Read an Excerpt
For Her Eyes Only
Twenty-two years later
Her senses seemed to scurry within her like a frightened mouse seeking a safe place.
Yet when Leona Chablis searched the shadows of her shop, she found no cause for uneasiness. Still, she struggled to free herself of the ominous feeling that danger waited for her. With determination, Leona put herself into her workday routine, just as she did every day, and prepared to open her shop.
She automatically straightened the necklaces on her shop's counter. The onyx beads glittered next to her pale hands, reminding her of drops of black blood. The display room of her Timeless Vintage clothing shop seemed eerily quiet, the September day bright beyond the tinted display windows.
At nine-thirty on what should be an ordinary Tuesday morning in Lexington, Kentucky, everything inside Leona seemed to stop and wait. She hated her sixth sense; it lingered inside her, ready to strike and toss glimpses of the future at her. For a lifetime, she'd fought her psychic inheritance. But now, just as "Bluegrass Country's" race-horses circled the track, her sixth sense circled Leon . . . .?and it screamed danger.
Leona tried to wrap the reassuring safety of her present reality around her. In early September, the days were still hot, with fall's cooler temperatures seeping in during the evenings. Soon, the trees on the rolling hills beyond the city would begin flaming with color. Soon the restaurants would be filled with diners who, over open-faced sandwiches of "hot brown"...a mixture of turkey or ham and bacon covered in cheese and gravy...would choose their pick of the two-year-old horses.They'd talk of thoroughbreds, the various "horse farms" in the area, and the events held at Keeneland and at the famous Kentucky Horse Park, where racing champion Man O' War had been buried.
Leona turned to face her shop's large, seemingly cluttered showroom, which presented new elegant garments and accessories in simple, vintage-style designs. Timeless Vintage was a perfect boutique for discriminating tastes, for those moving in the "horsie" racing crowd. They needed elegant apparel for their boxes at the races, as well as for the social events that took place in the evening after the Kentucky Derby. Leona was always very careful to keep a regular client's purchases of designer evening-and-daywear listed. Her special care prevented the awkward situation of two clients turning up at an event with the same outfit.
Overhead, the slowly revolving ceiling fan stirred the soft fabrics of dresses, blouses, slacks, and skirts. Leona automatically adjusted the heavy curtains that concealed a doorway leading to the dressing and fitting rooms at the rear of the store. Beyond that was the tiny cubbyhole for storage, a rear entrance, and the narrow stairs that led up to her cluttered upstairs office.
In another half hour, Leona would unlock her shop's door. But for now, that feeling waited inside her, that uneasy stirring of her senses.
She knew an image in her mind was bound to become real when it was accompanied by icy prickles. The prickles would spear deep into her skin and enter her bloodstream. Her body would chill, then in a blinding flash of unreality, a scene would appear in Leona's mind. Sometimes her visions were small, everyday or natural occurrences. And sometimes, they were horrible, like a morning's image of a deathly car wreck that would occur at that evening's rush hour. Only brief contact could connect Leona to an image of another's future event.
Five years ago, she'd had that same uneasy sense of danger. The night before her husband left for his conference in Colorado, she'd had a vision of Joel dying in an avalanche. She hadn't stopped him from going...and Joel had been crushed to death in a snow avalanche.
Recently, her restless dreams came frequently, refusing to be locked away. Day or night, flashes of the future tumbled over each other, waiting to pop open in her mind.
She didn't want any part of her psychic inheritance from the ancient Celtic seer, Aisling. Leona's grandmother had killed herself because of this gift, this curse that had been handed down to the female descendants of her family along with red hair, green eyes, and pale skin.
Nights were the worst, when Leona was tired and worn and more vulnerable. Her dreams mixed with thoughts of her past and her family. Last night, that terrible sensation of being crushed she often experienced in dreams had awakened her into a cold sweat. "Since Joel died that way, it's only natural that I might have those dreams," she reasoned aloud.
Her denial was automatic and fierce; nonetheless, fear circled her, like a cat stalking a mouse and waiting to pounce.
On the other hand, Leona's mother, a powerful psychic, had said that there were "psychic vampires" among the "gifted." These psychic vampires could suck energy from others and cause the same crushing sensation.
Was the curse from centuries ago which she'd learned about only recently, the promise to end her family's bloodline, really true? Wrapped around an ancient brooch, the words of the curse had been translated by Greer months earlier: He's sworn vengeance when the time is righ . . . . when he is strong enough. When his line has found the right descendant, one with enough power . . . .
"You can have my so-called gift. I never asked to be a precognitive. Just leave us alone," Leona whispered desperately to the shadows. "Please don't hurt my family."
The curse had burned itself into her mind and slithered around her, waiting for a weak moment. It showed up in her dream last night . . . . He showed up . . . .
Leona hurriedly set herself in motion, anything to escape the overwhelming sense of danger. Her fingers trembled as she quickly checked the shop's cash register, although few shoppers used cash in her store. Her usual customers preferred credit cards and monthly billing.
Immersed in her daily routine, she scanned her eclectic stock of new clothing, straightening the scarves and glittering marcasite-and-gemstone jewelry on the glass countertop. She quickly adjusted the mirror her clients used to help them make their purchase decisions.For Her Eyes Only
. Copyright © by Cait London. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.