Authors: Erin Ashley Tanner
Erin Ashley Tanner
Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
To Leanne S. You have believed in my talent since the first time we connected. As I pursued my dream of becoming a published author you have been there to lend me your support, the benefit of your guidance and wisdom, but most of all your friendship. None of this ever would have happened without having you in my corner. Thanks Leanne.
To Monica M. You were my very first beta reader and at times when I had second thoughts about some of the things I’d written you were there to give me a swift kick in the butt and remind me it was already fabulous. Thanks Monica.
GODDESS OF LEGEND
Demi-God Daughters, 1
Erin Ashley Tanner
Copyright © 2013
The beeping of the fax machine roused Cameryn Elizabeth Kane out from the morning fog her brain had been under.
It is too damn early to be getting anything in.
Sipping her Cinnabon-flavored coffee slowly, she rose from her desk and walked briskly to the fax machine in the corner. Swallowing nervously she reached for the loose-leaf sheets of white paper and said a silent prayer.
Please God, not another one.
The first piece of paper was a cover sheet addressed to her from the New York Police Department. The word URGENT!!! was scrawled across the page.
Well this isn’t good.
As a private investigator, dread was a familiar presence.
She gathered the remaining papers and walked back to her desk. Sitting down and gulping a short swallow of coffee, she prepared to examine the rest of the file. The photograph in her hand made her heart jump. It was a missing child poster. The little girl was Sandy Adams. Her hair was long, thick and chestnut colored. The girl’s warm brown eyes reminded Cameryn of the cinnamon fudge brownies her mother made that she was so fond of.
Will this ever get any easier?
Cameryn’s heart sank as the girl’s doe-like eyes stared back at her. Scanning the printed description, she noted the girl was only twelve years old. 4’10”. 95 pounds.
Glancing at the photograph again, she gave a loud sigh.
Seven long years and the sadness never stops.
Setting the photograph aside, her eyes moved to the one-page police report that followed. The last time anyone had seen Sandy Adams was when she was getting off the school bus in her Falling Waters Community. The pre-teen was a straight A student, beauty pageant queen, and a member of her school’s Brain Bowl Team. Not surprisingly, the girl was also extremely popular.
Sandy Adams had already been missing for far longer than forty-eight hours. The window of time for finding her alive had already elapsed. The girl was likely dead. Cameryn continued reading. Sandy was an only child. Her parents had divorced two years ago. Her father, Brad, lived in New Jersey with a new girlfriend. Sandy lived with her mother, Donna, and stepfather, Dylan Phillips. Typical modern day blended family. Nothing suspicious screamed out at her from the file. Regardless, nothing beat the hands-on experience.
A note at the bottom of the page had today’s date and time. 9:30
AM. Cameryn looked at her watch. 8:45. The address to the Phillips’s residence was circled. The cops were going to talk to the parents, and they wanted her there. Thank goodness she’d learned to understand cop shorthand years ago. Grabbing the small file, her keys and jacket, she quickly left her office. She was going to be late, but for what they needed her to do, timing didn’t matter. On her way to the door, she waved at her Case Manager, Kim Savant, who was taking a call. Already Cameryn was longing for just a few more minutes to enjoy her coffee.
Jamming her thumb against the elevator button she waited patiently. A tall white haired Caucasian male gave her an offended glare. From the well-tailored suit he was wearing, she surmised he was probably a partner at one of the law firms on the same floor.
Damn stuffed shirt.
And to think I actually wanted to be one of those guys.
Cameryn entered the elevator as the doors opened. While the vehicle descended to the underground parking garage, she thought about her young foolish dream of becoming an attorney. Her father, Dean, was a corporate attorney who loved Nancy Grace. In his eyes the woman could do no wrong. Thinking to please her father by following him into the legal world, she’d decided she wanted to be a Federal Prosecutor just like Nancy Grace. Unlocking her Hummer and climbing inside Cameryn couldn’t help but laugh.
