Police officer Ty McIntyre was cursed to find a girl no one had seen in twenty years. And it was his job to save her from the dark forces swirling around her. He found her locked away in a psychiatric hospital, where she thought she was losing her mind. Born a witch, Irina Cooper was able to read other people's thoughts. She had never known the source of her power, or her true heritage--until now.
Irina could read Ty's true intentions and sense his deepest desires. But with a witch killer seeking to destroy the Cooper legacy, could these ill-fated souls embrace Irina's gift and end her family's curse? And beyond that, would they be able to save each other?
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July 31, 2007
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Excerpt from Damned by Lisa Childs
Were they witches? They didn't cast spells. They didn't heal with potions and herbs as their longdead ancestor had. But they had special abilities and they needed to use them to save a life--just as their ancestor had tried three hundred and fifty years ago. He only hoped their efforts weren't rewarded the same way hers had been.
Ty McIntyre cared about these two women. They sat together, holding hands, on the black leather couch in the penthouse owned by Ty's best friend. Actually Ariel held her older sister's hand, and Elena held the charms--a little pewter sun and a little pewter star--in her palm, combining their powers.
A muscle jumped in his cheek as he clenched his jaw. Skepticism nagged at him. God, he was a lawman. Even though he listened to his instincts, he relied on evidence. Tangible proof. How could he rely on something he didn't understand, something he couldn't trust?
Believe, he silently chanted to quell his doubts. He'd seen the proof of their powers in the results they wrought. Ariel was alive. Stacia, Elena's daughter, was alive. Because of their intangible powers.
"Can you see anything yet?" he asked Elena, frustration thickening his voice.
She scrunched shut her pale eyes, and her forehead furrowed with concentration. The knuckles on the hand holding the charms tightened and turned white, while her fingers reddened.
"She can't force her visions," Ariel defended her sister as she stared up at him through narrowed eyes. "What's up with you, Ty? You're edgier than usual. Did you find out something you haven't shared yet?"
He shook his head, then started pacing the marble floor of David's living room. Like a jolt from an electrical outlet, pain traveled up his leg from his not-quite-healed wound. Maybe the doctors were right--maybe he'd had them remove the cast too soon. "No, I haven't learned a damned thing."
"So that's why you're edgy," Ariel said. "You're frustrated."
"We all are," Elena chimed in, her eyes still closed. "Since we know who the killer is, we should be able to find him."
Donovan Roarke. The man was a private investigator, but before that he'd been a cop. Like Ty. And like Ty, he'd been suspended from the police department due to excessive force. Ty's guts knotted, but he reminded himself he was nothing like the madman. Donovan Roarke was a sadistic son of a bitch. He might have convinced himself that by killing witches in the ways that witches had been killed centuries ago he was honoring his family legacy, the vendetta begun so many years ago. But Ty knew the guy was a psychopath, and if he wasn't caught soon, he'd kill again.
Anger gripped Ty, but he fought it off, breathing slow and deep. Then he shoved a hand through his hair. Even though he hadn't worn his uniform in months, he kept his black hair short, in an almost military cut. He liked his life simple, like the T-shirts and old jeans he wore. But there was nothing simple about his life now; there hadn't been since Donovan Roarke had begun his witch hunt.
"Roarke's clever," Ty admitted. Or he would have found the sick bastard by now.
"He's crazy," Ariel maintained.
Maybe Ty was, too, because he'd actually thought this might work, that Elena would have a vision that would lead him to her missing sister, the youngest of the three of them. Since he'd come up empty in his other investigations, he'd decided to use the sisters' powers. He had nothing left to lose.
"Let's concentrate on Irina," he said, which was easy for him since she was all he thought about lately.
She'd been nagging at his mind ever since he'd first seen the picture of her as a little girl. From the glass-and-marble coffee table he picked up the trifold pewter picture frame they'd found in Roarke's office. The private investigator must have stolen the twenty-year-old portraits of the three sisters from their mother after he'd killed her.
As Ty focused on the youngest child with her loose brown curls and her big, dark eyes, a memory teased him: flashing lights, blurred before his swollen eyes; pain pounding in his skull and tearing at his arm as he fought for consciousness, for life; then a little girl's voice calling out to him, calling him back from the brink of death.
Hers? Or the little girl who'd died because he hadn't gotten to her in time? Was the memory an old one, buried deep with the rest of his childhood? Or was it a new one, suppressed like the rage over which his lieutenant had suspended him?
His hand shaking slightly, he set the picture frame back on the table, then turned his attention to Elena. He'd deal with his own demons later, after he'd dealt with theirs. "You've had visions of her before. If you can't have another, try to remember everything you can about those, even what you might think insignificant."
Elena nodded in perfect understanding of the gift she'd denied and fought for so long. "I'll try to recall every detail."