Spiced with a sense of stepping outside familiar perspectives and seasoned with the power and friendship of women, this surprising, absorbing, heartfelt, and encouraging story will pull you into the energy field where life challenges are solved with healing insights. In this tender, touching novel, five energy detectives will take you into a dimension often left unexplored to uncover personal mysteries buried in webs of secrets and shocking truths.
“You’re practical, encouraging, enlightening.” CK
“You feed my soul and encourage me to be bold. I love your feel-good, enlightening insights.” DH
Vickie comes with a message from her recently deceased grandfather. Bailee is feeling the gray, detached weight of depression. Ora doesn’t understand her deep aversion to travel that’s rooted in a past life. Renata arrives with guilt around her mother’s recent death. Inna discovers that exploring the past unleashes the happiest time of her life.
Read an excerpt
Chapter One ~ Nora
Nora’s dream slithered into her sound sleep like a serpent. Arriving as a cozy collage of summer fun with a childhood friend, it gave no indication it was a shapeshifter.
Nora and Julie drank root beer and played Parcheesi.
They rode bikes and walked up the alley dragging sticks behind them to mark the soft dirt with squiggles.
When they got to Nora’s bedroom and shut the door, they were in a giggly, wonderful world of their own. This was where secrets were shared while they played with dolls. Sprawled on her bed reading comic books, Nora felt the shift begin.
Playful sunlight dimmed and slipped away.
The bed moved into the corner of the room.
Empty, colorless walls framed an alarmingly bare floor.
Shadows from a solitary, overhead light bulb crawled toward the bed.
Dread took root, and Nora was scooting away from the ominous silence when she saw the rug. Rolled up along the far wall, it sent immobilizing fear through her.
“Nora, Nora! Hey! Wake up, Babe!”
Adrenaline exploded, igniting Luke’s body as he reached for his wife across the gray flannel sheets. Half asleep and groping in the late night shadows, he found her shoulder. He couldn’t tell if he shouted or whispered, “Are you okay?”
Still trapped in the dream that was stealing her soul, Nora heard the question. Her heart pounding, she couldn’t respond.
Panic, creeping out of a deep place within, pinned her to the soft mattress. It shut out the moonlight that filtered through the pepper tree and danced on her grandmother’s quilt.
Vivid and contained, this dream was a distorted, distant relative of a nightmare. It had branded her and, even now, continued its slow burn.
Irritation covered Luke’s lingering fear as he sat up to look at his wife. Her eyes were open. “You made a sound that came out of the bowels of a beast. The hair on my neck is still standing up.”
Nora stared at her husband. She started to reply, but the words were trapped in the unnerving silence still seeping from the rolled-up rug she’d seen.
Luke reached out, rubbed her bare arm. This middle of the night invasion was beyond his experience. Relief, like finding water after crossing a desert, had him leaning closer when Nora quietly spoke. “What was the sound?”
Luke tried repeating what had woken him. Shook his head in defeat. “It came from deep in your throat… a high-pitched wail. Strangled and smothered. What happened?”
Nora rubbed her eyes trying to remove the lingering images. “I need to move.” She grabbed the edges of the covers, struggling to pull them off.
Concern surging, Luke watched as Nora sat up and gingerly placed her feet on the soft, warm carpet. He tracked her slow, uncertain path around the end of the bed, past the dresser, and into the bathroom. He listened to her turn on the faucet.
Through the doorway, Luke could see her standing over the sink with the water running through her fingers. The only movement was her silky, yellow nightgown, caught by the breeze from the open window.
“What’s happening here, Nora? What do you need?”
Nora looked in the mirror above the sink wondering if she looked the same. She wasn’t sure. Found she didn’t care and reached for the towel to dry her hands. “I had a weird dream. For some reason, I can’t shake it off.”
Walking back to Luke’s side of the bed, she crawled under the covers to find the comfort he gave so easily whenever Nora allowed herself.
He pulled her close. Tucked the quilt around her shoulders. She was shivering from the cool night air… or the dream. He couldn’t tell. “Can you remember it?”
“Oh, yes. Every detail. How it moved from a hazy dream, playing with a friend to… I don’t know. The first part was like looking at old photos with softened edges. Then it changed.”
Nora snuggled in closer. Found the sweet spot in the crook of his neck. “I was playing with Julie, my childhood friend from grade school. We were hanging out, doing the kind of stuff we did back then.”
Luke listened as his wife described the entire dream, expecting unspeakable images. None of the details matched her deep distress or the horrifying sound she’d made. He tried logic. “Dreams always bounce around like that. You’re in one place and suddenly something else is happening.”
Nora pushed away. “This didn’t ‘bounce around.’ It melted. Became darker while everything shifted into a menacing threat. There was no sound.”
