All the Light There Is
The Healing Edge
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense
Publisher: Diversion Books
Date of Publication: September 12, 2017
Number of pages: 290
Word Count: 97,770
Tagline: Anise Eden brings us the thrilling and romantic finale to The Healing Edge Series, perfect for fans of Karen Robards or Shiloh Walker.
Psychotherapist Cate Duncan is done with danger. Her whirlwind weeks of training at the MacGregor Groupâs parapsychology clinic, while exhilarating, have also brought one crisis after another. So when their research colleague Skeet offers Cate and her boss-turned-boyfriend Ben some time away at his secluded hunting lodge, even though itâll be a working vacation, they jump at the chance.
But the idyllic Mercier Lodge is teeming with secrets. An aura reader and a telepath who work with Skeet reveal his unorthodox research methods, triggering the MacGregor Groupâs suspicions. Then thereâs the matter of a tragic death that occurred at the lodge over a year ago, and how it connects to unsolved mysteries from Cateâs pastâmysteries she may not be ready to confront.
As they delve into Mercierâs unsavory history, Ben and Cate stick close together, trusting in their love for each other to keep them safe. But when a plot separates them, Cate must rely on the MacGregor Groupâs paranormal abilities, some surprise allies, and her own determination to track Ben down and crack Mercierâs mysteries before the strange place claims any more victims.
ParaTrain Internship, Day Six
Itâs just a meeting. Nothing to be nervous about. I wiped my damp palms on my skirt and ordered my brain to focus on something else. Like the Jag, I thought. Focus on the fact that youâre finally getting a ride in the Jag.
And not just any Jagâthe British 1936 Jaguar SS100 Ben had restored. Heâd found the car in a barn in Pennsylvania, sitting on blocks and covered in hay bales. Now, it looked like it had just left the showroom. My fingertips roamed across the soft leather seat as I admired each piece of shining chrome and the deep glow of the wood on the dash. The carâs transformation was a testament to Benâs workmanshipânot to mention to his patience and tenacity when it came to the things he loved.
The thingsâand the people, I thought, smiling down at my ring. I hadnât exactly made things easy for Ben, but now, two gold birds were wrapped around my finger, holding a lustrous piece of Scottish agate between their wings. Heâd wanted to give me a tangible reminder of how he felt, a talisman to guard against anxiety and doubt.
I stole a glance at Ben. He was completely in his element, left hand loosely holding the steering wheel, right elbow propped up on the door. Everything about him was solid and squared-off, from the angle of his jaw to the way he carried his shoulders. These qualities were augmented by his charcoal gray suit and crisp white shirtâworn sans tie, as usual. I marveled that no matter what internal battles he might be fighting, Ben always exuded a quiet confidence.
âEnjoying yourself?â he asked.
âCompletely.â I closed my eyes and inhaled my new favorite scentâa mixture of fine wool, cotton, and vintage leather that clung to Ben like an olfactory tattoo. âMy mom would have loved this, you know.â
His light brown eyes softened. âYou think so?â
âAbsolutely.â Every summer when I was a kid, she had taken me to the local car shows. Back then, we could only look, never touch. Riding along with Ben, I felt like a glamorous movie star. I struck my best Hollywood pose, and he smiled.
It was such a pleasureânot to mention a reliefâto see Ben relax after the nonstop drama of the past two weeks. There had been too many life-and-death situations, too much tension. And more than anyone, Ben had earned a vacation. With that in mind, after our meeting at the Smithsonian, we planned to spend the rest of the weekend on the Eastern Shore. That evening, we had a dinner date with my motherâs cousin, Ardis, and a reservation at a nice bed-and-breakfast. Sundayâs schedule was still open. I thought we might head to the ocean; I loved the beach in the fall. Or we could take the ferry to Smith Island; wander around St. Michaels, go sailingâ¦. As I considered the possibilities, I nearly forgot to be nervous.
Then we entered downtown D.C. I sobered as stately suburban homes gave way to modern office buildings and massive structures of chiseled granite. Before long, the Smithsonian office building came into viewâten stories of tinted glass reflecting the cloudless blue sky like a darkened mirror. It took up half a city block.
Ben caught me biting my lip. âYou know thereâs nothing to be nervous about, right?â
âI know,â I lied. The truth was, I couldnât believe we were actually there. It had been less than twenty-four hours since Ben told his mother, Dr. MacGregor, about our groupâs experience with the double kheir ritual. Now we were on our way to meet with her world-class paranormal research teamâand not just to exchange information. Weâd been asked to give a demonstration, as well.
I had dressed up for the occasion, wearing a dove gray pencil skirt and a wine-colored cashmere sweater my mother had given me one Christmas. Still, I couldnât shake the feeling that I didnât belong at the Smithsonianânot as anything more than a tourist, anyway.
