Doom with a view, p.1
Doom With a View, p.1Victoria Laurie
Table of Contents
Praise for the Psychic Eye Mysteries
“Intuition tells me this book is right on target—I sense a hit!”—Madelyn Alt, author of A Charmed Death
“Victoria Laurie’s books are a delight to devour.”
—Savannah Russe, author of Beneath the Skin
“A fresh, exciting addition to the amateur sleuth genre.”
—J. A. Konrath, author of Dirty Martini
“There are plenty of surprises and revelations in the exciting story line; these keep the heroine and readers slightly off balance, especially in anticipating what’s next.”—Gumshoe
“An invigorating entry into the cozy mystery realm. . . . I cannot wait for the next book.”
“Victoria Laurie has crafted a fantastic tale in this latest Psychic Eye Mystery. There are few things in life that upset Abby Cooper, but ghosts and her parents feature high on her list . . . giving the reader a few real frights and a lot of laughs.”—Fresh Fiction continued . . .
“A great new series . . . plenty of action.”
—Midwest Book Review
“Fans will enjoy Abby’s return to what she does best.”
—The Best Reviews
“Abby is an unusual sleuth whose life provides plenty of enjoyable reading.”—Romantic Times
“A fun light read, and a promising beginning to an original series.”—The Romance Readers Connection
“Ms. Laurie gives readers an edge-of-your-seat mystery that unfolds through a myriad of twists, turns, and deadly surprises.”—Darque Reviews
The Psychic Eye Mystery Series
Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye
Better Read Than Dead
A Vision of Murder
The Ghost Hunter Mystery Series
What’s a Ghoul to Do?
Demons Are a Ghoul’s Best Friend
Ghouls Just Haunt to Have Fun
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First published by Obsidian, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
eISBN : 978-1-101-13612-6
First Printing, September 2009
Copyright © Victoria Laurie, 2009
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For my fabulous editor,
My friend, fan, and partner in prime crime . . .
It takes a team of dedicated, hardworking, and brilliantly talented people to bring a book to print, which is why it’s a bit unfair to have only one name grace the cover. This is also why it makes me feel so good when fans tell me they’ve read my acknowledgments, as it’s the only way I can publicly express my gratitude to some of the very best people I know, and if it were left up to me, each one of my books would have about a dozen names next to mine.
So if you are reading this, know you have my sincere thanks for taking the time to wait a bit before diving into the story while you pause to read the names of the people without whom this story could not have been told.
First up, the man I thank profusely each and every time I finish a manuscript—my astounding agent, Jim McCarthy. Jim is one of those people you instantly like, want to get to know better, and can’t wait to hang out with again. He’s also one heck of an agent.
Next, to the person this book is dedicated to, my amazing editor, Kristen Weber. Kristen, I don’t say it often enough, but I am so utterly grateful you’re on my team. Above all you are a woman of your word, and the fact that you’ve somehow done what three other editors couldn’t (namely, kept me focused, on track, and on time) is a feat in and of itself! Thank you so much for your positive outlook, your attention to detail, and your brilliant enthusiasm, and, most of all, for loving Abby and M.J. almost as much as I do.
Special mentions also must go to my copy editor, Michele Alpern (thank you, Michele, for your great care and for allowing Abby’s voice to shine through!), as well as NAL staff members Rebecca Vinter and Megan Swartz, who help in every way they can, for which I’m extremely grateful.
A personal thanks also goes out to my peeps—those friends who make sure that I come out and enjoy the sunshine every now and again or check in on me to make sure I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth since they haven’t heard from me in a century. My hood peeps, Jen Casey, Christine Trobenter, Tess Rodriguez, and Shannon Dorn. My out-of-the-hood peeps, Karen Ditmars, Leanne Tierney, Silas Hudson, and Nora Brosseau. And my new peeps—those folks who were fans first but whom I now call friend: Pippa Terry and her mumsy, Betty Stocking; Ellen George; and my new “BFF” Katie Coppedge—who I must mention is also available for crowd control should my book signings attract more than the usual
Next, I would like to thank my family, who mean everything to me, with one special mention here of my fabulous and beautiful cousin Tee-Tee, who is the Candice to my Abby, and who makes me laugh out loud every single day! Hugs and loves, you, mi carino . . . here’s to plates of delicious paella and much fun in Barcelona!