Luke listened carefully, catching every detail of something he couldn’t understand.
“Slow motion,” she murmured. “The silence and slow motion…”
He didn’t interrupt. Her words hung in the air.
The soft bed, soft light, soft love didn’t soothe. Billowing frustration urged tears, but Nora refused to surrender. “The walls, the silence, the shadows. Everything… felt so dark. But the rug was the worst. It turned my bones to ice.”
“The rug? Just seeing a rug? Why was that terrifying?”
“I don’t know!”
Her hand kneaded his chest, seeking something solid. “It was a big roll on the far side of the room. Something you’d see if someone was getting ready to lay carpet. Nothing happened with the rug. It just sat there, but every time I see it… even now… I feel panicky. Like something’s going to happen. I can’t shake the feeling.”
Nora moved out of his embrace. Sat up. “Talking isn’t helping.”
“What do you want to do?”
“I have no idea.”
That’s what she said, but Nora felt like yelling. She wanted a roaring fight. She’d love to be in the courtroom nailing some lying son-of-a-bitch trying to get away with something. Or standing up to a bastard who abused his and then thought he could get custody with his Sunday smile for the judge.
“How about a middle-of-the-night movie?” Luke suggested. “Would that be a good diversion?”
That was her husband’s go-to distraction, not hers, but Nora nodded. “As long as it’s boring. I don’t want any drama.”
Nora grabbed her chenille bathrobe. She pulled their pillows and the quilt off the bed, and they headed to the living room.
Four hours later, morning found them back in bed, tangled up in their flannel sheet and blanket. Luke turned off the alarm clock, rolled over, and realized Nora was wide awake, laying on her side, staring out the French doors.
“It’s going to be a rough day,” he murmured. “Are you in court?”
Nora continued watching the sun delete the nighttime shadows in their backyard. “No, thank god. Mostly prep. A few appointments this afternoon.”
Luke began massaging her shoulders. “Do you think you could reschedule them and stay home?”
“I could go in late. Why?”
“Might want to give yourself a break here.” Luke knew it was a useless suggestion, but couldn’t help himself.
Nora pushed herself. She filled her calendar, added post-its when something else came up, then embraced spur-of-the-moment requests that just couldn’t be ignored. She showed up and got things done.
No matter what.
Tired didn’t count.
A bad dream wouldn’t even register.
It made her the best divorce attorney you could find if you wanted custody of your children.
Nora crawled out from under the shoulder rub and headed for the bathroom. “You might be right. I feel like an earthquake tossed me into a rift, and I’m still looking for myself.”
The mirror confirmed her impression. “Looks like I’m putting up a good struggle.”
Luke followed, turning on the shower as she patted the skin around her eyes trying to decide which of her products would work best.
“So what happens now?” He stepped into the warm stream of water. “Does the dream go away? Do we have something more here?”
“Maybe one of my cases is getting to me.”
“You have a hotly contested custody battle over a rug?”
Nora felt humor teasing her lips, but the haunting weight of the image of that rug doused it. She plopped on the toilet.
Luke shampooed his hair to the everyday sound of his wife peeing. When he stepped out of the shower to dry off, she hadn’t moved.
“I’ve been thinking about my uncle.”
“Something about the toilet bringing this up?”
“No, I mean he’s been on my mind these past few weeks. He was my favorite uncle, you know.”
Luke reached over and closed the window. “So you’ve said.”
“Did I tell you he liked to rebuild cars? A side-job when he wasn’t working at Dad’s garage.”
The strange night was turning into a weird morning. What seemed apparent wasn’t. What sounded normal felt out of place.
“So you’ve been thinking about your uncle…?”
“Snippets from the past keep interrupting my thoughts. Catch my attention for no apparent reason.”
Wrapping a towel around his waist, Luke rubbed the fog off the mirror with his hand. He did it every morning. And almost as often, Nora told him it would leave smudges, and he should use the hand towel.
Today, she just watched. “The dream is connected. There’s something there. My gut’s telling me one leads to the other while logic laughs. Pretty sure I’m being overly dramatic.”
Luke grabbed the toothpaste and his brush. “You? You’re many things my feisty, determined wife, but no one could accuse you of being overly dramatic. Painfully organized. Logical to a fault. Not dramatic.”
He put the toothpaste on his brush and opened his mouth, as though he had cleared up that issue.
Nora pulled on the toilet paper, lost in thought. “I’m going to make some espresso.”
That, more than anything, told Luke his wife was deeply bothered. Her morning routine never deviated. Before heading to the kitchen, she showered and got dressed. The bathroom was wiped down, the bed made, and her nightgown hung on the hook in the closet, while he was reminded to pick up his clothes.