By USA Today bestselling author P.D. Workman
A self-professed con artist practicing as a contact to the dead, a drop dead gorgeous warlock , and a psychic cat—what could go wrong?
Give yourself a treat and buy three books in the Reg Rawlins, Psychic Detective series for one low price. This set includes:
13. Careful of Thy Wishes
Reg thought when she received the box of gemstones from the fairies that her wishes had been fulfilled and it was the end of her troubles. But it was only the beginning. What Reg had thought was a generous gift in recompense of saving Calliopia from certain death turns out to be a major in pain the backside.
14. Time to Your Elf
Timing had never been Reg’s strong suit. It seemed like she was always arriving late or on the wrong day, starting a new venture at the worst possible time, or otherwise fouling things up. But her bad timing was nothing compared to that of Orri.
15. Undiscovered Tomb
Powerful rings, a couple of cuddly kitties, and never-ending ice cream in the freezer; Reg would have thought that she would be happy with her new normal. Or paranormal. But it isn’t quite as much fun as it sounds like. Egypt isn’t all lollypops and rainbows either. It’s hot. It’s dusty. And Reg had hoped to have put her mummy issues behind her.
Release date: April 29, 2022
Publisher: pd workman
Print pages: 904
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Reg Rawlins Psychic Investigator 13-15
Careful of Thy Wishes
Reg had been putting it off for too long. She had been spending more, knowing that she had the gems to fall back on, so, although she had been doing okay with her psychic services business, she had been spending more than she was making, which wasn’t a great way to keep her bank balance in the black.
She kept putting off cashing in a couple of the gems because of the work involved. She hadn’t ever done it before, for one thing. She had used pawnshops in the past to get a bit of cash for jewelry she had acquired through one means or another, but she knew that she didn’t get anywhere near what they were worth. And she couldn’t take cut, unset gemstones to a pawnshop. They weren’t jewelers. They wouldn’t know how much they were worth or give her a fair price.
That meant that she had to figure out where to go to sell the gems. She found several gemstone buyers in nearby cities; that was an easy enough internet search. The problem was finding one that would not only give her a fair price, but would look the other way on gems that might not have come through regular channels.
The stores in Black Sands would be more understanding about how she had acquired the gems, but she didn’t think it was a good idea for anyone in Black Sands to know about the fact that she had a small chest of cut gems in her possession. She hadn’t yet rented a safe deposit box like Sarah, her landlord, had suggested, which meant that the box of gems was in Reg’s closet. Or under the bed. Or whatever other place she had chosen to hide it in temporarily. She moved it around regularly because she knew it wasn’t safe. There wasn’t anywhere secure to hide it within the guest cottage she rented from the older woman. If word got out that she had the gems, she could have a problem.
Of course, the cottage was protected with magical wards and charms, but Reg knew that there were still ways for less-honorable thieves to find their way around the wards, or for powerful beings to break them. She knew because it had happened before. Sarah had helped her to set new wards several times. She always rolled her eyes and gave Reg a stern lecture on not allowing herself to be talked into releasing the wards, allowing a pixie into the house, or surrendering by any other means to which the wards were vulnerable.
So Reg knew that she couldn’t liquidate any of the jewels in Black Sands. It was too risky. She would have to go into one of the bigger cities where she was unknown and where she would not be required to explain how the stones had come into her possession. And those kinds of places didn’t advertise the fact on public websites.
But she couldn’t afford to wait any longer.
There were a few interesting listings on Craigslist and eBay. Reg made screenshots of them and looked up the addresses on the maps app on her phone.
“What do you think?” she mused aloud.
Starlight looked at her, blinking first his blue eye and then his green. She didn’t know how much of commerce or the internet he understood. His psychic powers might not extend that far.
“I need money if I’m going to get you food and kitty litter. So you want to help me with that, right?”
He blinked again, both eyes together this time. Reg focused on the white mark in the third eye position on his forehead. The star that gave him his name. She squinted her eyes slightly and let them go out of focus, thinking about the listings that she had just found on her phone, trying to sort out which of them was the best bet. She brought up the first one in her mind, a David Price of Rite Price Gem Exchange and immediately felt a sense of foreboding. Her stomach tied itself in a tight, heavy knot that nearly made her physically sick.
