Fast Money: A Paranormal Women's Fiction Novel
Ready for more fun than you can imagine? Meet Shelby Nichols, mind-reader extraordinaire!
Ever wonder what it's like to be a millionaire?
Finding a deposit of five million dollars might be a dream come true if it didn't come from a mob-boss.
When word gets out, all kinds of people are after Shelby for a piece of the money. Even her mind-reading skills won't be enough to keep her out of danger, and her survival becomes a matter of life and death.
Can she figure out who to trust in time? Or will this fast money be the end of Shelby Nichols?
Get it now.
USA TODAY and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Colleen Helme offers a clever mix of mystery, laugh-out-loud humor, and page-turning adventure in the highly acclaimed Shelby Nichols Adventure Series.
I love Shelby! Seriously, move over Sookie Stackhouse, there's a new mind reader in town and she certainly is fun. Always in trouble and never a dull moment! ~ Nikki, Amazon Reviewer
If you love the Stephanie Plum series, You'll love this one! Can't wait to get started on the next book! – Amazon Reviewer
Perfect for mystery fans who like a little paranormal and humor mixed in their novels.~ Imagination Reviews Blog
It's lighthearted mystery and action with lovable characters. I look forward to the next!~ Berls@Because Reading
Perfect for fans of Jana DeLeon, Elizabeth Hunter, Eve Langlais, Shannon Mayer, and Darynda Jones.
Release date: November 18, 2013
Publisher: Manetto Books
Print pages: 275
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
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Fast Money: A Paranormal Women's Fiction Novel
I used to fantasize about how it would feel to be a millionaire, and what I would do with all that money. The only way I figured it would ever happen, was if I won the lottery, or the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. Which I’m not convinced is real. So the day it actually happened was a complete shock.
I was out shopping at the mall and, as usual, running a little low on funds. That cute pair of genuine leather boots was on sale and I didn’t think I’d ever find another pair I liked better. At half off, I could hardly pass it up. That’s when I remembered the account Uncle Joey had set up for me.
I’d used most of the money to buy a new car when a bank robber tried to kill me and totaled mine. Ramos, Uncle Joey’s hit man, saved my life, but I ended up working for Uncle Joey. I had to tell him my secret that I could read minds so he wouldn’t harm my family or me, and, in the process, he opened a bank account in my name. Over the course of our association he put lots of money in there for me, and I dutifully spent it.
Now that Uncle Joey was out of my life, I had forgotten about the account… until I saw those boots. My husband, Chris, wouldn’t mind too much that I bought such an expensive pair of shoes when I told him it wasn’t his money I’d used. And the best part would be that I wouldn’t feel guilty about it.
With this happy thought, I rushed to the nearest ATM and put in my card. After entering my pin number I checked my balance.
That was when I nearly fainted. There was a five with a whole lot of zero’s behind it—five million, two hundred forty-three dollars and seventy-eight cents to be exact. What the freak? I swallowed and took a deep breath, then glanced around, hoping no one had noticed how much money was in there and shove a gun in my ribs or something.
Call me paranoid, but the last few weeks had taught me to watch my back. Needing to turn the screen off, I punched withdraw and took out two hundred dollars. I got the money, logged off, and walked away like nothing was wrong.
I wandered over to the food court, and sat on a chair just as my legs gave way. There was only one way that money could get into my account, and that was through Uncle Joey. I thought I’d seen the last of him, but that must have been wishful thinking. How could I be so naïve?
I’d just have to call him and tell him to take his money out of my account or I would put it someplace where he’d never find it. On second thought, I’d better not. That would just get me killed. I’d have to be nice about it, and ask him what was going on, and hope I wouldn’t have to do anything illegal or worse, to solve his money problems.
The last time we talked, I worked pretty hard to convince him that my mind-reading abilities were gone, but I’m not sure he believed me. If he ever found out I still had them, my life would never be my own—ever.
Maybe an email would be the best way to handle it. Feeling better, I decided to go home and do just that. I passed the shoe store with the boots and slowed for one last look. I could probably still get them. I mean, I had two hundred dollars in my pocket so why not?
I’d always wanted a tan pair of cowboy-style boots, and these were fantastic. I tried them on and they fit perfectly. After paying for them, I left the shop with a smile on my face. I got halfway to the outside doors when a spot between my shoulder blades started to itch, like a warning that someone was following me. I slowed and glanced in the windows of the closest shop. Using my mind-reading ability, I opened my senses wide, hoping to catch a stray thought that would tell me if someone was thinking about me.