Cameryn typed the address of the Phillips residence into her GPS, before the SUV roared out of the parking garage. Fate was fickle and had decided she was meant to do something else besides sitting inside a cold courtroom. Even now it amazed her at how innocently everything started.
had been eighteen and out for a jog on a summer morning when she had spotted a blue Furbie lying on the ground. Furbies had been all the rage back then. Curiously she’d picked it up, and her head had suddenly felt like it was splitting in two. Her eyes had leaked scalding hot tears. She had just about dropped the damn thing when she realized a young girl stood next to her holding a Furbie that was identical to the one in her hands.
had appeared to be no older than ten. Her skin had been milky white. Midnight black hair had framed her face, drawing attention to her luminous green eyes. Cameryn had been about to speak when the girl disappeared. She had been left with a sense of bewilderment and sadness so strong that she started to weep. In an effort to calm herself she had thrown the Furbie as far as she could into the surrounding trees and continued jogging. Not even a half block later, Cameryn had felt as if something was tugging deep down in her soul. Thinking she had been perhaps overheated from running in the summer heat, she’d ignored the feeling and resumed her jog. But the further she had gone, the more intense the pull had become.
, she’d stopped jogging and had begun following the invisible force that led her. A mile later she had been walking by an old, abandoned house when she’d nearly doubled over in pain. Following her gut, she’d half stumbled onto the property and spotted what appeared to be a hole in the ground that had been freshly dug and packed. Curious, she’d stepped onto the dirt. The pain in her belly had brought her to her knees. She’d gasped and tried to breathe. A minute later the pain had disappeared, and so had the feeling that had led her there. Deciding this was enough weirdness for one day, she’d quickly left the property and started the long journey back home.
A week later she
’d seen the local news. The little girl she’d seen was dead. Authorities had discovered the girl’s body in the very hole Cameryn had stood upon. Unable to control her shock, Cameryn had thrown up everything she’d eaten and then had resolved to put the incident out of her mind.
However, the experiences
hadn’t stopped. When two more people she’d “seen” turned up dead she’d realized she needed to help somehow. Anonymously calling tip lines, she’d led police to a dozen missing people. Bye–bye, law school. Hello, private eye. It all seemed like ancient history now.
Over the years her power had grown bolder and more persistent. At first, the only way she could locate anyone was by touching something they’d once owned. As her gift developed, not only was she able to locate the missing, but she could also see something that had happened to them over the course of their li
ves. On even rarer occasions all she needed was a photograph to determine where someone was. She was never sure from day to day exactly how her unnatural talent would manifest itself.
Now, Cameryn watched her GPS lead her farther into the Falling Waters Community, and prayed there would be no spirits involved today. She was not hopeful. As she drove onto the long spiral driveway, she paid sharp attention to her surroundings.
Wow! Somebody has Park Avenue money. Where are the armed guards?
Large Victorian style manors with white stone columns surrounded her. Many of the yards had intricately designed bushes and shrubs. At the farthest house on the end, Cameryn spotted two hedges cut to resemble horses.
Who in the hell would want horse bushes in their yard?
Still, she had to admit with the perfectly manicured lawns, fenced-in yards, and white washed homes, Falling Waters appeared to be the ideal place for a wealthy child to grow up.
Parking her Hummer and exiting the vehicle, she noticed the brand new patrol cars parked in the driveway.
Maybe NYPD had more money than they were letting on.
Marching up the stone stairs and ringing the doorbell, she waited while doing her best to calm her racing heart.
A weepy eyed woman opened the door. Heavy, dark circles ringed her red eyes.
“Can I help you?”
“I’m Cameryn Kane, Private Investigator. I’m here to assist law enforcement with finding Sandy Adams.”
“Bless you. I’m Donna, Sandy’s mother. Please come in,” the blonde woman said opening the door.
, ma’am,” Cameryn said, stepping inside as Donna Phillips opened the door wider.
Cameryn observed the collection of Picasso-esque paintings on the wall. With all of the funky colors and weird shapes, she had no idea what any of the paintings were supposed to represent. The strange looking feather lamp shades and decorative statutes made of needles had an eclectic taste. Judging from the patterned dress Donna Phillips was wearing, Cameryn bet Mrs. Phillips was responsible for the interior design.
