Gripping, romantic, and evocative of its time— A Shine that Defies the Dark is a spellbinding story of one woman who will stop at nothing to survive during a tumultuous time in American history. After a six-year exile, Ophelia Breaux and her mother are overjoyed to return to the Louisiana bayou. But it seems the ghosts of the epic feud that drove them away still haunt Plaquemines Parish, and with the Great Depression sweeping the nation, the two soon find they can’t make ends meet. Seeing no other option, Ophelia’s mother takes the drastic step of sharing her bed with the town judge in exchange for a reduced rent. The judge has had a life-long obsession with Momma, and Ophelia is desperate to end this arrangement and get her away from him. When Remy Granger shows up, Ophelia knows it could mean more trouble—and that’s the last thing they need. Handsome and dangerous, he’s the first boy she ever kissed, and a member of the most notorious family in southern Louisiana—but he’s also got an opportunity for fast money in rumrunning. Ophelia goes all in, and it turns out she may have a knack for the business. But she’s going to have to run even faster if she wants to save Momma… dodging the cops, rival gangs, and her traitorous heart at every turn.
The air was dense with the heat and moisture of late spring in the bayou. Crickets chirped, frogs croaked nearby, and the gentle slush of water slapped against the shore. The trail was uneven and difficult to traverse in the dark. Dixie and I grasped at each other to keep from falling. The T-strap shoes I’d worn didn’t have a terribly high heel, but my ankles threatened to roll with every step nonetheless. I was sure Dixie’s higher heels would be the end of her if we didn’t find even ground soon. I lifted the hem of my trumpet skirt, the material thin and ragged. It wouldn’t stand many more repairs. I didn’t want to risk it being snagged by the loose twigs that swiped at us as we followed the dark trail. The faint sounds of zydeco music drifted on the air and made its way through the trees. A happy chirping melody from an accordion and fiddle filled the night. The tension I’d been carrying floated away with the buoyant melody. My heart began to beat in time to the scratching tempo of the frottoir, and I might have begun dancing right there had my ankles not threatened to roll yet again. Just as I was about to declare that no moonshine was worth a forced march through gator-infested swamps, the trees opened up and I saw a barn at the edge of a pond. Yellow light seeped through the open doors and between the weathered slats. There were a few cars parked along the structure, as well as in the clearing behind it, and two horses were tied to the low-hanging branches of a tree near the door. The Granger boys hadn’t so much set up a speakeasy as they’d taken possession of an abandoned barn and opened the doors for anyone willing to take the risk along with them. “Look, Ophelia, it’s perfect!” Dixie laughed. She grabbed my hand and pulled me through the line of people streaming toward the doors. I stopped short and pointed to the roof of the barn. “That boy has a gun.” Simon Carre ambled past me. “There’s two in the trees and one over there, too.” He pointed toward the field, but didn’t stop walking. Dixie pulled on my hand. “Claude Moret’s gang beat Tully Bishop near to death for settin’ up his own business,” she said. “The Grangers ain’t about to take that chance. Besides, the danger’s what makes it fun.” Dixie’s enthusiasm was infectious. My reluctance was serving no purpose. As cautious as I’d intended to be during our illegal escapade, apprehension melted away as soon as I passed through the open doors. For the first time in five months, I felt like I was just a girl again. Tonight there was no sadness. My only responsibility was to enjoy life back in the most vibrant place on earth.
Author Bio: Jodi is a YA writer, black belt, registered nurse and case manager for a busy home health agency. She lives with her husband, three sons and an evolving herd of undisciplined animals in Colorado. She has a well-earned fear of bears, but tolerates the Teddy and Gummy variety. She has been obsessed with books, both reading and writing them, for most of her life and prefers the written word to having actual conversations. The most current projected completion date of her To Be Read book collection is May 17, 2176.