By: Terry Spear | Other books by Terry Spear
Published By: Terry Spear
Published: Oct 18, 2012
ISBN # 9781301537440
Published By: Terry Spear
Published: Oct 18, 2012
ISBN # 9781301537440
Word Count: 80,676
Available in: Epub, Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket (.mobi), Adobe Acrobat
DescriptionA rags to riches fairy tale where a fortune telling can spell doom...
Katrina Landry is not your everyday fortune teller. She's a substitute teacher who longs to work at it full time. But when she substitutes for her cousin at her fortune telling booth at the fair, Katrina meets a man who she foresees is in danger. So what's a girl supposed to do but sneak into a by-invitation only dance and save the TX Stud's life?
Prescott Worthington hasn't had this much fun in a long time when on a whim he takes his girlfriend to the fair where Sascha the Sensation predicts he will have twins, and that his girlfriend will find someone else. But when the woman shows up at the dance with some nonsense about saving his life, he's totally irritated and totally bewitched. Maybe she can bring a little magic into his life.
She insists someone's trying to kill him and he thinks it's her boyfriend...only Prescott has no intention of giving up the woman who he's sure needs his protection. And a whole lot more.
Reader Rating: Not rated (0 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating: Not rated
Hazy killer visions. That’s what plagued her this morning.
Katrina Landry twisted the crystal-beaded necklace between her fingers while potential customers sauntered in front of her booth at the annual Perrytown, Texas fall fair. All morning she’d hawked her fortune telling powers to passersby. By the end of the day’s festivities, she wilted, slumping in her chair. Only twenty-four and she felt like ninety. But it was the sense of dread that filled her stomach, foreshadowing of something evil that was to come, that exhausted her the most.
She attempted to quash the rising apprehension worming its way into her system by thinking of the fortune telling role she now played. How could she tell one more person what phony futures lay ahead for them when she knew full well she could give them the real thing? Most just couldn’t handle the truth. That was the problem. Then she caught sight of a six-foot James Bond look-alike…the sexy Brosnan version, his hair as rich a brown as freshly turned Texas soil and his eyes, almond shaped and brown sugar colored, the dark variety. She perked up.
Now he’d suit her just fine as her soul mate for life…at least from outward appearances. Dressed in perfectly creased navy trousers and a pinstriped shirt to match, the man looked out of place compared to the denim-clothed crowd. The woman who clung to his arm, a tall, chemically-perfected blonde, dressed in a designer azure crepe creation that reached mid-thigh, was probably his intended. A guy like that was way beyond accessible.
Katrina poked a curl behind her ear. She stood several inches shorter than Miss Blonde Bombshell, and not half as sleek. Chuckling to herself, Katrina ran her fingers over her crystal ball, the typical prop of a classical gypsy fortuneteller, and worth as much as a used piece of bubble gum.
Her heart fluttered with surprise when 007 caught her eye and steered the blonde toward her booth. The canopied table dripped with colorful tassels, and drapes of green, gold, blue and violet silks ruffled slightly in the breeze. Katrina wore a blousy green silk shirt and a colorful broomstick skirt that reached to her gold sandal-clad feet…just the sort of costume that gave her the look of a wild gypsy. An unwieldy mass of naturally dark brown curly hair rested at her breast, and she imagined she looked like one frumpy woman as the couple approached. Before she’d caught sight of them, she’d felt dressed up compared to the jeans crowd.
The woman gave her a cagey-eyed look as if Katrina belonged to a clown show, and for the moment, she felt like it, too. Then she smiled inwardly, noting the woman wore no engagement or wedding ring. Though Katrina hadn’t wished to see the blonde married happily-ever-after to the hunk, she might see something else that would needle the woman. If not, she could always make something up.
The man pulled out his billfold and handed Katrina the money for a reading. They were supposed to buy tickets at the ticket booth. Then the fair’s management would collect ten percent on all of the sales. She waffled. She didn’t want to lose possibly her last sale of the day, but she’d never cheated on anything in her life. Taking the money, she vowed to buy the tickets later to make it right with the fair’s management. She hoped none of the other vendors noticed her taking the cash at her booth.
