Will destiny be enough to break her free of a lifetime of secrets?
Knox, the Seeker, has waited two hundred years for his Watcher and now he’s found her. Paxtyn, however, is unwilling to join him. The more he tries to prove himself, the more she pushes him away.
Paxtyn has spent a lifetime keeping her secret hidden from the world, but now she must confront these deadly visions head on. When a string of murders brings her to New Orleans, she must come to terms with her personal demons and lean on the one man she knows she shouldn’t—Knox. And when she finally opens up she’ll have to use her gift to communicate with the spirits that haunt them and follow their deadly trail…even if it means losing everything she thought she never wanted.
There was nothing odd about the woman in her late twenties. Her look was exactly what you’d expect in downtown Cincinnati―chic. She wore clothing that looked more like something off the runways in New York than from around here―her high stilettos were fantastically matched with her cute rose cocktail dress. The black lace shawl wrapped around her shoulders indicated it was chilly, but being that it was June, Paxtyn knew it was more for show than anything else.
And she could appreciate the look. But at the same time, she wished the woman had decided on different footwear. Then, those fantastic heels wouldn’t be about to go to waste.
Paxtyn’s hands closed around the chair as she prepared herself for what she was about to see. Her visions of the past always came the same. She knew what the outcome would be and it wouldn’t be a good one.
Normally, watching the moment a life was lost was hard for her, but tonight, it was more than that, it was gut-wrenching. The woman looked so much like her―athletic. Even her shoulder-length curly hair was the same, except were hers was jet black; Paxtyn’s was strawberry blonde. But the one thing this woman didn’t have was Paxtyn’s turquoise eyes.
How many times had she heard “you have the most beautiful eyes”? The line had run its course and she was sick to death of hearing it. The woman stopped at the curb, digging into her last season’s Gucci handbag and pulled out a cell phone as the street light beamed down. A smile grazed her face as she apparently received a text of interest. She raised her head, looking quickly, waiting for a moment to cross. When the cars cleared, she stepped off the curb, not bothering to look up as she continued to dawdle on her cell phone.
Paxtyn wanted to stand up from her chair, yell to this woman to stop, bang on the window for her to not move, but it was pointless. There was nothing she could do for her.
Within three steps, the life of this woman was forever changed.
A loud screech of the car’s tires, followed by a terrified scream, then the woman was about to discover those Christian Louboutin heels were going to be the only thing left of her.
She really didn’t have a chance. The car was going too fast for her to survive.
The moment the wheels locked, the woman’s ghost stood next to her broken body, shocked, scared and confused. The man who’d hit her jumped out of the car and, when he saw her body, smiled gloriously.
Paxtyn shuddered. Who smiled at such a thing?
Dying wasn’t how everyone thought it was. There wasn’t a flash of golden light with the soul drifting off to heaven. Most times, the spirit stayed, lingered. Couldn’t comprehend what had happened to them. And Paxtyn had witnessed moments of the past just like this a thousand times over.
“Earth to Pax,” Tate said loudly, snapping his fingers, completely unaware of the horror Paxtyn had just seen.
She glanced away from the window, but before she met his gaze, she did what she always did, found the smile to hide it all. “Sorry.” She laughed, but even to her it sounded shaky. The name was Paxtyn really, but Tate opted for the shorter form and she never minded.
“If I didn’t know you better, I’d think you were a nut,” Tate said.
She laughed in agreement. He was right, if he did know her better, he’d believe such a thing. But he probably knew her the best out of anyone. Brought together at a welcoming party in their early days at the University of Cincinnati, they’d immediately hit it off.
A guy like Tate wasn’t to be passed over, and she hadn’t hesitated to try to snatch him up. It wasn’t his all-star bod, or his captivating baby blues, even those luscious lips that presently smiled at her that first caught her eye. It was his kind heart and loyalty. He was about as damn solid of a guy as she’d ever met.
They’d gone a round of it once after a blasted drunken night at a sorority shindig, but the next day, they’d woke up in bed, naked, and laughed. That was the end to anything romantic between them.
