Authors: Heather Topham Wood
Tags: #young adult, #paranormal romance, #abduction, #new adult, #psychics, #upper ya
She let out an audible and exaggerated sigh.
Kate knew the contents, probably had each word seared into her
brain. “What do you want me to say? I told the police two years ago
what I’m going to tell you now—I have no idea how I knew where Matt
Spencer was, I just
Leaning forward in his chair, he took a
second to study her carefully. It was disconcerting. Most people
stared at her as if she was a science experiment gone wrong. Rarely
had she seen a look like his of genuine interest without
“You make it sound simple, but it really
isn’t,” he pressed. “I could remind you of what happened if you’d
After a brief pause, he continued. “You were
hospitalized, dying from a raging infection and slipped into a coma
two days before Matt had even been kidnapped. A week later when you
woke up, you knew all of the details of the case. We found him
right where you told us we would.”
“I had a hunch and it worked out. There’s
really nothing more to say about it,” she said and shrugged.
“Have you had any other hunches since then?”
he asked in a soft tone.
“No,” she replied a little too abruptly.
The detective leaned back in the chair and
met her eyes steadily. “The reason I ask is because there’s been
another kidnapping. An eight-year-old girl was taken from her home
three days ago. Your name came up in conversation with some of the
other detectives; they explained how you helped solve the Spencer
case a couple of years ago. I found the article and your info and
figured I’d come by and see if you could help me, too.”
“I’ll consult my crystal ball and get back to
you,” she said sarcastically.
He jumped up to grab her arm gently as she
turned to walk away. “Just listen to me for one more minute,” he
pleaded. “Please.” She shot him an annoyed look, but sank back down
on the couch. He eased down on the arm of the couch and continued,
“The girl who's missing, Corinne Preston, is my girlfriend’s
younger sister. Could you at least look at her picture and see if
you have a hunch about where she might be?”
“If you want to impress your girlfriend, how
about you use your detective skills to find her yourself?” She knew
she sounded surly, but she wished this guy would take the hint.
Cute or not, she was definitely not planning to continue this
conversation for much longer.
The detective ignored her and instead handed
her a 5 x 7 photograph of a young girl. A huge crooked smile jumped
from the picture along with a pair of the brightest blue eyes she
had ever seen. Her deep smile highlighted a set of dimples. Blond
curls came to her shoulders and her bangs were pushed back with a
red headband. Quickly, she handed back the picture, but knew the
image was seared into her brain. She pushed down the lump in her
throat that formed when she pictured this sweet and innocent girl
stolen away from her family.
“I’m really sorry—I am. It was a one time
thing and I can’t help you.”
Her conscience nagged at her and yelled
‘liar, liar, pants on fire,’ but she chose to ignore it. Kate
abhorred her psychic “gift” and felt like it was more like a curse.
When she was in the coma, she had a vision of what had happened to
Matt. Seeing everything through his eyes and feeling his terror,
Kate had known this little boy was hungry and scared and wanted his
mother with the desperation only a child could obtain.
Her single thought when she regained
consciousness was to get this little boy home. Upon waking from the
coma, she revealed that his junkie father had him stashed in a
trailer in the woods about fifteen miles from Franklin. A nurse
called the police department with the tip and since there were no
leads, they decided to check out the location she had indicated.
Within hours, a very scared, but safe Matt was found in what
initially appeared to be an abandoned trailer.
When she told everyone about her vision—the
doctors, her family, her friends—she was treated like a sideshow
freak. Her family was wary of her new ability and her friends
became distant. When all she craved was their affection after her
harrowing ordeal, no one wanted to get within ten feet of her.
A local Franklin newspaper reported on her
and things became worse. The story spread like wildfire and soon
the entire town knew of what had happened with Matt Spencer.
Everywhere she went, people would stare and whisper. Exchanges with
friends became awkward and soon they stopped contacting her
altogether. A few more media outlets picked up the story and the
mailbox became crammed with letters from desperate families looking
for lost loved ones.
