Carolyn Soucek’s eyes closed and she calmed her mind. The ticking of the Grandfather clock faded into the background as her thoughts silenced. Through her third eye, the warm, welcoming glow of her crown chakra bloomed like a flower under the sunshine of spring. A gentle brush of psychic talent caressed her mind in welcome as the connection to the ethereal world opened. Respected psychics told Carolyn that her talent was rare. Few witches could tap into the future of others. To Carolyn, it was like breathing, a part of everyday life. When she did readings, blurred images of that person’s life slowly came into focus and voices whispered secrets of the client’s future. As a favored daughter of the universal source, she was highly gifted and sought by believers and skeptics alike. Those who loved Carolyn—clambered for a reading. Those who didn't—gave Carolyn a wide berth. Pushing her curtain of long blonde hair over her shoulder, she huffed out a frustrated breath. Why didn’t her foresight work for her as it did for everyone else? No matter how many hours she meditated, how calm she made her mind, she never received information in regards to her future. “Nothing?” her friend Lynn asked. Carolyn made light of the situation with a shrug. “Notta.” Lynn grumbled under her breath, grabbed her phone, and scrolled through the contacts. “That’s it. We need to know what you’ve been sensing. We can’t avoid or fight whatever the danger is if we’re unprepared. I’m making an appointment with Maggie. She’ll be able to read you. Who knows, maybe you’ll get a twofer. Maggie may also get a bead on what you’ve sensed is missing in your life.” Carolyn rubbed her arms, trying to wipe away an odd burning sensation. “Fine. I’ll give Maggie a shot. Margaret Stewart is very gifted. I’m sure she’ll have something to tell me. A witch that comes from such a long line of Scottish seers has to be able to tap into the danger I feel lurking in the shadows. Heck, if she can’t tell me what the threat is, no one can.”
Two days later
Carolyn pushed Maggie’s shop door open. Cool air-conditioned air washed over her face, and the tiny silver bells over the door tinkled softly, heralding a customer’s arrival. Margaret’s antiquated alarm system always brought a smile to her face. She and her friends often shopped for supplies at Maggie’s. And why not? It was the best new age shop in town. She must have gotten a shipment in. The glass shelves that filled the small shop were bursting with artfully arranged crystals, amulets, and other assorted Wiccan items. Carolyn took a closer look at a collection of Amethyst. She could use a cluster next to her bed. She took first one then another and held it to sense the energy. The third one was perfect. Crystal in hand she turned to the display counter that ran along the right wall, but Maggie wasn’t there or anywhere else in the shop for that matter. She must be in the backroom. Carolyn closed her eyes and breathed deeply, candles and herbs scented the air. Vanilla, lemongrass, and sandalwood seemed to be the fragrance of the day. Nice choices. The shop always smelled divine. A familiar warm, husky voice pulled Carolyn from her reverie. “Carolyn darling, it’s lovely to see you.” “Good afternoon, Maggie. How are you today?” Carolyn smiled as she took in Margaret Stewart’s appearance. She looked like a gypsy of old. Colorfully dressed, with a scarf wrapped around fluffy, graying hair, bracelets jingled at her wrists, and large hoop earrings swayed with each step. “I’m well. Are you ready for your reading or did you want to shop first?” Carolyn held up the crystal. “I already did a little shopping. Would you like me to pay for it now?” Maggie waved her to the back room, hidden behind a brocade curtain. “Not a chance. That Amethyst was meant for you. If the fates want you to have it who am I to argue. Now, tell me what I can do for you.” “I sense danger drawing near. The feeling of dread grows stronger every day. I have nightmares every night, but I never remember them when I wake. I’ve tried to look into my future, but my gift has never worked for me.” Maggie took a seat at a small table covered with a beautiful family heirloom of embroidered cloth. “Ah, yes. The plague with which we all deal. Our gifts are meant to benefit others and never work when we attempt to use them on ourselves. Make yourself comfortable and give me your hands, I won’t need my cards or bones for this.” Maggie studied the lines in Carolyn’s palms for a long minute, and then closed her eyes. Her head cocked to the right as if listening to unheard voices. “Interesting. Very interesting. There’s danger on the horizon. I can see it clearly. Your worries are justified. Before the danger is defeated, you will experience overwhelming pain. I want you to keep in mind as you travel this path that you’ll come out the other side a stronger person. But what is truly remarkable is the change I see coming of a romantic nature. Destiny is barreling hell bent for leather into your life. Your existence is about to be turned on its head by a tall, brunette, very handsome man. He’s not human. If I’m not mistaken, he’s a vampire. “The combination of a vampire and a witch as soulmates packs a powerful punch. Don’t be surprised when you experience an instant, profound connection with this man. This relationship you’re about to enter won’t follow the normal rules society dictates we follow. When a vampire finds a soulmate the two people are drawn together like metal to a magnet and just as inseparable. It’s not uncommon for the couple to fall instantly in love. Do yourself a favor and don’t question your attraction when it happens. If you do, you may regret it. Grab your bags, young lady. You’re going to Savannah tonight. You must stay at the Hotel Indigo and attend the masquerade ball held there on All Hallows’ Eve.” She gaped at Maggie, and blinked. “Savannah? Tonight? I can’t just up and leave.” Maggie patted Carolyn’s hand. “Of course you can. Destiny has cleared your path. You don’t screw with destiny or the gods. You know that as well as I. Now hurry home. You need to book your flight and hotel.” Carolyn stood to go and sighed. “If that’s where the fates have directed me, I guess I better go. Thank you, Maggie.”