But what they had was better. Stronger. She could count on Tate for just about anything and there was no one else in the world who loved her more. Now, their relationship had blossomed into something found between a brother and sister. That was Tate, her protector.
Who just so happened to give her ear a flick. “Fuck, girl! Maybe you shouldn’t drink anymore.”
“I’m fine,” she said, grimacing from the throb of her ear lobe and shot him a look. It usually didn’t take this long to snap out of one of her horror moments.
She took a big gulp to drink away the sight of what she’d witnessed and kept drinking till the buzz settled in. Wasn’t ever a gift to see such horrible things, but one she saw often. Mom and Pa, back in Wyoming, had spent thousands on her as a child on testing and treatments to find out what was wrong with her. Why, as a child, she’d say that she was watching people die. She still couldn’t imagine what was going through their heads, knowing their child had this disability.
But by the time she reached twelve, she realized it was best to keep her mouth shut. It ended the doctor appointments and saved her from being medicated or institutionalized.
Now, it was just something she lived with―suffered through. So, she put on her normal face and glanced around the pub. The crowd tonight was loud as was the band blasting out the soft rock beats.
The O’Bryons Irish Pub had been their life while they’d bunkered down at University, and she guessed it had stuck with them, because they still came here every Friday night. Of course, it had only been two years since they’d completed their degrees so they really hadn’t had much time to grow and move on.
Tate, with his BS in Criminal Justice, had found a job right out of college with the Cincinnati Police Department. Paxtyn had majored in Business. Basically, because she liked the idea of being locked in an office where she could stare at blank walls and not have to look out windows or be anywhere she might have a vision.
When she’d seen the ad for Financial Specialist at the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, she’d jumped on it and, with some luck, she’d actually gotten it. Now, she spent her days glued to a computer, lost in numbers. As much as the job got to her, became a total bore, she couldn’t really complain―it paid well.
Tate worked three times as hard as she did and his pay was nowhere in the numbers as hers.
“Looks like you have an admirer,” Tate said, drawing her back from her thoughts.
Paxtyn followed his gaze to see that she was in fact being watched, and the moment she met the man’s gaze she was locked in. He sat off to the far side of the bar with a glass of brandy in front of him. He was older than the others in the pub, but it didn’t make him look out of place―it made him look distinguished. He wore a black dress shirt rolled up at the sleeves with the front unbuttoned showing a bit of smooth chest. His finger slowly rimmed the edge of the glass as his gaze was glued with hers. And those eyes were mesmerizing. Grey with a dark-steeled edge to them. But that seemed to be his thing. He was all edge―hard and extreme. His features were made up of straight lines, including the squared jaw, high predominant cheek bones, perfectly shaped lips and even his mocha hair was buzzed with a hard look.
Tate knocked Paxtyn’s arm a good one. “Drool much.”
“Over him?” She nodded toward the hunk. “Doubt it.”
“Sure you weren’t.”
Changing the subject she asked, “Where’s Barbie?” Tate’s latest love interest, or fuck interest she should say. One thing Tate wasn’t was monogamous. His view on women was you should have them―lots of them.
Never could she blame him. When men looked like Tate they had the option to be picky and choosy. And he knew better than to be an ass about it, since she’d rip him a new one if he was, but his interests weren’t ever in the soul mate department.
Paxtyn’s love life was null and void. Probably due to the fact that Tate tended to scare them off before anything could even begin. She was usually better off as her choices in men weren’t her strong point.
“Kenzie,” Tate corrected her, “has decided she is looking for more of the Mr. Right type.”
“And you weren’t it?”
“Not for her, I wasn’t.”
She could only shake her head. Poor girl was probably giving him an ultimatum, hoping he’d take the bait. Boy was she wrong. Tate would commit to a relationship as much as he’d commit a crime. It just wasn’t in his nature.
Tate drained his drink and shoved his chair back. “Gotta take a leak.”
“Thanks for the update,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“Makes you think of my dick doesn’t it?” he responded with a sly smile.
“Please,” she grumbled. “Had it once before and it didn’t make me want to come back.”
