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Author Katie Mettner

Inherited Life Cover Reveal

The time has arrived! The final book in the Dalton Sibling Series releases April 26 and I have all the information here for you! Preorder is .99 and it will be part of Kindle Unlimited. If you've read Inherited Love you learned to hate Tabitha Dalton. If you read Inherited Light, you learned to like her a little again. I know when you read Inherited Life you're going to have a lot of "Aha" moments and you're going to absolutely fall in love with her and Noah. Maybe the Dalton Family isn't perfect, but they do find a way to come together once again when the chips are down. I'll share the first chapter of all three books below so you can fall in love with love, again.

Tabitha Dalton spent three years making amends to the community of Little Ivywood for her past transgressions, but those three years taught her making amends to her family would be impossible. Knowing she would never be good enough for them kept the heavy cloak of guilt and shame firmly around her shoulders, no matter how hard she tried to shed it.

Detective Noah Jonas made everything look easy, but the truth he hid was proof his life was anything but. When he first met Tabitha Dalton in his interrogation room, he immediately saw her for what she was — scared, sad, and beautifully broken. It was the rest of what he saw in her eyes that made him want to bare his soul to her.

When a woman goes missing in Little Ivywood, Noah asks Tabitha to use her psychic abilities to help them locate her before it’s too late. In return, Tabitha asks Noah to heal her heart, so she can see her own future again. Lies and discontent strip the Dalton family to the bone, but with Tabitha’s forgiveness and Noah’s determination, will the family find a way to accept love, welcome the light, and embrace life again, together?


Three Years Ago

I kept my head bowed so I didn’t have to make eye contact with anyone in my family and wished with all my might I could be anywhere but here. Outside the doors of this funeral home in Little Ivywood, California, was a beautiful Saturday being wasted. Why did I have to be here pretending to grieve for a woman I hardly knew? I suppose it was a required family obligation, but I didn’t have to like it. My grandmother, Mabel Dalton, bought the farm a few nights ago while doing the nasty with a guy four years closer to the grave than she was. Since Mabel was eighty-five, you understand why it was nasty. For the first four years of my life, the only time I heard the name Mabel was when it was used as a swear word. Mabel was an interesting woman. She preferred to tell us stories about her days as a U.S. government assassin rather than bake pies or knit. It sounded like a hideous way to spend your youth, and I’m glad I grew up during peacetime. I haven’t a clue how many of those stories she told were true, and how many were conjured in the name of reputation, but my dad swears everything she said was the God honest truth. I suppose he would know since he was raised by the woman. A woman some said didn’t have a heart and couldn’t love anyone.

In return, Mabel was about as loved as a raccoon in your garbage can at one a.m. The truth was, the guy she was riding like a Harley did the world a favor. Even my dad, her only child, was tired of her crankiness. He would have sent her to assisted living, but Mabel refused to leave her home. She may have been eighty-five, but there wasn’t a thing wrong with her physically. Maybe her crankiness worked like a pickling agent and kept everything running in pickled symmetry. She died of a heart attack, but I don’t think it was a natural occurrence. Something big was about to happen, or should I say, is happening. The visions I see on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis tell me as much, but I can’t get a firm handle on what it is. I do know this — the entire Dalton family is in the crosshairs of some unknown entity. I could foresee it, but there was nothing I could do to stop it. I blew out a breath and rubbed my temple, the time interminable as I waited through prayer and song.

Being a predictive psychic wasn’t easy. The visions are draining, especially when you have multiple visions a day. Some would call my abilities precognition, or having foreknowledge of an event before it happens. While technically accurate, that definition dumbs it down a lot. I know what you’re thinking. Psychics are full of crap, which I can’t argue with, at least when it comes to a lot of psychics on television. You’re picturing someone sitting by a crystal ball and looking into your future, but that isn’t what I do. My visions come as shadowy figures, mysterious images of people I don’t know, and usually, the overall feeling of doom. I spend a lot of time pretending the visions are nothing more than bad dreams, even when it’s ten a.m. and I’m wide awake.

