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.
She stripped off the rest of her clothes and tossed them into the bathroom wicker hamper before stepping into the large clawfoot tub and drawing the ivy-patterned shower curtain around the circular rod. The trickle of tepid water from the calcium-encrusted shower head cooled her off a bit, but she probably ought to consider buying a new filter. She closed her eyes and put her head under the stream.
And once again saw the sudden terrifying vision of Marian Collier’s killer, calmly slicing off her swollen finger and stealing her wedding ring. Nausea rolled through her, and she almost tore the shower curtain off the rod when she reached for the wall. Not that it made her any steadier. Any normal person would have been sick if they saw the scene each time they closed their eyes. She was far from normal. She needed a way of draining her body of the malevolent energy she’d absorbed from the Collier reading, otherwise her symptoms were going to make life intolerable.
During her hiatus from the show, she planned on exploring the possibility of visualization as a way of handling the aftereffects of her little gift. Learning to concentrate for longer than five seconds might enable her to “see” the headaches and tremors float away, absorbed by the atmosphere instead of another human being. That would be a plus if the opportunity for another relationship ever arose. Which wasn’t likely to happen anytime soon.
Because, as much as she wished otherwise, she couldn’t imagine anyone not caring that she had the ability to read them through any object they’d touched.
She’d know if they were lying or cheating.
She’d know if even for one brief moment they hated or feared her.
Oh, hell; enough of the pity party.
The water was cooling faster than it should have. She tried adjusting the temperature, but it never got any warmer, and she added a water heater to the growing list of items the house might need. If she ended up keeping the house, it wouldn’t be a huge problem in the summer, but a winter in Kansas City spent taking tepid baths wasn’t an option she wanted to entertain.
She turned off the shower and pulled open the curtain. A shadow was there one moment, filling a corner of the room, and gone the next. It was almost as if the lights had flickered on and off. Fabulous. Whether she stayed or not, she’d need an electrician.
And she probably shouldn’t trust the fuses to hold up under the addition of a small window-unit air conditioner until she had the place checked out.
Stepping over the rolled lip of the tub, she grabbed for a fluffy white towel and blotted her hair and body but left enough droplets behind to help keep her cool for as long as possible. Wrapping the towel sarong style, she padded down the hall.
The water on her back and chest had evaporated by the time she’d made it to her small square bedroom. Sunrays filtered through the leaves of the huge old tree outside her window, leaving a dappled pattern on the crisp, white cotton sheets she’d found in the linen cupboard. They’d been tied with a rose-pink satin ribbon and still held a trace of her aunts’ loving attention within its threads.
She exchanged the towel for a short white cotton robe and turned away from her reflection in the cheval glass at the foot of the bed. The shower hadn’t helped her look any less tired. This season had been brutal. Between the nonstop shooting schedule and trying to deal with her grief she’d been on autopilot with barely a minute to breathe.
The room was marginally less stuffy since she’d turned on the ceiling fan. Closing her eyes, she tried to envision the sharp shards of emotional energy dissolving in a shower of soft, warm sparks that cascaded over her and into the ground. Instead the shards clung like dark magnets against her skull.
She was lousy at this.
A breeze chilly enough to raise goose bumps washed over her bare arms. A shadow flickered across the mirror. She blinked and for the second time that afternoon caught movement out of the corner of her eye.
The pale ivory curtains covering the windows on either side of the wide mahogany dresser had stopped rippling. The air around her was still—and cold.
“Are you Cassidy?” rasped a voice that sounded as if it were filtered through a layer of dust. “Maude said that you could help me.”