From award-winning and international best-selling author Melanie A. Smith comes a steamy holiday murder-mystery romance with a psychic twist.
Holidays should be filled with cheer…
CJ Roberts just wants to be a normal girl, have a normal job, normal friends, maybe even a normal boyfriend. Unfortunately, she’s about as far from normal as it gets, because she can See the future. And like two sides of a coin, her twin brother, Matt, can See the past. Sounds like a neat party trick, right? Actually, it’s frustrating and sometimes even dangerous. And if the past is any indicator, CJ can’t do much to change what she Sees.
Drew Davies lives and breathes his job as a chef at one of the hottest restaurants in San Francisco. He’s content to focus on his craft, and dating has always been on the back burner. That is, until he meets CJ. When sparks fly, things heat up quickly between them. It’s an unexpected but welcome connection as the holidays approach.
But just as hope blooms, CJ has a vision that changes everything. She doesn’t know how it will happen, but she knows Drew is going to die. Now she’s left with a decision: Does she risk exposing herself to save Drew, or does she play it safe and let fate deal its hand? Secrecy has protected her until now, but can she really do nothing when the life of the man she’s falling for hangs in the balance?
“I’m Chef Davies,” he introduces himself. His voice is just as warm as his smile, and deep enough to send chills down my spine. “And I hear you need some help picking a main course.”
I stare dumbly at him for another few moments before collecting myself. I resist the urge to slide my hand into his. As much as I want to touch him, experience has taught me that what I might See will make me even more awkward than I already am naturally.
“I’m CJ Roberts,” I reply, blushing down at his hand. “And I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I don’t shake hands.” I’m so used to saying the words without remorse, but this time is different, and I’m worried about offending him.
“It’s nice to meet you CJ Roberts who doesn’t shake hands,” he replies, withdrawing his hand and sinking into the chair to my left. I look up to see him leaning in and smiling winningly, and if it’s possible to blush harder, I do. “Is it okay to ask what CJ stands for?”
His proximity makes my cheeks burn hotter by the second. “Catherine Jane,” I murmur, looking up into his eyes.
“Catherine Jane,” he replies slowly, as if tasting the words.
“Chef Davies,” I reply teasingly, folding my hands in my lap.
He laughs, deep and booming. “Okay, I guess you can call me Drew. Short for Andrew.” He grins, and I notice a dimple on his left cheek. “Now. Salmon versus halibut?”
I take a deep breath and nod, refocusing. It’s not easy. Being this close to him, trying to have a normal conversation, takes everything I’ve got. It would help if I weren’t so gawky to begin with, but here we are.
He gestures to the bread. “Have a bite. Then try the salmon again.”
I do as he asks. I go to lift the fork to my mouth, and he reaches to stop me. Instinctively, I pull back and look at him, wide-eyed.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you,” he says huskily, with a sexy smile that makes me melt under his stare. “Just … I was going to tell you to close your eyes.” Then he clears his throat, as if suddenly aware of the intimacy that’s bubbled between us.
I breathe through my nose, close my eyes, and take a bite. The subtle flavor sings under the lime dressing. I can’t help the groan that slips out of my mouth. My eyes fly open self-consciously to find Drew staring at me with an inscrutable expression.
I swallow hard. “Sorry,” I say. “It’s just so good.”
A smile tugs at his lips. “Thank you,” he replies. His eyes flick down to the bread, then back up to me. “Now, bread, then halibut. Eyes closed.”
Something about his quiet command makes me blush again, but I comply. The firm, slightly sweet fish has a mushroom sauce that complements it nicely. But I realize it doesn’t have the heartiness and the punch of the salmon. This time when I open my eyes, I know exactly what I want.
“Salmon. Hands down.” My eyes meet his. “You’re good.”
He gives a shrug. “I’ve done this a time or three,” he replies nonchalantly. Coming from anyone else it would sound arrogant. But he’s got a humility that is ridiculously endearing.
“What would you have chosen?” I ask curiously.
His answering grin is so gorgeous it practically makes me dizzy. “Life’s too short for absolutes. Salmon for lunch, halibut for dinner, I say.”
“Well, if I could cook like you, I’d probably say the same,” I admit. “Or, if I could cook at all.”
He leans forward on the table. “Well nobody’s perfect,” he replies. Our eyes meet for a moment, and I let myself stare back. The small space between us practically crackles with energy.
Melanie A. Smith is the best-selling author of The Safeguarded Heart Series and other contemporary romance fiction. Originally from upstate New York, she spent most of her childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Los Angeles for college. After that, she spent almost fifteen years in the Seattle Area, and now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas with her family.
A voracious reader and lifelong writer, Melanie’s writing began at a young age with short stories and poetry. Having completed a bachelor of science in electrical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s in business administration at the University of Washington, her writing abilities were mainly utilized for technical documents as a lead engineer for the Boeing Company, where she worked for ten years.
After shifting careers to domestic engineering and property management in 2015, she eventually found a balance where she was able to return to writing fiction.
Melanie is also a Mensan and enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and driving with the windows down and the stereo cranked up loud.