was no answer, she pushed open the door and rushed in.
In the center of the room the two figures started, jerking toward her. Her frantic eyes took in Absinthe in Étienne’s embrace, the heavy flush of their faces, the way their bodies were pressed together.
“Get way…from him,” she gasped, puffing so deeply she could barely speak. “Don’t…touch him.”
“Why not?” Without releasing the boy, Étienne swung toward her.
“I mean it. Get away from him or I’ll kill you!” She raised a clenched fist, making a stabbing gesture.
Her ferocity seem to amuse him. “I daresay there are many who believe he’s worth dying for and I may be another after I’ve had him. Just now, however, I’ll ask again, Why not?”
She didn’t answer, couldn’t, just stood with one hand pressed against her heaving bosom. Absinthe shifted his weight. Étienne tightened his grip.
“I’ve paid for his ass and I intend to enjoy this sweetmeat and decide for myself if his reputation’s deserved. Either kill me or leave, Geneviéve, so I can get on with it.”
“Étienne…don’t.” She tried to put as much threat into that one word as she could.
His answer was to turn away. “Do you want me to leave, Absinthe?”
“It’s your franc, Peridot.” Absinthe’s shrug was indifferent as he looped an arm around Étienne’s neck. “But it’s my ass. How much do you really want it?” He looked past him to Geneviéve. “Mamère, go. My reputation’s at stake and he mustn’t leave until I acquit myself.”
“Absinthe has spoken.” With a satisfied laugh, Étienne slid his hands upward to bury them in the thick ringlets.
“Come, Peridot…” Absinthe raised his head, mouth slightly open, lips inviting invasion. His tongue peeked out, tip beckoning.
Étienne bent for his initial assault.
“He’s your son.”
Étienne’s head whipped around. So did Absinthe’s. For a moment, both stared at her, two pair of identical pale green eyes widening in disbelief.
ABSINTHE: A TALE OF MAGIC, LOVE, AND REVENGE will be released by Class Act Books on February 15, 2014. It will be available from the publisher and on amazon.