Title: PSYCHIC SEDUCTIONS
Author: (see list below)
Publish Date: 07.20.15
Publisher: Beachwalk Press, Inc
Category /Genre: Anthology, Short stories, Paranormal Romance
Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content
Received from: Ella Jade (in exchange for an honest review)
Goodreads link: Psychic Seductions
Date completed: 07.16.15
Description from the publisher:
Always You by Ella Jade
Aurora Mills has moved back to her hometown after a messy divorce which has left her penniless. Her friend Clara offers her a job at their family's pub, and within days Aurora runs into Clara's older brother Caleb. Aurora has always been attracted to him—there's something about him that just draws her in.
Caleb Larson has spent the past few years coming to terms with the tragic deaths of his parents and struggling with the guilt of not being able to prevent it. His gift of premonitions should have allowed him to see their future. After Aurora returns to town, whenever he's in her presence, he can sense that they have a deep connection of some type. Then he has a powerful vision from the past, and he knows there's even more to his feelings than he thought. Can these two lost souls find peace in each other's arms?
A Hint of Heaven by Nola Cross
Firefighter Jake Manley is a no-nonsense kind of guy. So when his little sister goes to see pet psychic Carrie Westfield, he lets the beautiful medium know he's got a watchful eye on her. But somehow she does seem to know more than she should, including painful secrets from his past. When the helpful spirit of his boyhood dog shows up, things get even stranger, making him question everything he thought was true. Can Jake accept that life doesn't end with death and let go of the guilt he's carried all these years? More importantly, can he let Carrie Westfield into his heart?
Cupid and Cupcakes by Jacquie Underdown
In a snowy, sleepy town is a quaint cupcake shop. People travel from miles away to visit this sugar-scented store because they think it's magical. They're not entirely wrong. But it isn't the shop, or the cupcakes it sells, that's magical…it's the owner.
Penny loves her little store, but people don't visit Cupid and Cupcakes solely for her cakes. They have an ulterior motive—they're seeking love. Penny is a matchmaker, a modern-day cupid, and she's great at it. Never wrong. Unfortunately, Penny's gift doesn't work where her own love life is concerned. That is until Jonathon reappears in her life. He's her best friend's brother, utterly wrong for her, and completely off-limits. Or is he?
Psychic Set-Up by Lacey Wolfe
During a drunken night of self-wallowing over his failed love life, Parker Evans wanders into Psychic Set-Up to see what a matchmaking psychic can do for him. But once he meets the luscious psychic he's not interested in anyone else.
Willow Webb is an aura reader who plays matchmaker for a living. While she has tremendous success matching up others, her own love life is nonexistent. Men aren't able to handle being involved with a woman who can read their every emotion. But she finds herself drawn to her handsome new client. When it comes time to match him up, will she do her job or keep him for herself?
Something in the Water by Lisa Knight
Kindergarten teacher Jill O'Halloran does her best to disregard the visions she sees in pools of still water, having learned from a young age that it wasn't something that happened to normal people. But when images of Darcy Albright in the throes of passion keep appearing, they prove too difficult to ignore. Jill can't understand why she's so drawn to Darcy. Sure he's gorgeous, but she doesn't do relationships.
When Darcy's ex-wife drops a bombshell, Jill discovers that he's all too familiar with futuristic visions. But is the prospect of learning more about the gift she's denied for so long worth the risk of falling for him?
Indigo Stars by Stephanie Beck
Indigo's ability to create light with her mind was always a fun parlor trick, but since her cancer diagnosis, the parlor has closed for business. On the brink of major health failure, she can't help but wonder when her good luck ran out.
Dr. Lee Russell believes in healing by any means necessary. He uses his psychic powers in special cases when modern medicine just can't help. Indigo's case is special. She's like him, yet she wastes her gift creating stars. He heals her, but doesn't expect much, not until he gets sick himself and only Indy's touch can ease his pain. He's never seen himself as anything more than a healer, but to save his own life, Lee will have to mentor Indigo to reach beyond the stars and use her gift in ways she never imagined.
Taming Fury by Ellen Cummins
Holly is a mind-moving Fury who electrifies all human flesh she touches. Even her own family has sent her packing. She moves things with her mind, manipulating fire with the flick of her finger, but she burns for the one thing that has never been an option for her—love.
When she catches sight of the handsome man helping her new neighbor move in she longs to take a chance and introduce herself…to pretend to be normal just once. It could easily end in disaster, but surprisingly, when she shakes his hand, no mind-blowing electrocution follows, and she begins to hope. But it turns out that her touch has affected Jacob in a way she never imagined, and it will change his life forever.