All of the controversy aside, the visions I’d had lately told me saving my family was going to be up to me. I wasn’t completely sure I was prepared for it, though. I’d been a screw-up most of my life, at least in the eyes of my family. I can’t seem to find a job that holds my interest longer than a few months at a time. Why? After months of reflection, I think I finally figured out the reason. I’d been living the life everyone forced on me, instead of the life I wanted. When it comes to my family, there has always been a heavy layer of misunderstanding about who I am. I doubt my new job will change their opinion of me, but at least I’ll be working for a respectable business.

I paused in my thoughts to whimper and squeeze out a fake tear, so I could wipe my eye the way a practiced actress would. I don’t know why I bothered, but it seemed like the right thing to do. No one in the family was actually grieving for this woman, well, other than my sister. I suppose everyone can tell my tears are fake, but at least I’m trying.

Mabel may have been my grandmother, but I didn’t have to like her. When my dad fell in love with Maḿa, who happens to be a beautiful Hispanic woman, Mabel had an absolute canary. She didn’t want her only son marrying a girl from Mexico, regardless of the fact that the girl from Mexico was a legal U.S. citizen. Mabel refused to go to the wedding, so my dad refused to acknowledge her existence at the event. I can’t say for certain, but I think, in the end, she regretted her bigotry. She never apologized, and I honestly believe she didn’t know how. In the beginning, Mabel wouldn’t have anything to do with my dad and his new bride, even after I was born. A few years later, my sister, Cinnamon, was born and Maḿa and Dad gave her the middle name Mabel, hoping to extend an olive branch to the cantankerous old woman. It didn’t work until Cinn took it upon herself at a young age to insist on family dinners. In the end, Cinn was the only one of us who ever really understood Mabel.

Cinn is…a rare gem. She’s all about the power of positive thinking. When she got sick at sixteen and had to give up her dream of playing with nationally renowned jazz bands, she had to make a decision about her life. She could be angry and spiteful about the situation, or she could do something positive with the hand she was dealt. Since Cinn doesn’t have a negative bone in her body, she chose door number two. She’s what the experts call a musical savant, meaning she can play any instrument known to man. After years of battling back from near death due to her disease, she now teaches band to musical geniuses like herself and loves every minute of it. Unfortunately, we aren’t close the way sisters should be. I want to change that, but every time I try, her preconceived notions about me rear their ugly head. Then my old childhood pain and anger surface at her assumptions, and we’re back to square one.

The truth is she monopolized the family’s time and resources, and it caused hurt and discord in the deepest part of my soul. When I was scared and needed someone to talk to about the horrible things I experienced, no one was there for me. They were too busy with Cinn. It sounds immature now, but back then, it was extremely real. Maybe it was one of those you had to be there things, but I truly don’t hold Cinn responsible for the situation. I hold my parents responsible, and honestly, I do wish I could let it go. My childhood had ruined my life thus far and I wanted nothing more than to change those stereotypes they had of me. I wanted nothing more than to make them proud. My latest visions told me the exact opposite was going to happen. My latest visions told me I would do terrible things to protect Cinn and the rest of the family. I vowed as I sat there, being judged by the very people who were supposed to love me, that I would do whatever it took to keep Cinn safe, even at the expense of my own future. Cinn and my brother, Lorenzo, had a bright future ahead of them, and I would have to sacrifice myself in order to make sure they saw a lifetime of tomorrows. I was okay with that. My tomorrows weren’t exactly bright.

My brother is the baby of the family. He’s twenty-two and in his last year of a carpentry apprenticeship. I hardly know him, to be honest. I was eight when he was born and I didn’t have much time for poopy diapers and spit-up. By the time he was old enough to start kindergarten, I was in high school and definitely not interested in hanging out with him. Do I regret it? With my whole being. Lorenzo has grown into a strong, dedicated, hardworking man with depths to his soul no one has ever seen. He’s what they call an empath. While I don’t know a lot about his gift, I know he suffered equally as much as I did growing up in a house ruled by Cinn. I want nothing more than to get to know him better, but the events that are about to happen will likely end that dream as well.

