Title: Vampire’s Fortune, Fortune Teller’s Curse
Author Name: Kara Ashley Dey
Organized by: IndieSage, LLC
Release Date: Late 2014
When money strapped psychic Fiona Autumn encounters the rich and powerful Ulysses Anthony, his high-class charm (not to mention his accompanying envelope stuffed with cold hard cash) persuades Fiona to read an ancient dagger in his possession. Unfortunately, breaking the dagger’s seal awakens magic-wielding creatures hell-bent on revenge. Trapped in a dangerous partnership, Fiona realizes she has just unleashed an ancient rage that threatens all she holds dear–including her own life.
FIONA HALF-LISTENED to Mr. Anthony’s explanation of the metal box and its design. She already recognized the engraved symbols of Egyptian, Roman and Celtic origins. It seemed its creator wished to cover all bases for protection. Typically, she would’ve been intrigued and eager to learn its history, but something was distracting her.
Perhaps it was the man himself—far, far more interesting than the box. It was wrong not to pay full attention to his story but she couldn’t help it. There was something about him that demanded her attention. Something out of place. She couldn’t put a finger on what this was exactly. She pursed her lips, a little irked by her inability to pinpoint the source of her puzzlement, as a psychic often had to fill in the blank spaces left by her sixth sense with shrewd observations.
Mr. Anthony was a man of exceptional quality. His voice was low and pleasant enough to her taste, but his overall physical appearance had aroused her curiosity. His black hair was long and straight, pulled back into a ponytail—not like those worn by the aged rockers who loitered in Deep Ellum’s seedy music venues, but tasteful to match his refined style—with a pepper of gray at his temples which seemed in conflict with his youthful face.
He could be twice my age. She struggled over that thought then promptly disagreed with her assumption. No. He was probably in his early to mid-thirties, at most. She liked that idea better.
Away from the porch light’s harsh florescent glow, now bathed in soft candlelight, he really was breathtaking and she self-consciously crossed her legs. Heat reached her cheeks as she realized curiosity was not the only thing he aroused in her.
His voice missed a beat and he looked at her, his lips twitching, but then he continued. She frowned, pressing her shrewd scrutiny like a needle into his mystery, probing depths unmeasured, piercing the un-pricked. His ice-blue eyes were intense, but not hard or arrogant, purposeful but not plainly ambitious. Under the grey suit his chest was broad, his shoulders relaxed. Where she was perspiring at an embarrassing rate, he was as crisp and dry as a midday martini in the Sonoran Desert. He seemed comfortable in her chair, even in this heat—and wearing a tie no less.
Wasn’t he hot in that suit?
She wondered on that but then straightened in her chair, alarmed. Holy crap, she’d asked that out loud.
“I’m sorry?” He stopped his tale to look at her quizzically.
“The h—heat.” She covered her embarrassing slip. “I’m afraid I don’t have air conditioning—yet.”
His lips twisted into a smile. “I am quite fine.”
Fiona looked down at her scarred hands and shook her head. “I’m sorry. It’s been a very long day. My mind is a bit muddled.”
As if to appease her, he loosened his tie. “Yes. I understand.”
She promised to give his story her full attention even as her eyes strayed to his neck, which the unloosened tie revealed.
Mr. Anthony continued as his long, perfect fingers absently caressed the tabletop next to the box, “This item came into my family’s possession during our brief residency in Salzburg in 1774. The precious gems and additional ornamentation were added at that time as was its present encasement. We believe it originated in Burgundy and dates back to the mid-fourteenth century, perhaps, but its existence first came to my family’s attention during a violent altercation, which occurred just outside Barcelona in the late-fifteenth century. It holds a special history with us, and a secret that has been lost.”
“And you wish to know that secret.”
He nodded. “It is of personal importance to me, but I think that is enough background. I should allow you to see for yourself, as any additional information might influence your memory.”
“Vision,” Fiona corrected, explaining, “I receive visions and sometimes physical sensations when laying hands on objects. I’ve worked locally as a medical intuitive and sense illness in others by looking at them, touching them, or holding one of their possessions. It’s what makes me a very good Theta healer, too.”
“Ah, I see.” The subtlest of dimples formed on his left cheek. “That explains your distraction. Perhaps you absorbed too much negativity today? But, tell me, what has your scrutiny of me revealed to you?”