I am writing separate short reviews for each of the short stories in this anthology. Overall, it gets 5 crowns. I love the premise and the unique direction each of the authors took for the central theme. Humor, wit, and passion scream off of these pages.
Thank you, Ella Jade, for inviting me to read and enjoy all ya’alls stories. All are wonderful authors and I want to read more from each and every one.
Always You by Ella Jade – 5 crowns
I loved this sweet story of past lives and reconnection. Caleb and Aurora had me sighing at her childhood crush realized, their sizzling attraction, and comfortable companionship. I know that last one may seem odd, but when you can be comfortable with the person who also incites your lust, that’s life at its best!
A Hint of Heaven by Nola Cross – 5 crowns
Jake is a hotty (hehehe a fireman who is hot, get it?) with a heart of gold, especially when it comes to his little sister. I loved the banter between Carrie and Jake, but also the little ghosty animals. They added “a hint of heaven” to the whole story. All of us who have lost a pet hope to one day be reunited… and for some of us, it’s going to be a whole zoo.
Cupid and Cupcakes by Jacquie Underdown – 5 crowns
I love stories where it seems that Cupid has intervened and the attraction was instantaneous. I never thought about Cupid him(her)self, until now. What happens when the demi-gods must fend for themselves in a modern world? Penny (aka Cupid) thinks that her powers don’t work for her, but isn’t finding love always a matter of the right timing? You have to meet, you have to be ready to accept love, and you have to believe!
Honestly, I want more. Penny has her HEA, but what about the other demi-gods? I would love to read more stories from Jacquie Underdown. There is a lot of humor, heat, and happiness laying in the pages of this story.
Psychic Set-Up by Lacey Wolfe – 5 crowns
I was humming the song from Fiddler on the Roof by the time I finished reading this story. I loved the honest look at love and life. If you can’t laugh at yourself and with your significant other, then why would you want that person? Willow, the match-maker, wasn’t expecting her own match to walk in off the streets. I loved the hesitation they both exhibited at times in the quest for love. I also loved that they both were willing (at different times) to chase down what they knew they wanted. Then, in the end, they were both willing to hold tight – as all true loves do.
Something in the Water by Lisa Knight – 5 crowns
What started out as secrets becomes the glue that binds them together. Not because they are alike, but because they can find acceptance and understanding, together.
I thought this was a lovely contemporary romance with a strong dose of psychic power pushing them together. Jill and Darcy are made for each other and they’re attraction is steamy!
Indigo Stars by Stephanie Beck – 5 crowns
A huge sigh – Indigo must be healed by Dr. Lee in order to live, but then Dr. Lee needs Indigo for his own pain to be eased and his healing. A huge sigh as they learn to love one another, trust one another, and ultimately heal not only body but spirit as well. Then there is Dr. Lee’s assistant, Amanda… I swear the woman is a fairy godmother! We all need someone like her in our lives.
Taming Fury by Ellen Cummins – 4 crowns
I loved the love match in this story and the ending was amazing. Unfortunately, there was some plot holes that I had to just accept and move past. Holly and Jacob are perfect for each other, gifting each other with so much more than love.
Grammar/editing: ungraded – book received as an unedited ARC / errors excused
The authors of the Psychic Seductions Anthology are giving away $20 Amazon Gift Cards to celebrate the release of this spectacular collection.
"I was thinking Friday. Perhaps we could go to dinner?" Caleb said.
"Like a date?" Aurora hadn't been this excited since… Well, she couldn't exactly remember when she'd had something to be excited about. Except the other night when she had seen Caleb for the first time in years.
"We can call it whatever you want."
"Date works." I can't believe this! We're going on a date.
"Okay." He flashed his perfect smile, and she wondered what he thought of her. Did he find her amusing?
"Cool." She kissed his cheek, lingering for a second before pulling away. "Thanks for the ride home."
She turned to make her escape so she couldn't do something embarrassing. He might already think the kiss was too forward, but she couldn't seem to help herself. It was impulsive, but worth it to have her lips on him, even if for a fleeting moment.
"Wait." He took her hand, keeping her in the car.
She shifted her position so she was facing him again.
"I think we can do better than that." He leaned into her, taking her face between his hands, licking his lips as he focused on hers.
He's going to kiss me. Like really kiss me!
"Not that your kiss wasn't sweet, but…" He brushed his mouth along her jaw, slowly working his way to her lips. "Can I kiss you, Aurora?"
"Yeah." She'd waited years for a proper kiss from him. "Anyway you want."