The problem was, her visions weren’t exactly
Psychics for Dummies
book wasn’t available to
provide her with instructions on how to decide what she wanted to
see. It was usually a crap shoot with her visions. Sometimes the
photos of the missing sent with the letters would resonate and
she’d have a vision about the case. To assuage her guilt, she would
call in an anonymous tip with all of the details she’d see.
However, soon after the accident, she made the claim that she no
longer had any visions and finding Matt was a weird, but miraculous
one-time occurrence. Her own parents weren’t even aware she still
had the ability to access the thoughts of others. Her only
confidante was her journal where she detailed all of her psychic
Media interest eventually waned and the
letters trickled away and she no longer received requests for her
psychic assistance. When anyone asked about the kidnapping case,
she sounded off her explanation like a press release. The location
of Matt came to her while in the coma, but nothing otherworldly had
Detective Corbett got to his feet, readying
to leave. The front door burst open and her mother came into the
room juggling several grocery bags.
“Katie, honey, can you come help me with
these bags?” she called. Her mother and father were the only ones
who continued to call her by her dreadful childhood nickname.
The detective ran over to assist her mom with
the bags. After several trips to the car, they were able to meet in
the kitchen. Her mom brushed a brunette strand away from her hazel
eyes and peered over at them. Of course, her mother was impeccably
dressed in black tailored Capri pants and a floral themed blouse
with her make-up expertly applied. Kate couldn’t understand her
need to go to the trouble when her only plans for the day had been
to go to the grocery store and bank.
“Hello. Katie, who’s your new friend?”
“Detective Corbett, a cop, and he was just
leaving,” she said dryly and began to put away the groceries in the
cupboards without turning towards either of them.
“Please call me Jared,” he said sticking out
his hand to her mother.
“Darlene Edwards,” her mother replied while
shaking his hand briefly. “Wow, you look so young to be a
detective, I’m impressed!” her mother exclaimed. “I had not idea my
daughter had friends who worked at the police department.” Kate
shook her head. Leave it to her mom to think he was here on a
social call and not be alarmed that Kate could possibly be in
“You’ll stay for dinner, won’t you?” Her
mother gave him a charming smile.
“Mom…” Kate turned quickly and protested
before her mother shot her a warning look.
“Excuse the rudeness of my daughter, Jared,
she lacks my social graces. Luckily, she takes after me in the
looks department.” Her mom sent a wink her way. Kate prayed to
dematerialize at that second. Anything would be better than her mom
desperately trying to set her up.
Jared smiled at Kate’s flushed appearance and
turned to her mother, “I would love to stay for dinner. Thank
Kate’s cell phone rang on the kitchen counter
and she dove for it. Julie’s voice greeted her. “So, who was the
“A cop and he’s still here,” she said lacing
her voice with as much annoyance as she could muster. Jared gave
her a wink.
“What does he want?”
“I’ll tell you about it later,” she said and
began to mindlessly tapping on the granite countertop. Looking at
her ragged nails, she predicted a manicure in her near future.
“You’ve lost the enthusiasm in your voice. Is
he not that good looking?”
“He’s passable if you go for the annoying boy
next door look,” she responded.
“You do realize I can hear you?” Jared
inquired. He ran a hand through his inky black hair and arched an
eyebrow in her direction.
“I wasn’t talking about you,” Kate lied as
her mother sent her death stares across the room.
“Katie, can you get off the phone? We have
company and I need you to grate the mozzarella to top my lasagna.
She handed Jared a glass of soda and gave him an apologetic
A few minutes later, after saying a hasty
goodbye to Julie, Kate was taking out her aggression on a block of
mozzarella. She clenched her jaw as her mother and Jared carried on
cheerfully as if they were old friends.
“How do you know my daughter, Jared?”
“He doesn’t know me,” Kate interjected before
he could reply.
“Katie…” her mother grumbled. Kate was sure
her mother would love to smack her across the head right now. Kate
understood her mother deserved a debutante, but instead ended up
with a passive aggressive semi-agoraphobic daughter. Kate wondered
why Jared’s presence had made her regress back to sixth grade.