Following Donna into the foyer, Cameryn saw Officers Drake and Reynolds talking to each other. She was particularly pleased to see Detective Jake Massey in the living room as well. With dark brown hair, light brown eyes, and olive skin, Jake Massey made women drool, her included.
She couldn’t help noticing the way his starched and pressed blue pants still managed to hug the curves of his ass. It didn’t hurt that his white button up shirt emphasized his very muscular physique.
, Cam. Jake is your colleague. A very delicious looking colleague, but a colleague nevertheless. Keep your panties on.
Physical looks aside, Cameryn respected Jake. Despite her admiration, sometimes she wished she could lose her fear of rejection long enough to take him to bed, but she knew she wasn’t ready to deal with the potential fallout. However, that didn’t mean she couldn’t ogle him whenever she had the chance.
He was a decorated police officer and the first member of law enforcement to ever believe in her talent. On a rare shopping day, she’d felt the invisible force tugging at her. She was led to a dumpster behind Nordstrom. She didn’t have to peek inside to know there was a dead body inside. Running back to the street, she flagged down the first cop she’d seen, Jake. Initially he had been skeptical when she’d told him about the body in the dumpster. His attitude had quickly changed when he indeed discovered a middle-aged Hispanic woman lying among the trash. Jake had looked at Cameryn with suspicion. It had taken much explaining on her part to finally convince him that she had nothing to do with the murder, especially when she’d told him about her gift. Respect had been more forthcoming when he’d discovered she was a P.I. with an impressive case record.
“Well if it isn’t my favorite necromancer,” Jake said, smiling at her warmly.
“How many times do I have to tell you, a necromancer raises the dead? I don’t do that. I just release wandering spirits.”
“Well excuse me, Ghost Whisperer. Think you can help us out?”
“I hope not, but I got a bad feeling when I stepped inside.”
“With you that’s never good. You’ve had a chance to look at the file we faxed over?”
“Yeah. So, where has most of the searching been done?” Cameryn asked.
“Around the neighborhood.”
“Not yet. Stepfather’s jumpy as hell though,” Jake said leaning close.
, he smells good. Like a fresh cup of hot chocolate.
Refocusing her attention, Cameryn took a quick measure of Dylan Phillips. His dark black hair was perfectly combed and held in place with a copious amount of gel. He wore a green turtleneck and pressed slacks. He could never be called handsome, but his face was interesting, particularly his gold-flecked hazel eyes. There was nothing about him that screamed danger, but she felt something that made her decided he needed further watching.
“Polygraphs?” Cameryn asked.
“Nope. There’s no evidence pointing in that direction, so we haven’t asked.”
“What about the biological father? How involved is he in the girl’s life?”
“He only sees his daughter on holidays and breaks from school. He wanted to fly here immediately, but the ex-wife stopped him. From what I gathered their divorce was by no means amicable.”
“What divorce ever is, Jake?”
“You’re right as usual. Come on, I’ll show you to Sandy’s room,” Jake said, motioning for Cameryn to follow him.
Cameryn followed Jake up the spiral wooden stairs to the second floor. Stopping at the second door on the left and opening it, Jake stepped aside allowing Cameryn to enter. She saw Justin Bieber posters on every wall. There was a rhinestone-studded telephone on the nightstand next to the pink-curtained canopy bed. This was definitely the room
of a “girly girl.” All the pink made Cameryn want to gag. Grabbing the gossamer pink canopy curtains and drawing them open, her gaze fell upon a plush purple dragon propped carefully on the pillows. From the faded color she could tell this was an old childhood toy. Cameryn picked up the dragon and closed her eyes. She stifled her gasp as her mind honed in on Sandy Adams.
The girl was holding the lavender dragon. Her hair was scraped into a messy ponytail
, and there was a wide smile on her face as she sang along to the radio blasting beside her. The door to the bedroom opened, and in walked Dylan Phillips. Sandy shrank against the pillows. Her grip on the dragon tightened. He walked over to her. Sandy was immobile as he snatched the dragon out of her hands. He licked his lips before bending down close to her. In an instant, Dylan Phillips was no longer himself. Red horns grew from his scalp, and his voice changed.