Then for show, she ran her hands over the crystal ball, her long painted shimmering fingernails mesmerizing her clientele. She paused. “Ooh,” she said for dramatic effect. She glanced up at the woman. Her face, an unyielding stone statue, was deeply tanned. Should she tell her, wrinkles and skin cancer would soon follow? Nah. Everyone knew that. Didn’t need a crystal ball to tell her so.
The woman folded her arms.
Okay, time to get real. Katrina reached out her hand. She rarely read palms. The experience took a lot out of her and tons of customers on a busy day would have put her into a trance.
The woman held out her hand, and Katrina touched the lines in her palm. “Ahhh,” she said, again for fun. Rules had to be followed for every professed fortuneteller. Otherwise, the medium would be labeled a phony.
“Hmm.” Well, for having a male model for her date, the woman was boring as all get up. Except for enduring a comb out on her hair, a nail job, and a teeth cleaning later in the week, nothing else came to mind. All of the images appeared as if Katrina had visited the scene at the time they occurred—the smells, the sounds, and the sights—the women’s nonsensical chitchat at the beauty parlor, what this woman wore, and who so and so dated, dull as Perrytown’s society news.
The woman’s manicure and pedicure was another boring venture, same chitchat, same women, different smelly chemicals. And then came the teeth cleaning. Okay, so that turned out to be a little more interesting as the dental hygienist gagged Miss Blondie with the water suction hose.
Katrina definitely had to conjure something up to make things more interesting. “I see a strawberry blond in your future who strikes your fancy, Madam. He’s tall, like your brother here, and just as broad shouldered.”
The woman’s cheeks turned cherry as she blustered, “He’s my boyfriend.”
Katrina knew she shouldn’t have done it. She meant to give everyone dreams to look forward to, but the woman grated on her. The hunk’s pearly whites shown as he grinned. And dimples to boot. He was one handsome devil of a man. He didn’t seem to mind her pulling the woman’s leg one bit. Katrina loved men with a sense of humor.
She smiled at Handsome, then raised a brow when she reconsidered the woman, who frowned back at her. “Ahem, sorry, Madam, but this gentleman doesn’t appear to be in your future. Now the fair hunk of a man—”
The woman jerked her hand away from Katrina. “We want our money back.”
Katrina couldn’t win them all. She handed the twenty to the gentleman, though she didn’t normally give refunds. But something about him made her want to put on her best show. Then she noticed he stared at the dip in her blouse. Her body warmed instantly.
He reached his hand out, palm upturned with no intention of taking the money as he avoided it. “You haven’t given my fortune yet, Madame Sascha,” he said as he read the name on the booth, Sascha the Sensation.
Sascha, her cousin, who she now filled in for. Her comical fortune-telling friend, who could have won an academy award for her acting ability in the world of the unreal, had laryngitis so bad that morning she’d croaked a plea to Katrina. Though Katrina rarely manned the booth, she wouldn’t have left her in a lurch. Plus, sometimes, she really had some fun. Like now.
She reached for the gentleman’s hand, hoping the woman who clung to him truly wouldn’t be marrying him anytime soon, if only for his sake. What she saw made her draw her hand back from his, quickly. Her heartbeat sped up at an alarming rate as her hands grew clammy.
Somewhere, someone would make an attempt on his life. He’d be knocked unconscious, his head hit hard against the asphalt as a faint light poked into the dark. That’s what she saw as vividly as he stood before her now. How could she tell him by nightfall he’d be in the worst kind of danger? She couldn’t. That was the problem. He wouldn’t believe her anyway. Nobody would. Somehow, she had to save him.
She shifted her focus to a more pleasant notion. “You will have a set of twins—”
The woman who’d linked her arm with his snorted.
Katrina raised her brows. “And a wife whose hair is as rich a brown as yours.” The first part was true, the one about the twins—a boy and a girl. The second she definitely fabricated. Maybe wishful thinking, as she hadn’t seen any indication of what his wife would look like. Certainly she only wanted to provoke the blonde. Though, if she hadn’t colored it, perhaps she had dark hair underneath. Katrina couldn’t tell.