Finally, I would like to thank my fans, who have stayed with me through each release and have been noticeably spreading the word. I’m beyond grateful to you for your loyalty, dedication, and willingness to see what happens next.
They say that we all face certain tests in life. Some of us are tested by our jobs, others by personal relationships, others by physical or health issues. And I will freely admit that at some point in my life I’ve been challenged by all those things, but recently my greatest obstacle was a guy who pushed all my buttons. I couldn’t stand him, but had to be nice ’cause he’s my sweetheart’s boss. Otherwise, I’d probably punch his lights out.
Okay, so maybe I wouldn’t punch his lights out (did I mention he’s tall and muscular, and carries a gun?), but I’d sure hire some big goon to do it! Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. This encounter with a major pain in my tochus all started about the time I arrived back home from a rather hairy week in Las Vegas. My significant other—FBI agent Dutch Rivers—and I had recently been involved in a case that involved bureau corruption, greed, murder, kidnapping, and his burst appendix, but that’s another story. . . .
The important thing was that Dutch, Candice (my business partner, PI, and dear friend), and I had all arrived back in the quaint little suburban town of Royal Oak, Michigan, very relieved to still be alive and each of us pretty much swearing off Sin City for the foreseeable future.
Once Dutch had recovered from his surgery for the appendicitis, he was promptly informed that he would be on desk duty until he was cleared by Internal Affairs of any involvement with the shady dealings of his former boss, Raymond Robillard. The reason my sweetie was in the hot seat was that Dutch had been secretly investigating his boss, and when Robillard got wind of it while we were in Vegas, he made it look like Dutch was the criminal. Again . . . that’s another story.
Now, the guy above Robillard, Special Agent in Charge Bill Gaston, is actually a decent fellow, who’s become something of a fan of mine. And as the case in Vegas was wrapping up, Gaston asked whether I might consider assisting his team with an open investigation into the disappearance of three college kids. Being that I’m a professional psychic by trade, my intuitive skills could be useful, so, like an idiot, I’d said yes.
Fast-forward a few weeks to the news that the new guy replacing Dutch’s old corrupt boss was this rising star in the FBI—a guy by the name of Brice Harrison.
The downer came when we learned that Harrison was publicly protesting my involvement and he was making no bones about the fact that he found anyone who claimed to be psychic one fry short of a Happy Meal. I discovered all this on the eve of the plane trip that Candice and I were taking out to Washington, D.C., to meet with the assembled task force on the case of the missing teens, and trust me, I wasn’t too happy about it.
“Why do we have to meet in D.C. again?” I asked Dutch. I didn’t like this idea of being out of my element.
“The missing kids are all from separate states,” Dutch explained. “The task force is meeting in D.C. so that each local bureau’s lead agent feels comfortable being on neutral territory. Plus, it was probably a power play by Harrison. He’s got some connections up the ranks in D.C. and it wouldn’t surprise me if he coordinated this meeting there to garner some internal support at the central office.”
“Fabulous,” I said drolly. “Just the political mine-field I can’t wait to walk into.”
“You can say no,” Dutch reminded me. “No one’s going to think less of you if you back out.”
I scowled at him, still feeling the brunt of the conference call we’d just had with Gaston. “Can you explain to me, now that Gaston isn’t on the phone, why he can’t simply order this Harrison dude to let us help him on the case?”
The gist we’d gotten from Gaston was that Harrison was so adamant about my not participating that he’d already filed a couple of complaints with various head honchos at the bureau over what he felt was a denigration to the heritage of the FBI and its investigators in the use of . . . and I quote . . . “palm readers and sideshow fortune-tellers.” Gaston had read a few lines from one of the complaints so that I would be fully prepared for the frigid reception he was quite sure I was about to receive in D.C.
“He could order him,” said Dutch in a way that suggested it wasn’t that easy. “But you’ve got to remember where Harrison is coming from. His grand-father was the former bureau chief and now his father is one level below that. This guy has political clout that Gaston—having come originally from the CIA—doesn’t carry. So even though Gaston outranks Harrison, he’s still got to tread carefully here, Abby. The only way Gaston can have you participate is if you go to D.C. and win over Harrison. Gaston has gotten the guy to at least agree to meet you, but that’s where his advocacy on your behalf is likely to end.”
I glanced at Candice, who was sitting in the other chair across from Dutch’s desk in his home office. I’d told Gaston at the get-go that the only way I’d agree to join in the investigation was if Candice came along too. “What do you think?” I asked her.
