We’re just outside of one month until the release of Fortunate Sum. I’m so excited to share this little creation with you all that I decided to share an excerpt from the book. This little bit is where Catherine and Imogene first meet eachother, and oh what a meeting it is.
More and more guests filled the living area and large kitchen within the next half hour. Catherine hadn’t had the chance to manage even a small “happy birthday” to Alice before someone dragged her away to greet her guests. She hadn’t even caught a glimpse of her. Catherine remained tucked away with a glass of the wine she brought and found herself somehow having a one-on-one debate about the Super Bowl with a man she believed was named Eric. Catherine hated sports. Thankfully, she was part of a family that enjoyed entertaining and worked in a field that required her to address large groups of people at a time. Catherine managed to handle herself just fine. She only caught herself wishing the kids were there to take her away from the stifling adult once. Finally she couldn’t take it anymore.
“I’m sorry, Eric,” she held up her glass, “too much wine on an empty stomach.”
“It’s Jeff. My name is Jeff.” She flinched at her mistake.
“Excuse me, Jeff.” She slithered away, feeling guilty, bored, and tired. Deciding she was ready to leave, Catherine scanned the large crowd in hopes of finding Alice. No such luck. Instead of weaving in and out of bodies to find her, she decided to fill a plate at the impressive buffet. She had a lot of work waiting for her at home, but at least this way she’d get to it with a full stomach while avoiding another sodium-packed prepared meal.
As Catherine grabbed a plate, a redheaded woman who seemed more eager to get to the shrimp cocktail than any other partygoer bumped her. Catherine stumbled back a step and almost dropped the dish. Just as Catherine was about to bite off a remark, the redhead turned around to offer an apology.
“I am so sorry! I probably look like some sort of fool, stumbling over myself just to get to some food!” A megawatt smile spread across her beautiful face, rendering Catherine speechless. “I didn’t get a chance to eat all day, and I have been waiting patiently for an opening to get at least a little something to nibble on.” Catherine tried to follow what she was saying, but the other woman gripped Catherine’s shoulder to steady herself as she slipped back into her runway heel. “When my opportunity came, so did you. That’s when I forgot how to put one foot in front of the other without losing a shoe and, well, crash.” Giggles fell from her full pink lips.
Catherine couldn’t stop staring at her, even though she hadn’t heard a word the woman had said. Her thick, long, auburn hair framed her face well. She looked so young and yet so mature. She possessed a timeless, old-Hollywood beauty Catherine thought magnificent. The sprinkle of freckles across her pink cheeks added to the charm she saw in the woman’s large, crystal blue eyes. She took her hand off her shoulder, and Catherine realized she should say something.
“Me either.” The woman looked confused, and Catherine thought to elaborate. “I haven’t eaten much either.” When the redhead smiled brightly, Catherine’s stomach did a little, unfamiliar flip. She swallowed hard as the other woman looked her up and down. The movement was subtle, but she felt as though it was a physical caress. Catherine reached over and grabbed a large platter overflowing with peeled shrimp. “It’d be a shame if we both starved. Shall we?” Together they walked toward the empty couch.
The two women sat, laughing and joking as they ate. Catherine learned quite a bit about the bubbly redhead beside her. She knew she liked shrimp immensely and could spot a finely tailored shirt a mile away. Though her red hair fell in waves, she was jealous of naturally curly hair, she had a love for heels but couldn’t quite master anything higher than two inches, and she absolutely adored parties and white wine, but not as much as her Aunt Rita. She was everything Catherine wasn’t and enjoyed all the things Catherine shied away from. Thankfully, she was so talkative, Catherine didn’t have to share anything too personal.
Without prompting, the crowd shifted to the perimeter of the room, clearing space in the center for a woman with blond, chin-length hair. She was slim and tall, authoritative in posture and air. She waited patiently for the quiet murmurs around the room to die down.
“What’s this all about?” Catherine whispered, leaning in closely. She wouldn’t let herself acknowledge the dizzying feeling that accompanied the scent of the other woman’s perfume. It was a delicate, addicting scent.
“That’s Sophia Glass. She’s a psychic,” the other woman offered. She never took her eyes off the blonde as she started speaking, opening up to the crowd.
“Hello, everybody. My name is Sophia, and I’ll be your entertainment for this evening.” A few men hooted at the idea and Sophia laughed. “Not that kind of entertainment, although it would probably increase my pay rate.” The rest of the room joined in on the laughter. “I’m a psychic, and I’m here to talk to the believers and possibly even intrigue the skeptics.”
“A psychic? Are you kidding me?” Catherine could barely contain her disbelief and giggles. What was Alice thinking?
“Sophia has a large following and a very well-respected practice in town.”
“A practice? She’s not a doctor,” Catherine said. “She may be a quack, though.”
“She’s not a quack.”
“You believe in this stuff?” Catherine pointed toward Sophia. “That woman is here to make money. She’ll tell these people anything they want to hear.” She shook her head and laughed again as she looked around at the interest on everyone’s faces.
“You should be more open-minded,” the redhead whispered.
“I am open-minded, but I’m not stupid.” Catherine looked into the blue eyes suddenly boring into her. Gone was the laughter, gone was the light, gone was the magic and the connection that had no name. Before she could ask why, the psychic started talking again.
“I’d like to call up my dearest friend to assist me. Imogene, come up here.”
Catherine realized she had put her foot in her mouth, and she didn’t like the taste of it when the woman next to her rose and joined in the spotlight at the center of the room. She sank into the plush sofa and waited patiently for an opportunity to escape with her tail between her legs.
Want to read more? Drop by here or here to preorder the paperback or head on over to Bold Strokes Books to preorder the ebook and receive it March 1st! This offer is EXCLUSIVE to ebook preorders on the Bold Strokes Books website. Take advantage now! March 16th cannot come quickly enough.