The Mistress of Desire & The Orchid Lover
A novel by
J. A. Jackson
United States Copyright Office Effective February 4, 2014 #TXu1-900-004 Certification date of registration electronically 01-28-2014
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual person, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Eyes playing tricks…..
Camille Baptiste shook out her thoughts. She was dead tired, she realized as she made her way down the street toward her mother’s house. It was then it happened. She saw the lights flash as if by magic, she stopped abruptly and turned her head.
Camille Baptiste’s eyes widened in recognition. She stood staring spellbound. A ghostly white light glowed back at her. It raised the hairs on the back of her neck.
She gasped and took a step back. Disbelieving panic overtook her. “Desmond….Desmond… But you’re dead. I saw them kill you.”
Desmond’s body floated like a vapor on the wind.
That was the last thing Camille remembered before the shock took her body and she fell hard to the ground.
The shrill shriek of a siren blaring imperiously was the next thing she remembered.
Someone was shining a flashlight into her face. She opened her eyes trying to see.
“Miss….Miss. Are you alright?” the policeman asked.
Camille recovered enough to answer. “Yes,” she said, clasping his hand tightly.
Camille Baptiste wondered what her life would have been like if she had married Desmond Garcia and lived in this gigantic big house that resembled an enchanted home that she had seen in an old Hollywood movie. The home, nestled in the San Juan Bautista Valley, was an exact replica of a Spanish mission, complete with a giant wrought iron gate to protect the estate from unwanted intrusions.
The quiet rural area would take some getting used to she thought as she stared off into the distance admiring a covered walkway alive with a yellow Bougainvillea, named California Gold.
She took a deep breath. It felt like her mind was drifting, being pulled away along with her thoughts, to no place in particular. Camille was still staring off into space when she felt a hand touch her shoulder. She looked up into the face of Consuelo. She had been Desmond Garcia’s housekeeper.
“It’s real peaceful out here, isn’t it Miss Camille?” Consuelo’s soft voice hardly held an accent.
Startled back to reality, Camille shook out her thoughts. She glanced up with an insulting slowness. “Yes, it is,” she looked anxiously about. “Maybe too peaceful,” she hesitated. “So peaceful it might drive a sane person insane.”
Consuelo’s eyes glanced back at her with suspicion.
Camille regretted the words as soon as they left her mouth. She paused for a second and thought about how complex things were for her right now. “I didn’t mean it the way it sounded.”
Consuelo smiled softly. “I know what you meant to say. Anyway this is a good place. Once you have lived out here long enough you get used to it. In fact, you come to cherish it. How are you, by the way?”
Camille wondered if Consuelo saw the fine tremor shaking her hands. She clasped her hands firmly behind her back. “I’m fine. I’ve just been putting in a lot of hours at work, keeping busy.”
Consuelo silently nodded and studied Camille, never batting an eye. “That’s good to hear, after such a shock….” Her voice trailed off. “Well, just so you know, I’m still worried about you.”
Camille was grateful that she didn’t question her more. Her eyes looked away.
“Thanks again for letting me come by and pick up my things. This sweater was given to me by my Nana,” Camille said cradling it close.
“Yes, I know, Consuelo said. “I remember you’re saying so over the phone.”
The two women stood in silence by Camille’s car, both deep in their own thoughts.
“Miss Camille I’d like to ask you to do me a favor.”
At first, Consuelo had debated about whether or not to tell Camille about her unconventional therapist. She had a feeling Camille was a skeptic and she feared what Camille would think. She knew that sometimes the most skeptical people couldn’t accept help from a regular therapist, let alone from an unconventional one.
Consuelo sighed. “Camille there is someone I want you to see. She is waiting for you in town.”
“Why?” “Because she can help you make peace with what has happened,” Consuelo said.
Camille shrugged. “I am at peace with Desmond’s death.”
Consuelo ignored her. “You have to trust me Camille and go and see my friend. It is the right thing to do.” A dove flew overhead and screeched loudly as it crossed the sky.
Consuelo looked up. “There is nothing to be afraid of. The Dove has long been admired as a symbol of peace, love and spirit. And it is thought to be a symbolic sign of a vision quest.
Camille stared back at her. “Are you serious?”
“Here,” Consuelo said, taking her hand and placing a card in it. “Her address is on this card. She is waiting for you. Go now!” Camille looked at the card in her hand. She knew the address.
Off to see the…. Glenda D’Goodwrench
Camille checked the clock on her dash. It was half past ten on a Saturday night as she headed west off of old highway 156.
The old town of San Juan Bautista loomed ahead.