That leaves me, Tabitha Magdalena Dalton, the oldest of the Dalton siblings. No one, and I mean no one, in my family understands the things I see on a daily basis, and for that, I’m grateful. I wouldn’t wish this gift on anyone, especially when I’m powerless to change the things that are about to unfold. I spend a lot of time trying to outrun the visions. Sometimes I look for an escape in a bottle, and sometimes I find it on the pole of the local strip club. The music is all-encompassing and pounds through my head at a volume that drowns out everything else. I’m not proud of it, but I had to find a way to cope somehow. I spent a lot of time crying, and praying. Praying that someone, anyone, would notice my pain, and help me carry the burden. Those prayers had gone unanswered. I was fully aware I had to find a healthier way to deal with the fallout from this gift. After much thought, I bought a new pair of running shoes and loaded my iPod with the music they play at the strip club. I was going to start running, marathons if that’s what it took, to drown out the images in my head. It was time to grow up. It was time to stop the self-destructive behaviors I’d learned as a kid. It was time to enjoy my freedom while it lasted.

I glanced around the room at the five people in attendance and another vision washed over me. I whimpered audibly, unable to stop the images from reeling through my mind. It was all there, every last thing that was about to happen, and it was already in play. I sniffed loudly, then sucked in a deep breath as the hooded figure appeared. It stood with its back to me, its head hanging over the bodies of my dead family. They were all there; Mabel, Maḿa, Dad, Lorenzo, and Cinn. Oh God, this can’t be happening. I begged the hooded figure to turn around and show me his face, to show me something, anything, I could use to stop the slaughter of the people I loved. Instead, the image began to fade and the hooded figure dissolved into mist. I was left standing there, staring at my dead family in shock and horror.

At that moment, as I sat in a little funeral home on a hot summer day, the truth I had fought against all my life hit me straight in the gut. Regardless of all the pain I harbored, I would do anything to save my family, and the time had come to prove it.

Chapter One 

Three Years Later

If I had learned one thing over the past thirty-two years, it was this. Life never goes according to plan. If it had, I’d be running a jewelry store instead of sitting here tickling the ivories in Maplewood, California. I was playing the piano inside the bar at Steak Round, a chain of restaurants I currently work for. While I normally worked out of the Steak Round in Little Ivywood, tonight I was looking for the anonymity Maplewood could offer. Why did I want to be anonymous? The answer to that was both simple and complicated tied up in a big red bow of family dynamics. The simple answer? I didn’t want anyone to find out I could play the piano and then tell my family. The complicated answer is, Cinnamon Mabel Kern, aka my sister. The musical savant of the family. The woman who plays every instrument on the planet. The reason I hide the little bit of musical talent I have in out of the way bars.

The crowd was light tonight and I preferred it that way. I could play without being interrupted by yelling, hooting, heckling, or being hit on. There was something about a long-legged Latino woman that gives men the express written consent to stare, touch, or hint at what they’d like to do if only I’d agree to go out with them. There was a time when I would agree to go out with any guy who asked, but that time is over. I’m not saying I was loose or I slept with them all, but I am saying I ached for the attention they offered. When my life came crashing down around my ears two and a half years ago, that behavior ended too. I’m not proud of what happened during that time of my life, but I am proud of what I’ve done since. The old saying, Once you’ve hit rock bottom the only place to go is up, is actually quite accurate. It has taken me years to regain a modicum of self-respect, not to mention the respect and love of my family and community, but I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere.

The song was coming to an end and as I played the final bars, I had a decision to make. Do I keep playing, or take a break and have a drink? After playing for the last half hour, I decided a drink was in order. I hit the last note and as it died off, clapping could be heard. The clapping of just one person. I glanced up to acknowledge it, but when I met his eyes, I stopped dead in my tracks. The man at the table to my left was the man I’d been trying to forget for the last three years. I stood quickly and pushed the stool back, mumbled a “Hi, how are you,” and hightailed it to the bar. Great, now word would spread like wildfire. By morning Maḿa would be demanding to know why I’ve kept my piano skills a secret all these years. Ugh, now I desperately needed a drink. Too bad I gave up alcohol three years ago. I guess tonight I’d be settling for a Diet Coke and a prayer.