She didn’t know what the danger was in going to Price, but she knew it was not a good idea. She mentally struck that one off her list.
She opened her eyes for a couple of seconds to check out the next listing. Dreame Jewelry. Achieve your highest dreams. That one sounded even sleazier than the first. But she focused her eyes on Starlight’s white star again and thought about it.
She had never dreamed that she would come into possession of such a fortune. There had been plenty of times in the past when she had dreamed of somewhere safe and sheltered to live and a bowl of warm soup in her hands. Reg had found that and more in Black Sands, a little Florida community that had seemed ripe for all kinds of paranormal cons. But, as she had soon discovered, there was more to Black Sands than just a high percentage of practicing psychics and retirees with thick wallets that needed unburdening. Instead, she had found a community that had not only accepted her as a bona fide psychic, but had opened up to her a whole new world of paranormal practitioners and experiences that were often difficult for her to believe existed.
She still woke up some mornings wondering if the past year had all been a dream and she didn’t really possess any unusual psychic or paranormal abilities. Maybe there were no witches, fairies, sirens, or immortals. Maybe it was all just a very detailed and involved hallucination.
And then she talked to her cat and pulled out the little chest of gems and looked out the window at Sarah’s backyard garden, flourishing under the care of Forst, the garden gnome. And she knew that it was all real.
“Do you think they would give me what the gems are worth?”
Not what they were worth, of course, but at least enough that she wouldn’t have to worry about her bank account again for a few months.
She had a good feeling about Dreame Jewelry. Maybe it was the right place to go.
There were still more places on her list, but she didn’t want to go over all of them with Starlight. Using her psychic powers, even with Starlight, was tiring, and she couldn’t maintain her focus for that long.
Besides, it was nearly noon, and she was ready for some breakfast.
It had taken Reg a couple of hours to get to the city and locate the little store front that Dreame Jewelry worked out of. When she saw the dingy front window with dusty displays of what clearly was not real jewelry, she nearly changed her mind. There were several other jewelers on her list. Dreame really did not live up to its name.
But she was there. She might as well at least check it out. She’d had a good feeling about the place initially. Maybe it was a diamond in the rough. So to speak.
Reg pushed open the door. A bell tinkled, announcing her arrival. The interior was dim after the bright Florida sunlight outside. She couldn’t see much at first. She closed her eyes, then opened them again and squinted around.
There were a few display cases with much the same kind of product as she had seen in the window. Maybe a few real pieces, but even the ones that appeared to be real weren’t spectacular. They needed a good cleaning, to begin with. The store smelled dusty and old and sort of oily. A jewelry store shouldn’t smell oily, should it?
Reg browsed through the displays. When she looked up, she saw a man standing behind the one that had been on her right when she had pushed her way through the door. She was sure that he hadn’t been there, standing in the dim recesses of the room, when she had arrived. But he had either appeared out of nowhere or had crept in from the back of the store so quietly that she had not heard him or been aware of his presence.
“Oh. Hi there. I didn’t see you.”
The man was dark-skinned and had a short black beard that was not properly trimmed. Or maybe it was just a few days’ growth of whiskers that didn’t count as a beard. His face was round and his body wide.
“Good afternoon,” he greeted in a resonant, surprisingly reassuring voice. “Jean Beaugrand at your service. How can I help you today?”
“Well, I was just looking…” Reg indicated the display cases, not yet showing her hand. Maybe she was just a tourist who had wandered in off the street.
The man’s eyes traveled over Reg, from the multicolored headscarf around her head, to her red box braids, to her flowing peasant shirt and skirt. Maybe she didn’t look like a tourist. But Beaugrand would have no way of knowing who she was. She didn’t know anyone in the area and she wouldn’t tell him that she had come from Black Sands.
“Are you here to buy or to sell?” he asked, getting immediately to the crux of the matter.
Reg pursed her lips, thinking about what to say. Admit that she was there looking for a buyer? Or continue to look at his wares and feel him out before revealing the fact?
