childhood, you set a few fires, spent some time in a special school for troubled teens, and you currently live a double life that has a secret side involving the underground hot-books market. You have zapped at least one individual with your talent, and I’m betting there have been others.”
Alarm flashed through her. “What makes you say that?”
Sam gave her a wicked smile. “Because you admitted you knew you could take down the intruder before you confronted him. That implies some prior experience, or at least a little practice.”
She swallowed hard. “Okay, there may have been a couple of other similar incidents, but I can explain all of them, really. One involved the owner of the bookstore that I accidentally burned down, and there was this creepy assistant professor in college who wanted to run experiments on me and tried to rape me when I refused. And a couple of years ago, a client became obsessed with me, but…”
Sam held up one hand, palm out. “No need to explain, Abby Radwell. You are my kind of client. I’ll take the job.”
NOT JUST MY KIND OF CLIENT SAM THOUGHT. MY KIND OF
He watched from the dock until Dixon piloted the water taxi with Abby on board out of the harbor and out of sight beyond a cluster of small islets.
He was still feeling the rush when he climbed back into the SUV and started along the narrow winding road to the Copper Beach house. He flexed his hands and took a tighter grip on the steering wheel. Stirred by the energy that was still splashing through him, the Phoenix stone in his ring burned with a low, deep fire. He could not remember the last time he had responded to a woman this way.
Abby Radwell had hit his senses like sizzling, sparking, flashing heat lightning produced by some exotic, unknown crystal, one with incredible properties that he could not wait to investigate, that he was
to investigate. It was not curiosity or even just physical desire that energized him now, although desire was definitely a big factor inthe mix. There was something else going on. Whatever it was, he had a hunch the prowling, hungry awareness was going to keep him awake tonight. Fine by him. It beat the hell out of the recurring dream that had plagued him for the past six months.
When he walked back into the big house, he discovered that a strange silence, a sense of emptiness, had settled on the old place. It was not the kind of silence that was associated with the lack of sound. The stone walls echoed, as they always did, with his footsteps. The thick oak floors creaked in places. The refrigerator hummed faintly in the kitchen.
But there was something different about the atmosphere now. It was as if an invisible hand had hit the paranormal mute button after Abby departed.
He went downstairs into the lab, cranked back in the chair and stacked his heels on the corner of the desk. He steepled his fingers and thought about his new client.
He summoned a mental image first, concentrating on what it was about her that had fascinated him. It was not any single aspect of her appearance, he decided. Warm copper and gold glowed in the depths of her auburn hair, which formed a vibrant cloud of curls around an animated, fascinating, intelligent but not classically beautiful face. Eyes the color of dark amber tilted slightly upward at the outer corners. There was a firmly etched nose and a soft, sensitive mouth to go with the eyes.
She was not tall, no more than five-foot-four at most, but what there was of her was curvy and feminine and healthy-looking in all the right places. She carried herself with the self-confidence of a woman who was accustomed to dealing with her own problems, a woman who was capable of handling a lot of talent. An aura of energy and power brightened the atmosphere around her.
After a while he took out his phone and hit a familiar code. His father picked up halfway through the