"Like this," he spoke against her lips. "Slow, so I can savor you."
"Hmm…" She shivered as his words vibrated into her mouth. Maybe she wasn't just amusing to him. Maybe he could see her as a woman capable of being with him.
He tilted her face to the side, kissing her. Tender at first, but then, as he deepened their connection, so did the intensity. She tingled in places she hadn't felt anything in for so long. The fire in her belly spread lower until she had to squeeze her thighs together in an attempt to create some friction there to ease the warm ache.
Releasing her, he smoothed out her hair as he placed soft kisses across her lips. The heat of his mouth left an impression on hers. She darted her tongue out and ran it along her lips, tasting him, needing to remember everything about their first kiss. The one she had dreamed about for so long. The kiss she never thought she'd get to experience except in her wildest fantasies. It was totally worth the wait.
"Good night, Aurora," he whispered. "You've given me much to ponder."
"Don't think too hard." She reached for the door handle. "That always tends to screw things up."
"That's probably some of the best advice I've ever received."
"Who would have thought I could come up with something so useful?"
"I have a feeling you're very useful."
A Hint of Heaven Excerpt:
The man stopped in the street and looked straight at her house, then came around to the sidewalk and started up her flagstone path, his arms swinging as if he were on a mission from God.
Damn it! The last thing I need this morning is a verbal duel with another church missionary. Members of the local congregation had been stopping by at least once a week for the last few months, leaving their tracts and interrupting her mornings with their unflagging efforts at converting her. Apparently the church believed psychics of any kind were doomed to eternal damnation, and pet psychics were especially damned.
Determined to nip this visit in the bud, Carrie went to the front door and pulled it open as the man neared the steps to her porch.
"Good morning," she said in a firm voice. "You might as well turn around right now. I don't have time to talk with you today." She crossed her arms over her chest and gave the man her best steely-eyed glare.
He froze mid-stride, his handsome face a study in surprise.
Oh my. This evangelist was far-and-away the best looking one to show up on her doorstep. His dark hair was shorter than she normally preferred, but his eyes were the color of cognac, his jaw nicely chiseled, his neck and shoulders as burly as a Clydesdale's. The local congregation must finally be sending in the big guns in an all-out effort to save her soul.
"What?" His nostrils flared self-righteously. She didn't remember the other missionaries ever scowling like that.
"I said you'll have to leave. I have clients coming shortly."
"That's exactly what I'm here to talk to you about, Miss Westfield. You are Carrie Westfield, aren't you?"
The man had recovered his aplomb and was now mirroring her defensive stance. Between the meaty arms resting against his massive chest and his remarkable height, he made quite an imposing figure. Carrie's heart skipped a beat.
"You know darn well who I am. You folks have been harassing me long enough."
Another puzzled look flashed across his face, but he quickly regained his composure. Taking three long strides, he arrived on her top stair, just a foot or two from where she stood. The guy was so big and scary Carrie couldn't help but take a quick step backward.
"Listen, Miss, I don't know who you think I am, but I haven't even begun to harass you yet."
Was that a threat? Carrie felt a tingle of real alarm as the man narrowed his eyes and shoved a blunt finger into her face.
"I'm here to give you fair warning. My sister Brenda may be gullible, but I'm no fool. I'll be keeping my eye on you today."
"Brenda? My ten o'clock client?"
"That's right. She's so torn up over the death of her dog—"
"Yeah, that's right. And don't pretend you got his name by using your supposed psychic powers."
Cupid and Cupcakes Excerpt:
Penny had started up the hall to her room when the bathroom door opened and plumes of steam rolled out, followed by Jonathon. Dressed only in a towel. She stopped dead in her tracks. His hair was wet and hanging loosely around his ears and neck. Goodness, Jonathon had definitely grown up. His skin was tanned and taut; the muscles in his chest, arms, and shoulders thieved her attention. The way his towel hung loosely on his hips, barely covering what was hidden underneath, made her heart beat faster. He was…hot. Jonathon was hot. This couldn't be right.
Whoa, back up, Penny. You cannot be perving on your best friend's brother. That had to cross a billion best friend boundaries. Uncrossable boundaries. This was Jonathon. Ratty, bratty, sexy-as-hell Jonathon.
She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths.
"Everything okay, Pen?" came his deep voice. Deeper than she remembered it being. It sizzled through her veins, igniting her insides. Her belly squeezed just hearing his voice.
Penny opened her eyes and made certain she looked only at his face. Not at that delectable body. If the front of him was that good, she could only imagine what his back and ass…oh dear God. She couldn't help but look—he was so strong and toned.