Etienne Delacour sat his Pepé Le Pew coffee mug aside as he answered the phone. “This is Etienne. How may I help you?” “Hi, sweetie! How have you been?” the soft feminine voice of Krystal Le Beau inquired. He smiled a full-face smile that crinkled his eyes. “I have been very well. How about you?” “I’m great. I have life-changing news for you. Well, it’s news about Darius to be precise.” He swallowed the sip of coffee he’d just taken. “Really? And what would that be?” “His soulmate, Carolyn Soucek, is traveling to Savannah. She’ll stay at Darius’s hotel, The Indigo, and will be at the ball on Halloween. Do you think you can get him there?” A wicked grin spread across his face. “It will be my pleasure to assist you with your matchmaking. I would love for Darius to be happily joined. As luck would have it, we already have plans to travel to Savannah for Halloween.” “That’s perfect! Thank you, Etienne. I knew I could count on you.” “Anytime, little wolf. Take care and tell Lucas I said hello.” “I will. Enjoy Savannah, Etienne. Goodbye.” Etienne set the phone aside and moved to the picture window overlooking his back garden. Krystal’s amazing gift for finding soulmates was astounding. He knew the little wolf shifter was very private about her ability and kept that information to himself. The last thing Krystal wanted was for her mother to learn of the gift. Krystal went to great lengths to keep that juicy tidbit from the horrid woman. Even going as far as moving from Louisiana to Texas. Etienne was still musing over Krystal’s ability when Darius, his second in command, entered the room. He turned to face him and reached for his coffee mug. “What news have you?” “It’s worse than we first suspected,” Darius drawled in his rolling Scottish brogue. “The Guild has targeted several witches who have yet to join a coven for protection. I have the women’s names and gathered information on them. Our source said that the Guild plans to execute at least one if not all in Savannah Georgia on All Hallows’ Eve.” Etienne expelled a heavy breath as if exhausted by the topic. “Like the Hydra, every time we cut off one head of the monster, two more arise to replace it. Humans are such hateful beings. Anything that differs from what they consider the norm is fair game for attack. “Apparently our trip to Savannah is quite timely. I just received news from Krystal Le Beau that the two of us are needed there. Her gift is one I’ve learned to heed and would never disregard. Inform our brethren at Hotel Indigo we shall arrive tonight, and I will brief them on the mission then. Oh, and pack a costume. It looks like we will be in attendance at the All Hallows’ Eve Ball.” Darius inclined his head. “Which weapons should I pack? Short swords or tranqs?” “Swords. I know the evil that leads that group. There is no need to question them or show mercy when dispatching them from this world.” Darius nodded in agreement. “Aye, Sir. I’ll take care of everything and will be ready to leave within the hour.” “Thank you, Darius.” With that, Etienne turned back to the garden and smiled. This trip was going to be highly enjoyable. Watching Darius deal with his soulmate would have been entertaining enough, add to that a few witch hunters’ heads and it was even better. Yes, indeed. This would be a Halloween to remember.
V.A. Dold Amazon best selling author of the Award-winning Le Beau Series.
Prior to becoming a full-time writer, she was publicist to the authors, owning ARC Author & Reader Conventions. Still is.
Her idea of absolute heaven is a day in the French Quarter with her computer, her coffee mug, and the Brothers, of course.
A Midwest native with her heart lost to Louisiana; she has a penchant for titillating tales featuring sexy men and strong women. When she's not writing, she's probably taking in a movie, reading, or traveling.