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by Kit Wylde
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: What happens when a Tarot reader meets a skeptical cowboy? A wild ride. Susan Pell escaped from a nasty relationship and found peace living alone (if you don't count the two match-making ghosts who are the original owners). Just when she decides to enter the dating pool again, in walks Max Lancaster, a sexy cowboy who happens to be her neighbor. Max has been given a free reading in the hopes that Susan will be able to predict his future. The attraction between them is instant, but his obvious disgust with her profession makes Susan want to have her way with him then strangle him for being such a close-minded fool. No matter that the ghosts say he's the one, Susan's not buying it. Avoiding him doesn't help, nor does dating someone else. When Susan vows to forget him, fate (with a little help from the ghosts) take matters into their own hands.
eBook Publisher: Freya's Bower/Freya's Bower, 1999 Wild Child Publishing.com
eBookwise Release Date: May 2007
10 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [80 KB]
Reading time: 48-67 min.
"engaging and novel ... This tale was easy to become comfortable in, as Ms. Wylde writing is visually descriptive ... This is a fresh paranormal with seedlings of erotic threads, and LAST CHANCE is a book you really should pick up today! This reviewer recommends it."--Janalee Ruschhaupt, Love Romances
"I really enjoyed the surprise ending and have to give Ms. Wylde thumbs up for this highly creative and entertaining story."--Jasmina Vallombrosa, TCM Reviews
"Why don't you follow me? My reading room is back this way." Susan turned and bustled toward the back of the room, moving quickly away, trying to put distance between her and the man whose presence stirred unwanted feelings.
The distance widened between them. She felt as if an unseen cord connected them. When she looked over her shoulder to see how far he trailed behind her, she saw Max eyeing all the brick-a-brack, new age "trinkets," and books on the occult littering the shelves of the store. What was he looking at? She followed his gaze to the crystal ball. The look of disbelief angered her. Although she knew better than to let that happen, especially with new clients, the ignorance and fear with which most people viewed anything not mainstream irritated her.
He shifted toward the front door as if questioning whether he wanted to stay, but he stopped. His gaze met hers. She could see he was trying to decide what to do. Then a conciliatory smile spread across his face, pissing her off even more.
"Look. This really wasn't my idea, and I'm not even sure I want to go through with this, but a et is a bet, so I guess we better get it over and done with," he said, his gaze returning to the contents of the store.
A rant on small-minded people ran through her mind, and Susan didn't register how close he was to her until he walked into her. He reached out to steady her. Fire burned between them in that brief touch. They jumped away from each other.
His gaze finally settled on her face and recognition flashed across his countenance. "Susan Pell?"
"Yes, that's me."
"You're Susan Pell?" He stared at her in disbelief. "My very own neighbor is a witch?"
She heard a gasp behind the counter and a muffled giggle. Turning, she glared at Martha then swung back to glare at Max. "Pardon me? You think that because I read Tarot I'm a witch?"
"That and you live in a haunted house. Do you know how many people tried to buy that place but were chased out after a matter of weeks? It'd been sitting empty for almost five years until you came along."
"Maybe the ghosts just didn't like them. Maybe they weren't sensitive enough. I don't care. I'm happy there. Now, do you want a reading or not? Because if you continue like this, I'll refuse," she threatened.
"No, no, it has to be from you. Jerry and Sally insisted that you are the best in town," he explained. "So, yes, I will still take that reading."
"Jerry and Sally are your friends? Only because I like them so well will I do this. Now, follow me and keep your prejudiced comments to yourself." With that, Susan stalked back to her room.
She could feel the warmth of his gaze on her. Let him look, she thought. He'll never get any further than that. Not with that attitude. Regret filled her. What she wouldn't give to feel the hard planes of his chest pressed against her. Her breath hitched. Determined, she blocked out the unwanted thoughts and marched toward her "reading" room. If he thought she was a witch now, just wait until she read for Mr. Max Lancaster.
