Cut Scene from Enchanted Again
But this is the scene I teased you with yesterday, those who have the book will note that I did keep a paragraph or two in the current book:
"This is such a stupid idea," Rafe said, getting out of the car parked before a modest condo, knowing his words would change nothing. Conrad was obsessed. It had been barely twenty-four hours since his wife and child disappeared and the man was taking odd steps to break his own curse, as if were real – as if that would bring Marta and Dougie back.
Conrad had mentioned the curse that Rafe’s family supposedly suffered under – the first son dying before his thirty-third birthday. Rafe cared less about the gray cloud that seemed to drape around them than his friend’s peace of mind.
Now that it was confirmed that Marta and Geoff had fled the country to Eastern Europe, Conrad’s attorneys were outraged, the Court was offended, and Marta’s attorneys were...quiet.
Rafe was sure that visiting a psychic was bullshit.
He must have muttered the word because Conrad glanced at him, said stiffly. "She’s the real deal. A true Romani gypsy psychic. I promise you. I got her name a while back."
Conrad had always believed more in the damn "curses" than Rafe. Enough to research them a little, visit a psychic or three, line up experts "just in case." Rafe had ignored his friend’s quirk then. Now it was a real pain in the ass, more, Rafe was worried that some wacko would latch onto Conrad’s hurt and fear and milk it for all he was worth. Which was considerably less than it had been since Marta had wanted a lump sum settlement and Conrad had paid it.
But Conrad still had enough millions to attract leeches of the worst sort.
From the stoop of the house, Conrad turned and looked at Rafe. "I’ll know if the woman’s a fake. I always know."
Rafe believed that, also. Reluctantly he joined his friend.
"There’s a certain something about a woman with psi." His mouth twisted. "Marta had it, a strong gift."
That Rafe hadn’t known.
Conrad knocked and the door, opened. The woman’s welcoming smile dropped as she sucked in an audible breath, made quick gestures with her hands. Conrad started to step in and she shouted, "No!" He retreated.
"You did not tell me you were cursed." Another sucked breath. "And two of you! I want no cursed ones in my house. You stay there. Our appointment is canceled."
Her gaze met Rafe’s and her lips peeled back from her teeth on a third hissing inhalation. "Two cursed. One death curse. Already dead."
But she was shaking her head, slamming the door.
Conrad pounded on the door. "I paid good money. Good faith money," he shouted.
"Online. I paid, you accepted. There’s already a bond between us."
"Quit yelling!" the woman cried from beyond the door. "One moment. I’ll think. I must think."
"Think fast or I’m calling the fraud squad," Conrad said. "I don’t have any damn pride left, don’t care if people think I’m stupid for being bilked by a fake Romani psychic. Your name and address will be all over the net. No confidentiality agreement now."
"You’d do it, too," Rafe said.
"Oh, yeah." Conrad jammed his hands in his pockets, paced back and forth on the stoop. He glared at the door. "She’s a good psychic all right." His nose twitched. "I can smell the magic on her."
"Magic? Did you say magic?"
"Power, psi talent, you know," Conrad said.
But Rafe didn’t think he meant the correction. He looked at the car, wanting to be in British Columbia snowboarding – anywhere doing anything – other than here.
"Here," the woman said. Her voice was heavily accented now with a cadence Rafe couldn’t place. Romani, apparently. The door cracked open the inch that the three chains on it allowed. A flimsy piece of paper was shoved toward them.
"What’s that?" asked Conrad.
"What?" he grabbed the slip as if it had a magic spell, looked down.
"Name of a cursebreaker. Only one I know. Go, now."
"A cursebreaker," Conrad whispered. "I didn’t know–"
"I would not have given you her name, but I have taken money and must give you good value."
"Right," Conrad said, curling his fingers over the paper.
"There are all kinds of talent." The woman was but a still shadow, showing nothing of herself through the door opening. "You have some. The woman you stink of, more. And the dead one there, more than both of you together, if he lived long enough. Why he was cursed."
"Tell me–" Conrad began.
"Go. Now. Never come back. He who cursed the dead one’s line still lives and still marks him. And that one’s master...No, no, I say too much." The door slammed shut, but not before Rafe heard the psychic mutter, "I must leave. Pack and go today."
Rafe stared at his friend, who was grinning fiercely, fisted hand holding the slip pumping in triumph. "A cursebreaker, yes!"
"Uh-huh, " Rafe said.
"She’s here in Denver."
"No. I am not going with you."
Emotions flickered over Conrad’s face. "You’re a good friend, Rafe. And you’re in trouble." Conrad opened his fingers and looked at the info on it again, Rafe knew he was memorizing it. He tucked the slip in Rafe’s jacket pocket. "We’ll do some research on the cursebreaker before we see her. But we’ve got to use her." Conrad’s deep blue stare met Rafe’s. "I didn’t like her calling you ‘the dead one.’"
Rafe didn’t either.