Authors: Heidi Angell
Tags: #paranormal romance, #chicago, #detective book, #psychic abilites, #dance ballerina dance
By Heidi Angell
Copyright © 2013 Heidi Angell
Published through Smashwords by Angell
The scanning, uploading and distribution of
this book via the internet or any other means without the
permission of the publisher is illegal, and punishable by law.
Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not
participate or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted
materials. No part of this book in hard or paperback copy may be
reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of
both the publisher and author. Your support of the author's rights
Nearly four years ago, two
weeks before Christmas, I was “let go” from my work-from-home job.
Two weeks later, the day after Christmas, I got an acceptance
letter for representation through Emerantia Parnell’s agency for
this wonderful series. I would like to thank her so much for
representing my book and beginning this path that I am on now.
Although she was not able to find me a contract with a publishing
house that I wanted to work with, she helped me know that there
were others who were interested in this story. I want to especially
thank my friend Linda Ryals Smith, who introduced me to blogging,
and the concept of self-publishing. She has always been so
supportive and kind, sharing with me everything she has learned
over the years, and sharing my work through her blog!
Four years and five books
later, I am beginning to make it as a writer. I want to say thank
you so very, very much to all of you who have read and enjoyed my
books, posted reviews, shared with your friends, given me a voice
on your blog, and believed in me as a writer.
But finally, I want to
dedicate this book to my husband and my boys. You have loved and
supported me; tolerated the stress and the late hours, helped
around the house, at events, and with your opinions. Without your
love and support I could never do what I do. I know it isn’t always
easy, but it has always been worth it. I love you.
Welcome to my home, Mr.
Yarbrough,” Clear offered her hand to the handsome British man
standing outside her door. As she took in his dress slacks,
wine-red dress shirt sans tie, and the black sports coat; she
mentally thanked Anne for recommending the yellow summer dress, and
classy white strappy heels. She had originally planned to dress in
her usual jeans and tank top. It seemed practical enough to her.
After all, she was a rancher, not a debutant. Yet as she watched
the man look her up and down and smile appreciatively, Anne’s words
came back to her.
The British have
expectations. If you aren’t a thoroughbred, how can you sell them?’
The comment had seemed absurd yesterday, but under the meticulous
gaze of her guest, Clear could see how right Anne was.
Please, come in and have
Thank you Ms. Angel.” He
walked elegantly through her foyer, scrutinizing everything. “You
have a lovely home,” he nodded approvingly.
She smiled at him as they entered the
living room. “Would you care for a drink?” she asked politely. He
nodded as he carefully propped himself on the couch as if posing
for a modeling shot. Clear had to turn quickly to keep from
laughing aloud, and to hide the smirk on her face.
Yes, a dry sherry would
be nice,” Mr. Yarborough acquiesced.
As Clear prepared the drinks, she was
once again grateful for Anne’s tutelage. Six months ago she had
known almost nothing of wines and liquors. Anne had instructed her
thoroughly in the finer points of entertaining in her preparation
to front the ranch.
They were both pleased with the
results. Clear was mostly pleased that fronting the ranch kept her
busy enough to avoid thinking about a certain detective. Anne was
pleased because Clear had been an adept learner and with her
softer, more refined image the price of her horse stock had nearly
doubled. It was all in the packaging, as Anne said. The horses
hadn’t changed, but Clear’s refinement had brought in a whole new
market. Posh businessmen were more impressed with Clear after her
lessons than they could have ever been with Clear’s foreman. It was
a shame, really. Her foreman was an expert on horses; but these
wealthy people only saw a rough old cowboy and could not appreciate
his wisdom, as Clear could.
Clear brought her attention back to
this particular wealthy client as she carefully offered him the dry
sherry. “So, did you enjoy the afternoon?”
The man accepted the proffered drink
and sipped, to test the quality. Then smiling, he leaned back in
the chair. “You have a wonderful ranch. The horses….” he eyed her
again, “are magnificent creatures. Some of the best breeding I’ve
seen, actually. I’m particularly interested in one or two
specifically trained by you.”
Clear smiled. “Well, I’m flattered,
but I only train two or three a year and the two I am currently
working on are already spoken for,” she informed him.
That is a shame,” Mr.
Clear was surprised at how quickly
things had moved on to business, but was also rather pleased. Most
of these types of clients preferred to socialize for hours before
even beginning to discuss business. However, the frown on Mr.
Yarbrough’s face was not a good sign.
I assure you that Mr.
Smith, my foreman, is an excellent trainer. I wouldn’t trust such
fine stock with someone who was not,” she smiled warmly.
Mr. Smith, yes,” Mr.
Yarbrough rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “He is an… interesting man.