She didn’t say anything at first. She ignored his question as if she hadn’t heard or understood it and browsed through the display case that he was standing behind, getting closer to him, reaching out with all of her senses to examine him, to read and classify him. She was good at cold-reading people. Or what she had always thought of as cold reading but might actually have been using her psychic powers before she knew she had them.
“Like what you see?” the man inquired mildly.
There was more to Beaugrand than met the eye. Few people showed their true selves to the world, but she sensed that he was hiding more than most. While his face and voice suggested that he was open and honest, there was a cloak of mystery and secrecy around him. Something stopped her from being able to probe him further.
“Well, there are a couple of pieces,” Reg said, turning her attention back to the jewelry and pretending that was what he had been asking. She indicated a necklace that was almost directly in front of him. The ruby in the pendant was real. She could feel that. After having handled her own gems regularly, she could sense the power of a real stone. “This one…”
The man smiled, showing two rows of white, even teeth. “That is a very nice piece,” he agreed. “Are you interested in buying?”
There was no price tag on it. Reg studied his face. He did not appear to be sarcastic or judging her as being too poor to afford it. It was a simple question about her interest in it.
“No,” Reg admitted. She pulled a small velvet pouch out of her pocket. “I saw on Craigslist that you purchase gemstones. I don’t see any out, so I was just wondering…”
“I do not display them,” Beaugrand agreed. “I sell them privately to silver- and goldsmiths. People don’t generally walk in off the street looking for unset stones.”
Reg hesitated for another instant, reaching out to assess his feelings and intentions again. Either he was very good at blocking her, or he was an honest man. She loosened the strings on the pouch and spilled the gems she had brought with her onto her palm. She didn’t know if he would be interested in everything, or whether he only bought certain gems. Or perhaps only what he knew his smiths were currently looking for.
The man leaned forward to look at them. He opened a drawer and put a shallow tray on top of the display case. “You can put them in there, and I will have a look.”
He pulled a loupe from a pocket and picked up a ruby. He looked at it for a few moments, then put it back and picked up a blue gem, a sapphire, Reg assumed. He studied it for only an instant before putting it back.
He shook his head slowly. The opening move of his negotiation. Reg was familiar with negotiation, and he wasn’t going to scare her away by declaring that her gems were worth very little or nothing. She could be hard-nosed and get a fair price. She’d had a lot of practice when she had been a lot more desperate than she was now.
“They are real,” Reg asserted, looking him in the eye.
Beaugrand nodded. “Oh, yes. They are real. And good quality.”
She was surprised to hear him concede that. But maybe it was part of his strategy. A little carrot to tempt her.
“Then what is the problem? They’re good stones, you purchase stones for your smithies. Why wouldn’t you be interested?”
“Do you know anything about the provenance of these stones?”
She had sold enough family heirlooms to know that provenance referred to being able to prove where the goods had come from and what hands they had passed through. She hadn’t bothered to doctor any papers to give the gems fake histories.
“I understood from what I read that you… will purchase gems without provenance,” Reg said delicately. She didn’t want to imply that he was doing something against the law, or even unethical. But she’d done her research. She knew that Dreame dealt in… shadier areas.
“This is true,” he tilted his head in a slight nod. “However, I wondered if you know anything about these gems. How did they come into your hands?”
“They are not stolen.”
“That is good, but does not answer the question.” The man pulled a stool over and sat down, resting his meaty forearms on the top of the case.
“They were given to me as a gift.”
She doubted he would believe that, but he didn’t give any sign of disbelief. “And did you accept them? Or did you say that you would check them out first?” He looked down at the gems in the tray.
“They are mine. I can sell them or do whatever I like with them.”
“So, you accepted the gift.”
Reg nodded impatiently. “Yes. Of course. Who wouldn’t?”
Beaugrand smiled, showing his teeth again. “Perhaps someone who is not as rash as you.”
Reg’s stomach knotted. This did not sound good. Why should it be a problem that she had accepted the stones that were given to her as a gift? Unless they were stolen property, she couldn’t see what was wrong with her owning them. The police couldn’t do anything about that.
“Why? What do you mean?”
“I cannot buy these stones from you. You will need to find another avenue to rid yourself of them.”
Reg stared at him, frowning.
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