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Entranced

By Benjamin Bradley,2014-11-04 22:06
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SUMMARY:A missing chi d. A desperate mother, A private investigator rwming out of tim , Mel Sutherland didn't need th help of a fraudulent psychic to find the abducted baby -an she wasn't about to let a con-artist exploit a grieving mother's vulnerability, Then all the leads dIied up. Reluctantly, Mel had to acc pt Sebastian Donovan's aid, She was cynical ab ut hi powers and suspicious of hi motives. But as the clock ticked, Sebastian unfailingly knew how to follow th abductor's track and el had to make up her mind. Was Sebastian' gift real? Or wa~ someth'ng far more sini ter at work? Published by MIRA on 2009/02/01

Roberts Nora - The Donovan Legacy 2 - Entranced

    Prologue

    He understood his power early. What coursed through his blood and made him what he was did nothave to be explained to him. Nor did he have to be told that this gift was one not possessed byeveryone.

    He could see.

    The visions were not always pleasant, but they were always fascinating. When they came—evenwhen they came to a small child whose legs were still unsteady—he accepted them as easily ashe accepted the sun's rising each morning.

    Often his mother would crouch on the floor with him, her face close to his, her eyes searchinghis eyes. Mixed with her great love was a hope that he would always accept the gift, and thathe would never be hurt by it.

    Though she knew better, on both counts.

    Who are you? He could hear her thoughts as clearly as if she had spoken aloud.Who will you be ?

    They were questions he couldn't answer. Even then he understood that it was more difficult tosee into yourself than to see into others.

    As time passed, the gift did not prevent him from racing and running and teasing his youngcousins. Though often, quite often, he strained against its limitations and tried for more, itdid not keep him from enjoying an ice-cream cone on a summer afternoon, or from laughing atcartoons on a Saturday morning.

    He was a normal, active, mischievous boy with a sharp, sometimes devious mind, a strikinglyhandsome face set off by hypnotic gray-blue eyes, and a full mouth that was quick to smile.

    He went through all the stages that lead a boy toward manhood. The scraped knees and the brokenbones, the rebellions large and small, the first jumpy heartbeat at the smile of a pretty girl.Like all children, he grew into an adult, moved away from his parents' domain and chose hisown.

    And the power grew, as he did.

    He considered his life a well-adjusted and comfortable one.

    And he accepted, as he always had, the simple fact that he was a witch.

    Chapter 1

    She dreamed of a man who was dreaming of her. But he wasn't sleeping. She could see, with aperfect clarity that was extremely undreamlike, that he was standing by a wide, dark window,with his arms relaxed by his sides. But his face was very tense, very purposeful. And hiseyes… They were so deep, so unrelenting. Gray, she thought as she twisted in sleep. But notquite gray. There were hints of blue, as well. The color of them reminded her of rocks hackedout of a high cliff one moment, and of the soft, calm waters of a lake the next.

    Strange—how strange—she knew that his face was taut and tensed, but she couldn't see it. Justthose eyes, those fascinating, disturbing eyes.

    And she knew he was thinking of her. Not just thinking of her, but somehow seeing her. As ifshe had walked up to the other side of that glass, stood there looking back at him through thewide windowpane. Somehow she was certain that if she lifted a hand to that glass her fingerswould pass right through it until they found his.

    If she chose to.

    Instead, she thrashed, tangling the sheets and muttering in her sleep. Even in dreams MelSutherland didn't care for the illogical. Life had rules, very basic rules. She firmly believedyou were better off following them.

    So she didn't reach for the glass, or for him. She rolled, almost violently, knocking a pillowto the floor and willing the dream away.

    It faded, and, both relieved and disappointed, she dropped deeper into a dreamless sleep.

    A few hours later, with the night vision tucked away in her subconscious, she snapped awake atthe clattering bell of the Mickey Mouse alarm clock at her bedside. One expert slap silencedit. There was no danger that she would snuggle down in the bed and slide back into sleep. Mel'smind was as regulated as her body.