Quite good with the animals, I am sure, but… he lacks a
Snobbery’, Clear thought,
but when she spoke it was all sweetness and naiveté, “He is an
excellent trainer. He taught me everything I know.” ‘Well, almost
everything,’ she silently amended, then added in a conciliatory
tone; “However, if you are willing to wait, I can promise you two
of my horses that I train next year.”
I had hoped to leave with
one today.” The man sighed somberly, and Clear realized that he was
working her. Every movement, sound and word from this man was well
planned and precise.
Clear held her patience. “I’m afraid
that would be impossible, the horses I am currently training would
not be ready for another two months anyway. If you truly want a
horse today, one of the ones Mr. Smith showed you, perhaps? That
could easily be arranged, but all others are still in training at
The man smiled at her as if he had her
right where he wanted her. He opened his mouth to speak, but
anything he had been about to say was drowned out by a terrible
banging at the front door.
Clear was as startled as Mr.
Yarbrough. For a split second she sat gaping like a fish at the
racket coming from her front door. Who the hell would dare come
banging at her door at this hour? As Mr. Yarbrough turned a
questioning eye on her, she slammed her mouth closed so quickly her
jaws clicked and she winced. She tried to smile as she leapt
I am… so sorry, I can’t
imagine who that could be!” Trying not to trip in the stupid
strappy heels, she faltered as she rushed down the hall. She was
not having any trouble imagining what she was going to do to
whatever idiot was banging on her door and ruining her deal!
Throwing open the heavy front door, Clear was ready to let fly an
absolute tirade. She stopped and stood in shock at the sight before
Grant was pacing maniacally at her
front door. He was turned away from her and when she opened the
door he turned on her. For a moment her breath was taken away. His
dark hair was curling about his head like a halo, wet from the
rain. Rivulets ran down his cheeks and glistened on his jaw like
Lost in the moment, she suddenly
became very angry with herself that she could so easily be swept
back up, then the anger turned on him. How dare he show up here
like this after they hadn’t talked in months?! Not a phone call,
not a letter, not a chance meeting in town, nothing!
What the hell are you
doing here!” she growled, trying to ignore the shock and pain in
his deep blue eyes.
I need your help!” he
demanded hoarsely, a defensive look flickering across his handsome
features. He looked her up and down, noting the summer dress and
heels with a look of surprise. “Am I interrupting
As a matter of fact you
are!” she snapped. “I am in the middle of….” as she tried to think
what to say, Mr. Yarbrough came to the foyer.
Is everything alright?”
He eyed Grant up and down. Clear couldn’t help a stab of
satisfaction as Grant glowered, doing the same to Mr. Yarborough.
Whatever this looked like, Grant wasn’t very happy.
Everything is fine,”
Clear assured with a smile. “I’ll be right back in.” Mr. Yarbrough
looked uncertainly at Grant again. He hovered for a moment before
returning to the living room.
I didn’t mean to
interrupt anything important, but as I said, I need your help. It’s
Clear scowled at him. “Lieutenant
Anderson, unless you are interested in buying horses, there is
nothing for us to discuss.” She began to close the door, when
suddenly he was blocking the doorway, preventing her from closing
Please,” his eyes pled
even more than his voice.
Now is not a good time.
I’m not doing
anymore! I know you’ve talked to Anne.” She tried to move him
by closing the door on him.
Clear!” his voice broke,
“It’s my daughter…. She’s missing… I’ve tried every other resource…
please.” She realized that not all of the rivulets running down his
face were from the rain.
She let go of the door. “What… what
happened?” she asked tentatively.
I don’t know, but she’s
been missing for three days…”
Clear groaned inwardly. How could she
possibly refuse this? “Come in… go in the library. I’ll be there in
a minute.” She pushed him into the library then rushed back down
the hall. Mr. Yarbrough was standing uncertainly in the middle of
the living room. He had obviously been listening, although she
wasn’t sure how much he had even heard.
Is everything alright?”
he asked again.
Actually I’m afraid it
isn’t. My friend has a family emergency that I really must attend
to. I am truly sorry, but I’m sure you understand. Perhaps we can
re-schedule this meeting for a late brunch tomorrow?”
Mr. Yarbrough shrugged nonchalantly.
“Very well, I am sorry about your friend’s troubles. How about ten
That should be fine,”
Clear agreed, handing him his coat as she ushered him out the
I look forward to
He barely got the words out of his
mouth before Clear had closed the door on him. She leaned against
the door a moment trying to collect her thoughts and feelings. Just
thinking about talking to Grant made her feel weak in the knees and
sick in her heart.
She shook her head trying to be
strong, opened the library door, and found Grant crouched on the
floor, leaning against the wall crying.
Her heart collapsed and she ran to him
and hugged him. He cried and talked and she cried and held him and
they held each other and cried themselves to sleep.