by Cassandra Barnes
Gaelynn Graham has psychic powers, but they haven't helped her cope with elderly parents who depend on her, a business partner who wants to dissolve their consulting service, and her attraction to sexy Kyle Cordell. Kyle's sister was led to her death years ago by a fraudulent psychic, a trauma from which his family has never recovered. He fights his developing feelings for Gaelynn, until potential danger forces him to choose between her and his father's belief system.
ISBN 1978-1-59431- 622-7 Mystery / Romance/
Cover Art by Janet Klock
Also available in RTF and HTML formats.
"A volley of gunfire at Mesa Verde High in Phoenix killed one student and wounded a teacher and three other students." The newscaster's voice droned on, against a background of huddled students and adults.
Kyle Cordell turned away from the TV and glanced around the crowded room. Few people paid attention to the evening news blaring from the monitor mounted above their heads. Like him, they were more concerned with the reason they were in the Emergency Room at Millwood General Hospital. Sour smells from sick and anxious people and the antiseptic aroma of alcohol assailed his nostrils.
He stood up and stretched. Evidently the decorator who had chosen the hard plastic chairs wanted to win an award for most uncomfortable seating. He smiled at a woman passing the time knitting, but she was too busy counting stitches to smile back. A couple of men, field workers judging from their clothes, slouched against a wall, hands jammed in their pockets, stoic looks on their faces. Probably a co-worker had lost a limb in equipment, Kyle guessed, noticing blood splatters on their jeans. He shuddered, thinking of his son and how much worse he could have been hurt.
Kyle paced the circumference of the room, wondering if he should call his ex-wife again. It had been over two hours since the ambulance had brought Jared, their youngest son, to the hospital with a broken arm from a wild bicycle ride. No, the last time he had called, she said she'd be over as soon as she picked up Jason, their older son, from school. Kyle alternated slamming fists into his open palms as he walked. An officious nurse had made him leave Jared's bedside when the doctor came to set the arm, citing the crowded space.
Despite their differences in the past, he had a good relationship with the boys' mother. Another phone call would only worry her unnecessarily.
Kyle resumed sitting. Jared's break wasn't bad--only a hairline fracture, and the doctor should be through setting it soon.
"Those killings have been on the news all day. I'm worried about my daughter." A querulous voice rose above the cacophony of jangling telephones, urgent pages over the intercom, and fretful children. It drew his attention to an elderly woman clutching the arm of a younger woman. He'd noticed them earlier and guessed they were mother and daughter. The daughter evidently had come to the emergency room from work, because she wore a business suit. His gaze remained on her, noting that the suit ended at her knees, revealing shapely legs.
"Mom, it's all right," the daughter said, as she freed her arm from the grasp of the older woman. "I'm working here in Millwood, not Phoenix. And I'm a counselor, not a teacher. I'm never in the classroom."
Kyle heard reassurance and compassion in her voice. He looked closer and watched the young woman draw in a deep breath and straighten her shoulders. She and her mother had arrived more than an hour ago. She'd spoken with the nurse behind the counter and produced what were probably insurance papers. Like she did with everyone else, the nurse checked off something on her clipboard and told the women to find a seat and wait to be called.
Kyle studied the young woman's soft and loving expression as she gently spoke to her mother. He heard her mention Dad, and assumed that's whom they were waiting for.
She's the most patient person I've ever seen, he thought. That's at least the tenth time she's had to console her mother. She doesn't seem to mind the repetition.
"I know, dear." The elderly woman twisted her shapeless green cardigan with nervous fingers. "But I worry anyway. The world's a dangerous place now."
"There's nothing to worry about, Mom." As she leaned forward to take her mother's hands in hers, the daughter's long blond hair swung forward, light glinting off in golden shimmers. Even under sickly fluorescent glare, it looked like a curtain of sunshine.
Momentarily calmed, the mother looked around the room, like a bird that's heard someone refill the feeder. When her inquisitive eyes caught Kyle, he smiled and nodded at her. Her gaze moved on, finally settling again on the TV. She kept up a constant stream of chatter to her daughter, most of it meaningless to Kyle.
The talkative woman was so unlike his mother, Kyle reflected. His mother didn't sit or stand erect--her shoulders were perpetually slumped in defeat. She never caught anyone's eye, and had nothing more to say than what was absolutely necessary. His sister's death eleven years ago had destroyed her. Destroyed our whole family, Kyle thought bitterly in an unguarded moment before he pushed his own grief and hurt back down into the internal pit he kept open for it. He would not permit himself to remember Jenny now, and the continuing legacy of pain her death had created.