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Were they witches? They didn't cast spells. Theydidn't heal with potions and herbs as their longdead ancestor had. But they had special abilitiesand they needed to use them to save a lifejustas their ancestor had tried three hundred and fiftyyears ago. He only hoped their efforts weren'trewarded the same way hers had been.
Ty McIntyre cared about these two women.They sat together, holding hands, on the blackleather couch in the penthouse owned by Ty's bestfriend. Actually Ariel held her older sister's hand,and Elena held the charmsa little pewter sunand a little pewter starin her palm, combiningtheir powers.
A muscle jumped in his cheek as he clenchedhis jaw. Skepticism nagged at him. God, he was alawman. Even though he listened to his instincts,he relied on evidence. Tangible proof. How couldhe rely on something he didn't understand, something he couldn't trust?
Believe, he silently chanted to quell his doubts.He'd seen the proof of their powers in the results theywrought. Ariel was alive. Stacia, Elena's daughter,was alive. Because of their intangible powers.
"Can you see anything yet?" he asked Elena,frustration thickening his voice.
She scrunched shut her pale eyes, and herforehead furrowed with concentration. Theknuckles on the hand holding the charms tightenedand turned white, while her fingers reddened.
"She can't force her visions," Ariel defendedher sister as she stared up at him through narrowedeyes. "What's up with you, Ty? You're edgier thanusual. Did you find out something you haven'tshared yet?"
He shook his head, thenstarted pacing the marblefloor of David's living room. Like a jolt from anelectrical outlet, pain traveled up his leg from hisnot-quite-healed wound. Maybe the doctors wererightmaybe he'd had them remove the cast toosoon. "No, I haven't learned a damned thing."
"So that's why you're edgy," Ariel said. "You'refrustrated."
"We all are," Elena chimed in, her eyes stillclosed. "Since we know who the killer is, weshould be able to find him."
Donovan Roarke. The man was a private investigator, but before that he'd been a cop. Like Ty. And like Ty, he'd been suspended from the policedepartment due to excessive force. Ty's gutsknotted, but he reminded himself he was nothinglike the madman. Donovan Roarke was a sadisticson of a bitch. He might have convinced himselfthat by killing witches in the ways that witches hadbeen killed centuries ago he was honoring hisfamily legacy, the vendetta begun so many years ago. But Ty knew the guy was a psychopath, andif he wasn't caught soon, he'd kill again.
Anger gripped Ty, but he fought it off, breathing slow and deep. Then he shoved a hand throughhis hair. Even though he hadn't worn his uniformin months, he kept his black hair short, in analmost military cut. He liked his life simple, likethe T-shirts and old jeans he wore. But there wasnothing simple about his life now; there hadn'tbeen since Donovan Roarke had begun his witchhunt.
"Roarke's clever," Ty admitted. Or he wouldhave found the sick bastard by now.
"He's crazy," Ariel maintained.
Maybe Ty was, too, because he'd actuallythought this might work, that Elena would have avision that would lead him to her missing sister,the youngest of the three of them. Since he'd comeup empty in his other investigations, he'd decidedto use the sisters' powers. He had nothing left tolose.
"Let's concentrate on Irina," he said, which waseasy for him since she was all he thought aboutlately.
She'd been nagging at his mind ever since he'dfirst seen the picture of her as a little girl. From theglass-and-marble coffee table he picked up thetrifold pewter picture frame they'd found inRoarke's office. The private investigator must havestolen the twenty-year-old portraits of the threesisters from their mother after he'd killed her.
As Ty focused on the youngest child with herloose brown curls and her big, dark eyes, amemory teased him: flashing lights, blurred beforehis swollen eyes; pain pounding in his skull andtearing at his arm as he fought for consciousness,for life; then a little girl's voice calling out to him,calling him back from the brink of death.
Hers? Or the little girl who'd died because hehadn't gotten to her in time? Was the memory anold one, buried deep with the rest of his childhood? Or was it a new one, suppressed like therage over which his lieutenant had suspended him?
His hand shaking slightly, he set the pictureframe back on the table, then turned his attentionto Elena. He'd deal with his own demons later,after he'd dealt with theirs. "You've had visions ofher before. If you can't have another, try toremember everything you can about those, evenwhat you might think insignificant."
Elena nodded in perfect understanding of thegift she'd denied and fought for so long. "I'll tryto recall every detail."