Camille slowed her car speed and smiled pleasantly. The old town looked like she’d stepped back in time.
That evening was cold, too cold for September. The day had been a crisp autumn day. She stood at the street corner of Main right across from the old rustic building she was heading for. She looked up, a huge moon hung directly above it.
Camille walked quickly heading straight for the front door. She’d just placed her foot on the first step and grabbed the banister when she heard a loud blast, like a car engine backfiring.
She turned around quickly just in time to see a huge smoky cloud. It vaporized like an apparition, but she saw no sign of a car. She thought it was strange, as if she had summoned up the smoky apparition.
She looked around and noticed a soft array of lights from the moon, silver rays luminously cast as if by magic.
Camille’s breath caught and she straightened as her fingers encountered something strange as she held on the banister railing.
Something came to life under her fingertips. She looked down and noted knotted twisting grapevines coming to life and crawling up the side of the walls of the building.
She gasped, clenching her fingers tight. The moment felt enchanting and surreal. The crawling vines bloomed into a kaleidoscope of colors that made her think about the old story her mother used to read to her as a child, of a magical building that if you walked through the door you walked back in time.
Her heart began to hammer as she walked up the steps. What if it were true? She didn’t believe in legends or the old stories her grandmother Nana had told her, that there were people born with the gift. Second sight was what her mother Gabby Baptiste had called it. What if this woman really was some kind of psychic, she thought. What if she walked inside and the last five months hadn’t happened?
A curious calm came over Camille as she shook her head to clear her thoughts. She always prided herself on her being logical, and that, coupled with her intelligence, she knew could explain anything. There was no use in dwelling on “what- ifs” she assured herself as she pushed open the heavy wooden doors and walked inside.
Tall high ceilings greeted her as she entered the building. A very long, highly polished, and ornately carved bar captured the eye. Tall cushioned bar stools lined the bar. An equally long, unique, custom made mirror hung behind the bar and caught the eye. Inside the bar was dark, quiet and empty except for the bartender. The bartender looked up as she entered. His white brows lifted. He had an elfin bearded face and spiky white hair, and his mouth widened into a grin. “Welcome, come on in and sit for a while,” he said, waving her over.
Camille smiled. She had the whole place to herself. She closed the distance between them and sat down at the bar. He walked over cheerfully. “What can I get for you Miss?”
She immediately noticed his soft blue eyes sparkle.
“A Cadillac Margarita with an extra shot of tequila on the side.”
The bartender didn’t blink an eye as he said, “Coming right up. Anything else?”
“Yes, I’m supposed to meet a woman named Glenda here. Do you know her?”
“Yep, I know her. She ain’t here,” he nodded. “But that doesn’t mean she ain’t coming.”
The bartender turned his back to her to make her drink. He wanted to ignore the sadness in her eyes. Part of him wished that she would just walk back out the door and get in her car and drive away. But he knew Glenda would want him to make her feel at home. “Do you like fresh strawberries?” he asked her looking back over his shoulder.
Anxiously she looked up at him. “Yes I do.”
“They are really good. I’ll bring you a bowl. No charge of course,” he said, placing her drink in front of her.
Minutes later, the bartender proudly placed a large bowl of plump juicy red strawberries in front of Camille. “Do you want me to keep an open tab? For the drinks I mean.”
“Yes,” she said, wrapping her hands around the tequila. “And bring me another shot of tequila.”
The bartender nodded and walked away.
She tossed back the tequila as soon as he turned away and then ate several strawberries. The berries tasted delicious she thought eating a couple more.
The bartender looked into the mirror. He knew just the angle to look back at your clients without them catching you watching. He watched her face twist in agony as the tequila hit the back of her throat. The lady was tormented about something. The beautiful ones normally were he thought, and then his eye caught something. The woman saw it too.
“Oh!” Camille sucked in her breath and yelped, as a strange black cat briskly strolled past her drink. “What is this place? A circus or a bar?”
The black cat sat down boldly and curiously stared.
Camille frowned back at the cat but the cat didn’t move. “Shoo!”
The bartender swore under his breath. “Pinky! You get down from there or I’ll tell Glenda you weren’t behaving,” he said walking over to retrieve the cat.
“I’m sorry miss. That’s my old lady’s cat. Tell you what, the drinks on the house.”
“Oh!” Camille shrugged. “Thanks but you don’t have to.”
“No bother, besides Pinky seems to like you,” he nodded. “Glenda should be by shortly, Pinky doesn’t usually come out unless he knows she’s near,” he said as his soft eyes met hers.