She hadn’t had that much fun since telling a snot of a woman her husband was gay. It was true of course. What she said didn’t count though. No matter what fortunetellers told folks, they knew they made it all up in fun and jest.
The man seemed pleased to hear the news about having a brunette for a wife. His mouth turned up in an amused fashion, despite having a blonde clinging vine who grasped his arm, cutting off the circulation, Katrina imagined.
The woman reached for the money, but the man shook his head. “She earned it. Thanks, Madame Sascha, for the enlightening reading. Twins, eh?” He chuckled as his date snorted again.
When they strolled off, he gave a backward glance and winked at Katrina. She smiled, tickled she’d amused him. Done for the day, she pulled the flap down over Sascha’s booth.
Despite it being a little early as the fair wouldn’t end for another twenty minutes, she had finished for the day, well, at least as far as telling fortunes was concerned. For now, she had to find out who the tall dark stranger was and save his life.
First though, she had to buy the tickets for her booth with the money the man had paid. He hadn’t wandered far with his blond babe and she figured as much as the two stood out in a crowd, she couldn’t lose them.
She was wrong.
By the time she reached the lady at the ticket counter, James Bond and his girlfriend had vanished from sight.
Katrina could kick herself. Sascha could lose her lease if anyone had seen Katrina take cash from the man. Her cousin needed the extra money so she’d had to exchange the cash for the tickets. But there was no way she wanted to lose sight of James Bond either.
With tickets in hand, she shoved them into her purse, then dashed through the dwindling crowds. She saw no sign of him as she searched the myriad of faces. Her heart thumped hard. She’d lost him for good.
Maybe they’d already left the fair and had headed for the parking lot. She hurried her step toward the acres of cars parked in the grass.
Then she spied them. He opened the door to a high-priced model silver sports car. She had no idea what the brand name was, but she assumed it cost plenty as sleek as the vehicle looked. He whipped around the front bumper, then headed for the driver’s door. She focused on his license plate.
Was he advertising, or what? Her admiration for him plummeted to lower than low. But what had she expected? The real James Bond starred as a stud, so why not this guy? Still, she had to rescue him, despite the notion. A stud. Right.
She yanked her car door open. The silver vehicle, turned gray, had been well-loved, owned by three different people already. She twisted the key in the ignition. Nothing. Not a sound. The starter had died.
“Need a ride, Katrina?” a bald-headed man asked. The man, who shaved his head for the look, not to conceal the loss of hair, stood next to her, smiling sweetly. She hadn’t even heard his approach, though the pungent pine-smelling cologne he bathed in would have reached her first if she hadn’t been upwind of him.
“Sure, thanks, Baldy.” She slammed her door shut, then walked with him to his vehicle.
Acting as the fair’s coordinator of booth sales, and despite her disinterest, he wanted to date her. “Guess Sascha couldn’t make it in today.”
He opened his tomato red SUV’s door for her. “Are you going to fill in for her tomorrow?”
“If she needs me to.”
“Any plans for dinner?”
Not really. Chasing after the hunk was her only plan for the evening, but without a vehicle, she worried she couldn’t even do that. Maybe, though, she could borrow Sascha’s car.
“If you change your mind, you know where to reach me.” He winked.
“Thanks, Baldy. I really appreciate your help.” She couldn’t let him know how much she liked a man with a full head of hair she could run her fingers through. Or that his cologne overpowered her keen sense of smell to the point of being nauseating. Or that when he drew close, his raw onion breath or the wad of tobacco he often chewed didn’t make him kissable. And yet in the looks department, he could have been a model for some high-priced men’s magazine. Still, she’d never been interested in him the way he seemed to want to take their nonexistent relationship further.
When they arrived at her apartment, she thanked him again. She’d only substituted for Sascha three times at shows that year, and twice her car had given out on her. Financially, she just couldn’t see splurging on a new vehicle. Not yet.