Candice took her time answering, which is one of the reasons I really like having her as my partner—she’s cool under pressure. “I think that, ultimately, this isn’t about someone else’s personal agenda. It’s about the missing kids. It’s about the frantic parents wanting an answer, and it’s about the bastard who will continue to take other parents’ kids and possibly hurt them until he’s stopped. I also think that you’re damn good at what you do, and I’m damn good at what I do, and we have no reason to apologize to anyone for how we make our living. So I think we should head to Washington and show this prick what we’re made of.”
I smiled as I mentally checked in with my crew—those spirit guides that help keep me on track and assist with my intuition—and they gave me a light airy feeling on the right side of my body. That’s a clear sign that they were okay with my getting involved.
With my mind made up, I turned back to Dutch and said firmly, “We’re going.”
Dutch was grinning too. “That’s my girl,” he said, then looked at Candice. “Keep her out of trouble this time, okay, Fusco?”
The corner of Candice’s mouth lifted. “Sometimes she doesn’t make it so easy.”
“Tell me about it,” he replied.
I rolled my eyes and got up from the chair. “Ha, ha,” I scoffed. “Hilarity from the peanut gallery. You two have fun with that. I’m off to pack.”
A little while later, Candice called to me from the bottom of the stairs that she’d be back at five a.m. sharp to pick me up for our flight; then I heard Dutch’s heavy footsteps coming up the stairs.
“Hey, there, sweethot,” he purred in his best Hum phrey Bogart from the doorway while I folded a pair of jeans.
“Hey, yourself.” I smiled. “Are you gonna miss me?”
“Maybe,” he said coyly. Then his look got serious. “I meant what I said downstairs, Abs. You can quit anytime and come back on the first flight home. Put it on my credit card if you need to.”
I laughed. “I forgot, I’m hanging out with a millionaire these days.” I’d only recently learned that Dutch had a butt load of cash from a private security business he’d set up on the side years ago.
Dutch left the doorway and came to lie across the bed. “So you’re only into me for the money—is that it?” he said, lifting one of my thongs out of the suitcase and raising an eyebrow as if to suggest my underwear should be made of a little more fabric.
“Well, it’s certainly not for your looks,” I deadpanned. “I mean, with that chiseled, perfect face, those blue eyes, and all that muscle . . . jeez, are you a pity
Dutch lifted his chin and laughed before he dropped the thong and wrapped one of those delightfully muscular arms around my middle, tugging me to the bed. Nuzzling my neck, he said, “Part of me really doesn’t want to let you out of my sight.”
I pulled away just a bit and looked him square in the eyes. “I’ll be fine,” I said, but couldn’t help noticing the tiny bit of energy on my left side that indicated I might need to be careful.
“Oh, I know you’ll be all right,” he said with a smirk. “You’ll be surrounded by federal agents—good luck getting into trouble with those guys around.”
“So what’s all this about not wanting me out of your sight?” I asked, running my fingers through his short blond hair.
“I’ll miss you,” he said simply.
I clasped both sides of his face and stared into those gorgeous midnight blue eyes. “I’ll be home soon,” I promised, and was only mildly surprised when the light and airy energy running along my right side said I’d hit that one on the head.
The next morning Candice and I flew out of Detroit Metro Airport on a direct flight to D.C. Candice slept the whole way. I fidgeted, bounced my knee, and basically drove myself crazy from takeoff to landing. She woke up right before the landing gear dropped. Stretching in her seat and sitting up, she took in my rather anxious appearance and said, “Would you relax?”
“What a fabulous suggestion!” I’m not so friendly when I’m uptight.
Candice rubbed her eyes, yawned, then gave me the once-over again. “Can I ask you something?” she said, squinting at the skirt and blazer I was wearing.
I sighed. “If you must.”
Candice made a face of distaste and said, “Did you by any chance purchase that outfit during the Reagan administration?”
I rolled my eyes and my knee bounced more vigorously. “You know my entire wardrobe is casual,” I snapped. “This was the best I could come up with given the limited choices I had.” Self-consciously I tugged on the sides of my blazer, which, for the record, was not purchased during the Reagan administration . . . but during the Bush years, and so what if by that I mean the first one!
Doom With a View by Victoria Laurie / Mystery & Detective have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes