All the Wounds in Shadow
The Healing Edge
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Diversion Publishing
Date of Publication: August 23, 2016
Number of pages: 240
Word Count: 81,645
For fans of Karen Robards and Shiloh Walker, Anise Eden brings us the mesmerizing sequel to her paranormal romantic suspense novel All the Broken Places.
Cate's enemies aren't just surrounding her―they're inside her head.
Therapist Cate Duncan has just accepted a job with the MacGregor Group, a unique collective of alternative healers. She’s excited by the prospect of honing her empathic healing techniques among others like herself―aura readers, telepaths, crystal healers, and more. The fact that Cate just started dating Ben, her magnetic new boss, is an added bonus.
Before Cate can settle into her new routine, the poisoning of a prominent neuroscientist draws the entire MacGregor Group into both a federal investigation and an even more insidious threat. Protected by Ben’s former Marine Corps unit, Cate and her colleagues must use their alternative healing methods to solve the crime as their patient clings to life. The responsibility of discovering crucial information falls to Cate and her parapsychological powers.
But for Cate, unraveling the mystery means reopening wounds that had just begun to heal―and in the environment of the Marine Corps unit, differences between Cate and Ben become clearer, straining their budding romance. When a new crisis looms, Cate must trust in her colleagues’ gifts and the strength of Ben’s love, finding the courage to confront her deepest and most terrifying demons―or her own life will be at risk.
ALL THE WOUNDS IN SHADOW
In my dream, only the crabs’ lives were in jeopardy. Mom and I chose a spot on the pier that was shaded by a nearby oak, hoping for some relief from the humid heat. The buzzing and clicking of crickets and cicadas swelled as the summer afternoon ripened.
“Hold it perfectly still, Catie,” Mom whispered. “We want them to think it’s just a strange-looking plant.”
“I’m trying.” But after an hour, my arm ached from holding the crab net steady. “Maybe the bait isn’t rotten enough to attract them.”
Mom jiggled the string with the chicken neck tied to the end, making it dance just beneath the water’s surface. “Should I pull it out so you can check it?”
“Ew, gross!” I grimaced. “No thanks. I believe you.”
Suddenly, her whole body tensed. “Look, there’s one!”
The water was green and nearly opaque with algae. Staring down, I could just make out the ghostly limbs of a blue crab swimming up toward the bait.
“Wait until he’s really absorbed in what he’s doing and then scoop him up,” she murmured. “Not too quickly, though. You don’t want to scare him.”
“Right.” Once the crab started attacking the chicken neck, I slid the net beneath him and slowly lifted it to the surface.
“You got him!” Mom jumped to her feet. “Pull him out, and let’s have a look!”
“He feels really heavy!” We exchanged smiles of victory as I raised the dripping net up to eye level.
“Oh, no,” Mom said. “It’s beautiful, a great catch. But we have to throw it back.”
“Don’t say that!” I moaned. “Why?”
“It’s a female. It’s poisonous.”
I examined the crab. She was right: it had a full, rounded apron. With a sigh, I tossed the crab back into the water. “Females aren’t poisonous, Mom, just illegal to catch. You know that.”
“Whatever you say.” Mom walked over to the edge of the pier and turned around to face me. “I have to go now. Don’t follow me.” Before I could even grasp what she was doing, she had folded her arms across her chest, closed her eyes, and tilted her stiffened body backwards into the water.
“Mom!” I leapt forward, reaching the edge of the pier just as she hit the surface with a sharp splash. Remembering my lifeguard training, I got down on my belly, lay on the wooden planks, and thrust my arm into the water. But she was already out of reach.
I grabbed the crab net and plunged the handle down towards her, but she kept her arms folded, eyes closed. “Mom, grab the handle!” I cried out, but she kept sinking. Within seconds she was nothing more than a whitish blur.
“Don’t worry! I’m coming!” Screw lifeguard training, I thought as I kicked off my shoes and prepared to go in after her. But just as I was about to dive, something dragged me backwards by the waist.
I looked down to find a man’s arm wrapped around me—a man’s arm in a blue suit jacket. A familiar voice said, “Oh no you don’t.”
“Ben, let go of me!” I struggled to free myself from his hold. Then I realized that I was yelling out loud, awake and in bed, thrashing about and wrestling with the python of sheets tangled around me. My cell phone beeped and vibrated along the surface of the bedside table as the alarm went off. Meanwhile, my heart pounded in my throat. In my mind’s eye, all I could see was my mother sinking further and further into the river.
Goddammit, I thought, vigorously rubbing the tears from my eyes. Would my dreams ever stop transforming into nightmares—reminders that I had failed to see that my mother was in crisis, that I had failed to save her?
I strained to hear Ben bounding up the stairs to see what the yelling was about, but there was only silence. Had I only cried out in my dream? “Ben?” I called, loudly enough for him to hear me if he was awake. Still no response.
So he was still asleep. That was odd. Ben told me he’d never lost the early-riser habit he had developed in the Marine Corps. I turned off my cell phone alarm, put on my robe and slippers, and padded down the stairs. But he wasn’t on the sofa, where I’d left him the night before. In fact, he was nowhere.
I scanned the first floor of my tiny row house and found a note he’d left on the coffee table. “Had to go in early. See you at work. Bring a bag packed for a few days.”
Well, that’s cryptic, I thought as a bud of irritation formed. I flopped down on the couch and breathed slowly, trying to bring my heart rate back down to normal after the dream I’d had. “Bring a bag packed for a few days.” But packed for what? Given how focused he was on my training, I somehow doubted that Ben was planning a romantic getaway.
I tried Ben’s cell. No answer. I tried Pete’s cell. Again, no answer. Whatever was happening at the office, it must have been keeping them both occupied.
At least I had another way tofind out what was going on with Ben. I sat cross-legged on the couch. With my hands resting on my knees, I closed my eyes and took a few slow, deep breaths. Then I pictured the filament of light that connected my heart to Ben’s, and focused my mind.
In an instant, the psychic portal between us opened. As my consciousness reached out and touched his, I fell back against the couch, struck by the intensity of his emotions. He was worried about something or someone, and there was a definite sense of urgency. Still, there was no actual fear. That told me that while some kind of crisis was going on, at least Ben was safe.
Then his feelings for me crashed through the portal, flooding me. Whatever else he was dealing with, I was on his mind. Once again I was overwhelmed by the strength of his feelings. Although I knew the portal only flowed one way, I tried to send my own feelings back in his direction. I pulled my consciousness back into my body and opened my eyes.
My gaze immediately settled upon my right hand, and the exquisite ring Ben had given me the day before. The gold band was carved to look like two birds in flight, holding a luminous round piece of Scottish agate with their beaks and the tips of their wings. He’d wanted to give me something concrete to remind me of how he felt about me when he wasn’t there, to reassure me when I had worries or doubts. A soft warmth bloomed in my chest as I twirled the ring slowly around my finger, admiring its craftsmanship. We’d agreed that I would decide when to tell people that the ring was from him—and that we were dating. In the meantime, we were keeping both things a secret. I wasn’t quite ready to go public with our new relationship, and Ben didn’t want me to feel any pressure.
As I went upstairs and laid my suitcase open on the bed, I thought about my disturbing dream. My mother’s fall into the water was obviously a reference to her suicide three months before. But the poisonous female crab? And Ben stopping me from saving someone’s life? I knew he didn’t like it when I put myself in danger, but he’d never just let someone drown.
Then again, maybe there’s nothing to decipher, I told myself.Sometimes a dream is just a dream. I tried to content myself with that thought as I showered, dressed, and packed in a hurry. I was anxious to get to the office and find out where we were going—and what crisis had made Ben leave that morning without so much as giving me a kiss good-bye.
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About the Author:
Author Anise Eden writes The Healing Edge paranormal romantic suspense series for Diversion Books. She spends most of her time tucked away in her writing nook imagining things that aren’t there. On those rare occasions when she emerges from seclusion, Anise may be spotted in coffee shops, staring at her laptop screen and silently moving her lips as she reviews bits of dialogue. Although Anise claims that she’s the one in charge, the characters in her head do sometimes make her laugh out loud at inappropriate moments.
Visit her online at http://aniseeden.com