Mitchell searched his memory. “The calling-card murder count was at twenty-four when I left the force six months ago.”
“The overall number will have climbed since then, but it’s the victims who possess the sight that I’m most concerned about. Certainly, the others matter, but their deaths—how can I put this?—provide nothing more than operating money for Leshad. They keep the cash flow up and his filthy operation in the black. Very comfortably in the black, I suspect.”
“Why are you most concerned about the victims who possess the sight?”
“Partly because I’m one of them, like my mother and her friend Twila Black. Twila’s sister, Tallulah Black, possessed some vision as well, but not a sufficient amount for Leshad to use.”
Was this intriguing him or annoying him? Mitchell wasn’t sure. Maybe it depended on what Phoebe expected him to do. “Where does your fading appeal enter into this?” he asked, although he had a feeling he could guess the answer to that one.
She maintained her benign expression. “I’m Madeleine’s daughter, cher. I possess certain modest sensory abilities. Leshad assumes I inherited my mother’s full gift of second sight. I didn’t, but it’s what he thinks.”
“So you can’t spin straw into gold or turn him into a gargoyle.” Mitchell lifted his beer and a shrewd brow. “But he believes you can, and that’s what counts.”
“Exactly.” She gave a casual shrug. “You might think I’m lying when I tell you I don’t mind that he believes those things about me. With Twila’s great granddaughter out of the picture, Leshad’s psychic-link list is dwindling. There may be others on it who can do what he wants done, but none so directly connected to the person who performed the original deed as me.” She brought her steady gaze to his face. “Me and the daughter I gave away.”
Now they were getting somewhere. “You’re worried that Leshad will bypass you and go for your daughter.”
“Yes, I am. Very worried.” Again, those amazing gray eyes locked on his. “There was a time, Mitchell, when Leshad’s answer to any and all problems was to kill it, then rinse the blood from his hands and move on. But it must have finally dawned on him that voodoo doesn’t work that way. Not long ago, he wanted all of us dead. Now, he doesn’t. But he does still want me. I hope.”
“Yeah. Did I mention I’m getting a headache?”
A hint of impatience roughened her subdued voice. “You need to understand something of Leshad’s mindset. He’s powerful, and he’s frightened. That’s not a good combination. He has innumerable sources, and my feeling is that one of those sources has lately suggested that I might not possess the kind of power he requires.”
“But you do, or you did, possess a daughter.”
Her chin came up in a defiant gesture. “Maybe you think only an unfeeling monster could give up her child the way I did, but I knew early on what she had inside her. What she still has. What I’m afraid Leshad now knows she has.”
“How could Leshad know what abilities a child I assume you gave away several years ago might or might not possess?”
“Because I have reason to believe he’s—well, I’ll use the word acquainted, though I’m sure it’s a great deal more than that by now—with my daughter’s biological father. His name is Caleb Josiah Best. You’d know him as CJ Best. State Senator CJ Best.”
The woman got around, he’d give her that. Mitchell drank more beer. A box of matches in a munitions dump had nothing on this situation. A smart man wouldn’t go near it, to say nothing of a jaded ex-cop.
She offered him a faint smile. “I can see the wheels turning, Mitchell, and God knows, facts are facts. You’re a loose cannon. A wild child, like I was, and currently an unpredictable adult. But you have a conscience. At least the child you were back when I knew him had one. You’re a good person, and I have a daughter in danger.”
Mitchell regarded her half-lidded, still not entirely convinced. “What does Leshad want with any of you? Psychically.”
“My mother put a curse on him.”
Curses, ghosts, a serial killer, and little voodoo.
Gaby Jordan has always been able to see and talk to ghosts. While creepy at times, this extraordinary ability has never put her in danger. But since her voodoo-queen grandmother placed a curse on a serial killer, Gaby’s in all kinds of trouble. The killer wants the curse removed, and he believes Gaby can do it.
Former cop Mitchell Stone might be reluctant to help Gaby at first, but once he meets the fiery beauty, he vows to do everything he can to keep her safe from the madman who is determined to capture her.
Danger abounds in the Louisiana bayou. The attraction between Mitchell and Gaby is fast and intense. But there are ghosts, voodoo spells, and murder at work here. The race to escape the deadly madman is on. And the curse is only the beginning of the shadowy magic.
Warning: Curses, killers, and crocodiles are just some of the things that can get you in this bayou.
About Jenna Ryan
Jenna Ryan was born in Victoria, British Columbia. After long stints in different cities across Canada, she returned home to Vancouver Island where she has lived ever since. She has had thirty-one books published in the Harlequin Intrigue series. Her ideas come from real life, and she is helped in her writing by her sister Kathy.
She enjoys reading and is a big fan of women’s fiction, psychological suspense and mystery novels. She also enjoys watching classic suspense movies. She loves strong heroines, heroes with character, romance stories and a good whodunit by the fire on a rainy night.
Her heritage is a blend of English and Irish — which is probably where the gift of blarney comes from. She is unmarried, but involved with a wonderful man. She also has a little white cat named Sheena.
Whenever she is not writing, she travels as much as time and finances will allow. After North America, Europe is her favorite continent to explore, because it was in those countries that many of the myths and legends she drew upon in her early years of writing were born.
Growing up, she considered various careers and dabbled in several of them, including, after university, the travel industry, tourism, sales and modeling. Work in the fashion industry in Toronto and Montreal gave her an interesting peek into various aspects of that world. She learned that where money, power and people come together, there will always be unpredictability — an element she feels is essential to a strong mystery. Add a healthy measure of personal conflict, an intriguing setting and a spicy romance into the mix, and you have the ingredients for what she believes to be the best of all possible stories — a great romantic suspense.