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Through the Veneer of Time, medieval time travel historical romance, time travel fiction fantasy, irish historical romance, serial killer fbi agent romance, suspense romance series, mystery thriller romance, mystery suspense romance, Celtic triquetra
Through the Veneer of Time

Chapter Eighteen

A Great Love

July 17, 2009, Garrett Park, Maryland & Washington, D.C.

Half an hour later, we were in a residential neighborhood, standing in front of a three-story Victorian “gingerbread” house with cream and gray wood siding, round tower with a pointed roof, and wraparound porch.

I frowned. “This doesn’t seem right.”

“She’s not that kind of psychic.” Emma shot me a knowing smile. “Just trust me.”

A little self-conscious, I followed her to the front door, where she knocked three times. There was no answer. “I don’t think anyone is home—” 

The door opened, and a red tabby cat greeted us with wide, green-eyed wonder. 

“Hello, Emma.” A soft Irish lilt drew my attention to the wrinkled old lady behind the cat.

A shiver jolted through me. Don’t be ridiculous.

The room we entered was redolent of spicy incense and herbs and contained two tables: a small one off in the corner, laden with a dizzying array of random objects and a pair of taper candles, and a large one in the middle with a single geometrical design painted on top. I’d gone still. The shape was a Celtic triquetra, like the one tattooed on my bikini line.

 “Sit, please.” The old lady pointed to the bigger table. “The donation bin is by the door. I ask for a contribution of one hundred dollars before you leave. More is always appreciated.”

She circled the room three times, then went to the small table. A gleam of recognition flittered as she murmured something about land, sky, and sea and lit both candles. But before I could consider this, she flicked the lighter again, and the haunting scent of frankincense permeated the room, thin wisps of smoke curling and fading into the air.

She walked to our table.

“Nice to meet you.” I stuck out my hand when she sat down. “My name is—”

“Your name is of no importance. It’s not for this name you’re here.” The woman’s time-faded eyes peered into mine.

I glanced around—no tarot cards, no crystal ball, no Ouija board.

“Do you read fortunes?”

“No, child, I roam the past to divine the present.”

Without giving me a chance to respond, the woman closed her eyes, then held and released her breath three times. I watched with narrowed eyes, not believing this sham for a second. But as I turned to Emma to show her what I thought of this psychic business, the woman raised her hand.

“Tuatha Dé Danann.”

Her eyes, now clear as crystal, peered beyond me as if through me, into some plane unknown. She took my hands into hers, dry and thin, and a faint electric shock surged through me.

I swallowed. I don’t want to know. What possessed me to agree to this?

But the woman spoke, her voice cool and distant. “It isn’t often the likes of you come in.”

I let go of my breath. This was obviously the beginning of a well-rehearsed routine used on gullible customers.

Affecting to seek something in the distance, the psychic let out a thoughtful “hmm.” “I see no dead spirits clinging to you, child. They must have all returned with you—how curious. But fear not the dead, fear the living!”

I squirmed in my chair despite myself. I shouldn’t have come here.

“An old soul—unsettled.” The psychic continued. “A high position—a heavy burden. A great love—a rare treasure.” The multitude of creases on her forehead puckered as her grip on my hand tightened. “A terrible blow—with long-reaching consequences.”

I tried to jerk my hand away, but she held on with surprising strength.

“You waited a long time to return to this earth to find the safe little haven you longed for. They all waited—for the right time, the right place—”

Her whole body jerked toward Emma.


Straight as a rod, my friend stared at me with a hand over her mouth.


The old woman shook her head with a disapproving “hmm” and returned to me. “A malevolent spirit waited too, child, and it has found you.”

A chill crept down my spine. I made another attempt to wrench my hand free, to no avail.

“I’m almost done. Have patience.” The psychic let out a muffled sigh. “This spirit knows you now, and it won’t let you be, for it’s consumed by the powers of darkness. I see its shadow on you. It’s clever, hiding behind modern trickery. Beware as you embark on your journey.”

She released my hand, stretched her arms toward the ceiling, and closed her eyes. “Be the guiding light for this child—protect her, Brigid. Give her courage and resolve—watch over her, Mórrígan.”

I sat still, too dumbfounded to make sense of this as the psychic took a deep breath and opened her eyes. They were back to their muddy color.

I risked a peek at Emma. She looked like she’d seen a ghost.

“I’d like a reading too,” she whispered, eyes burning emerald-green.

“Do your own reading,” said the woman. “What d’you need me for?”

Emma’s lips parted, but nothing came out.

“Oh, spare me the deer-in-the-headlights look, kinswoman. It doesn’t suit you.” The psychic regarded Emma with a censorious stare. “Search deeper within yourself. It’s well past time you did.”

“But I… I’m not sure I can…” Emma faltered.

I touched her arm, but she didn’t seem to notice.

The woman stood. “Of course, you can.”

I thanked her—not sure for what—then dropped the required “donation” into the antique mailbox by the door.


“What in the world was that?” I glanced at Emma after we drove in silence.

She didn’t reply.

“Should I be concerned with—” I scoffed. “What was it—the terrible blow and the evil spirit?”

“How would I know?”

I gaped. Emma had never been short with me. 

“Well—” I switched on the headlights in the falling darkness. “You could ‘search deeper within yourself.”

“Something happened in that room.” Emma’s voice was low, choked even. “Something big.”

I flinched. “Hey, can you stop weirding me out? I never asked to see the witch—I’m sorry.” Just how rattled was I?

“No, you’re right, she is a witch. I… didn’t want to freak you out.” Emma shot me a wild glance. “Can you take me home, Sie? I need to be alone right now.”

At the condo, I found Ryan engrossed in something on the sports channel, delivery pizza in front of him on the coffee table.

He held a slice out for me. “Do anything fun?” 

I’d considered telling him about my visions but never did. I had legitimate excuses: his shoulder was still healing, I was too tired, the timing wasn’t right. But those were only cop-outs. The truth was besides the unpleasant prospect of appearing insane, I couldn’t trust my face when speaking of Aedan O’Neal. The visions were so tangible, they bordered on infidelity.

But this was nonsense, of course. It’s not cheating if it’s only a dream.

“We went to a psychic.”

“Seriously?” He chuckled, pizza slice suspended in air.

“She said I have a great love.” I picked out the most innocuous part of the reading.

He took a healthy bite. “She must have noticed your wedding ring. Did she say anything about past lives, dead people, or evil spirits?”

My jaw dropped.

“C’mon, Sie. You don’t really believe this nonsense.” He beckoned me over. “Funny how I go stir-crazy in here, and the moment you’re back, the place turns from a cage to a haven.”

Lying wide awake later, I shook my head. A psychic! Of course, with her new age mania, Emma would take me to a witch. A witch, who, while promising to provide answers, had only left me with more questions.

The answers are in your past life. The woman’s brittle voice rang in my head, giving me a jolt.

As if the visions weren’t enough, I was now hearing voices?

Whatever. I shut my eyes, took a deep breath, and began the countdown. 

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