Event planner Tali Cates’s psychic gifts have brought her more than enough trouble in the past. She wants those irksome gifts to leave her in peace so she can support her family and lead a normal life in the small town of Love, Texas.
But when not one, but two beauty contestants in the pageant she’s running turn up dead, Tali is again drawn into murder and mayhem. Toss in some witchcraft and kidnapping, and she has no choice but to protect her kids by hunting down the killer. Life gets even more complicated when her son accuses her new boyfriend of being a vampire, which is just plain ridiculous.
Or is it?
Screams shrilled from the dressing room area, not the carnival. What else could go wrong with this damned county fair contest I was in charge of? I shivered, and it wasn’t from the cooler evening air. What now? I ran toward the dressing room, reaching the door in time to be trampled by Theresa, who was shrieking and carrying her daughter, Charlice.
“Oh God, oh God, oh God. My baby, my poor baby.” She finally took a breath and sat down on the ground. “It’s dead, it has to be. I don’t know what it is.” Theresa was one of the pageant contestant mothers. From the way she was reacting, you’d think her child was dead, not struggling against her mother’s tight grip. I picked myself up from the cement stage, ignoring my scraped knee. Charlice buried her head in her mother’s neck.
I went into the empty dressing room Theresa had opened. She had been anxious her daughter wouldn’t have enough mirror space to get ready for the talent competition.
Marcia Baker lay on the floor, or at least someone in Marcia’s clothes. The body looked like a mummy, not Marcia. It was as if something had removed all moisture from her. All I could think of was poor Marcia, poor Kimmie—who was one of the Queen Contest competitors. She would be without a mother.
I couldn’t catch my breath. My heart stuttered. I staggered out of the room, touching nothing. My cell phone rang. I fumbled it out of my jeans, swallowing several times before I could talk. It was Mumsie, my mother.
“What’s going on, Tali? Chung Po is beside himself. He says he can’t see anything but darkness.”
“Tell your stupid spirit guide to go into the light. Get off the phone and call JT. I have a dead body here in the dressing room.”
“Just go call.” I hung up and threw myself behind a hay bale to be sick. It was déjà vu all over again.