    She sat up, indulging in one huge yawn as she dragged her fingers through her tousled cap ofdark blond hair. Her eyes, a rich, mossy green she'd inherited from a father she couldn'tremember, were blurry for only a moment. Then they focused on the twisted sheets.

    Rough night, she thought, kicking her legs free of them. And why not? It could hardly have beenexpected that she'd sleep like a baby, not with what she had to do today. After blowing out onelong breath, she plucked a pair of gym shorts from the floor and yanked them on under the T-shirt she'd slept in. Five minutes later, she was stepping out into the soft-aired morning forher daily three-mile jog.

    As she went out, she kissed the tips of her fingers and tapped them against the front door.Because it was her place. Hers. And even after four years she didn't take it for granted.

    It wasn't much, she thought as she limbered up with a few stretches. Just a little stuccobuilding tucked between a Laundromat and a struggling accounting firm. But then, she didn'tneed much.

    Mel ignored the whistle from the car that passed, its driver grinning appreciatively at herlong, leanly muscled legs. She didn't jog for her looks. She jogged because routine exercisedisciplined the mind and the body. A private investigator who allowed either to become sluggish

would find herself in trouble. Or unemployed. Mel didn't intend to be either.

    She started out at an easy pace, enjoying the way her shoes slapped the sidewalk, delighted bythe pearly glow in the eastern sky that signaled the start of a beautiful day. It was August,and she thought of how miserably hot it would be down in L.A. But here, in Monterey, there wasperpetual spring. No matter what the calendar said, the air was as fresh as a rosebud.

    It was too early for there to be much traffic. Here in the downtown area it would be a rarething for her to pass another jogger. If she'd chosen any of the beaches, it would have been adifferent matter. But Mel preferred to run alone.

    Her muscles began to warm. A thin layer of sweat gleamed healthily on her skin. She increasedher pace slightly, falling into a familiar rhythm that had become as automatic as breathing.

    For the first mile, she kept her mind empty, letting herself observe. A car with a faultymuffler rattled by, with no more than a token hesitation at a stop sign.

    An '82 Plymouth sedan, dark blue. The mental list was just to keep in practice. Dented driver'sdoor. California license Able Charlie Robert 2289.

    Someone was lying facedown on the grass of the park. Even as Mel broke her stride, he sat up,stretched and switched on a portable radio.

    College student hitchhiking cross-country, she decided, picking up her pace again even as shemade a note of his backpack… blue, with an American flag on the flap… and his hair color…brown… and…Name That Tune , she thought as the music began to fade behind her.

    Bruce Springsteen. "Cover Me."

    Not too shabby, Mel thought with a grin as she rounded a corner.

    She could smell bread from the bakery. A fine, yeasty good-morning scent. And roses. She drewthem in—though she would have suffered torture before admitting she had a weakness forflowers. Trees moved gently in the early breeze, and if she concentrated, really concentrated,she could just scent the sea.

    And it was good, so very good, to feel strong and aware and alone. It was good to know thesestreets and to know she belonged here. That she could stay here. That there would be nomidnight rambles in a battered station wagon at her mother's whim.

    Time to go, Mary Ellen. Time to head out. I've just got a feeling we should head north for awhile.

    And so they would go, she and the mother she adored, the mother who would always be more of achild than the daughter who huddled on the ripped and taped front seat beside her. Theheadlights would cut down the road, leading the way to a new place a new school, new people.

    But they would never settle, never have time to become a part of anything but the road. Soonher mother would get what she always called "Those itchy feet." And off they would go again.

    Why had it always felt as if they were runningaway , not runningto ?

    That, of course, was all over. Alice Sutherland had herself a cozy travel trailer—which wouldtake Mel another twenty-six months to pay off—and she was happy as a clam, bopping from stateto state and adventure to adventure.

    As for Mel, she was sticking. True, L.A. hadn't worked out, but she'd gotten a taste of what itwas like to put down roots. And she'd had two very frustrating and very educational years onthe LAPD. Two years that had taught her that law enforcement was just her cup of tea, even ifwriting parking tickets and filling out forms was not.