A psychic without an anchor. A student in trouble. A shooter on the loose.
I’m Jonathan Bane, a licensed psychic who consults for the police. I routinely help the police put the bad guys away and, for that reason, the criminal world doesn’t like me much. People like to take a swing at me, or go stabbity, or try for a gun. It makes for interesting times. My psychic ability prevents me from handling anything electronic—and I do mean ANYTHING, I fry it in seconds—so calling for help isn’t always a possibility.
I need an anchor, a partner, but I’m resigned: it’s just wishful thinking.
At least, I thought so until he walked through the door.
Donovan Havili looks like a thug and has the soul of a superhero. He shines so bright in my vision it’s like watching a supernova. He definitely has the right mindset and skills for this crazy job. But asking anyone to take me on long-term is a bit much. And now we’ve got multiple cases to handle, a Chinese exchange student falsely accused who needs our help, and someone taking random shots at me. It’s a bit much for any new guy to handle and I’m half-afraid that my new partner will run for the door.
But in Donovan Havili, the criminal world has met its match. And maybe, just maybe, I have as well.
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I was the sort of person who required a cup of very black coffee and an hour before I truly hit ‘functioning’ level. People had more or less learned to just wave hi when I came into the office, giving me time to reach my desk, sort reports, and properly wake up. I came through the main door of Psy Investigative Agency expecting hellos, only to be completely ignored. My co-workers didn’t always say something, but they at least usually noticed when I arrived.
Not this morning.
Alright, brain, this looked important. Wake up and focus. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, the blue carpet unstained by blood or gruesome bits, the tasteless art still gracing the white walls, the flimsy cubbyhole partitions still up. But everyone had gathered to the far right of the big room, around the coffee maker, only I didn’t see any coffee brewing. That alone sounded several alarms; this office ran on coffee.READ MORE
Skirting around the empty receptionist’s desk, I headed for my coworkers, not sure if I should be checking my gun in its shoulder holster or not. Four people used to handling criminals huddled together like scared sheep? Something serious had to be going on.
“Jon.” Marcy reached out and snagged my elbow, her husky voice in a stage whisper. “I’m so glad you’re here, maybe you can tell us.”
“Tell you what? You seriously look like you’re ready to dive under a desk and take cover. Is there a bomb in here I need to know about?” Please no bombs. I’d had to defuse it the last time, and I’d rather skip that life experience, thanks.
Tyson leaned in, although he kept one eye on our boss’s office door. Even he, a veteran cop with ten years of experience, looked ready to shoot something. “You know how Jim said he had an interview lined up this morning for another police consultant?”
Did I remember things like that with only three sips of coffee? “Yeah?”
“Guy just came in ten minutes ago. I’m telling you, if I were still a cop, I’d find a way to pat that guy down. He’s got thug written all over him.”
I turned to look, as Jim’s office had one of those picture frame windows in it, which let us see in. But the partitions blocked my view; I could barely get more than the back of the guy’s head. I’d failed to change to my medium sunglasses, which didn’t help, so I switched them out as I asked, “He’s that scary looking?”
“His head shot on his resume looked decent,” Sharon mourned. She wrapped her blue cardigan tighter around her ample chest, warding against the air conditioning blasting against her. “But anything from the collar down seems to be tattoos, his hair’s so short he looks bald, and he’s got one of those vibes, you know?”
“Like he eats small children for breakfast and participates in the ritual slaughter of puppies,” Marcy agreed with a frantic nod.
Carol leaned against the cheap Formica counter top, tapping long nails against her mug. She’d heated up water for tea, I could smell it from here. Carol had come on before I did, the first psychic to join the Psy Investigative Agency, and completely different from me. She was a more traditional ‘reader,’ meaning she could use objects to trace their location. She was also apparently the only one not completely freaking out. Instead, she looked thoughtful, brown eyes narrowed as she stared that direction. “It’s strange, though. I’m not getting any kind of negative vibe from him.”
“Your psychic connection is broken,” Tyson advised her shortly. “Get it fixed.”
“No, seriously, he’s not emitting any kind of anger or negative emotions,” Carol insisted, tucking a stray brown curl behind her ear. “I got a good read on him as he passed me.”
“I want a second opinion,” Sharon voted, raising her hand as if calling for a vote. “Jon?”
“Sure,” I agreed, more to keep an argument from breaking out than anything. I trusted Carol’s judgement. If she didn’t read anything bad from this guy, then I believed her.
For everyone else’s sakes, I didn’t go near any of their desks, but instead ducked into my own long enough to drop my bag and coffee cup on the desk. Well, I guzzled some of the coffee first. Only then did I step out and try to get a good reading on the guy sitting in my boss’s office.
The first good look at him took my breath away.COLLAPSE