One Tequila - An Althea Rose Mystery

Chapter 1

“But I'm quite certain Bitsy would wish to speak with me,” the woman across from me sniffed and clutched a folded silk handkerchief with a perfectly monogrammed E on the corner. The point of her chin rose as she looked down her nose at me.

“Mrs. Evanston, I've already explained this – I'm a psychic – not a medium,” I sighed as Mrs. Evanston's eyes steeled up and her shoulders braced.

“Well, I'd say that you're certainly misleading people with your little psychic shop if you can't even talk to Bitsy for me.” Mrs. Evanston narrowed her eyes at me. I could already read the threat in her mind: she would be contacting the Better Business Bureau and by lunch, she'd be tearing my reputation to threads with her Ladies Who Lunch club. Mentally rolling my eyes, I plastered a smile across my face.

“The reason that I don't advertise being a medium is because it's so incredibly draining for me,” I began, lying through my teeth. “However, for you, I'll make an exception.”

A muffled snort from a screen to my left almost had me cracking a smile but instead, I stayed focused on my client. Hope had dawned in Mrs. Evanston's eyes as she leaned forward, hands pressed into the purple velvet of my table.

“You can? Oh, oh, just...can you tell me if she is safe?” Mrs. Evanston breathed, staring into my glass scrying ball on the table.

I closed my eyes and counted to ten, doing my best to get an image of Bitsy from Mrs. Evanston's thoughts. A puffball of a white cat popped into my head, so I went with it.

“Her coat is just as stunning as it was in life – I see her walking proudly,” I said, keeping my eyes closed and praying that I had hit the mark.

“Ohhhh,” Mrs. Evanston breathed and I snuck a look to see her with a hand over her mouth, a sheen of tears making her eyes glint behind her glasses. Her hair, the perfectly blue-gray rinse favored by the elderly set on Tequila Key, bobbed as she nodded.

“She was really proud of her coat. Bitsy was a show cat, you know,” Mrs. Evanston said.

“I can see she carries herself as such. She is wonderfully happy and has told me that her only concern is for you to find peace with her passing,” I said gently, using my de rigueur explanation when clients insisted that I contact a loved one.

No matter what, it seemed that when people heard psychic, they thought I could do anything.

Magic even.

I'd leave that to my best friend and business partner, Luna Lavelle, the one who had so gracefully snorted from the other room of our Luna Rose Potions & Tarot Shop tucked on a sleepy street in Tequila Key, Florida.

“You know, Althea Rose, your mother may be the famous one, but I think you've inherited her gift,” Mrs. Evanston said, rising to shake my hand with a smile. I scanned her thoughts and all I got was pleasure, so as far as I was concerned, the reading had been a successful one.

I checked my moral compass and decided as white lies go, it was a minor one. People only come to psychics for two reasons – to find out if they will be okay and to find out if someone they love will be okay. I turned my palm over to look at the $1 tip she had pressed into my hands. I had to laugh. Though the rich in this town liked to flaunt it with country club passes and fancy houses, in all reality they were stingy to the core. 

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