Eyes, Penny, his eyes. She forced her gaze to find his face again and swallowed hard. "Absolutely fine. Just a dizzy spell. I think I'm tired."
He strode to her, reached out, and held her elbow. She tried not to breathe in the scent of bubbles and clean, male flesh, or revel in the warmth pouring from him, coaxing her own skin.
"You sure? You look a little pale."
Penny forced a smile. "I'm fine. Once I get out of these clothes and into something more comfortable…" Oh, dear, did I seriously just say that? Now she was picturing herself naked and Jonathon naked. Both naked…together. Breathe, Penny, breathe. "I mean, I smell like my cupcake shop still…"
He grinned. "You smell delicious."
Her eyes widened.
"When am I going to get to try one of your cupcakes?"
Was that a euphemism? Of course not. He was being completely literal here. She blinked and watched a droplet of water run down the side of his face, down his stubbled, square jaw. Talk, Penny. "Um…tomorrow. Come downstairs tomorrow and I'll give you a taste…of, um, my cupcake." She shook her head. "I mean, a cupcake."
He nodded and grinned again, those flashing dimples carving lines in his cheeks. "Look forward to it." He released her elbow and headed to his room.
Psychic Set-Up Excerpt:
The door to Willow's home opened and she greeted him with a smile. Parker's gaze traveled over her body, taking in the turquoise dress she wore. It cinched in tightly at her waist, but was loose everywhere else. He itched to peel it off. He was addicted to this woman, and her kiss had put a spell on him. Yet she had no idea.
"What brings you by?" Willow asked. "Did you get a chance to look at Brandy's profile?"
He followed her in. "She's not right for me."
She stopped and turned to him, then pointed at a chair in the living room. "Can I get you coffee?"
She sat in what looked like her usual spot with all the things around it. "How come you didn't like Brandy?"
She wasn't you, but he wasn't about to say that. "I don't like the name."
She raised an eyebrow. "I never thought you would be someone who judged a person by their name. Any other names you dislike?"
"It isn't really about the name. Look, I'm not cashing the check you sent. I asked you to find me a woman, and you did."
She lifted her mug. "Not one you like yet."
She froze a moment then lowered the mug. "Parker, I'm not an option."
"I don't date."
She groaned. "I just don't. Could you imagine being my boyfriend?"
He could. As he glanced around her tiny space, he could see them making breakfast together in the kitchen on Saturday mornings. Spending Friday nights on the couch, cuddled up together watching their weekly shows off the DVR.
"And how frustrating it would be for me to see your aura. You'd never be able to hide anything from me," she added.
"I have nothing to hide. I'm an open book. That's how relationships are supposed to be."
"Plus." She rubbed her thighs. "You just got out of a relationship. I don't want to be your rebound girl."
Since meeting Willow, his ex and friend were a thing of the past. It felt like it happened years ago, not two weeks ago. That's what she did for him—healed his heart. "You wouldn't be. I don't even believe in rebound stuff. I believe in fate, and I would think you do too."
She clasped her hands together. "Yes, fate is something I believe in."
"All right then. I believe I walked into your shop to meet you."
"Parker, you can't say things like that to me."
She rubbed her forehead. "Because I can't handle it. I've not been with a man in years. A relationship even longer. No one has shown any interest in me, until you."
Something in the Water Excerpt:
Stifling a yawn, Jill reached for the glass on her desk, conscious of keeping up her fluids in this hot weather. Her heart skipped a beat when Darcy's face reflected back from the water. He looked calm and relaxed, with a half-smile on his handsome mouth. In fact, it looked a little like he was… Oh dear God! She sat up stiffly in her seat, cheeks flaming with heat as her gaze darted over the room, desperately hoping nobody saw what she'd just witnessed. But of course no one had. She was the only person strange enough to see visions in water.
It had begun when she was about five or six years old. Pictures had started to appear in the bath, or in puddles left after rain. She hadn't known what it was at first, but it had never occurred to her to be frightened. That didn't come until later, when she told the foster parents who were caring for her at the time.
Jill had quickly learned that other people didn't think it was normal to see visions in pools of water. They thought it made her weird and was something that had to be beaten out of her…regularly. As she grew older and moved from foster home to foster home, she'd learned to keep her mouth firmly shut. Even once she'd found a safe place to live, with people who seemed to care about her, she never told another soul about her ability.
There wasn't all that much to tell anyway. It came in waves. She'd see glimpses of things for a few weeks or months, and then nothing for long stretches of time. It had been over a year since her last vision. Right around the time she'd got the job at Northwoods Elementary.
