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Cassidy’s Touch by Paris Brandon
Book 1 in the Cassidy’s Touch series
Her gift is a double edged sword. Will it be enough to save a cursed bootlegger from becoming a demon’s prize?
The least of reality show host Cassidy Spencer’s worries is banishing the ghost of a handsome bootlegger who disappeared after being accused of murdering his best friend’s fiancée. According to an expert, her ghost isn’t a ghost and if she doesn’t use her psychometric ability to find his body before the witch who cursed him does, he could end up enslaved by a demon for eternity.
Chance Coraggio doesn’t remember anything before he could walk through walls and that includes the crazy woman telling him he’s been asleep for nearly a century. The life he should’ve lived has been stolen. All the people he has ever loved are dead—and it turns out the crazy woman isn’t as crazy as he’d hoped.
But waking Chance is only half the battle. Now, both are bound by blood to a demon’s curse. To break free, they must find out who is coming for them and why. Because the only reason for a sleeping curse that has lasted almost a century lies somewhere in a past that Chance can’t remember.
*Previously included in The Shadow Files, limited edition boxed set.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Imagine the audience naked. Her agent’s advice had never failed her. The studio lights came up and Cassidy Spencer pasted a smile on her face that lasted through her first two readings, a man wanting to know if the antique baseball card collection he’d found had belonged to his father, and two estranged sisters fighting over ownership of their grandmother’s silver tea service.
Thankfully, one touch was all she’d needed to see that granny had been the last to handle the teapot, and she’d wanted the set to go to a distant niece. The cards had been a bit more difficult. There had been decades of owners and handlers to sift through before she’d gotten to the man who’d sold his prize possession to pay his son’s medical bills.
Unfortunately, the emotional signatures of anyone who had handled the objects possessed a corresponding energy that added to what she’d been absorbing after dealing with the shooting schedule of her Chicago-based reality series, “Cassidy’s Touch”, for the past two weeks. Her hands shook with the effort to control the static current that was starting to make her head pound.
One more reading and she was finished until her new contract was negotiated.
She took a deep breath and brushed her fingertips over the two-carat, marquise cut, blue-white diamond engagement ring nestled in the carefully crafted folds of midnight-dark velvet. Displayed on the low, satin-draped table separating her from her final guest, the sparkling gem drew appreciative gasps from the audience as the studio lights brightened. A close-up was provided, via a screen only they could see.
The last bit of stagecraft gave her a few moments to puzzle over her final guest. She’d been trying to place him since he’d walked onto the set a few minutes ago and sat down on the couch opposite her.
To heighten audience anticipation, nothing about the last guest was ever revealed; not their name, occupation or reason they wanted an object read. Tonight’s guest had his own edge-of-his-seat anticipation going on, but his identity eluded her.
Dressed in black from his turtleneck and leather jacket to his loafers; his teeth were bared in a rigid smile that was as fake as his spray-on tan. She gave him points for not coloring his gray crew cut, but who wore a leather jacket during a July heat wave?
Her fingers tingled when the warm, gold band revealed the image of the man seated across from her. No surprise there. He appeared to have an emotional investment that was making him uneasy, but she didn’t need to be psychic to guess whatever information he was seeking lay deeper.
She closed her eyes and slid her fingers over the jewel that warmed with the heat of her hand as she rolled and pressed. Cradling the ring in her palm, she curled her fingers, and waited for an image to unfold.
It came in a blur that sharpened slowly. Santa Claus decked out in camouflage and wearing a jeweler’s loupe would have made her smile except for the trepidation that colored his greed. Her instincts were screaming the moment before the image faded. A violent jolt burned its way up her arm and sizzled at the base of her skull. Exploded in a flash of light that was there one second and gone the next as the scene unfolded.
The ring’s owner had still been alive and screaming, panicking because she couldn’t remove it fast enough. The middle-aged blonde woman had tried to jerk her plump hand away because she’d known the instant her assailant had decided his knife was the solution.
The man who’d cut off her finger was tall and skinny. The detailed tattoo of a snake slithered across the back of his right hand, its forked tongue curling around his gnarled forefinger. The ring hadn’t gone over the first joint, but he’d placed it there to admire before dropping his bloody treasure into a small, dark bag.
He turned as if just remembering his hysterical victim and proceeded, without hesitation to stab her over and over, counting each wound as if he’d been meeting a quota.
Cassidy blinked and struggled to open her fist before the energy from the savage encounter melded it shut. Her stomach heaved, and her hands began to shake. She dropped the ring back into its midnight-dark velvet nest before the fingers of her right hand curled until they formed a cramped fist, nails biting into her palm.
The woman’s terrified screams were still ringing in her ears when she finally looked up—and remembered why her guest seemed familiar. Jacob Atwell, the attorney for Brent Collier, the murdered woman’s husband. The high-profile case had sparked a media frenzy several months ago, along with most, but apparently not all of the grisly details of her murder.
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