DEVIOUS MINDS by Colleen Helme

The first day of spring arrived, filling me with an overwhelming sense of freedom. Even though the temperature wasn’t real warm, it meant that winter was officially over. Even better, a ride on the motorcycle behind Ramos was now a possibility.

I’d missed that and I’d missed him. He’d been gone for two weeks helping Uncle Joey take care of some out-of-town business. I wasn’t exactly sure what that entailed and… believe me, I didn’t want to know. Jackie, Uncle Joey’s secretary and wife, told me they were both due back in the next few days, and deep down where I didn’t want to admit it, I could hardly wait to see them again.

That probably made me a bad person, since I worked for Uncle Joey, and he was a mob-boss. Ramos was his hit-man and he’d saved my life a few times. I had to admit, it was a far cry from the first time I’d met Ramos almost a year ago, when he was thinking he might have to kill me for the big boss.

I’d had to tell Uncle Joey my secret that I could read minds to stop that from happening. Since then, my skills had come in handy for Uncle Joey, and gotten me into a lot of trouble. But he’d always been there to bail me out, both literally and figuratively.

So now I helped Uncle Joey, not because I was forced into it, but because I wanted to. That was just twisted on so many levels, and he wasn’t even my real uncle. But I couldn’t seem to stop, so I did my best to keep on the right side of things.

Ramos was another part of that story. He was one hot and swoon-worthy man any woman would fall for. I had to keep reminding myself that I was happily married every time I laid eyes on him. He was the quintessential bad boy and, like a decadent chocolate dessert with whipped cream and a cherry on top, something that I might want in the worst way, but would also be very bad for me.

If I wasn’t married with kids… well, who knew what could happen, but I loved my husband and children, and Ramos respected that. Even so, there were still times when my heart seemed to have a mind of its own around him, and I’d have to rein it in or lose control, which was not an option.

Only a handful of people knew I could read minds, and I liked it that way. I told everyone else I had premonitions, and that mostly worked. I also had my own consulting agency, which included helping the police along with my own clients. Because of that, I managed to get into even more trouble, and that wasn’t counting the mob-boss part.

Like now.

My husband, Chris, had asked for my help on a hard case. He was an associate partner in the prestigious law firm of Cohen, Larsen and Pratt. This case was the single most important event of Chris’ career, mostly because the partners were looking to replace the Cohen part of the firm, and changing it to Larsen, Pratt and… Nichols.

This was a huge deal, and I wondered if the fact that Chris handled all of Uncle Joey’s accounts had something to do with it. Probably, but I wasn’t touching that with a ten foot pole. This put a lot of pressure on me. Not as much as Chris, but still… I didn’t want to screw it up for him.

That brought me to my problem. I wasn’t sure I wanted to help Chris, mostly because he was defending a woman accused of killing her husband, and ten million dollars from the life insurance policy was in the balance. To complicate matters even more, the husband’s company was one of Chris’ biggest clients.

If they won, Chris’ firm would get a nice, fat share, and also keep the company as a client. But from everything he’d told me, she sounded guilty as sin. If I listened to her thoughts, I’d know for sure, and that would just ruin everything. It made me realize that sometimes my ‘gift’ wasn’t so great. Not when I had to use it to get someone off who actually deserved some jail time.

But… wasn’t that what I did for Uncle Joey? So how was this any worse?

In fact, I’d recently made a deal with a government agent to keep Uncle Joey out of prison. In exchange for my help on one of his cases, he’d agreed to make any charges against Uncle Joey disappear. When Uncle Joey found out what I’d done, he wasn’t too happy with me. Especially since he thought I’d told Blake Beauchaine I could read minds.

Once he knew I hadn’t, and Blake just wanted me for what he thought were my mad interrogation skills, he’d calmed down. Still, Uncle Joey told me he could have handled anything Blake might have thrown at him without my deal. To be honest, it kind of hurt my feelings. Then he made me promise to involve him if Blake ever came to collect.

So now on top of everything else, I had Blake’s phone call to look forward to, and Uncle Joey to involve after that. It was enough to give me an ulcer.

“Shelby? We’re ready for you,” Chris said, poking his head out of the conference room.

END OF TEASER.