Fiona kept her eyes from widening. So, he’d noticed. “Actually,”—she looked at him in a more detached, analytical way—“you seem… I sense no ailments to speak of at all.” This startled her and she breathed in deeply, clearing her mind, and waited for the spontaneous messages to come. Nothing emerged, not so much as a stiff joint or muscle twinge. “You are perfectly healthy.”
“And my aura?” he pressed softly, his voice lifting at the end.
She’d heard that tone before from skeptics. He was teasing.
Her eyebrows knitted together as she struggled, looking at him and through him to see the outline of his body and the revealing colors. Nothing.
“I must be tired,” she mumbled and rubbed at the crease between her eyebrows.
“It is quite all right. You are not the first who has failed to read me—”
“I didn’t fail—” she protested, then shut her mouth abruptly.
What was wrong with her? Why was she suddenly so agitated? She’d been highly recommended by someone. This man came with purpose to her shop, late at night, obviously “ill-suited” for Deep Ellum, and out of place, just to seek her out.
“Then try again. Touch me, Miss Autumn.”
At the thought of touching him, she felt her heart flip and pressed her fist to her chest. Her lips parted as her lower lip grew heavy. Below her skin, some delicious sensation massaged, pulsing from her forehead to her cheekbones while she watched those lithe fingers smoothly glide across the oak table’s top and extend toward her.
Her fist squeezed, trembled, as she resisted. To touch his hand with her scarred one? She couldn’t.
“No, thank you.” The coldness of her tone surprised her.
He withdrew, easing back into his chair, his expression blank though he graciously ignored her outburst, turning his attention instead to the metal box.
“There is a spring release lock along the right side.” He indicated this with his hand. “And another at the front. They must be pressed simultaneously.”
As he pushed the box across the table toward her, Mr. Anthony added, “I must warn you the box is lined with lead.”
She hesitated, and he lifted from his upper suit-pocket a set of thin, white gloves. She put them on.
Carefully, she pressed the ornate lock’s pressure-sensitive button and the less obvious button on the right. The lid popped. She lifted the lid and set it back. Her gaze didn’t leave its contents as she removed the gloves. Within, nestled in red velvet, was a ceremonial dagger.
Belatedly, a jolt of foreboding stiffened her shoulders and tightened her abdomen. The feeling was so strong she rose to her feet and stepped backward, the back of her legs hitting her chair.
She was afraid of this thing. Obviously, it was a tool fashioned for violence. But there was more here. Instinctively, like a child who knows something is lurking around the corner in the shadows, she was afraid of it because she could already feel its history. She could almost taste it and it hinted of fire and death.
She pressed her fingers to her lips, her eyes frozen on the ancient object. This was far more dangerous than any Nuevo Vamp trinkets her ex-boyfriend had wished to place in the shop.
“Please, do not be afraid.”
She slowly became aware her foreboding was accompanied by a cloying curiosity, a need to read it. The strangest hint of fondness crept into her mind.
The dagger was charmed. That was clear. She gazed on the tiny encrusted jewels of emerald and ruby that decorated the petite hilt: a woman’s weapon.
“It hasn’t harmed a soul in a very long time.”
Review by Laura
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Fiona Autumn is a psychic with her own shop called Fiona’s Fortunes and Fancies. She does readings and the occasional spiritual house cleansing for a client. Her business is struggling so when I stranger comes to her shop after hours with an envelope full of money and the promise of more, she decides it couldn’t be bad to take on this client. Ulysses Anthony is mysterious and handsome. He has a an ancient dagger that he needs Fiona to read. As soon as she touches the dagger she is bombarded with a number of visions that feel very real and they have Ulysses in them. How could that be? What is he? Touching the dagger has awoken dark forces and has put Fiona’s life in danger. Can she trust Ulysses to keep her safe?
I was instantly drawn into the story and I couldn’t put it down. The characters were all well written. The author did an excellent job of describing certain scenes such as Fiona’s visions. This is an excellent read and I’m hoping there is a second book! I give it 5 books.
About the Author
I’m a writer who likes fantasy, speculative and paranormal fiction with romantic elements. I also enjoy interviewing multi-talented artists and writers to find out what ‘makes them tick.’ Sharing experiences is a really great way to learn about the world and ourselves. Plus, I’m a firm believer in rejoicing in other people’s successes; it’s free and it feels great.
Living in Houston with my darling husband has taught me about the blessings of great neighbors and Texas BBQ. My favorite critics are my two plump cats that purr their pleasure at most everything I write.
Two signed books of Stealing Sky by Kara Ashley Dey (US) and an abuela choker necklace (US).