by Donna Del Oro
GENRE: romantic suspense w/ESP elements
Athena Butler, the twenty year-old descendant of an ancient bloodline of psychics, yearns to lead a normal life. She wants a career, a boyfriend, independence. Her clairvoyant powers, however, have taught her that people can be false and dangerous. Although warned to keep her gift a secret, she's recruited by law enforcement to help search for a serial killer and uncover a terrorist cell.
Can Athena stay alive long enough to fulfill her dream?
“So I hear. We—my father, Alex and I--protect my mother from people who’d try to exploit her. Is there anyone protecting you and your mother?”
More than a little surprised, Athena halted. “Not really. Father pretends we’re normal and I supposed Chris does, too. Mum and I—we keep our clairvoyance a secret from everyone. Everyone except the police, that is.”
They’d come to a fork in the path. Ahead of them, through a thicket of oaks and pines, Athena could see the lake glimmering in the sunlight. Kas took the path to the right. “Follow me.” He headed for the boathouse that she could now see about fifty yards away. “We’ll have to wear wet suits. The air’s warm, but the water’s snow melt.”
“I live in D.C. so I can handle it. I can read minds, but can’t do weather forecasting. Go figure.”
Kas harrumphed. “I hear you work part-time at a coffeehouse. Seems like you could make more money doing psychic readings. But then, you’d have to expose yourself and your secret.”
“Yes, that won’t do. I guess it’s safer this way.”
“I know, my mother feels the same way. There’s a history of the bloodline having problems when people find out the truth. There’s always a group in society that doesn’t understand, people who take advantage or exploit them, or use them as scapegoats. I guess that means there’s been some witch-hunting in the past, burning at the stake, that kind of thing. The Romans would kidnap soothsayers and hold them as slaves. I’ve heard only the Temple seers in Greece were off-limits. Even so, the Temple priestesses had Guardians assigned to them day and night.”
She looked at him. He wasn’t joking. The protective side of him was rearing up. “I’ve heard that, too. I thought it was just nonsense, Mum trying to scare me into keeping it secret.”
“Can’t be any harm nowadays.” He glanced back and grinned. “Now, if your secret came out, you’d get celebrity status and your own reality TV show.”
She couldn’t help but laugh. “Not interested.”
“Well, whenever you want to read me, go ahead. No skin off my nose. I’m sure that what you see will either turn you off or bore you to death.”
“Then I guess you’re different from all the other men I’ve known,” she tossed back. “Even my father doesn’t like it. Men like their secrets.”
“All the other men?”
“Figuratively speaking,” she said wryly.
He frowned and ran his gaze over her. “Chris filled me in about you. You’re nineteen. An art student. Single. He says you had a hard time when you were younger. With your clairvoyance, I mean. Trusting people, making friends. Sorry for my blunt speaking, but this is who I am.”
“It’s okay. When it first came on, yes, I had some hard times. Now I manage it. I keep it under control.” She shrugged and added, “I’ll be twenty, December first.” Now she wondered what else Chris had told him. Probably how she couldn’t get a boyfriend if her life depended on it. That she was a virgin desperate for love. God, no wonder Kas was put off.
“Don’t believe everything my brother tells you about me,” was all she could think of to say.
ATHENA’S SECRETS by Donna Del Oro
“PRECOGNITION AND PSYCHOMETRY: The Good and Bad”
One of the important minor characters in ATHENA’S SECRETS is Kas Skoros’ mother, Lorena Skoros. This woman in her late sixties is a distant cousin of Athena and Anna Butler (Athena’s mother) and one of the descendants of the Delphi Bloodline. Among her psychic skills is precognition, foretelling the future. While she is not able to predict everything in her and her family’s future, she gleans enough to enable her husband, a rich and prominent real estate developer, to expand his business by “seeing” the future potential of certain areas of land. Her family has prospered because of her precognition and because of her husband’s business acumen. Lorena also “sees” her youngest son, Kas, building a relationship with a tall blonde who is another, younger descendant of the Delphi Bloodline. She tells her two youngest sons, who naturally tease each other about their mother’s attempts to arrange a marriage for one of them. When Kas finally meets Athena Butler, a tall blonde who’s clairvoyant and of the gifted female Bloodline, he reacts with both fear and caution. Although drawn to her, he resists the prophecy his mother has told them. After all, no one’s going to tell him who to fall in love with. Well, so much for male ego and independence! He finds himself falling harder than a ton of concrete. Nevertheless, circumstances keep them apart.
On the down side, she “sees” situations that forebode tragedy as well. One of these is the terrible vision of her two youngest sons getting in a car crash, in which one of them is killed. She uses her power to warn them: They must never be in a car together—NEVER! Unfortunately, the wheels of fate turn and one night they forget their mother’s admonition. That night, Athena finds herself in the mind of Kas Skoros and, much to her horror, witnesses everything that befalls the two brothers.
Psychometry is another form of Extra Sensory Perception, or ESP, that I use in this novel. Athena and her mother are recruited by a D.C. Metro homicide detective team to help them zero in on the identity of a serial killer. After explaining to the detectives how psychometry works, they are brought to the Homicide squad room, sent to a conference room where a variety of jackets are displayed on a table. They take their time touching each jacket, absorbing the visions that come to them with each one, and then report to the detectives their impressions. What Athena and her mother “see” through touching those jackets enables the detectives to focus on a pair of brothers with an unusual and disturbing childhood history. This subplot continues onto Book Two in The Delphi Bloodline series, ATHENA’S QUEST.
As a side note, when I took an ESP Workshop at Foothill College many years ago, this is what we did just to practice psychometry and to see if there is any substance of truth to this skill. Each of us at the Workshop handled an item that was brought in by us participants in brown paper bags. All eleven of us were strangers and had never seen the items before. I brought in, for example, a pendant given to me by my Spanish grandmother and to which I felt an emotional connection. The others did the same. Then, one by one, we came up and drew randomly one of the paper bags. Inside mine was a loosely knitted belt made of yarn and beads, a kind of hippie belt popular in the 1970’s. We all drew our items and then meditated, let the visions flow into our uncensored minds. We then took notes on what we saw. The results? Simply amazing!
Nine of the eleven correctly identified the owner of the item. Nine of us correctly related visions that depicted the owner doing something at a particular place and point in time. We were blown away by this experiment! The experiments we did at that workshop convinced me that ESP does exist in various forms, maybe not to the extreme that I convey in my novel, but varying degrees of these abilities DO exist. And in modern humans walking the Earth today.
Donna Del Oro lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats. She taught high school and community college English classes for 30+ years and is now happily retired. When not writing novels or reading voraciously, she travels and sings with the medal winning Sacramento Valley Chorus.
Donna is a member of Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime in addition to the Valleyrose chapter of the RWA. She has judged RITA entries and does developmental editing on the side. Two of her novels, Operation Familia and Born To Sing, have won national and international awards.
Follow clairvoyant artist Athena Butler in the next book in The Delphi Bloodline series: ATHENA’S QUEST.
Donna Del Oro will be awarding a print copy of The Delphi Bloodline, Born to Sing, Scheming, or Dreaming in Los Angeles to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.