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Be careful what you touch.

 

My name is Darla, and people think I’m weird. I know this because I’m a telepath.

 

After my second husband bails without a word, I’m moving back to my hometown, San Marcos, Florida, one of the nation’s oldest cities.

 

I’m here to open a nearly 300-year-old inn, and, hopefully, begin a new life. It turns out the inn comes with ghosts and other supernatural features. And the paranormal in my genes is going haywire.

 

My telepathy has always been hit or miss. But now, along with the arrival of my first hot flashes, I gain a new ability: psychometry. By touching an object, I can read the thoughts and emotions of other people who have touched it.

 

Good thoughts as well as creepy thoughts. Sweet emotions as well as memories of murder.

 

Yep, I help a detective investigate a murder. And not a bad-looking detective, I should add.

 

Living in an ancient city and running an old inn, I’m constantly touching things filled with memories.

 

And some of them could kill me.

 

Enter a world of mystery, magic, murder, and mischief, with ties to the Freaky Florida humorous paranormal series. Get it here:

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Psychic seeking psycho.

 

My name is Darla, and I’m a psychometrist.

 

When I touch objects, I pick up the memories and emotions of other people who have touched them.

 

I was well into my midlife when I was recruited to serve on the Memory Guild, a secret society of supernaturals and paranormals. Based in one of the nation’s oldest cities, the Guild preserves historical memory while fighting lies and conspiracy theories.

 

And now a psychopath is trying to assassinate the members of the Guild. Including yours truly.

 

With the reluctant help of a handsome detective, I try to find out who’s behind the attacks. In between that and trying to stay alive, I also have a day job: running a historic bed-and-breakfast. So I’m kind of busy right now.

 

I don’t need the unplanned trips though a magic portal and the revealed secrets about my second husband who left me. All while dealing with my wacky witch mother and my trouble-prone daughter.

 

I’m your typical overworked woman. Except I also have a price on my head.

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Keep your hands to yourself.

 

There I go again, touching things I shouldn’t.

 

A knife my antique-dealer mother bought at an estate sale holds the memories of a terrified young woman about to be abducted by a werewolf.

 

You see, I’m a psychometrist. I can read the memories people leave behind on the objects they touch. And this ability gets me into a lot of trouble.

 

I feel obligated to save the young woman before she is killed. And it turns out that she’s not the first woman this shifter has taken. Nor will she be the last. The others are turning up dead.

 

I’m a member of the supernatural Memory Guild, but I’m no detective. (I do, however, have a sexy detective helping me.) I’m just a middle-aged innkeeper with a 300-year-old bed-and-breakfast, a witchy mother, and a trouble-prone daughter. All of them demand a lot of attention.

 

When you throw into the mix an evil necromancer raising the dead, and an ancient magical stone, well, things get wicked complicated.

 

And I have to solve this mystery before someone else is killed. Namely me.

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It truly touches a nerve.

 

Another guest bites the dust. It’s through no fault of my own (I think), but this is really bad for my historic inn’s reputation. Soon, no customers will want to check in, due to fear of involuntarily checking out.

 

This latest demise involved a giant oak tree (long story) and a hidden rare gem. My hot detective friend thinks it was actually a homicide. I need to use every bit of my psychometry, and the help of The Memory Guild, to sort it out.

 

But I’m also trying to rescue my husband from an evil wizard who is plotting to take over the Magic Guild of San Marcos. Can I protect the witches of my family, my daughter and mother, from him as he bombards the magic community with love dreams? (Believe me, it isn’t pretty.)

 

The one person in my family who isn’t magical, I’m just a middle-aged innkeeper with some paranormal abilities.

 

That is, until a faerie hints that I have a destiny of greatness. Really, I don’t even want to know.

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I’ve really stepped in it this time.

 

They say if you accept a gift from the Fae, you’ll forever be in debt to them. And they always collect on their debts. I wish someone had told me this before a faerie gave me an enchanted pearl.

 

It comes at an awkward time, because the supernatural guilds of San Marcos are preparing for an invasion by the Fae, who want to restore their primacy over humans. And I’m trying to learn about my new powers and the responsibilities that come with them.

