A Psychic with Catitude

A Psychic with Catitude

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chapter-1

drop-cap-how are you doing?” the dark, handsome warlock asked in a husky voice, touching the spot on Reg’s hand where Hawthorne-Rose had cut her, sending goosebumps all the way up her arms and down her back.

She tried not to let him see her reaction, smiling with unconcern and inching away from his touch and the heady scent of roses that grew stronger whenever he turned on the charm.

Reg ran her hands through her red cornrow braids to gather them together and pushed them back over her shoulders.

“I’m fine,” she said airily. “Looking forward to catching up on my sleep now that Warren is all taken care of and won’t be disturbing my dreams. How about you? You look…” Reg searched for a word. He wasn’t glowing quite as much as he had when he’d stolen her psychic powers, but he was definitely looking… well-fed. “Uh… you look relaxed.”

Corvin nodded, leaning against her doorway, his movements languid. Hospitality would normally have dictated Reg invite him in, but she wasn’t quite as naive as she had been. It was best to keep her cottage a safe sanctuary and not extend invitations to potentially predatory visitors.

“Marta—Detective Jessup did manage to… share… some of Uriel Hawthorne’s hoard with me.” Corvin took a deep breath in and let it out again in a sigh. “You don’t know how satisfying it is to fill a hunger that is so…” he looked deep into her eyes, stirring a different kind of need in Reg, “so profound and prolonged.”

But Reg did have some idea of what he was talking about. He had allowed her to feel that hunger when she had reached out to him. Reg couldn’t imagine living with that kind of hole needing to be filled day after day.

“You should probably be getting on your way,” she told him.

“Is it getting to be too late?” he teased. “Is it past your bedtime?”

“Yes,” Reg agreed, not letting herself be drawn in. “It’s time to feed the cat and go to bed. We can talk tomorrow. You can call.” She held up her phone to indicate it.

“I’d rather talk to you face to face.”

“And I’d rather be able to breathe.” Reg again shifted away from him, but the roses and his glamour followed her. She began to close the door. “Good night.”

“Good night, Regina. Pleasant dreams.” His words reached her as she shut the door on him. Reg shot the bolt and stood there for a few minutes, waiting for the racing of her heart to slow.

She switched off the light, and just as she was turning away from the door, a black shadow streaked across the floor, making her jump and let out a shriek.

It was Starlight, of course, her tuxedo cat. Darting around the room madly, as if tearing after some invisible mouse.

“Regina?” The direction and volume of Corvin’s voice suggested he was still standing on the other side of the door. “Are you alright?”

“Yes. It’s nothing. Just the cat.”

He chuckled. “Goodnight, cat.”

Starlight crouched in the shadows under one of the wicker chairs in the living room. Reg heard him hiss a kitty curse at Corvin.

“Now, was that very nice?” she asked him. “He was just wishing you a good night.”

Reg went into the kitchen. As she expected, Starlight quickly left his hiding place to join her, letting out a couple of demanding meows and rubbing against the door of the fridge.

“There’s food in your dish,” Reg pointed out to him, determined that one day he would actually eat the cat food she bought him instead of demanding to be treated like a human being. She had hoped that once Warren’s case was solved, he would stop be so demanding and settle in to being a normal cat.

But he was anything but normal.

“Other cats eat cat food,” she went on.

He didn’t even look at his dish, rubbing against the fridge and waiting for her to take the hint and get him his dinner. He must have thought her a particularly stupid human, that he had to keep repeating himself all the time and didn’t have her properly trained yet. Sarah, when she had last stopped in for a visit and to make sure that Reg was okay now that all the excitement was over, had automatically walked to the fridge to have a look through the contents and provided Starlight with a couple of tasty morsels, without even asking Reg’s permission.

“And Sarah doesn’t even like cats,” Reg said aloud.

Starlight glared at her, clearly trying to convey to Reg that if someone who didn’t like cats could read him well enough to know what it was that he wanted, surely someone with a little bit of telepathy could figure it out.

“I know what you want. I just don’t think I should satisfy your ever whim.”

He continued to stare at her, his disparate blue and green eyes hypnotic.

Reg sighed. “Fine. But you’d better let me sleep tonight and not keep tearing around here like a Tasmanian devil. Or I’ll start locking you in the bathroom at night.”

Sarah had suggested earplugs. Reg didn’t think she should have to wear them when the cat knew very well that she wanted him to be quiet at night. But she was close to breaking down and buying some.

Reg opened the fridge. She moved slowly as Starlight wound around and between her legs, intent on tripping her up so that he could have a chance at the entire can of tuna instead of just the portion she planned to give him.

She spooned a little on top of his dry kibble, telling herself that if she put it on top of his food, at least there was the chance that he’d eat some of the dry kibble along with the tuna by accident. Even though she knew very well that he was quite adept at eating around it.

“There. Now you’ve had your supper, so it’s time for bed. I’ll see you in the morning.”

Reg awoke in the morning with cat breath on her face. She opened her eyes, knowing before she did that there was going to be a cat face a whisker away from her own.

“Go away.”

Starlight stared back at her, unblinking.

Having had her powers stripped from her for a brief period of time, Reg knew that the feelings that emanated from him, the warmth and intelligence mixed with disappointment and disdain, were part of the psychic energy that Starlight put out. Normal people without any sense of the invisible forces that swirled around him, would just see a cute cat and not feel any of those emotions.

“I need more sleep. I’m still recovering.”

She had plenty to recover from, with all that had happened over the previous couple of weeks. But there was no softening of Starlight’s gaze. It was light outside. The birds had been singing for hours. Being a nocturnal creature, Starlight had burned off his energy and needed replenishment.

“Just a few more minutes,” Reg insisted. She turned her face away from him and closed her eyes again.