The thing was that every image she'd ever seen had ended up a reality, resulting in some kind of change in her life. The social worker who came to the door when she was eight to take her to a new home, her best friend Karen who she met on the first day of high school, the mailman who delivered her offer of a college scholarship, various school principals offering her teaching jobs. And today, Darcy Albright, on the verge of an orgasm.
At least she thought that's what it was. Her visions were always brief and not entirely clear. Mostly they were just people's faces, although sometimes she too appeared in the image. But what the hell did she know about men's orgasms? Maybe he'd been about to sneeze.
Indigo Stars Excerpt:
He strode in, the darkened hospital room dim and calm.
"Not squeaky shoes," the tiny lump on the bed said. "Must be a doctor. What is the difference, do you suppose?"
"Dress shoes. When I worked in the ER, I squeaked like a nurse, but no longer have that distinction. I'm Doctor Lee Russell. Tell me about your last six months." He pulled up her computer file with treatment log.
"Well, I drank too much in Brazil and started tossing my cookies and couldn't stop. Since being admitted, I've had radiation and chemo for stomach cancer. It's spreading at a rate so alarming, my doctor stopped giving me numbers."
"I don't blame him." Lee winced at the rapid growth pattern before him. "Damn. How are you feeling?"
"Thanks to Nurse Amanda, I'm as close to okay as I've been since I got sick, but even after everything, including the morphine, I'm at about a four right now."
"By four, I'm sure you mean a seven on a normal person's scale." Lee pulled the stool to the side of the bed. "Let's take a listen."
"Whoa, you're huge. Or are you a reasonable size, and you just seem big because I'm small?" Indy adjusted on the bed, her generic hospital gown not Amanda's style, but then, Amanda usually dealt with kids. "I know you."
He tucked his stethoscope prongs in his ears and pressed the scope to her belly through the gown. "I'm six foot four—perfectly reasonable. Where do you think you know me from?"
He didn't need the device to see, but it gave an action to his method. The scans he'd seen only represented part of the picture. The strands of cancer and tumors intertwined with Indy's muscles and veins, explaining the pain. Every breath strained the already hurt muscles, and every heartbeat inflamed the veins. Cutting it out meant cutting everything.
"Yeah. You were in Panama at the thing. You guys are so tall."
"Panama?" He looked away from her stomach and straight at her face. "You."
She grinned. "Surprise! We were never properly introduced at the Headcase Convention. I'm Indigo Bravo."
"You stole my cab." He looped his stethoscope around his neck, fishing for more memories of the young woman before him. "And if my memory is correct, you stole a few wallets and maybe an identity?"
She rolled her eyes. "Always with the exaggerations."
Taming Fury Excerpt:
Still walking forward, Holly closed her eyes and reached for the damp motes of dust from the earth, gathering them in her fist while static electricity buzzed inside her gut. A tiny electric current snaked the length of her arm, starting from the back of her neck. The tug rolled from her fingers to the empty beer can on the ground near a small garbage can on the sidewalk. Up, she willed. Reaching, she willed it to rise, sure that no one would see this small thing. It slowly lifted a few inches above the ground and hovered. She swished her hand, slamming the aluminum can into the trash. Her mind was a powerful thing. And this one tiny action would suffice for now.
She burst through the door of the building, adrenaline fueling her courage. Mr. Perfect snapped his head up from his paperwork at the sound of the door slamming against the wall.
"Hi." He swallowed, taking her curves in with his eyes. "How may I help you?"
The urge to surge had subsided. But the need to know this man had not. She stared at his chiseled cheekbones, strong jaw, and molten brown eyes from across the room. If she got too close, he'd be repelled by her like the opposite end of a magnet. To push this perfect stranger away would kill her. But the loneliness had to stop.
"My name is Holly. And you are…" She waited, pursing her lips together to hold back the thoughts that wanted to tumble out of her mouth. Please don't run from me.
"I'm Jacob." He smiled and started toward her with his hand out to shake hers.
"Stop," she ordered.
He stopped. Confused, his brows lifted.
"Please don't come any closer." She placed her hand on her throat. "I have a little virus…nothing too terrible, but I may be contagious." She removed her hood and adjusted her collar that was beginning to cut off her air supply. "How do I go about signing up for some personal training?"
"Well, Holly." He smiled widely. "Personal training requires some up-close and personal contact, and if I have to stay seven arms' lengths away…" He took another step toward her. "May I? I'm not afraid of a few germs."
She cringed and stepped back. Her courage was fading fast.