I approached the bar and leaned my weight on the padded edge, waiting for the bartender. When he walked over, he leaned opposite me and winked. “What can I get the beautiful pianist tonight?”

“Hi, Shawn,” I said, blushing. He was adorable, but at barely twenty-two, it would be like dating my brother. “I’ll have a Diet Coke. Thanks.”

“Coming right up,” he promised, grabbing a frosty mug. He knew exactly how I liked my Coke. “That last song was beautiful. What was it called?”

“Falling in Love with Love,” the voice behind me answered. Great, so much for avoiding the elephant in the room, I thought. “It’s an old Frank Sinatra tune. She definitely did him proud.”

My eyes darted around the room as I searched for the right thing to say. After a few moments, I managed to choke out a lame, “Thanks, Noah.”

Shawn handed me my mug and Noah motioned at himself as if to say put it on my tab. Shawn nodded, certain he shouldn’t tell him I drink for free, rather letting him think he was being chivalrous.

Noah took my elbow to hold me in place. “I know it’s late, but did you eat yet?”

“What time is it?” I asked, somewhat surprised.

“It’s after eight.”

“Really? I actually haven’t eaten since noon. I was working here today and when I finished, I decided to sit down at the piano. I guess I got lost in the music.”

Noah turned to Shawn. “Could we get a couple steak burgers and fries to eat in the bar, or do we have to go to the restaurant?”

Shawn shook his head. “Nah man, you can eat in here. I’ll order it up and they’ll bring it in when it’s ready.”

I was about to argue when Noah crooked his finger for me to join him. Apparently, I didn’t get a choice in the matter. I straightened my spine and followed him to the two-person, round table in the corner. Noah Jonas was actually Detective Noah Jonas of the Little Ivywood Police Department. He’s the reason I stopped dating guys three years ago, which is ridiculous since he’s a cop and I’m a criminal. Well, criminal might be a stretch, but considering he once arrested me, it’s awkward to still have a crush on the guy three years later. What he was doing in Maplewood, I didn’t know, but I hoped he wasn’t going to report back to my family about what he heard here tonight. I learned a long time ago it was wise to keep certain things to myself.

Noah held a chair out for me then slid into the one across from me. His sexy surfer boy, sun-kissed brown hair flipped across his forehead with the motion and I forced myself not to swoon. I noticed he was once again wearing his signature long sleeve dress shirt and a tie that would have looked fresh about ten hours ago.

“Are you here to spy on me?” I asked, sipping my Coke.

His laughter was relaxed and sexy. He leaned forward and eyed me up and down, his brows in the air. “Why would I spy on you? You work here.”

I crossed my legs and twisted in my chair so I had room for them under the low table. “But I don’t. I work in Little Ivywood most of the time.”

“And travel around to other Steak Round restaurants as the marketing director. I didn’t know you were also the entertainment.”

I leaned in across the table and eyed him seriously. “You.Cannot.Tell.A.Soul.” My hands clapped together lightly as I spoke, emphasizing how stressed out I was at the thought of my family knowing.

He lifted his left brow, just his left brow, and I swallowed back a groan. Dammit, he got me every time with that sexy move. “Why are you playing the piano in a public place if you don’t want anyone to know you play the piano?” he asked, deeply confused.

“Why do you think I come here to do it?”

He cocked his head instead of answering. “You can’t answer a question with a question, Tabitha.”

I winked seductively, against my better judgment. “I think I just did. Then again, I could ask you the same question. What are you doing in Maplewood? There are plenty of restaurants in Little Ivywood.”

He lifted his beer and took a swallow before answering. “There are, but when I want to drink without running into people I know, I come out here. Makes it tricky to get home sometimes, but I usually find a ride.”

“What you’re really saying is when you want to get snockered you come out here. That way the people of Little Ivywood don’t lose respect for you.”

