May 2007; re-released May 2012
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Detective Parker Ling just met the woman of his dreams and didn’t even catch her name. Too bad, because now he suspects she’s a serial killer’s next victim.
Sexy psychic Sara Dawson is a life coach and owner of a small independent bookstore in Santa Clarissa, CA. When she’s hired by a daytime drama star needing career advice of the psychic kind, she’s unable to foresee his future but is instead plagued by visions of murder—including her own.
Read an Excerpt
She stood across the room waiting for a table to clear. But even from a distance, Parker could see she had the face of an angel and the body of a goddess. With her wild riot of black curls and nearly-white complexion, she looked like an exotic gypsy, an impression strengthened by her floor-length flowered skirt and loose, round-necked white shirt. Large, gold hoop earrings hung from her ears, and her fingers glittered with gold rings. Without conscious thought, Parker found himself moving in her direction.
She was already seated at a table when he pushed through the crowd.
“Hi. Do you come here often?” As soon as the words were out, Parker wanted to slap his forehead. Had that lame pickup line really passed through his lips?
“No.” The woman smiled up at him, her blue eyes twinkling with humor. Then she sobered. “Have we met? You look familiar.”
“I would remember if we had. I’m Parker.” He reached for the chair next to her. “Do you mind if I join you?” He already had visions of joining with her in a more intimate way, preferably naked in his shower or his bed.
“I’m sorry. I’m meeting a…friend.”
He felt like such a dork. She obviously had a boyfriend.
“Well, maybe another time. Nice meeting you.” Parker shrugged and moved back to the bar.
* * * * *
Sara stared after the handsome Asian man. She felt as if he’d cast a spell on her the moment he spoke. It was his voice. The sound of it was like a caress that started a slow burn of desire. What she wanted to do was to go pull the guy off into a corner and have him whisper in her ear. Or, better yet, he could take her home and do the whispering in bed. And he looked good, too. She’d love to run her hands through his short, spiked black hair and undress him. Find out if the body under his clothes looked as good as his ass did in those jeans.
But instead, she was waiting for a man she loathed in order to tell him news he didn’t want to hear.
Why hadn’t she asked him to join her? She didn’t even know if Tony was going to show up, and now she’d sent the guy on his merry way to pick up or be picked up by someone else. Sure enough, when she glanced over at the bar, he was talking to a pretty redhead. Great. By the time she got rid of Tony, Mr. Tall, Dark and Gorgeous would probably be going home with someone else. Damn Tony.
“Hey there, pretty lady.” Tony slid into the chair next to Sara, making her jump. Even in a public place, the man gave her the willies. “Sorry to have to meet you this way, but the paparazzi would have a field day if they found out I consulted a psychic.”
Sara resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She was sure the paparazzi were more interested in taking pictures of movie stars, not stalking a novice actor in a daytime soap opera.
“I’m a life coach, Tony,” Sara automatically corrected him before taking a sip of her white wine. “It may surprise you to know that I went to college, and I have a Ph.D. in psychology. I give advice because I’ve been trained to. My psychic ability has nothing to do with it.”
“Whatever.” Tony slurped his beer and, under the table, his hand caressed her knee.
Sara grimaced and pulled her leg away, shifting in her seat to escape his reach. “I’m not really sure why I agreed to meet with you so soon. As I told you over the phone, I’ve not been able to do much research. However, everything I’ve found leads me to believe your career would be better served staying with the show. Margo Hutchinson has an impeccable reputation for grooming young actors for bigger and better roles. Almost everyone who started on Secrets and Sins ten years ago has gone on to prime time or movie roles.”
“Well, personally, I’m not going to be any wrinkled up has-been’s pet.” Tony’s gaze roved over the crowd, never quite meeting Sara’s eyes. “This other role could be the opportunity of a lifetime.”
“Perhaps if you gave me more information about it, I could use that to help in my research—“
“Yeah, right, and you’d sell that information to a rag before you even walk out the door.”
“What? Come on, Tony. I’m the one who wanted to sign a confidentiality clause with my contract.”
“Yeah, well, I would be so screwed if the producers of Secrets and Sins got wind of this. Sorry, but you’re just going to have to do it my way.”
Sara sighed. “Well, if you don’t give me the information, there’s no way I can give you accurate results. You’ll just have to use what I’ve given you or take your best guess.”
“Damn it.” Tony slammed his glass down on the table. “I’m paying you beaucoup bucks to give me answers, not guesses.”
“I’m sorry, Tony. That’s the best I can do.”
“Well, do better. There’s a lot riding on this. Your reputation is at stake here, too. I could ruin you.”
“Don’t threaten me, Tony,” Sara answered coolly. “Our contract is very clear about what services I provide. If you’d like, I’ll type up a letter of intent to break the contract first thing in the morning.”
“Hey, no. That’s not necessary. I’m sorry. I was out of line.” Sara didn’t detect a hint of sincerity in either his tone or demeanor. Then, just as suddenly, his voice and manner changed. “I know that if you used your psychic powers, you’d be able to help me out. And it would mean so much to me.” His instantaneous personality changes only proved one thing to Sara; the man was quite an actor.
With a deft movement, Sara reached over to pluck a hair off his jacket, giving him a friendly pat him on the arm in the process. It was stupid, but she couldn’t see any other way to get rid of Tony. She’d met a few men like him, they pestered and pleaded until they got what they wanted, and then they were gone. She’d always said no when it came to those men and sex, but this wasn’t the same. Was it? All she had to do was take a look and tell him what she saw. She’d done it for a lot of people for far less money.
Besides, it may have all just been bluster and bluff, but Tony could ruin her. A few bad recommendations or a report about her practices to the Better Business Bureau could put her in a bind.
“So, you’ll give it a try? Hey, I really appreciate it.” Tony slugged down the last of his beer and stood up.
“A try? What do you mean by that?” Sara asked as a cold chill washed over her. How had Tony guessed what she planned to do? Had her expression betrayed her? Or was he just bluffing?
Tony tossed a few bills down on the table. “That should cover it. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
Sara rolled her shoulders to relieve a bit of the tension. She knew what she needed to get rid of the stress of dealing with Tony. Hopeful, she glanced over at the bar. A mass of testosterone was gathered around the set, watching the end of the game, but there was no sign of Parker. Guess it was time to go home to her empty house and cold bed.
Hopefully she wasn’t heading home to die.