Journalist Lynne LaRoche gets mixed up in a bar fight and plunges into an age-old mystery. She helps sexy islander, Sinful Patrice, and sexy black aviatrix, Jessie Willard, evade a trio of hoodlums, and they embrace her in a ménage-a-troi, as a way to thank her.
Together they set out on an adventure to seek Patrice’s inheritance on a volcanic island. They run across a corrupt gendarme and an evil priest who conspire to take over the world. Only Lynne, with the help of Patrice and Jessie, can stop them.
June 28, 1938, the town of St. Etienne, capital of the French colony of Katibari, South Pacific.
Lynne LaRoche looked up from the small table she was sitting at, inside Alphonse’s Bar, as the man’s voice boomed around the barroom. She’d noticed the three large men who’d entered through the harbor-side doors. Now they loomed over the table just a few feet away, where a mixed-race couple sat. Lynne had been watching the pair for a while now. She felt a strange pull toward them. There is something about those two. I’m just not sure what it is.
The leader of the hoodlums—that was the only way Lynne could describe the three men—leaned his hairy knuckles on the table, bare arms bulging with muscle, and glared at the man. “You’ve got somethin’ we want, Patrice.”
The three men wore grubby jeans, stained striped t-shirts, and greasy knitted caps—the usual garb of the loafers and troublemakers-for-hire to be found on the seedier streets of St. Etienne. Sensing trouble, Lynne’s journalistic instinct had roused at the sight of them.
The few other patrons in Alphonse’s that afternoon were either watching the scene with interest or getting up to make a quiet exit. Behind the bar, the barkeep put down the glass he’d been polishing. His hand slid beneath the counter as his stony gaze fixed on the three men. The quiet hubbub disappeared until the only sound came from the ceiling fans laboring to stir the humid tropical air.
The guy they’d called Patrice gazed back at the hoodlum with a bland expression. His fine-boned face had the rich color and beautiful lines of the Polynesian islanders with a European element Lynne couldn’t quite define. He had dark, warm brown hair, swept back and neatly-trimmed to an inch above his collar. His eyes though mesmerized her. They were the color of the tropical sea surrounding the island. Eyes a person can get lost in. She guessed him to be somewhere in his mid-twenties. The expensive ivory-colored safari suit he wore over an elegant white linen shirt suggested money. A scarlet orchid in his buttonhole spoke of refined taste. A white Panama hat with a sporty red band sat on the table to one side of him near a half-full glass of wine. “And what is that, friend?” he asked the hoodlum in an even baritone.
As he spoke his companion, an attractive black woman, slipped her hand beneath the table. Lynne saw a blade glitter in the shadows as the woman drew a knife. In spite of the tropical warmth, she wore a beat-up leather jacket and fawn-colored slacks tucked into a pair of sturdy brown leather boots. A soft peaked cap sat at a jaunty angle on her jet-black curls, which were pulled back into a ponytail held by a garnet-red ribbon. Lynne recognized the woman. I’ve seen her around town. I think she’s a pilot. She had a trim build, with firm perky breasts that most women would envy. Her skin was the creamy color of milk chocolate with a satiny sheen. Lynne eyed her. I'm more for men than women in my bed, but heck, I look at her and think yum!
“The medallion.” The thug held out his hand. “Give it to me, and no one gets hurt.”
Patrice sighed. “I can’t do that.”
The hoodlum lunged across the table, hand outstretched to grab Patrice’s throat. With uncanny speed, the woman slashed at the hoodlum with her knife. The blade gouged a furrow down the inside of his black-furred forearm, and the man reared back with a roar of pain. Kicking a chair away he squared up to Patrice. The chair bounced toward Lynne, who quickly ducked out of the way.
Patrice surged to his feet, gripping and overturning the table as he rose. His companion dodged to one side where another of the hoodlums made to swing around the barrier. Her knife flashed, and the man leaped back with a curse.
Lynne snatched up her large purse and fumbled for the Kodak Retina camera she kept stashed there. The third hoodlum had stood by, mouth open and gazing at nothing even as his two companions rolled into action. As Lynne extracted her camera and fiddled with the f-stop, it caught the man’s eye, and he turned on her. “Hey, none o’ dat shit!”
He lunged at her with all the grace of an ox. Lynne evaded his clutches, dodging around her table. The thug pursued her, grunting with anger, and stumbled on a chair leg. Lynne took the opportunity to snap a close-up photo of his contorted features. He roared. “Stop dat!”
Lynne grinned. “I should. You’ve got a face like ten pounds of condemned pork.”
“Wut? Why you…”
He lunged at her again and succeeded in grabbing her purse strap. Eager to hold onto his prize the thug again stumbled over a chair and almost fell over. The movement brought the back of his shaved head down to waist level, presenting a huge, open, and inviting target. Unwilling to engage in a tug of war Lynne snatched up a beer bottle from a nearby table and swung it back-handed at his head. The bottle shattered and the thug went down in a heap.
Lynne looked up to see the fight had devolved into a general melee. Patrice was holding his own against the lead hoodlum, trading punches with cool efficiency. A trickle of blood ran from a cut on his forehead, and one eye had begun to close. His companion wasn’t faring so well. Somehow the other thug had evaded her, and he was now pinning her down on a table, shaking her by the throat. Her hands sought out his eyes, but the thug swept them aside.