He pointed at me with his finger as he raised his glass again. He wasn’t himself tonight, that was for sure. Something was up that he wasn’t saying. Noah was always the most confident guy in the room, but tonight he radiated anger and unhappiness like bad cologne.

“We all have our own ways to escape.” I shrugged as if to say it was true. “Maplewood is good for that. Not so far away you can’t find a way home, but far enough away not too many people follow you around. I don’t drink, by the way, so I’m happy to give you a ride back to Little Ivywood. As long as you don’t mind riding in the steak-mobile.”

He laughed loudly as if I took him by surprise. “The steak-mobile? What the hell is that?”

I set my mug down on the table before I answered. “When I decided to open the jewelry store, Steak Round wasn’t overly thrilled I was going to quit. They begged me to reconsider and offered me a considerable pay raise and new benefits package. Part of that package was a new SUV. The only catch was, the Steak Round logo would be painted on the doors.”

He smirked behind his mug of beer. “I guess that’s a way to take a write off.”

I held my hands out. “I am the marketing director after all, so it made sense. I don’t mind. They take care of the maintenance, so other than what I pay for gas, it’s a free car.”

“Can’t beat a company car. My company car is a beater, but like you, it keeps the expenses down.”

“But the chick attractor up, right?” I joked as Shawn set two plates in front of us. He reached across to the table behind us and grabbed the ketchup. “Thanks, Shawn,” I said, inhaling the scent of the spicy meat and barbeque sauce.

“No problem, Tabby. Can I get you anything else?”

“I’ll have another beer,” Noah spoke up, and Shawn assured him he’d be right back.

I raised one brow. “Good thing you ordered a burger and have a ride.”

He gave me a sarcastic look before he spoke. “It’s only my second. I haven’t been here that long. I had a hell of a day and didn’t leave the station until seven.”

I motioned at his mug. “Pardon my assumptions then.”

After squirting a fair amount of ketchup on my plate, I dug into the food and my eyes rolled back in my head as the first bite hit my tongue. I moaned softly. “Man, I’m so glad I didn’t quit working here. The food is out of this world and I eat for free. Of course, I have to run ten miles a day to keep the weight off, but it’s so worth it.”

“You eat for free?”

I nodded and winked. “Great perk, right?”

“Hell yeah, especially when you’re talking about Steak Round. I’m not overly keen on running, though.”

“Neither was I until I started doing it after Mabel died. I found myself addicted to the music blaring in my ears and the silence of the road under my feet. It’s the only time I can put everything else to the side and concentrate on doing something that will benefit only me.”

“Everything else being the visions?”

I slowly set my mug down on the table. “Those, and my family, job, and failed dreams.”

“Speaking of failed dreams. Do you consider the jewelry shop to be one of those?”

I did the so-so hand. “Sort of, but not really. It looks like a failed dream, but I realized as soon as I started a business plan that it wasn’t actually a dream so much as it was a Hail Mary.”

He wiped his mouth on his napkin as Shawn set his beer down. “Thanks, man,” he said and Shawn jogged off to help someone else. Noah nibbled on a fry as he studied me. “A Hail Mary? Color me confused.”

I tapped a fry in ketchup thoughtfully before I spoke. “The idea was grand, but the execution wasn’t going to work. While I could market the hell out of the diamonds, rubies, and engagement rings, I had no real interest in selling them or running the business. My business is marketing. It was hard to swallow my pride and admit my idea wasn’t the best thing for me, but with Steak Round begging me to stay, that made it easier. I played it off as what they were offering was better, and it made it look to my family like I was choosing stability over another likely unsuccessful venture. As far as they were concerned, I made the right decision, for once.”

“Why do you care so much what your family thinks?” He stuffed a bite of burger in his mouth as I searched for a way to answer his question without shame or hostility.

“You’ve met my family, right?” I asked, jokingly. “My parents aren’t exactly hands-off when it comes to their kids, and my siblings aren’t exactly wayward the way I’ve always been. The decision to stay with Steak Round was also a great way to get them off my back for the first time in my life.”

“You weren’t wayward as much as you were unstable, but that was no fault of your own.”