I heard nothing suspicious, but I’d learned to trust my instincts, and decided it wouldn’t hurt to scan the mall. Trying to make it look like I’d forgotten something, I wandered back the way I’d come. Listening hard, I still didn’t hear anyone thinking about me and why I had stopped. Hmm… I should probably go home. If someone were following me, I would know long before I got to my car.
The parking lot was crowded and my car wasn’t too far. Still, I got out my keys and punched the unlock button. I didn’t walk directly to the car, choosing to cross between the parking spaces so I could look back as I opened the car door.
It didn’t look like anyone was following me. I swiveled into my seat and shut the door in record time, then locked it and let out a breath. So much for my instincts. Now I had to face the fact that I really was paranoid. All that money was starting to take a toll, and I hadn’t even known about it for more than fifteen minutes. Even the thought of wearing my new boots couldn’t lighten my mood.
I drove home in a daze, wondering what to do and if I should tell my husband. I knew Chris would not be happy about the money because of how it tied me to Uncle Joey. If I told him, he might question my honesty, and since I’d basically lied to him, he’d be right. He thought my mind-reading abilities were gone, and the stress of acting like I didn’t know what he was thinking was one of the reasons I’d gone to the mall in the first place. It was hard, and I’d slipped up a few times. I knew he was a little suspicious, but trying to give me the benefit of the doubt. How would he feel knowing I’d lied to him?
To be honest, I was tired of keeping this secret. Maybe this was the excuse I needed to come clean and tell him my mind-reading abilities were back. It might make him mad, but he’d just have to deal with it. It’s not like it was the end of the world or anything.
I pulled into the garage and hurried into my house. As I put my things away, I realized a big weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Telling Chris was the right thing to do, in fact, I was so ready to tell him, I wanted to call him right then and there. But I resisted, knowing it was always better to resolve big issues like this in person.
Three and a half weeks had passed since the shoot-out at Uncle Joey’s office, and the bruising on my face from getting conked in the head had finally faded. I’d kept a low profile with two black eyes, but now I was ready to start a new life, and this might be just the way to do it.
I could come clean with Chris and that would open a whole new world of possibilities. I was sure Dimples, the police detective I’d worked with previously, would love my help solving crimes. They paid consultants all the time, or at least they did on TV and in books. I mean… look at Sherlock Holmes. I could probably solve cases a lot faster than him, and he was good.
Or I could have my own consulting agency. I could even help Chris with his clients. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if people were guilty right off the bat? That could save a lot of time and money.
Helping people with their relationship issues might even be better. I could help them communicate with each other, and get them to admit their feelings. I could call myself a facilitator or something like that. Once word got around at how sympathetic and helpful I was, I’d have lots of clients. The possibilities were endless. Now all I had to do was tell Chris.
There was also the five million dollars hanging over my head. Why had Uncle Joey put all that money in my account? He must have needed a place to keep it safe that no one else could access. Maybe he’d caught up with Kate and Hodges, and this was the money they stole from him. That could be a possibility. I only wished he wouldn’t have involved me. I thought about writing that email, but for some reason, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was probably something that could wait, at least until I talked to Chris.
I popped open a can of diet soda, and decided it wasn’t too early to start dinner. Tonight I needed to have something nice for Chris and the kids to eat. They were always happier when food was on the table, and I needed Chris happy for what I was going to drop on him.
A twinge of guilt ran through me, and I knew I was walking a fine line. A few weeks ago, I had decided that a satisfying lie was better than the awful truth, and I still believed that to a point. I mean, so what if you tell someone you really like what they’re wearing when you only sort-of like it. If you love them, you let little things like that go.
On the other hand, if you love someone enough, it’s better to tell the truth when it’s really important. They may hate you for it at first, but they would thank you later, because if it was the truth, they needed to know.
So telling Chris that my powers were gone had seemed like the best thing at first, but now, he would thank me for knowing it wasn’t true. In the long run, it was better for him to know that I could read his mind, right?
My heart sank. Who was I trying to kid? He’d never thank me. Would it ruin our relationship? Would he decide he couldn’t live with it? Maybe I shouldn’t tell him after all. But how could that be better? I was keeping something from him that was important to me, and not talking about it was killing me. He was the only person in the whole world I could tell.
Breathing deeply, I pushed my doubts away and let my breath out. Telling him was the right thing, and I just had to have faith that we could work it out.
I found the hamburger and sausage in the freezer and started frying it up, deciding to make lasagna. I didn’t make it very often because it was time consuming, but everyone in my family loved it. Plus I had all the ingredients, which didn’t happen very often.
