Free AWitchsSkill by Ashley Shayne

Book: AWitchsSkill by Ashley Shayne Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ashley Shayne
Chapter One
    I looked up as the bell on my door jangled and a breeze from
outside lifted the hair off my forehead. Clients! Great. Business as a psychic
was never exactly booming but even for me it had been a slow week. I was
expecting my usual clientele—older, middle-upper-class women who were concerned
about their love lives or their children and wanted reassurance that the future
held nothing but happiness for them. I was usually able to satisfy these women,
even if their future actually looked terrible. I’m the real thing—a witch as
well as a psychic—and could tell them nothing but truth if I wanted to. But I
learned early on in my career that people don’t want truth. They want
reassurance and I gave it to them. I refused to lie so I tended to dodge a lot
of questions. I usually just changed the subject if I saw something horrible,
such as the death of a spouse. I’d say something like, “I’m afraid your
husband’s future is hazy but I see your daughter. Oh, she’s getting married and
she looks so beautiful.” Not a lie, since the future was always hazy, and the
client would leave pleased, having forgotten what it was she had wanted to know
in the first place. It almost always worked and when it didn’t, a little subtle
magic did.
    The people walking through my door toward me weren’t the
usual clients. For one thing, they weren’t women. And for another thing, they
didn’t look middle-upper-class at all. Instead they looked rough. The taller
one swept his gaze around my shop carefully, as if checking for threats, while
the smaller one eyed me intently. I couldn’t imagine either of these men
wanting advice about their love lives and I couldn’t imagine what else they’d
need a psychic for. Of course they could be here to hire me for my witchy
skills. Those were advertised through word of mouth alone but it wasn’t hard to
find a working witch, if you were inclined to do so. Provided you knew the
right people, of course.
    I stood as they came toward me, carefully throwing a cover
over the crystal ball into which I had been gazing when they entered, and came
around from behind my table to extend a hand. The smaller man took it after
looking me carefully up and down. I was dressed in what I thought of as my
psychic outfit, a loose, flowing, multicolored skirt, a light linen peasant top
and low heels. I had a shawl wrapped around my shoulders and heavy eyeliner around
my golden-brown eyes. I looked more like a psychic than a witch and I wondered
if that explained his scrutiny.
    I gestured them into the seats in front of my table and the
smaller man sat while the larger leaned against a wall behind him. They were
both dressed in black—jeans, boots and shirts. The tall one had a tight black
t-shirt on that accentuated his muscles while the shorter one wore a button-down
open at the neck to reveal scraggly chest hair. The small one was rather greasy
and had a pockmarked face and beady, cunning eyes. Both of them were looking at
me intently and I repressed a shudder with an effort.
    I joined them at the table and gestured at the short one to
begin. I didn’t introduce myself or greet them. I’ve found that putting on a
certain mysterious air helps a lot. The man cleared his throat meaningfully and
I made myself meet his snakelike eyes.
    “My name is Ryan. We’ve been told you are more than just a
psychic.” He spoke in a deep voice that seemed odd coming from such a small
man. I nodded gravely and after a moment he continued. “We understand you have
certain…shall we say talents ? And we require the help of someone with
your skills in a small matter coming up.”
    Witch’s work then. I wondered why he’d bothered introducing
himself and not his partner before I decided it didn’t matter, and, nodding
again, I waited for him to continue.
    “We have a man. A friend, I would say actually. Something’s
happened to him. Someone has stolen his memories. Including a memory we need

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