He blew out a ragged breath, relieved that sheunderstood what he wanted. Irina. "We have tofind her." Soon.
Knowing who the killer was didn't make himless dangerous. In Roarke's case, Ty suspectedknowing who he was made him more dangerous.Now the man wasn't worried about concealing hisidentity; he, like Ty, had nothing to lose.
Having tried and failed to get Ariel and Elena,he'd concentrate all his efforts on Irina. And Tywould do the same. The others could look forRoarke; his friend David and Elena's fiancéJoseph were out now, searching for him. Tyalready knew where he waswherever Irinawas.
"In that first vision you had of her, she'shomeless." God, he hoped Elena was wrong, buthe'd investigated the lead, spending days and nightsamong the street people. While he hadn't foundIrina, he had found desperation and despair, reawakening memories he'd locked away in his past.
Elena shook her head. "I'm not even sure it's IrinaI'm seeing. I haven't seen her since she was four."
"She was almost five," Ariel added, her turquoise eyes glistening with unshed tears. As if ayear would have made a difference then.
Ariel had been nine, Elena twelve when theywere taken away from their mother and separatedfrom each other. Ty's gut twisted at having to bringup bad memories for them both. But the pain andfear they felt now would be worth it if he were ableto reunite the sisters.
Ignoring the ache in his leg, he knelt on thefloor in front of the couch, the marble cold throughthe denim of his faded jeans. Excessive forcehadn't been his biggest hurdle in being a policeofficer; until his last day of active duty, he'd neverhad a problem dealing with suspects. His strugglehad been dealing with the victims. Offering comfortsomething never offered to himhadn'tbeen easy for him.
Now he reached out, closing his hand over theirjoined hands. "We'll find her."
Ariel stared into his eyes, hers still shimmeringwith tears. "Or will I, Ty? Will the first time I seemy baby sister in twenty years be as a ghost?" Likeshe'd first seen her mother when Myra Cooperhad been killed several months ago.
That was Ariel's giftseeing ghosts; Elena'sgift was seeing the future. What was Irina's? Thelights flashed again, digging up the memory, buthe couldn't pull it out of his mind. Not yet. He hadtoo many other things on it.
He swallowed hard, then reminded her, "Butyou haven't seen Irina's ghost. She has to be alive."
His breath trapped in his lungs until shenodded her head in agreement. He shared herfear that they might not find Irina in time; it kepthim from sleeping, from eating, from doinganything but search for her. Even though he hadbegun his quest to find the missing sister as afavor for his best friend and Ariel, it had becomemore personal to him. Irina was more personalto him than a twenty-year-old picture in an oldpewter frame.
A moan slipped through Elena's lips. Her paleeyes glazed, she stared not at the opulent livingroom of the penthouse or the view outside the floorto-ceiling windows, Barrett, Michigan, aglow withlights in the black sky. She stared instead atwhatever images played out inside her head.
"Tell us everything you're seeing," he proddedher, as he would have any witness.
"She's on the street, like I saw her before,"Elena said, taunted by the old vision like the oldmemory that wouldn't quite leave Ty alone.
"What do you see?" He needed some landmarks, something so he could pinpoint the placeinstead of wandering the streets the way he had.
"It's dark ."
"No street lamps?"
She squeezed her eyes closed, then shook herhead. "Not here. The buildings are too tall. Theyblock the light. So does the Dumpster."
"Then it's not a street. It's an alley." And he'dsearched most of those in Barrett. But just becauseIrina had been adopted in Barrett didn't mean shestill lived in the city, so he'd searched some surrounding areas, too. His gut twisted again at thethought of Irina in any of those dangerous areas,alone. "Tell me about the buildings. Describe themto me."
Elena's brow furrowed. "It's dark. All I see arewalls of dark brick, maybe red, maybe brown"
"A sign. Something"
"Just the Dumpster. The name of the company's worn off the side. She's hiding behind theDumpster."
Had she been in one of those alleys he'dsearched, hiding? Had he been that close to findingher, to protecting her from a killer?
Come on, Irina. Come out. Stop hiding. Let mefind you. Let me save you.
As she'd saved him? He shook his head,amazed that the thought had occurred to him, allwrapped up with the old, nagging memory. Butlooking into his past wouldn't help him find Irina;only looking into her future would.