Fourteen-year old Joshua walked in from school and his eyes got big. “Is that lasagna?” he asked.
“Yup,” I answered.
“All right!” He gave me a high-five. “When will it be ready?” He was starving. Feeling that raw need from his thoughts made me nervous... kind of how I imagined feeding a starving piranha.
“Here,” I said, handing him the peanut butter and jam. “Make yourself a PB&J. Dinner won’t be ready until about six-thirty, but that should tide you over.”
Savannah, who was two years younger than her brother, came through the door. She made a disgusted sound at Joshua stuffing his mouth, and went to her room, thinking something about a cute boy and wanting to call Ryan later. I sucked in my breath. Savannah and a cute boy? She was only twelve! I just about followed her into her room, but what could I say? Who’s Ryan, and you’re too young to have a boyfriend? That would go over well, besides, just because she was thinking about a boy didn’t mean they were girlfriend/boyfriend.
I steadied myself against the counter and took a big swig of diet soda. On the positive side, at least I knew about Ryan. If I couldn’t read minds, I wouldn’t have a clue. That could be a big plus when I told Chris the truth. He was sure to appreciate my talent then.
I finished up the lasagna and put it in the oven, then made a salad and got the table set. At six-thirty, we were ready to eat. I was a firm believer in eating dinner together as a family and, since Chris hadn’t called to say he would be late, we waited. The first few minutes were okay, but it slowly stretched to five, then ten. After enduring endless complaints from Josh and Savannah, most of them only in their thoughts, I relented, and we ate without Chris.
I kept hoping he would come in while we were eating, or at least call. Fifteen minutes later, we were through eating. After cleaning up, Joshua left for scouts and three of Savannah’s friends came over to work on a group project for school. They disappeared into her room, but I knew they were mostly here to talk about boys.
At seven, Chris finally called. “Sorry I’m late, but I have a big case I couldn’t leave. I’m on my way to the car, so I should be there in about twenty minutes.”
“Okay, see you soon.” I put a cheerful tone into my voice, so he wouldn’t know I was mad, but inside it really bothered me. Especially after all the work I’d gone to in making lasagna. I don’t know why I thought he would make it home in time for dinner. Most of the time he didn’t, so I should be used to it by now. Still, I had to let it go. I couldn’t let my anger get in the way of the truth I had to tell him.
I resisted the impulse to eavesdrop on Savannah and her friends, and turned on the TV, channel surfing until I found something that caught my attention. A few minutes later, the kitchen door opened and closed, signaling that Chris was home, but I didn’t get up to greet him. I didn’t necessarily care about the show I was watching, but I was feeling neglected so I stayed put. He could easily find me. Minutes passed without him doing that, so with a huff, I turned off the TV and got up to see what was going on.
I found him in the study, his rumpled hair standing on end, and a pencil in his mouth. His brows were drawn together in concentration so he didn’t notice me for a minute. Finally, he glanced up. “Hey,” he said, his voice low and husky, sending shivers up my arms. “I would have come down, but I didn’t want to interrupt.”
“That’s okay. I wasn’t really watching anything important, at least not as important as you.”
He pursed his lips in a guilty pout. “I could have stayed at the office to finish this, but I thought I’d come home and finish here instead.”
“What are you working on?”
“Just a case I have to argue before the judge tomorrow.”
“What’s it about?”
“It’s not anything you’d be interested in.” He was thinking that the messy divorce would just depress me, like it did him, and he didn’t want to talk about it with me. He hated these kinds of divorce cases where no one could agree on anything, and it ended up going to trial. It was just stupid.
I took a step back. If I hadn’t been able to hear his thoughts, I would have been offended. I would have thought he didn’t think I was smart enough to understand his work, and it would have hurt me deeply. Now I knew he was trying to protect me.
I shook my head and sighed. I didn’t need that kind of protection. What I needed was communication. I needed to be included in his world, and I wanted to include him in mine. This was the perfect opportunity to tell him. It was now or never.
My heart started to pound, but I stood a little taller and looked him straight in the eyes. “I don’t need you to protect me, Chris. I know you see bad things. Some divorces are horrible, but don’t you think that maybe if you talked about some of this stuff you wouldn’t get depressed about it? Why do you think you have to shut me out?”
The pencil in his mouth fell, bouncing to the floor. He made no move to pick it up. His eyebrows arched into his forehead, and the color drained from his face. “You…you…how long…when??”
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