They walked into a windowless room, the only light were the lit candles heavily dispersed throughout. It took a few moments before their eyes adjusted to the dim lighting. Susan could imagine what was going through that closed, little mind of his, judging from his pause. Although she'd gone over the top with the decorations, making it resemble something straight out of a movie, she liked the effect. The prints of a few mystical scenes, the third eye, and a diagram of where the chakras were located hung on the walls. Situated in the center of the room was a small table covered with a gold-trimmed purple square of cloth. Some exotic scent wafted on the air. A crystal sat upon the table. Her Tarot cards sat next to the crystal ball and a crystal pyramid.
"Please, take a seat."
Max gingerly sat himself down in one of the wooden chairs flanking the table. Even the chair cushions had a psychic motif. They were the same purple as the tablecloth but with gold stars and moons.
Gesturing to the chairs, table and the surrounding room, Max sat down and commented, "Overdoing it a little, don't you think?"
Susan just crooked an eyebrow at him. "Do you want a reading or not?"
She hid her smile at his obvious discomfort. Perhaps she was being unkind, but he deserved it, judging something he had no knowledge of.
"Yes," he replied ungraciously.
Silence filled the room as they stared at each other. Susan decided that she wasn't going to help him by asking what he wanted to know. He'd arrived close-minded, belligerent and ready to discount anything she said. He'd probably leave that way. In the meantime, she wasn't going to let him upset her equilibrium again and ruin her concentration once the reading commenced. Although normally she wasn't an ungracious person, this really was getting to be enjoyable. A little smile tipped up the corners of her mouth as she thought, "Let him squirm."
She continued to sit there smiling at him, not helping him at all. Leaning back in her chair, she appeared utterly relaxed and composed. Inside, she could barely contain her glee. It was rather intimidating and exactly the effect she wanted. There on his upper lip ... was that a bead of sweat? She wondered how long he would endure this awkward silence, but she could wait him out. After all, his session had started the minute he took a seat in that chair. If he wanted to waste his time and money staring at her like an imbecile, that was his prerogative. It gave her the opportunity to study him more closely.
Much to her chagrin, the closer she looked, the more she appreciated what she saw. If only he was more tolerant and open to her beliefs, he'd make a good candidate for her first venture into the world of dating.
"And in bed," that little voice whispered.
Susan frowned, not liking the direction of her thoughts. With a concentrated effort, she dragged her mind back to the moment at hand. "Is there any question you would like me to ask?"
Max rubbed his palms along his blue jeans. Her gaze followed the nervous gesture, sinful images filling her head. "Well ... I don't know. I've never had a ... What are these called?"
His question brought the tempting movie to a halt. "Reading."
"Yeah, a reading before, so I'm not sure what you can answer and what to ask."
"How about if I just do a general overview and then we can go from there?" She started shuffling the cards with a practiced motion then quickly threw down a spread. Involuntarily she let out a gasp, which she instantly stifled.
Drawn in despite himself, he demanded, "What? What do you see?"
She glanced at him sharply. "Did you have a brush with death when you were about 5 or 6? There's an image of you near the edge of a cliff. As a result, you're afraid of heights, aren't you?"
A look of absolute disbelief crossed his face, and he stood up so rapidly he nearly knocked over his chair. "Who told you that?"
"The cards. Now do you believe me?"
He stood there shaking his head in denial.
"Come on," she coaxed. "Sit down. There's more."
He stood for a moment looking down at her as if judging her veracity then slowly took a seat.
As she continued the reading, his eyes grew wider and wider, then narrower and narrower. She'd seen this reaction before from people like him. The only way she could continue reading and block out his disbelief was to ignore him and concentrate on what the cards where telling her. If he wanted to think someone had fed her this information to play a joke or convert him, it was his choice. She knew the truth and had to remember that.
"Hello ... Any body there?" She waved her hand in front of his dazed countenance. His gaze began to focus again. "Is there any other question you would like me to ask? Before we finish our session?"
"What? Oh, uh, sure. Could you tell me what is going to happen next week?"
To her consternation, he'd done it again. He'd managed to rattle her. Glaring at him, she replied as calmly as she could, "They won't answer such an abstract question. No one could. That is not how the cards work."
"How do they work?" he asked, smirking at her.