Are You Ready for NEW ORLEANS?

Think Bachelor Party (1984 Tom Hanks, Tawny Kitaen) meets Bridesmaids (2011 Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph) with a bit of The Hangover (2009 Bradley Cooper) and a whole lot of sex thrown in. That’s NEW ORLEANS, my new short story release. I wrote it to celebrate my first visit to The Big Easy–my fellow authors and I will be invading the French Quarter this August. Bourbon Street may never be the same, especially after my night as guest author at the Bourbon Cowboy for the Authors After Dark Pub Crawl.

So, being so creative, I set the story right there in NOLA. Being extra creative, I had the four girls get into a whole lot of trouble in a very short amount of time, which hopefully will not happen to me in August. There’s a bachelor party and a hot set of twin brothers, a real stripper, a fake stripper, an entire bridal party and their friends, and free flowing Hurricane cocktails. All the makings for a hot romp I hope my readers find entertaining. So check it out and maybe I’ll see you in NOLA in August. Bring bail money. And remember, in New Orleans anything can happen…and it usually does.

NEW ORLEANS by Cat Johnson

When I agreed to be my best friend’s maid of honor, I thought it would be fun. Maybe I’d even meet a nice, single guy at the reception. But now the bride is missing, I have the hang over from hell and it seems I may have accidentally had sex with the groom last night while pretending to be a stripper to spy on him at his bachelor party… Or maybe I didn’t.

It’s hard to tell since I can’t remember much past drinking that last Hurricane on Bourbon Street. There’s also this matter of the groom’s identical twin brother and the fact they have a habit of switching places.

I do know one thing, nothing is what it seems in New Orleans. Anything can happen…and it usually does.

EXCERPT

I made the supreme sacrifice and lifted my head to try and see the rest of the room. After all, I was the maid of honor. I suppose checking to see if I’d lost the bride was the least I could do.

There was a lump under the covers in the other bed. Unless I’d picked up a stranger and brought him or her home, at least one member of our party was accounted for.

“Beth?” Wishful thinking on my part, but I croaked the possibly missing bride’s name as loudly as my pounding head and scratchy throat would allow, hoping the lump would respond.

“Ugh. Holy hell, I feel like crap. Did I get run over by a truck last night?” Marci’s muffled voice preceded the arm that snaked its way out from beneath the covers.

“I have no idea. Where are Jen and Beth?” I braced myself on one elbow and tried not to sway since the room seemed to be doing enough moving on its own.

“I don’t know.” Marci lifted the covers and peered under them. “Christ, my feet are sore.”

Come to think of it, I was pretty achy too, but it wasn’t my feet that were sore. It was a much more intimate area—one that hadn’t been used in quite a while. Not since I’d had my last steady boyfriend. Uh, oh.

“You guys okay?”

I heard the disembodied voice come from the vicinity of the bathroom. “Jen?”

“Yeah. I seem to have slept on the bathroom floor. But judging by what’s in the toilet, that was a good thing.” There was the sound of a flush, and then Jen stumbled out of the bathroom, holding on to the wall. “Hurricanes don’t look as good in the toilet the morning after.”

Phew, another one accounted for. Now all I needed was to hear Beth’s voice and I’d be the happiest hung over girl in the world. “Beth didn’t happen to be in the bathroom with you, did she?”

Jen frowned. “No. She’s not out here with you guys?”

Marci leaned over the edge of her bed and checked the floor. “Nope. Ugh, that was a bad move.” She pressed her hand to her head.

“I think we lost her.” I looked from Marci to Jen, starting to really panic now. “What do we do?”

“Call her family?” Jen suggested.

I let out a snort. “And tell them what? I got drunk and misplaced their daughter? That I possibly left her somewhere to get killed or kidnapped?”

“Jen or I could call. We just have to be a little sneaky about it.” Marci glanced from me to Jen. “One of us can call their house and pretend we’re not with the others and ask if Beth’s there. I mean she grew up in New Orleans. That’s why we all had to fly our asses here from all over the country for the wedding. Maybe she went home to her family’s house last night after we passed out.”

“Let’s try calling her cell phone first.” I didn’t think any one of us currently had the capacity to lie to Beth’s parents, forget about her Marine Corps fiancé.

“Good idea.” Jen, who was already standing, stumbled from the wall to the dresser where a purse sat next to the lamp. I recognized that purse. It was mine. That was good. One more piece of the puzzle found. When Jen pulled my phone out of it, my hopes rose a bit higher. She squinted at the readout, then hit a few buttons.

A vibrating in my pocket had me jumping. I may have been moving a little slowly but a feeling of dread descended upon me the moment Jen’s call to Beth’s phone made my ass vibrate.

“Crap.” I reached beneath me and pulled out a cell phone. “Why do I have Beth’s phone?”

“Wait, I remember that.” Marci held up a hand.

“Me too!” Jen nodded, then pressed her hand to her head and groaned.

Thank God. At least they could remember something. “What do you remember?”

“Beth was drunk and pissed at John for lying about having a stripper at his bachelor party. So you took Beth’s phone so she wouldn’t call her ex-boyfriend in retaliation.” Marci’s words started slowly but sped as the pieces started to fall into place.

I nodded. That did sound like something I would do. “Okay. That makes sense.”

“Wait. I remember more.” Jen squinted, as if it would wring the memories out of her alcohol soaked brain. Her gaze swung to me.

“So do I.” Marci stared at me now too.

I started to get a little worried. “What?”

“You don’t remember?” Marci asked.

“No.” Crap. I looked at Marci. “Why don’t you just tell me?”

Jen answered for them both. “Since you’re the only one John has never met, we sent you into his bachelor party as a spy dressed as a stripper.”

Uh, oh. This was starting to sound familiar to me, but in a detached kind of way. Kind of like it was the plot of a movie I’d watched only I couldn’t remember the ending. I glanced up and found them both watching me, wide-eyed. I glanced down at myself and noticed for the first time that though I was in my own pants, there was a corset making my boobs look two cup sizes larger. It was definitely stripper-worthy.

I noticed an uncomfortable presence between my ass cheeks and wiggled a bit. Reaching down I confirmed my suspicions. I was wearing a thong. I didn’t own a thong. And definitely not a red lace thong that matched the corset, which was the discovery I made when I peeked down the front of my jeans.

“Rose, what happened at the bachelor party?” Jen asked.

Memories swirled like a kaleidoscope. Music. A party. A man’s hands on my body. I didn’t have a chance to piece it all together before a knock on the door broke my concentration.

“Maybe it’s Beth.” I glanced at Jen and Marci.

Jen moved to open the door. When she backed into the room, a man I was pretty sure I knew though I couldn’t be sure followed her inside.

“It’s John,” Marci mouthed to me.

John. The groom. Probably looking for his missing bride because as the door slammed closed behind him it was pretty clear he’d come alone. Beth wasn’t with him.

His gaze found me. Self-consciously I tugged the top of the corset higher, but my boobs only popped up more so I decided to cut my losses and let my hands drop.

“Rose. Thank God, you’re awake.” He came directly to my bed and sat on the edge. Concern was written all over his face as he took my hand in his. “Are you all right?”

I managed a nod, but that was about it.

“I was so worried about you last night.” He cupped my chin as he leaned in and pressed his lips to mine.

I pulled back to find the room silent. Jen and Marci looked about as shocked as I was.

“Um, all right. What the hell happened last night?” Marci finally asked.

Since the groom was kissing me the day before his wedding while the bride was missing, I figured that was as good a question as any. And I certainly didn’t have the answer.

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