Home > A Glimpse of Evil (Psychic Eye Mystery #8)

A Glimpse of Evil (Psychic Eye Mystery #8)
Victoria Laurie

Chapter One

Let me just state for the record that being the FBI’s “civilian intuitive profiler” (aka resident psychic) was not the cake job I thought it’d be. I’m not sure what I actually expected when I took the position: perhaps my name printed on the door to a nice candlelit room with soft cozy furniture, where I’d jot down my impressions as they came to me and hand them off to an attentive agent for follow-up. I learned quickly that the FBI doesn’t do cozy and candles. Nope. They’re all business. “Just the facts, ma’am.” Oh, and paperwork. The FBI is all about its documentation . . . in triplicate.

But back on April first, I had no idea that I was about to be strapped to a desk in a crowded room, lit by the unflattering light of fluorescents, while piles of files stacked up around me, threatening to crush me in a tsunami of recycled paper. No, on this day I was actually feeling pretty upbeat as the bureau’s newest civilian profiler. I was super-excited about my prospects, in fact, and all I thought to contribute to solving crime and bringing in the bad guys.

I should have known then that nothing good ever happens on April Fools’.

Still, as my sweetheart, Dutch, and I cruised through Waco on our way to Austin on that last day of March, I will admit, I could have been overly optimistic due to all the exciting changes taking place in our lives.

Now, Dutch has been my steady for the past three years. Until the end of March, we’d been doing the “living in sin” thing at Dutch’s bungalow back in Royal Oak, Michigan—a quaint suburban town just outside Detroit. Then the offer had come in to relocate to Austin, and we’d said yes.

The move was driven a little more by Dutch—it meant accepting a promotion for him and helping to pioneer a brand-new division: two challenges that my S.O. really wanted to tackle. And because I genuinely love him, I’d gone along with the idea. Okay, so maybe there’d been a job offer for me in there too, but it hadn’t come without strings attached, believe me.

Anyway, as far as our relationship goes, I will freely admit that, of the two of us, I’m the lucky one. Dutch is a manly sort of man; heck, even his five-o’clock shadow arrives by four, and his voice is this wonderfully rich baritone that reminds me of chocolate and espresso: rich, smooth, and earthy. And did I mention that he’s also really easy on the eyes? No? Well, let me just state for the record, then—the man is fan-yourself-when-he-passes beautiful and then some.

More specifically, he’s thirty-six, with square chiseled features, light blond hair, a body I like to climb like a rock wall, and the most gorgeous pair of midnight blues you’ve ever lost yourself in.

He’s also a great cook, doesn’t leave his laundry on the floor, and patiently puts up with me. Which, given my lack of homemaking skills, inability to distinguish the floor from the hamper, and penchant for getting into serious trouble on a regular basis, definitely qualifies him for sainthood.

Dutch’s day job is at the FBI. He’s the assistant special agent in charge of . . . something. What, exactly, I’m still not clear—but he’s one of the good guys, assisting in the managing of a group of other good guys at a brand-new bureau office in Austin, Texas.

Dutch’s boss is a guy named Brice Harrison, a man I’d come to know and like, even though he and I had gotten off on the wrong foot when we’d first met.

More specifically, he thought I was a nut. I thought he was an ass.

We were both a little right.

Since then, I’d managed to win Brice and his superiors over by helping to solve a big multijurisdictional case involving some missing teenagers. After proving myself on that case, Brice had been so impressed that he’d specifically recruited me as a civilian profiler for the new branch in the Texas state capital.

I’d gratefully accepted, as I realized that Dutch really wanted the promotion that Harrison was offering him, and that my income as a professional psychic had been significantly dampened by the downward-spiraling economy in Michigan.

So, after the holidays, Dutch and I had packed up his house, scouted out a rental home in Austin, and were ready to move. And that’s when my test results came back.

See, for all positions within the bureau—even those considered “civilian”—you must pass a lengthy and difficult interview process along with one incredibly intense psychological profile. By asking you a series of questions, which I assume are largely devoted to determining if you’re a nutcase, the bureau can decide if they should hire you, or lock you up and throw away the key.

Don’t believe me?

Sample one of the actual questions from the test: “Was there ever a time when you wished your parents were dead?”

Ummmm . . . no?

Maybe?

Okay, yes, when I was about sixteen and on the heels of being unfairly grounded for something my sister did, I will admit that I did fantasize about it but only for a second. I . . . um . . . pinkie swear.

The actual test, however, didn’t allow for any elaboration or explanation; it was just “yes” or “no,” and from my perspective, that all added up to a whole lotta bad news for me.

So, I was very surprised when the results came in a week later and showed that I was actually quite sane . . .

Score!

. . . but angry.

Say what, now?!!!

According to some FBI behavioral “genius” at HQ, my psychological profile suggested that I was likely given to frequent and unpredictable outbursts—particularly those expressing a sense of rage and frustration. Based on that analysis, the bureau was requiring me to attend “anger management” classes prior to being offered the position with the Austin bureau.

This disclosure was followed by a rather comedic outburst of said rage and frustration, and for a long while, my response to the idea that I attend the AM class was to tersely spout off a list of the vast and varied ways the FBI could go stuff themselves . . . and, yes, in hindsight I do see the irony!

Whatever.

In the end, it was the only choice I had; otherwise, bureau policy dictated that I couldn’t be hired. After considerable study of my shrinking bank balance, my dwindling client list, and the sad face that Dutch displayed every time I looked like I might refuse to go to the classes, I gave in. Which is why our move was delayed two months from February first to the end of March right after I received my certificate. (The FBI will have to excuse me if I don’t rush to frame it and mount it on the wall for everyone to see.)

After meeting the terms, I was officially hired, and we were on our way. The trip itself had been long and uncomfortable—I’m not a fan of extended road trips—but I’d seen some beautiful scenery all the way from southern Michigan to Oklahoma. But right around the time we entered north Texas, things got . . . well . . . dull.

“Yo, Abs,” Dutch said as I stared with concern out the window of his SUV, which had my MINI Cooper hitched behind it. “Penny for your thoughts?”

“It’s so stark,” I said, pulling my eyes away from the window. “I mean, I had no idea Texas was so flat.”

Dutch smiled wisely. He’d been flying down to Austin every week since the end of January to help Brice set up the new office and interview candidates for the squad. “The topography changes just outside Austin. Don’t you worry. Central Texas is almost as gorgeous as you are.”

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