“Gee, thanks. You really know how to make a girl feel great,” I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes.

He held up his hand. “Not what I meant. I meant your life hasn’t been easy and no matter how hard you try, you’re always unsettled. I guess that was the word I wanted. You’re unsettled, not unstable. What you experience has to have an effect on everything you do.”

The fact he wasn’t wrong stuck in my craw like a half-chewed piece of burger. “You can say that again,” I mumbled. “What made your day so terrible? Smooth criminals?”

He laughed as he set his beer down. “I wish I could deal with some smooth criminals. Actually, it wasn’t my work day so much as the fact my girlfriend broke up with me over text.” He lifted his mug again at me as if to say salute and drained it. I knew Shawn was already pouring him another, so I didn’t motion for one.

“That’s harsh,” I said, going for sympathetic, but secretly cheering inside. I didn’t know he was dating anyone, but I wouldn’t cry about them breaking up. Not that I was ever going to work up the courage to ask him on a real date, but if he wasn’t dating anyone seriously, there might be another chance for an impromptu dinner like tonight’s.

“You have to love technology,” he agreed. “I think I liked it better when you had to do it face-to-face, or at the least, over the phone.”

“There is definitely something super impersonal about texting someone a Dear Jon letter,” I agreed. “I’ve had my fair share of it myself. I stopped dating three years ago, in fact.”

“I should have taken a tip from your playbook,” he said, finishing his fries.

“Instead, you came to Maplewood, torn up about the breakup, which left you the perfect opening to drown your sorrows at the bar. Classic country song,” I joked, pretending to strum a guitar.

“Nah, I’m not torn up about it. I was going to break up with her, but I had enough respect for her to want to do it in person. She beat me to the punch. C’est la vie.”

I scrunched my nose up. “She wasn’t doing it for you, huh?”

“Can we stop talking about this now?” he asked, and I held my hands up.

“Sure. Sorry, I wasn’t expecting to have dinner with you tonight. I planned to play a few tunes and head home after a long day. This is nicer.”

He leaned over the table after he pushed his plate out of the way. “This is a much nicer end to my night than I expected,” he agreed. He reached for my hand but pulled back at the last second. “Speaking of the piano. When did you learn to play? You’re phenomenal.”

I pushed the rest of my fries away after finishing the burger. “I don’t know about phenomenal, but I can hold my own. I’ve always been able to play. Cinn isn’t the only musician in the house. Maḿa is also extremely talented on the piano and organ.”

“But your family doesn’t know you play, or?”

I waved my hand near my throat as if to say forget about it. “I’m not as talented as my sister is, so I’ve never let on that I can play.”

His mouth dropped open. "Tabitha, there are probably only a dozen people in this world who are as talented as Cinn. When it comes to music, her brain is,” he made the exploding head sign. “That fact doesn’t make you any less talented. Cinn can play, but she doesn’t put her heart into the piano the way you do. You bleed for that instrument," he said, motioning to the piano. "Ever since I met you your family has treated you differently for reasons I will never understand."

I rested my hand on his arm tentatively. His skin was warm under his shirt and I had to catch my breath before I spoke. "Don't bother trying, Noah. I don't understand it, and I grew up with it."

He picked up his beer and slugged it back. "I've noticed you and Lorenzo have been thick as thieves since the incident,” he said after he swallowed.

I stared at my folded hands on the table, sad I was no longer touching him. When he referred to the incident, he meant when Lorenzo’s fiancée, Catalina Chávez, was kidnapped by Lorenzo’s crazy ex-girlfriend and held hostage. Having learned my lesson about keeping visions to myself when they tell me someone is going to get hurt, I didn’t hesitate. As soon as I saw Cat in peril, I called my brother and then worked to convince Noah I knew where she was. It was hard, but I finally had to admit to him about the visions and my gift. I hadn’t seen him much since then, and we hadn’t discussed it. I wasn’t going to discuss it tonight, either. He wasn’t in the right place, and I was always looking for a chance to avoid the subject. I’d use his bitchy ex-girlfriend to my advantage if I had to.