“I admire a man that’s willing to cat sit for his ah…Uh…A friend…….” She hesitated. “By the way my name is Camille. Camille Baptiste. What’s your name?”
The bartender refilled her shot of tequila. “My name is Scott Irishman-Jackson,” he smiled warmly. “And the cat’s name is Pinky.” “Nice to meet you Scott,” she said in one breath. “What a strange name for a cat that is completely jet black,” she said. “I’m sure Glenda must have had a special reason to name that cat Pinky.”
Scott chuckled “Glenda named her right.”
The bartender studied her. He didn’t know her but he saw the effects one shot of tequila had on her. Now she’d just swallowed a second shot. Truth serum he thought, now she was going to start talking a lot.
Camille bit into a large ripe strawberry. “Isn’t Glenda’s last name Jackson?”
“Yeah and that ain’t a coincidence,” he said, gently stroking Pinky the cat’s back. “Glenda…. Glenda D’Goodwrench-Jackson is my wife.”
A laugh escaped her as if he’d said something funny. “Really? Let me get this straight. The cat’s name is Pinky and I could have sworn you just said Glenda was the Good Witch. Whew. Scot Irishman-Jackson you are a funny man.”
The bartender stared at her as his eyes twinkled. He said nothing as he stood there slowly caressing the cat’s back.
Pinky purred loudly and gave her a mesmerizing stare.
“Give me a moment and I’ll take Pinky upstairs and get her out of the way. I think she’s about to feel one of her changes coming on and I wouldn’t want the cat to spook you,” he said reaching for the bottle of tequila and pouring her another shot. “You know Camille; I don’t mean to be nosy. But my Glenda has a real talent for fixing matters of the heart, and it looks like someone broke your heart. But don’t worry. My Glenda will be here shortly.”
Camille said nothing as she watched Jackson walk away with Pinky, the cat. What a night she was having, she thought as she turned her attention back to the bowl of fresh strawberries in front of her. There was only one left. She couldn’t remember eating all of them. She threw back the shot of tequila and then picked up the last strawberry and popped it into her mouth.
The burst of strawberry favor seemed to calm her. She thought back. Remembering back to the day she first met Desmond Garcia. It all seemed like a dream.
A voice shrilled from out of nowhere. “I’m sorry I’m late,” a woman called.
Camille looked up and watched as the woman approached. She must be Glenda she thought and she was carrying another bowl of strawberries.
“Are you Glenda Goodwrench-Jackson?”
“That’s Glenda D’Goodwrench-Jackson. Accent on the D it makes it sound of “The” when you say it right. And yes that is the correct pronunciation,” she said sitting down the bowl of strawberries. You look hungry so I brought some fresh blueberries muffins too.” Camille shivered. Glenda D’Goodwrench-Jackson didn’t look the way she thought she would look. She was slender, fine boned, and youthful in the face. But her eyes held wisdom. They looked ancient. She had what her Nana used to call a “rubber face” a face that didn’t age.
Glenda’s soft sparkling blue eyes looked Camille over and captured hers. Camille stared and then swallowed hard. Glenda’s eyes were mysteriously looking as if they could look into your soul.
Silently Camille studied her until her attention eyed the tray she was carrying.
“Let’s take a seat here by the table,” Glenda said. “Those chairs are much more comfortable.
Camille watched as Glenda sat the tray down on the table. The tray held a pot of coffee, two cups, another bowl of strawberries and a basket of muffins, a crystal decanter with a golden liquid, and a small miniature translucent bag filled crystal bottle. “Sorry I was late,” Glenda began. “I took the old highway in and some farmer’s cows were blocking the road, and I had to persuade them to move,” she said. “Anyway, now that I’m here, what can I do for you?”
Camille couldn’t take her eyes off of the basket of blueberry muffins. She stared at them hard.
“Have a muffin,” Glenda said. “Oh and this gift bag is for you.”
Camille grabbed a muffin in one hand and accepted the small gift bag with the other. The aroma of the blue muffins were irresistible, she quickly took a bite. It tasted like heaven and smelled like something from her childhood. She savored the moment and remembered the small gift bag. “What is this for?”
“Just a small token of appreciation,” Glenda said. “I give one to everyone. Consider it like a business card.”
Camille chewed her muffin as she held the tiny bottle to her eye and stared at it.
All at once Pinky the cat appeared out of nowhere and sat on Glenda’s lap.
Camille shivered and shut her eyes. She thought she was seeing things. The cat’s hair looked midnight purple.
“What’s the matter with you?” Glenda asked. “You’re not hung over are you?”