She waved goodbye to Baldy, then hurried to Sascha’s apartment. When her cousin opened the door, Katrina smiled. Sascha sported a head of riotous red curls and wore an even wilder orange outfit with splashes of aqua and purple flowers. She whispered, “How did it go today, Katrina?”
“Busy. How are you feeling?” She didn’t want to seem insensitive and rush her, but she needed a car. And quick. She crossed the living room and dumped the fortune telling sales tickets on the coffee table.
“So, so. If my voice doesn’t come back by tomorrow morning, could you work my booth again?”
A sure-fire way to lose a prime booth location at the fair was to leave it unmanned during the three-day weekend show. And a waiting list long enough to cover from one end of the state to the other included all kinds of eager shopkeepers just waiting to replace Sascha the Sensation, if given the opportunity. “Certainly, Sascha.”
“I noticed Baldy brought you home again.” Her cousin collapsed on the red vinyl couch and waved for her to sit on any one of the eclectic mix of seating she had in her living room. They ranged from a well-worn wooden lawn chair to a white fur-covered footstool, the vinyl couch taking center stage.
“Starter problems.” Katrina sank into the feather-filled cushions of a winged-back chair, her favorite of all Sascha’s pieces of furniture. “Listen, would you mind if I borrow your car for a bit?”
“What’s up? You rarely go out at night.”
“There’s a really good looking guy who came to the fair whose life is in danger. I have to save him.”
Sascha coughed as she laughed. “Okay. His name?”
Sascha laughed again and grabbed a tissue to wipe her eyes. “You have all the luck,” she whispered. “So does Texas Stud have any other name?”
“Actually that was the name on his license plate.”
“What?” Jeez, leave it to Sascha to know the guy.
“Big shot in Dallas. Owns several businesses. Who’d ever have thought he’d go to the Perrytown fair. Surely he wasn’t alone though.”
“No, he had a blond dame Super Glued to his arm.”
“Blond? Yeah, that’s the way he likes them.”
“Lots of them?”
“Yeah, like his license plate states, he’s a stud.” Sascha took a sip of orange juice.
Katrina tapped her fingers on the arms of her chair. Now she really wasn’t in much of a mood to save him. She shifted on the antique cushions. “How do you know about him?”
“His family hired me for a reading for a party they threw last year. That mansion of theirs is really something. I gorged myself on caviar and lobster…hmm, pretty great stuff. They loved my show and asked me back. In fact, I’m scheduled to go there next week. They had over a hundred people at the last gathering, and it overwhelmed me a bit. I certainly could have used an assistant. Want to go with me this time?”
“Well, if I don’t save the stud’s neck, they may not be having the party at all.”
“So where is it you’re supposed to rescue him?”
Katrina shrugged. “Haven’t a clue. Thought maybe you could tell me…give me a hint from your crystal ball.”
Sascha’s orange painted lips broke into a grin. “Didn’t I tell you...the crystal ball’s been on the blink the last few shows?” She grabbed another tissue from the box. “While you’re out, can you get me some more orange juice and another box of tissues?”
“Sure thing. Thanks a bunch.”
Katrina hopped up from the chair, though she wasn’t sure what made her so exuberant about her mission. Not that she wanted the stud to get hurt or anything, but she wasn’t certain she’d ever find him. And what was she saving him for anyway? The blonde with the pedicure?
Then she suddenly had a recollection. “Oh, in my vision he wore a tux when he faces trouble.”
Sascha rubbed her chin. If anyone knew about the happenings in Dallas, she did. She had attended enough rich kid birthday parties to always be in the know. “Tonight,” she raised her finger in the air, “there’s a gala event at Lemoyne’s.”
“By invitation only, though. If you’re thinking of crashing the party, don’t. They’re very careful to check the invitations. Don’t want to give out free drinks and hors de oeuvres to the masses after all. You know how rich folks are.”
“I guess they don’t want a fortuneteller there.”
Sascha smiled. “Well, if you don’t go in the front entrance and come in as part of the wait staff, there might be a way.”
“You don’t mean like serving drinks and the like. I’d never be able to balance a tray of beverages, not in a millennium.”
“The owner will let you in, if I ask him. Damon owes me a favor.”
