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Psycho (and Psychic) Games Excerpt

psycho and psychic games

And they thought catching the serial killer was difficult…

Psychic Ariana Ryder just completed her probationary year and is now a full agent in the FBI’s Special Division Force, a semi-secret branch that investigates paranormal crimes.

The director, in a bid to score political points, puts Ariana on interrogating famous serial killer, JB Truck, aka The Puzzle Master. Truck’s been in prison two years and the authorities still can’t figure out who all his victims were or where his vast resources came from.

Ariana’s mission is simple, get visions off the psycho until they get the information they need.

But nothing’s ever simple when there’s magic afoot. The vampire queen’s gunning for Ariana, there’s a new shifter in town who needs a psychic’s help, and Truck’s got a few tricks of his own.

And he didn’t end up in Nashville by accident.


I sat across the interrogation table from JB Truck.

He was in slacks and a button-down under a white doctor’s coat.

He smiled, big and inviting. “You look beautiful. I love that color on you.”

I looked down. I was in a red sleeveless, wrap dress and killer red stilettos.

“Thanks,” I said. “I don’t know who picked this out though. Not exactly practical.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that,” JB said. “You’re not running anyway.”

“You don’t know that. You don’t know what I am.”

“Of course I do. I felt it the moment you walked in the room.”

“So what am I?”

He licked his lips. “Power.”

I blushed. “I, um, the word we usually use is psychic.”

“That’s just how it manifests in you.”

I crossed my arms. “So you gonna tell me where the bodies are?”

“That’s not what this is about.”

“It is for us.”

He tossed his head back, laughing. “You still think this is about you questioning me?”

“Yep, pretty sure it is.”

“Oh sweetie. I get more from you from the questions you ask than you do from me from the answers I give.”

I screwed up my face. “Even if that’s true, you can’t do anything.”

“Of course I can. I am right now.”

“You’re awfully confident for a guy in prison.”

He shrugged. “I’m not in prison right now.”

“Yeah, ya are.”

“Don’t do it, Ariana,” Grant’s voice said out of nowhere and I jumped outta my seat and turned around to look at the double-sided mirror. “Send him back, lock him up, and throw away the key. It isn’t worth it.”

“But the director said,” I said.

“Dammit, Ryder!” Grant yelled, makin’ the glass shake, “if he comes back, he’ll kill you, and he won’t make it fast.”

“We have to find the bastard,” Grant said, faint and faraway. “I don’t give a flying rat’s fuck who has to help.”

I turned from the mirror.

Truck stood right in front of me and I screamed.

He smiled that same normal, flirty smile.

“I knew you were special,” he said, twining a lock of my hair around his finger. “I didn’t know how much until I was in here. Your power, it burns. It called me here. Men can hear the song even without amplifiers. We’re going to have so much fun.”

I backed up, tapping against the glass.

“What do you mean, it called you here? The director had you transferred.”

He smiled. “Yes, but whose idea was it for her to do that?”

My mouth dropped open.

Well sugar a swine, there was no way.

“Who?” I asked.

“I did, of course. Didn’t know what I was chasing, but I knew it was in Nashville. People are so easy to manipulate. You just have to make them think it was their idea. A suggestion to the interrogator here, a little hint dropped there, and voila, they take me to the psychic I hear whispering over the wheat.”

The room blinked into woods and I shook my head, pinchin’ myself.

Nothing but the ghost of what I knew the pinch should feel like.

“It’s just a dream,” I said.

Truck planted his hands on either side of my head against solid air and leaned over me as a rattle rang in the background.

“You sure about that?” He licked his lips. “I love blonds. And it’s natural, isn’t it? Too dark to be that bottled junk women like to dip their heads in.”

He leaned in like he was gonna kiss me.

“What the fuck did I just walk into?” a cheerful voice said from the side.

Truck jumped and I scrambled backwards, risking a glance to the side.

Collins rose up, rattlin’ his tail. “I thought I’d say hi without your boss interrupting. Didn’t think you’d have someone else in your head. Shouldn’t be surprised, the way you’ve been projecting. You do realize you were calling every supernatural creature within a hundred, maybe a hundred and fifty miles, right? It’s why I came up to you in the woods.”

“It’s why I’m here,” Truck said. “I need the signal boost.”

I glared at him. “I’m not boosting anything for you.”

“I’m not asking. You already have.” He winked.

“I think he’s telling the truth,” Collins said.

I shook my head. “Are you sure?”

“I know these things.”

“I don’t mean to project. Do you know when it started?”

“I heard your call this morning down in Chattanooga.”

“You wiggled all the way from Chattanooga?” I asked.

“No.” Collins laughed. “I drove. I just turned into a snake to approach you. Seemed safer until I could figure out who you were.”

“Your brain is a strange place,” Truck said. “I love it. Kind of makes me want to hang around. Or take you with me. You’ve got an edge under all your sweetness, like razorblades covered in sugar. We could have a lot of fun on the road. I promise it’ll be worth it.”

“Okay, this isn’t real,” I said. “You’re not really here. He’s not really here. Just, no.”

“The grass is always greener on the other side,” Truck said, takin’ a step towards me.

I stumbled back.

Big arms caught me and I turned, seeing gold eyes in a strong face I swore I’d seen before.

“I know you,” I said.

The world disappeared, leavin’ me standing on a giant soft pink petal. I looked behind me at the rest of the rose. It was so big I could’ve built a mansion on the heart of the flower.

Now that sounded pretty. The petals could be decorations around the house.

Like it heard me, the dream zoomed me to the center and a beautiful stone house rose outta the pollen.

“I’m allergic,” I said.

Something rumbled in the distance.

“Whoa!” someone screamed, giant hands on my arms.

I blinked and we were in the woods again.

Collins the man shook me. “What is it with you fucking psychics and peeking behind the curtain! There lies madness. Don’t do that again.”

I jerked up in bed, chest covered in sweat.

If you enjoyed this taste, check out my new book on Amazon. Psycho (and Psychic) Games.

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