Camille opened her eyes and stared back. Pinky the cat was still sitting on Glenda’s lap.
She rubbed her eyes. “No…No,” she lied. “Suddenly something exploded on her tongue. It burst with favors from the blueberry muffin. It was a taste she remembered. “I haven’t tasted anything….,” she hesitated. “This tastes and smells like the ones my Nana made me when I was a kid,” Camille confessed. “It brings back sweet memories.”
“Good!” Glenda said patting her hand. “Now Camille do you want to tell me why you’re here?”
“How do you know my name?”
In an all knowing tone Glenda nodded and said. “I’ve seen you coming.”
Camille almost choked on her muffin.
“Don’t be afraid,” Glenda stated directly. It’s my business to know about people. Besides don’t you want to discover the truth? I thought you loved Desmond Garcia. Don’t you want to have a good night’s sleep?”
Then Glenda started to hum.
Camille stared back at Glenda wide eyed. Her rush of questions overwhelmed her. She didn’t know which one of Glenda’s questions to answer first. But one thing she did know was that Glenda had spoken the truth about her wanting a good night’s sleep. She hadn’t slept in days. Camille softly smiled and relaxed slightly. She couldn’t let down
her guard entirely.
Glenda waved her hand. “Here, have another muffin and tell me your story.” Camille took another bite of muffin. A dreamy look came into her eyes. “My story?” she mumbled taking another bite.
“Yes, your story,” Glenda softly said before her voice lapsed backed into the soft hum.
Like a little child falling asleep at dinner Camille’s rounded shoulders slumped. “My story……” her voice trailed off.
Glenda gently hummed. “Yes Camille, please tell me your story. About how you met Desmond Garcia, and start from the beginning…”
Camille yawned. “I met him at my birthday party. Sort of,” she said faintly, as she slowly leaned her head back against the soft cushion shoulder of the chair. Her eyes started closing, as images came to her. Was she dreaming? She wondered as her mind traveled back in time. A face appeared. All at once her eyes widened at the shock at seeing the other man’s face, she woke her instantly. It was time. The story must be told.
Glenda stared back at her and reached out her hand. “Camille is everything alright?”
Camille grabbed her hand. “Yes, but first I must first tell you about another man, and a woman,” she exclaimed.
“Why of course sweetie, if you must,” Glenda nodded patting her hand.
Tears beamed up on Camille’s eyes. She was silent for a moment with her thoughts. “The man’s name is Delmar Devereaux and he was a first class crass pervert who had grand illusions about everything and everybody including me,” she hesitated. “Maybe I shouldn’t talk about this. I don’t want to bore you.”
Glenda studied her. “Camille sweetie-pie, from the look on your face I don’t think this story will be boring at all now tell me.” They stared at each other a moment longer. Finally Camille broke the ice.
“Well, Delmar Devereaux is an asshole and he carries a personal truck load of bullshit wherever he goes,” she shuddered at her memories. “But then again so did the Mistress of Desire.”
Glenda laughed. “The Mistress of Desire sounds like a woman with a nymphomaniac tendency.”
“Yeah she was just a wanton slut but she was also a girl. A girl who had no idea the guy she had designs to marry, in reality he was still married to another woman,” Camille muttered under her breath. She gave a wry smile. “Anyway I don’t personally like to call my best friend names. Let’s just say they were both prefect for each other. And aren’t conniving, manipulative and deceptive people always are?”
Author J. A. JACKSON Appreciates Your KINDLE & AMAZON REVIEWS
Dear Gentle Readers, Fans, Family and Friends,
In an effort to provide you with the most honest information about me. I confess I am a self-published author. That’s right, I am committed to writing a story, a novel every chance I get (hopefully I will put out two to three books a year). Even though I have a whacked-out, frenetic, hectic schedule as do many others. I persevere. I am committed to writing my stories.
With that said, I’d like to make a request of you my gentle readers, followers, friends, and family. I appreciate that you read my books or book excerpts on my blog. And I need you to please go to Amazon.com or KINDLE and do a review of my book.
I will be truthful if you do. I would like for you to help me.
Your kindness to me in reviewing my books would go a long way in helping me continue my self-publishing journey.
Thank you. J. A. Jackson
Other Books by J. A. Jackson
A Geek an Angel Series
The Grand Hotel,
Lovers, Players, & The Seducer
The Mistress of Desire & The Orchid Lover
Coming Summer 2015
Lovers, Players, & The Seducer Part 2 ~ Revenge Game
Coming Winter 2015
DIAMONDS At Midnight