“Not as wait staff.”
Still grinning, Sascha shook her head. “No, but all the women wear black. You’d think you joined a funeral procession the way the women dress.” She sipped her orange juice. “Got anything black?”
“No. I don’t wear it…doesn’t do anything for my complexion or hair color.”
“Anything dark at all?”
“I have a dark brown suit.”
Sascha wrinkled her nose. “No. I mean, it’s perfect for office work, but not for evening wear.”
“I guess that shoots that down.” Katrina dropped back into the well-worn cushions. “Any other ideas?”
“You can take a look at my wardrobe.”
Katrina had never seen Sascha wear anything sophisticated, only broomstick skirts and splashy colorful blouses. She was a wildflower in a sea of denim blue. Always noticeable in a crowd. If Katrina wore her clothes to the gala event, she’d definitely be out of place.
“Probably a little colorful for the affair.”
“Fresh out of ideas, Katrina.”
“I’ll take a look at my things.” Then she considered a possibility.
“I do have that burgundy gown. Do you think maybe that would do?”
“Sounds like a winner. Looked great on you the time you wore it to our cousin’s birthday party. Off the shoulders, cut nice and low. At least the guys will never notice the color. Hand me the phone, and I’ll make a call to Damon. You should arrive about an hour earlier than the event. He’ll hide you away until it’s time to let you in. He probably can give you some kind of job, like overseeing the placement of flower bouquets or some such thing. Then you can just blend in with the guests when they arrive.”
“Okay. Thanks so much for everything.”
“You’re welcome. I have to warn you though, if you save Camden’s life, it won’t mean squat to him.”
Katrina rolled her eyes.
“That’s the way it is with those high breeds. If you were a princess, he might take notice, but without papers, he wouldn’t take a second look at you. Even if you save his well-built hide.”
“I’m not interested in settling down with the guy. I just have to rescue him, that’s all.”
“Yeah, I know. You’ve rescued what? Three dogs and two cats in the past month. Not one of the pet owners offered you a dime. Not even when you ruined your clothes climbing into that septic tank for one.” She took a deep breath of exasperation.
Katrina knew Sascha could barely wait to regain her powers again. “Just a few more days, Sascha. You’ll have them soon.”
“Yeah, well I won’t make the same mistake again. Two long years. You know it’s like losing one of your senses. For all those years, I’ve had to readjust to not having it. And I’ve hated every minute of it.”
“We’ll celebrate big time when you have full use of them.” Katrina felt badly Sascha had lost them due to her involvement with Damon. She should have listened to their family. Having relations with someone other than her soul mate, brought about her loss of powers. She should have been more careful. But Sascha still had a place in her heart for him.
“Yep, at the party at the Worthington’s. The two of us will be invincible.” Sascha pointed her painted orange nails at the kitchen. “Car keys are on the center counter.”
Katrina stood, then crossed the living room to the kitchen. Grabbing the keys, she waved to Sascha on the way out. “Do you mind if I bring your stuff by after the gala event?”
“That would be fine. Besides, I’m dying to know how it all turns out.” Sascha punched numbers on the phone then said, “Hello, Damon, honey? I’ve got a favor to ask of you. Yeah, listen, a cousin of mine needs to get into the gala event this evening. It is a matter of life and death.” She chuckled. “Her name is Katrina Landry, and she’s not after any of the eligible bachelors. She’s acting as bodyguard for one of the men.”
Katrina paused at the door to hear what Damon’s response to that was.
Sascha chuckled. “Camden Worthington. Okay, bye, darling.” She coughed, then said, “All set, Katrina. Have a great time.”
“What did Damon say about my being the stud’s bodyguard?”
“You wouldn’t be the first, nor the last. Damon’s got a great sense of humor, however.”
“So he thinks I am after one of Dallas’ most eligible bachelors?”
“Most assuredly. You don’t think he truly believes you could be there to save Camden’s life, do you?”
“You’re right. I’m not sure dressed in a gown I’ll have much luck, either. See ya later.”
She prayed this wouldn’t be a disaster.