He placed his hand over his heart. “Oh, how you wound me.” Then, he grinned and went off to the can.
Paxtyn leaned back in her chair, giving her legs a good stretch and took another big swig of her beer. A beer on a warm day was about as satisfying as anything she’d ever known. Refreshed the senses, calmed the nerves, and with the little buzz that came with it, it was simply heaven. And lord how she was enjoying it now.
She lowered the bottle, gave her mouth a wipe and when she did her gaze hit the man in the corner. He still stared intently. There was something about him, but what it was, she couldn’t quite place. He seemed familiar in a way, although she was sure she’d never met him before. She would remember a man such as him.
He wasn’t smiling, looking for a way in to come and talk to her, he was just staring. Looking almost through her and she began to feel uncomfortable. So, instead of having some ridiculous staring contest with the man, she glanced back to the bottle and spun it in her hands.
Only a short moment passed when Tate’s chair pulled out. “That was…” Paxtyn started, glancing away from her hands. But quite quickly, her words drifted away as she drank in the deliciousness of the man before her.
He was handsome from a distance. Up close, he was perfection, and he smelled so delicious. A mix of strength combined with a tantalizing cologne she’d never witnessed before this moment.
“Hello,” he said. His voice, deep and smooth, seemed to pool right down to her stomach.
“Hi,” she responded, hoping it came out calmer than the nerves rattling her.
He glanced around the pub, looking slightly appalled. “You like this place?”
Paxtyn was instantly put off. Hot or not, no one insulted her pub. “What, not rich enough for you?” This man came from money, that was apparent immediately.
The side of his mouth lifted as if he held back a grin. “Are you implying I think I am too good to be seen at this club?”
He leaned forward, resting his arms on the table. “No―I am just ascertaining your character is all.”
“My character?” That wasn’t the answer she was expecting. Why was he interested in her character? Now, she was just flat out confused and that only seemed to spark her interest. Maybe this guy had pick up lines down to an art.
He nodded, leaning back and crossing his arms over his strong chest. “That’s right.”
Paxtyn tried not to notice but couldn’t help herself. Beneath that dress shirt laid one hell of a chest and by the tightness around the arms, some serious muscles rested beneath. An urge to explore those muscles for herself rose, but she quickly ignored it. “That’s a first.”
He arched a brow. “A first?”
“Your pick up line―never heard that one before.”
He leaned in now, very close to her face and her breath froze from the nearness of this man. The smell of him, the penetrating gaze that locked in on hers―oh my.
“I am not like anyone you have ever met,” he said softly.
His gaze was so penetrating, searching, and what she saw in those eyes told her he was right. She’d never met anyone like him before. No one with this sense of the sureness he portrayed―this amount of confidence. He was entirely different than most twenty-four year olds like her, and she could only guess that was because of his age. He appeared to be in his early thirties.
“Seat’s taken,” Tate’s annoyed voice came loud.
Paxtyn glanced toward him and she had to smile. His focus was on the hunky guy sitting in front of her and he looked about as happy as a man told he could never have sex again.
When she glanced back to Mr. Mysterious, he slowly turned toward Tate and cocked his head. “There are three other seats, take one.”
Her eyes went a little wide. Tate wasn’t a wimp. He was a tough nougat and his temper was always his downfall. This wasn’t going to end well.
Tate’s eyes squinted into nothing and he leaned down, placing his hands on the table coming nose to nose with the man. “You are in my seat. I will only ask once for you to get out.”
She rolled her eyes. Now, they were in a full blown testosterone contest and by the challenging look in the guys’ eyes, she was about to witness some fists flying. Did she want to witness such a thing? No. Had she witnessed scenes like this numerous times? Yes. Hence, her lacking a love life. But tonight, she just wasn’t in the mood. She pushed her seat back and stood. “Here, Tate. Take my seat. I’m leaving.”
Both men shot their gazes to hers. Annoyance was so heavy on their faces that she burst out laughing. “You wanna date,” she glanced between them, “there you go. You were made for each other.”