by Donna Del Oro
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GENRE: romantic suspense w/ESP elements
What if you could read minds with just a touch? Would you be able to trust anyone?
Athena Butler, the twenty-year-old descendant of an ancient bloodline of psychics, yearns to lead a normal life. She wants a career, a boyfriend, independence. Her clairvoyant gift, however, has taught her that people can be false and dangerous. Although warned to keep her powers a secret, she’s recruited by law enforcement to help search for a serial killer and uncover a terrorist cell.
She bonds with an intriguing, handsome man, Kas Skoros, who knows her secret and accepts it. Of the same bloodline, his mother is precognitive and predicts that they are meant to be together…some day. Kas, military veteran and Search and Rescue deputy, is skeptical and cynical– life is too uncertain–but can’t resist exploring his passion for Athena. Yet there are obstacles beyond their control.
Can Kas overcome these obstacles? Can Athena stay alive long enough to fulfill her dream?
Kas pointed at one of these gravel paths that led through a thicket of oak trees. He seemed to observe how Spartacus was glued to Athena’s side, his tongue flopping out happily, and his tail wagging excitedly.
“We’re pals,” she said.
Kas led her down the back terrace steps to the gravel path behind a row of shrubs surrounding the pool and patio. They’d have to cross twenty acres—about a half-mile, Kas said—to the family’s boat dock.
“I know,” she said, “Alex already took us out in the boat.”
Kas gazed at her with a speculative look. “Women like Alex. He’s the family charmer. Guess he stole your heart, too.”
“Hardly. I’ve grown wary of men who’re too charming.” Athena smiled, bent over and rubbed behind the German shepherd’s pointed black ears until he almost purred with pleasure. Kas looked surprised.
“He usually takes a long time to warm up to people.”
Athena scratched under the German shepherd’s long jaw. “Like his master, I suppose. We became friends yesterday during the ski boat ride. Spartacus told me a lot about you and how he feels about you. You’re his sun and moon, his alpha and omega. He showed me all the things you do together.”
Kas halted on the path. “You read my dog’s mind?”
She didn’t mean for her tone to be so defensive, but out it came. “Well, yeah. It’s what I do. I was holding him in the boat. He doesn’t think in words, of course, but the visual imagery and feelings were there.”
He shot her a crooked smile, then slapped a palm against his thigh, a signal for Spartacus to heel at his side. The dog looked over at his master, back at Athena, gave a whine, and reluctantly moved away from her.
He mock-growled at his dog, which caused Spartacus to perk up his ears. Something was going on with these two-legged humans but the dog didn’t know what.
“That’s for being a traitor, boy. Telling this girl our secrets.”
Athena grinned. “Don’t worry, he didn’t reveal secrets about any of your girlfriends. I don’t think Spartacus knows or cares about that.”
“C’mon, boy.” Kas beckoned as Spartacus rubbed his fur against his master’s leg.
“You’re something else, Athena,” he added, “You’re here three days, and already stealing my dog. But you don’t want Alex? Most women I see hate my dog but crush on Alex. You’re a strange one.”
She almost tripped. Somehow his words both pleased and stung her. “Strange, huh? Well, I don’t think I want to be friends with you after all.”
He snorted but kept on walking, leading her down the path. “No danger of that happening. I don’t make friends with tall, pretty blondes, especially if they have ESP.”
He thinks I’m pretty. That thought unsettled her more than she wanted to admit.
“Because of your mother’s precog dream? She saw you ending up with a tall blonde?”
“Maybe. She said the tall blonde would have the gifts of the ancient Greek priestesses. That kind of narrows it down, doesn’t it? But hell, no one tells me what my future’s going to be, not even my own mother.” He stopped and fixed his gaze on her face. “Anyway, by strange I meant unique, special. What you, your mother, my mother have—this bloodline of females is extraordinary. You need to be protected.” He looked away and continued walking. “Alex and I do what we can for Mom. We guard her secret. We don’t let the outside world exploit her. Your mother has her husband. I suppose you’ll have to find a protector, too.” Kas looked down at Spartacus, who was trotting alongside. Athena heard his implied message: Don’t expect me to be him.
“Yes,” she said, her chin up, “perhaps. Right now I can protect myself.”
Donna Del Oro lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats. She taught high school and community college English classes for 30+ years and is now happily retired. When not writing novels or reading voraciously, she travels and sings with the medal winning Sacramento Valley Chorus.
Donna is a member of Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime in addition to the Valleyrose chapter of the RWA. She has judged RITA entries and does developmental editing on the side. Two of her novels, Operation Familia and Born To Sing, have won national and international awards.
Follow clairvoyant artist Athena Butler in the next book in The Delphi Bloodline series: ATHENA’S QUEST.
Donna Del Oro will be awarding a print copy of Operation Familia or Born to Sing, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.