Starlight climbed over her and around to her face again. He began to paw at her nose and mouth. Soft paws, no claws. Having felt those claws in the past, Reg was grateful for that, but was not happy with the cat doing his best to wake her up. She reached out and pushed him off the bed.

He went over backward and flopped unceremoniously onto the floor, without a chance to dig his claws into the bedsheets. Reg felt a little bit bad about that.

A little.

Starlight retreated from the bedroom and changed tactics, sitting himself in front of the fridge and yowling mournfully. Reg stuck her fingers in her ears and tried to ignore him, but even with the sound blocked out, she still knew he was complaining and she could feel him calling to her. She pushed herself up and climbed out of bed.

She made the mistake of not shutting the bathroom door tightly, and when she washed her hands and her face with cold water, Starlight pushed his way in through the door and jumped up on the counter to investigate the running water and dip a paw into the sink. Reg flicked her wet fingers at him, and Starlight went flying off of the counter and skittered out of the room. Served him right for waking her up.

She checked her various social networks and email addresses as she ate breakfast standing at the kitchen island. Starlight chowed down on leftovers from the night before. She knew that Chick-Fil-A was probably not the best choice to keep him healthy, but it at least kept him happy and he wasn’t bugging her for anything else while he was at it.

She’d gotten messages from a few new contacts looking for her services as a psychic, some of them through her advertising and some by word of mouth. Her successes over the past few weeks were beginning to be spread around the community. Though she had gone to Florida with the plan of focusing on offering services as a medium, reaching out to the spirits of those who had left the mortal plane, most of the email and direct messages she had received were for other psychic services, and that was okay with Reg. She sipped at her incredibly fresh Florida orange juice while reviewing them. Acting as Warren’s medium over the previous couple of weeks had worn her out and she was happy to do some lighter jobs, things that wouldn’t suck all of the energy out of her.

“Finding lost objects and predicting the future sounds just fine to me,” Reg said aloud to Starlight. “A little palm reading or laying down the tarot cards. That’s so much less taxing than channeling spirits.”

He looked up from his food for a minute, mouth slightly open as if she had caught him mid-bite. Then he gave his attention to his breakfast once more.

Reg’s palm itched, and she scratched it automatically before remembering the cut from Hawthorne-Rose’s knife. She yelped in pain. It wasn’t deep—nothing that required stitches—but it burned whenever something brushed over it. Starlight looked up at her sharply.

Even though he wasn’t yet finished his breakfast, he left it and rubbed up against Reg’s legs, looking for reassurance that she was okay.

“It’s fine. Just scratched myself.”

He continued to rub against her. Reg leaned down and picked him up carefully. “Nothing to worry about. Just a little scratch.”

He nosed at her face and sniffed the injured hand she held out to him. He lifted his whiskers into a sort of a cat grimace and sneezed. Reg put him back down on the floor. She did not need cat sneezes on her breakfast.

There was a light knock at the door. Sarah opened it and breezed in. Reg had slid back the bolt, as she did when she knew she had appointments, figuring that she was safe from intruders during the daylight hours. But she hadn’t been expecting a visit from Sarah.

Of course, with the frequency of Sarah’s drop-in visits, Reg hadn’t not expected her, either. Her landlady didn’t exactly give her the peace and privacy one would normally expect with a rental property. It didn’t help that Reg’s summer cottage was right on Sarah’s property, in the back yard of the big house.

“You have company,” Sarah announced. She was a slightly overweight, grandmotherly woman, who claimed to be both a witch and much older than she looked, which Reg would have put around her late fifties or early sixties. She was wearing a loose-fitting blouse patterned with pink flowers, and rose colored slacks.

Behind her was a young woman, probably just into her twenties, big-eyed and uncertain. She was diminutive, with short, curly brown hair.

“She came to the main house,” Sarah said. “I thought I’d just bring her down for you and make sure you have everything you need.”

Reg had been taking care of herself for years, but Sarah didn’t seem to think she could manage on her own. It was nice to have someone who was willing to keep the fridge stocked and steer new customers toward Reg, but at the same time, it could be a little irritating to always have someone in her business.

“You could have just pointed her this way. And yes, I’m fine. I have everything I need.”

“You shouldn’t be doing so much. You should take a little break and give yourself some time to recover.”

“Breaks don’t pay the rent. I’m fine. This isn’t difficult work.” Reg looked toward the young woman, waiting for Sarah to take her cue and leave.

Sarah instead ushered the woman into Reg’s living room as if she owned the place—which, technically, she did—and bent down to pet Starlight, who was curled on his back on one of the chairs. Sarah wisely patted his head rather than scratching his stomach, which Reg had discovered was a dangerous prospect. Starlight seemed to offer his cute tummy for scratches solely as a means of baiting unsuspecting dupes in order to claw and bite their hands.

“Thank you, Sarah.”

Sarah finally got the hint. She smiled and said goodbye to both Reg and her guest, leaving them alone.

“Sorry about that,” Reg said. “She means well.”

“Oh, no, I am sorry.” The young woman’s cheeks were pink. “I know you said I should go around back, but I forgot. I should not have bothered her.”

“She doesn’t mind. Obviously. So…” Reg scooped Starlight up and sat down. Starlight wriggled and squirmed until Reg was forced to let him go, and then he stalked off to one of the bedrooms. Reg looked back at her visitor. “How can I help you today?”

“I hoped you could tell me my future… I have a sister I haven’t seen for a long time and I want to find her.”

Reg nodded. “Sure, of course. Did you want me to read your palm? Or the cards?” She had recently added a beautiful crystal ball to her props. She motioned to it. “Maybe gaze into the crystal?”

I hope you enjoyed this sample of

A Psychic with Catitude

By P.D. Workman

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