“We see each other more and my family has started carrying less hostility toward me, that’s for sure,” I agreed. “I can go to Cinn’s for Sunday dinner and not feel like an outsider as much. I think Lorenzo understands better than Cinn what I go through. He’s an empath, which I know he explained to you.” Noah nodded pensively, as though he still wasn’t sure if he believed it to be true. “Being an empath can be as draining as being a psychic. You have to learn to deal with the fast onslaught of emotions from others while trying to keep your own emotions stable. He’s doing better with that, but it was tough for him growing up. He and I were in the same boat, but the span in our age differences kept us from being able to connect as kids. Anyway, Cat, she’s good for him. He can focus on her feelings and needs, and that helps to block a lot of other people’s emotions from crossing over to him.”

He shook his head a bit as if he was too drunk to follow. “I still struggle to understand it all, but after what I experienced while we were saving Cat, I have to admit there’s definitely a connection there.”

I crossed my arms and sighed out of frustration. This was going to require a longer explanation than I had hoped, but at least it was focused on Lorenzo and not me. “When Lorenzo was younger, he was extremely close to Cinn. He did everything with her. If it hadn’t been for him, we may not have gotten Cinn help in time when she got sick. He has always allowed Cinn free range with his gift, and still does, but focusing on Cat is important.”

“Why?” he asked, his head cocked.

“If he has Cinn and Cat filling his head with their emotional needs, then he won’t be pulled toward every person he encounters.”

“You mean he can sense everyone’s emotions?”

I did the so-so hand. “If they have a strong emotional aura then yes. Generally speaking, he needs to be connected to them somehow, a friend or family member for instance, but not always. When he was going through puberty, school was torture for him. He was too young to know how to deal with all of it, especially with his own changing hormones affecting his emotions.”

“How did he control it then? He’s a well-rounded guy if you ask me.”

“He got help. When Cinn was sick he finally told someone about his feelings and how he could feel and hear all of these people crying out for him. They taught him how to put some of it in a box, his words, so he could survive at school and work. Cat is good for him, she stabilizes him and gives him focus.”

“How nice. He was able to tell your family he needed help and got it, but you weren't heard?”

My shoulder went up and back down exaggeratedly. “He was a lot younger than me and his gift was more easily visualized than mine. I don’t harbor any ill-will toward Lorenzo.”

“That leads me to my next question,” he whispered, leaning his elbows on the table. “Do you have someone in your life that stabilizes you the way Cat does for Lorenzo and Foster does for Cinn?”

I snorted sarcastically, so sarcastically I choked on my own spit. I coughed once and waved my hand at my neck. “No, not a chance of that happening. Most guys are put off by the hooded figures I see. It’s a real mood killer.”

His eyes focused on me with laser precision. “I would guess there’s some guy out there who wouldn’t feel that way, Tabitha.”

My mouth was poised to ask, Are you that guy? But I didn’t. I chickened out and motioned at his plate. “Are you done?” He nodded silently, so I waved at Shawn to bring the check. When he arrived, he handed it to me and winked. The check was paid in full, for service to the community, and an employee discount.

Noah grinned and leaned back, his laughter filling the air. “I guess I lucked out tonight. I had a nice meal with a beautiful woman and it didn’t cost me a penny. She even promised me a ride home.”

“We like to keep our customers happy at Steak Round,” I said nonchalantly.

His brow went up again. “Is that what this is? Customer service?”

I smiled and winked. “The food and drink part is, but the tablemate and conversation is anything but.”



Katie Mettner writes from a little house in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. She's the author of more than thirty romance novels, all featuring a disabled hero or heroine. Most of her series are set in the Midwest and are a mix of new adult and romantic suspense. Katie lives with her soulmate, whom she met online at Thanksgiving and married the following April. Together they share their lives with their three children and one very special leopard gecko named Gibbs. Katie has a slight addiction to
Twitter and blogging, with a lessening aversion to Pinterest now that she quit trying to make the things she pinned.

1 comment

Dana Mason said...

Great cover, Katie! Sounds like another great read!