âWell, just in case,â he said, âlet me remind you that you have nothing to prove here. None of us do. My mother already told her colleagues what happened with our ritual, and theyâre keen to know more. But they donât have any definite expectations; after all, half of them still think the double kheir is just a myth.â In a conspiratorial tone, he added, âThink of it this way. I know you have a lot of questions. Today, you can ask anything you like.â
âHmm.â I bit the tip of my finger. âAnything?â
âLike whether The Da Vinci Code was based in fact? And whether theyâre all members of the Illuminati?â
He chuckled as we pulled into the underground parking garage. âIf you ask them those questions, Iâll make sure you get a substantial year-end bonus.â
âDeal,â I said, smiling tentatively. I was still getting used to the idea that my new boyfriend was also my new boss.
Ben was the manager of the MacGregor Group, an alternative healing clinic founded by his mother and housed in a repurposed church. I first met him when my former employer, Dr. Nelson, sent me to the MacGregor Group for treatment. My motherâs recent suicide had left me in pieces, unable to function. As close as she and I had been, somehow I hadnât seen that my mother was in crisis. Her shocking loss had debilitated me, and I could barely leave my house, let alone return to my job as a psychotherapist. What Dr. Nelson hadnât told me was that Dr. MacGregor was a psychiatrist who specialized in paranormal gifts, and that instead of âtreatingâ me, she and Ben were enrolling me in ParaTrain, a paranormal skills training program. My first lesson had been to learn the definition of an empathâand that I was one.
Since then, my life had changed so dramatically that it was unrecognizable. Dr. Nelson, Dr. MacGregor, and Ben had all worked hard to convince me that because I was an empath, the key to maintaining my mental health was to leave my job as a therapist and go to work for the MacGregor Group. The idea of leaving my beloved therapy clients was nothing short of heartrending. But after due consideration and several persuasive paranormal experiences, I had agreed to take their advice. Before I could officially start my new job, though, I had to complete a three-week training program: one week of preparation, followed by a two-week internship.
My time in ParaTrain had flown by. Although I was starting my final week of the internship, I still didnât feel anywhere near ready to take on my new role as an empath healer. Before I met the MacGregors, I hadnât even known that empaths existed, so I was still struggling to find my bearings. And the unexpected romance between Ben and me was keeping me permanently off-balance. Add in the mind-blowing experience weâd had with the double kheir the previous week, andâ¦. Well, I didnât even know what had happened there, so I was fairly certain that Iâd make a fool of myself trying to describe it to the Smithsonian research team.
That thought had me wiping my palms on my skirt again. âI am nervous, though, about this demonstration weâre supposed to give. The researchers may not have any definite expectations, but surely theyâre hoping to see something. And unlike the rest of you, I have no idea what Iâm doing.â
âYouâll be fine, Cate,â Ben reassured me as we pulled into a parking space. âKaiâs got it all figured out. He said he has something simple and easy planned, so just follow his instructions. Even if nothing interesting happens, thatâs still useful information for my motherâs team. Theyâre scientists, remember? In an experiment, even a negative result is valuable.â
I had no reason to doubt Kai. He was a highly capable expert in ancient rituals, among other things. But when it came to the paranormal, I had a track record of unintentionally messing things up. âWhat if I forget our instructions and start reading peopleâs emotions?â
Dr. MacGregor had passed on a request from her project director that we refrain from using our paranormal gifts on the members of the research team without their specific permission. Apparently, they were much more comfortable observing others than being observed themselves.
âThe fact that youâre already worrying about that means itâs highly unlikely youâll forget,â he said. âAnd even if you do, whoâs going to know?â
Only everyone, I thought. My poker face was nonexistent. I buried my face in my hands. âIâm just afraid that Iâm going to embarrass myself. And you. And your mother. And disappoint everyone.â
Ben turned off the ignition. I felt him lean towards me and gently tuck an escaped strand of hair into my braid. âThatâs not possible.â
His optimism was endearing, if ill-founded. âOh, I assure you, itâs possible.â
About the Author:
Before becoming an award-winning author, ANISE EDEN wanted to be a wildlife photographer. Unfortunately, a strong aversion to large insects, poisonous snakes, and sharksâalong with a cat allergy that might well extend to tigersâlimited that career option. Also, Anise always roots for the gazelle, and we all know how that usually turns out. Fortunately, Aniseâs voracious hunger for reading kept her occupied, eventually morphing into a passion for writing quirky stories filled with heart, humor, and imagination. Anise loves that through writing, she can live out any adventure she likes without the need for antivenom or antihistamines.
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