“Actually, I came here on business,” Jared
“What kind of business?” her mother inquired
and stopped throwing vegetables into a large salad bowl. Her eyes
widened with apprehension as she waited for the detective to
“Go ahead and tell her. She’ll get a real
kick out of it.” Kate put down the cheese and turned to face them
both. Jared was quiet, prompting her to continue. “The detective
thinks I have some sort of psychic power and I’ll be able to solve
his kidnapping case.”
“Oh no, is it the little girl who was taken
from her home on State Street?” After Jared’s nod, her mother
continued, “It breaks my heart to think about what her parents must
be going through. Unfortunately, my daughter won’t be able to help
you. The boy she found was nothing short of a miracle, but she has
no psychic ability. It was a single amazing experience.” Good to
know her mother had received her press release as well.
“I knew it was a long shot, but I’m willing
to do anything to find Cori,” he stated flatly. A tinge of remorse
nagged at Kate as she noted his defeated tone.
“Do you know the girl personally?” her mother
“Yes, her sister is my girlfriend.”
Kate imagined his girlfriend was most likely
drop-dead gorgeous. Cori was adorable with blond hair and blue eyes
which pretty much guaranteed her sister would be a stunner.
Although Kate’s round hazel eyes and delicate features were
attractive enough, Jared was most definitely out of her league.
Kate’s love life was dismal and the dry spell was probably the
reason behind her instant attraction to the detective. Her lack of
a social life and her disinterest in boys (like Julie’s boyfriend
Gage) who thought getting trashed and hooking up in the bathroom of
a dive bar was a rip roaring good time were most likely to blame.
Screwing around with random guys who didn’t care about her was very
low on her bucket list.
Besides from her fickleness over boys she’d
be willing to date, Kate knew she wasn’t quite ready for a real
relationship. Although she was twenty-one, her emotional growth had
seemed to stop when she was in the coma. She was well-aware she had
plenty of growing up to do before actually starting a mature
relationship. Not to mention, her chances of letting down her guard
were slim to none. This was problematic since once boys finished
middle school, most were no longer attracted to the girls who were
mean to them. Her combativeness and defensive nature weren’t likely
to fill her dance card anytime soon.
“Katie, snap out of it. That’s my daughter
for you. Always the little dreamer.” Her mother gave a soft
“Sorry, what did you say?”
“I said why don’t you take Detective Corbett
in the living room and watch some TV. Dinner will be ready
“Sure, whatever,” she mumbled and stormed out
of the kitchen without checking if Jared was following her. Kate
threw her body over the sofa and grabbed the remote. Without
stealing a glance in his direction, she sensed him relax into the
chair next to her.
“Your mother is really sweet. I haven’t had a
home-cooked meal in forever. My diet mostly involves paper bags.”
She almost snorted in derision. He was about six foot and didn’t
look to have an ounce of fat on him—she sincerely doubted he
maintained his shape with burgers and fries. Even his suit couldn’t
hide the hard lines of his muscles beneath his clothes.
“She was just being polite. You didn’t have
to accept her offer,” she stated while turning her body to face
him. Groaning inwardly at her lack of maturity, she wondered if she
should finish the sentence off by sticking her tongue out at
“What’s your deal?” he demanded, finally
showing she was wearing on his patience. “When you answered the
door, you had on a hundred watt smile. Yet as soon as I mention
your psychic ability, you act like I came here asking for a major
“My non-existent psychic ability,” she
corrected and then added, “You have no clue what it was like when I
came out of the coma. You would’ve thought everyone would be
thrilled I helped find Matt, right? Maybe throw a huge gala in my
honor? Present me with keys to the city? Nope. Everyone—my friends
and family—treated me like I had the plague. I would hear the
whispers and feel the stares everywhere I went after being released
from the hospital. Most people assumed I was either a witch or
lying and somehow involved with kidnapping Matt.” She gave him an
earnest look. “I’m not some weird girl with strange unearthly