 

As if I don’t have enough on my plate, my first husband has been charged with the murder of his business partner. I agree to help exonerate him with my psychometry, which turns out to be a dangerous decision. There’s enough danger already, with the Fae unleashing monsters in our quaint tourist city. 

 

Do you think this will affect the bookings at my inn?

 

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Nightmare on memory lane.

 

I’m Darla. I’m a psychometrist. I can read thoughts and emotions left upon objects. Some people call my ability a “gift.” Some people are idiots.

 

You see, I’m haunted by the young shifter’s thoughts. He was my daughter’s age when he died. I relive his frightening memories when I touch the ruins of the old, abandoned hospital where he was imprisoned.

 

The memories are over a century old, yet still vivid. They speak of horrible cruelty and neglect. Of evil and murder.

 

Now I feel obligated to find justice for him, with the help of the Memory Guild. They’re great at uncovering forgotten history.

 

But they’re no help whatsoever in helping me solve my problems. Like finding my second husband who disappeared (and I don’t mean metaphorically), without offending the dreamy detective who wants to be more than friends.

 

Or, teaching my daughter how to help me at my historic inn, without her burning the place down.

 

Or, making sure my inn’s own resident ghosts behave, without encouraging the Elvis impersonator’s spirit to sing “Hound Dog” at 3:00 a.m.

 

I’d always believed that in middle age I’d be living the good life. Instead, I’m living the psychic life. Of magic, mayhem, and murder.

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Destined for craziness

 

Magic runs in my family. I even married a guy who unknowingly had latent magic. But in the Chesswick family of witches, the magic gene skipped a generation. Namely, mine. So, I can only watch from afar as my daughter learns the ancient craft.

 

Until a magic tutor I hired ends up dead, and my daughter is falsely accused of his murder.

 

Now, it’s time for me to get involved. I might not have magic, but I have telepathy and a mind-blowing ability of psychometry. I can read the thoughts and memories of the real killer, and, boy, they take me down a twisted path.

 

On the way, I discover other abilities I haven’t harnessed yet. Maybe they have something to do with what a faerie, who showed up at my inn, said:

 

That I have a destiny of greatness and will either be an ally or enemy of the Fae.

 

Whatever. I have a daughter to protect, an inn to run, and a clogged toilet in haunted room 303 to fix. Priorities, folks.

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News flash: I’m a middle-aged psychic, not a superhero.

 

The small city of San Marcos, Florida, rarely experiences murder. But when a human is attacked by the legendary Questing Beast, it threatens to shatter the secrecy cloaking the supernaturals living among humans. That could be a catastrophe for all of us who aren’t normals.

 

And I’m taking this personally, because the monster was going to eat me. Whom it presumably ate instead was my dentist, and I had an appointment coming up for a root canal. I say presumably, because no one actually saw the beast swallow my dentist. With help from my psychometry, I embark on a frantic quest to find out if the Questing Beast really killed him, and if so, how to explain it to the police.

 

It’s not the first mythological monster to show up in San Marcos. It won’t be the last. And though the monsters are coming to kill me, a lot of normal humans end up as collateral damage.

 

Meanwhile, I have a Fae priest living in my inn (and creating an absolute mess). He won’t shut up about the Faerie Queene being held prisoner by a rogue faction of her court. Like, I’m supposed to rescue her? Why me?

 

So, what exactly can I do, aside from use my newly discovered healing powers? I’d better find out, and fast.

 

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The vampires want to turn us all. I just want to turn the channel.

 

Being the human incarnation of a goddess is not all it’s cracked up to be. In addition to running a historic inn, I have divine responsibilities that require me to break an evil spell that turned all the vampires of San Marcos feral. Next, I must guard against the mythological monsters invading our world through a tear in the Veil. Will someone please recommend a contractor who can repair it?

 

But that’s not all. My daughter is in love with someone I don’t approve of: the Fae god of war. How could things get worse? You guessed it—a murder. In my inn. Yet again.

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© 2022 by Ward Parker.