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Seeing Is Believing [Secure eReader]
eBook by Kate Austin

eBook Category: Romance/Fantasy
eBook Description: There's a magic in life.... But Ria Sterling has yet to embrace it, because she considers her ability to predict death from merely touching a photograph a curse. She yearns to use her sight to save just one life. On the other hand, tough-talking detective Carrick Jones and his partner profess not to care about saving anyone. But they do need Ria's help in solving a case. Instead, she predicts that Carrick's partner will die. Soon. And when her vision proves true, Ria goes from psychic to prime suspect... The one thing she can't predict is her instant attraction to Carrick, a man who doesn't believe in the paranormal--only what his five senses tell him. But when danger threatens, Ria finally sees how to use her gift in a unique way. And to show Carrick the inexplicable power of a love where seeing really is believing...

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Next, Published: 2007
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2007

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"He's going to die."

I see his death in the photograph because that's what I do—it's my gift and like many gifts from the gods, it isn't a good one. I hate it. Especially on days such as today when some crying mother or wife or lover hands me a photograph and waits for me to tell her that she's right to be scared to death.

Because I can see it coming. Almost never in time to change it, but that doesn't stop them from showing up on my doorstep, eyes bright with unshed tears.

"I can't cry," they say. "Not until I know for sure."

"Please," they say. "Tell me what you see."

My gift from the gods is to see death.

James Foster. It's his death I see today and I know by the time his mother and sister get home their phone will be ringing and some jaded cop from a jurisdiction two or three time zones away will be breaking the news.

I don't know how he'll die, I only know he will. Soon. Probably before I finish turning off my computer and turning on the alarm system.

Some gift. Foresight, precognition, prescience. Doesn't matter what you call it, not really. It all boils down to the same thing.

People come to me as a last resort, asking a question to which they don't want the answer. When I was much younger, I thought I might figure out a way to avoid their pain. Lying, I thought, or silence. But they saw it in my face and over the years I discovered that the words seemed to make it easier on them. As my reputation grew, the words themselves took on power.

"He's going to die."

I never had to add that it would be soon. Anyone who knew how to find me knew that before they rang the doorbell.

I have tried, over and over, to strengthen my gift, to make it more useful, to see further into the future.

"It's a gift. You can't change it like a shirt that doesn't fit," my mother says, but she doesn't have to live with it.

I want to save someone, anyone. I want to be in time. But I have learned to stop wishing for the impossible. In the darkest hours of the night, I still want to stop the truck bearing down on them or the knife raised in anger.

But in thirty years and hundreds of photos, I have saved only two people. Or at least I choose to think I have. But perhaps my vision was wrong, skewed by the alignment of the stars or a head cold. Maybe that particular couple was not meant to die. Even including that couple in my save percentage only brings it up to less than one-tenth of one percent. Not enough to be statistically significant….

I was five and my mother had left a magazine on the kitchen table.

I looked at the man on the cover and I started to cry. My mother said later that I was inconsolable, that I wept right through the night. By the next morning, I couldn't see out my swollen eyes or breathe through my aching nose. I stopped crying when the noon news came on the radio.

"Elvis Presley has died," the announcer said. "Last night, at his home in Memphis, the King passed away."

My tears stopped as my mother began to cry.

After the death of the King, I lived a normal life—not even realizing what was missing in our house. Photographs. And the lack of them wasn't about me. None of us had figured it out then; my crying was simply a fluke. We just weren't a family for photographs.

I was a baby when my photographer father left with the cameras.

"So what?" my mother said. "Who needs photos? I have you. All I have to do is look up and there you are." She'd grab my cheeks and smile at me.

Photos weren't a part of my childhood. I don't think my mother had a photograph of my father, not even a wedding shot. I knew what he looked like because of the mirror in the bathroom.

"You look just like him," my mother would sigh. She'd touch my nose, my cheeks, my lips. "Poor child, you look just like him."

I never felt deprived. Whenever I needed my father's advice, I went to the mirror and asked him. Sometimes the answer didn't come right away, or didn't make sense, or it took me months to figure out what question the answer was for, but there was always an answer.

I remember being glad I didn't have to see him to know him—he was always there for me. He was a good man, with strong clean features. His nose was straight, his cheekbones obvious, his eyes changing from olive green to brown depending on the light. His hair was a mousy colour, lightening with streaks of gold and red in the summer. I knew he was handsome because that's what my Aunt Lucy told me.

"You'll never be pretty, girl, but you'll be handsome. Boys won't get it, but men will. So don't fret, you'll come into your own just when all those Barbie dolls are losing it. You'll be fine."

I believed her.

* * *

I DON'T KNOW HOW PEOPLE find out about me. They never tell, and I don't ask. I keep a very low profile, no advertising (what would I say? Deaths predicted, loved ones lost?), no interviews, no money. I do it because I have to.

Copyright © 2007 by Kate Austin.

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