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For as long as she can remember, Mindy has always been able to see the future.
Until she can’t.
As a child, Mindy always wished she could be normal. Now that she is, she’d give anything to be special again.
After she wasn’t able to help one person she cherished using her gifts, Mindy isn’t sure she can ever trust her ability again.
Elijah rose to the top of the bestseller lists with his first novel—but he can’t seem to find the same magic again.
Over his publisher’s objections, he wants to take his writing career in a whole new direction. A frantic call from home threatens to completely derail his dreams.
He never expected to go home and find one of the few people from his past who took the time to listen to him despite his Tourette’s syndrome.
Mindy knows Elijah and his family are in danger, but she knows her answers may not be enough his family or their love.
What if she is wrong?
Can Elijah convince Mindy that love is reason enough to tempt fate?
You’ll love this sweet romance about first love with a touch of mystery
“Jigger, jig, jig, why are you home? I thought you were studying medicine or law or something in California.”
The corner of my mouth hitches up as I answer, “Or something — seriously, for a really bright person, I was having a terrible time figuring out what my major was.”
“You dropped out of school because you couldn’t pick a major, jigger, jig, jig?” Elijah asks, his brows furrowed with confusion. His hand comes up and hits the side of his face.
Without meaning to, I reach out in an attempt to rub away the pain in his jaw. I wince as I ask, “Doesn’t it hurt when you do that?”
Elijah draws in a sharp breath and lets it go. “I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. I hardly notice it anymore.”
I watch Elijah fight the involuntary movements in his hands and watch a muscle twitch underneath his eye. “You have no way of controlling it or predicting when it will happen?” I confirm.
Elijah shakes his head and a sad expression crosses his face. “I wish. Have you ever been in church or someplace quiet and needed to sneeze? The harder you try not to sneeze, the more you need to, right? That’s how it is with my tics. If I try to control them or suppress them, it becomes painful and they get even worse. I hate them. I wish they would simply go away.” His hand swings up and hits him square on the nose. He sighs wearily. “I’m tired of being weird.”
I nod. “I understand.”
“How could you possibly understand hating a part of yourself so much you wish it away every single day of your entire life?”
Carefully picking through my cheese fries and taking a few bites, I remark, “I know more about that than you might think.”
“Jigger, jig, jig, I don’t think that’s possible.”
I sigh. “It’s not only possible, it’s the story of my life.” I wipe my hands on a napkin and lean back against the vinyl booth as I try to explain my very strange existence. “Imagine everyone you meet has a television above their head with a different program playing. Sometimes, all of it is in English. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you can tell what the actors are doing and sometimes you have no clue. Sometimes the station is coming clearly, but other times it’s fuzzy and muddled.”
Elijah’s eyes widen. “Seriously? Does the other person know you see this weird television above their head? Does it get confusing to pay attention to the actual conversation and still see things no one else can see?”
“Oh, absolutely! That’s why most of the time people think I’m slightly out of it,” I answer with a grin. “Most of my friends and family know by now. Everyone is mostly used to it. But when I was a little kid, nobody knew. Well, I guess my birth family knew because they thought I was possessed by the devil. That’s why my parents and my grandma beat me so bad. My grandma always said she was trying to beat the evil out of me.”
“How long has this been happening to you?”
“Honestly, I don’t remember a time when it didn’t. That’s what makes it so weird now. It’s like all those wishes I made as a kid to wish my abilities away have come true. You have no idea how many times I wished I could just turn those invisible TVs off. Now that my ability is gone, I miss it. I never in a million years thought I would ever say that.”
“So, let me get this straight — jigger, jig, jig, all those years ago, you knew Behind Glass Bars would be a huge hit? Why didn’t you tell us? It would have saved us a bunch of sleepless nights and helped us get through some tough times when we were trying to get it ready to be published.”
I lean forward and catch his gaze intently. “You have no idea how often I want to reassure people and share all the great news I see. Unfortunately, I can’t. It’s against the rules. If I interfere, it might change the path of the future. If I had told you what a groundbreaking novel it would be, you might not have pushed the boundaries quite so far. You might’ve been tempted to take the easy road if you guys had known success was already guaranteed.”
Elijah is quiet for a few moments. “So, you see this stuff about everyone — whether you want to or not? Jigger, jig, jig, even if you don’t know them — like the guy who pumps your gas or the person who is simply standing in front of you in line at the grocery store?”
“I used to,” I answer as I take a sip of my drink and fight back tears.
“Jigger, jig, jig, you see random stuff about their lives like if they’re about to have a baby or if they’ll get a promotion at work or a good grade?” Elijah frowns and swallows hard. “Jigger, jig, jig but, that’s not all you see, is it?”
Involuntarily, my eye twitches as I shake my head.
“It must be awful to know when someone’s father is going to die or jigger, jig, jig, if they’re going to be evicted from their house or if a family is going to get killed in a car crash —” Elijah rambles as if thoughts are tumbling around in his brain. He pauses and studies me carefully for what seems like an eternity. “Jigger, jig, jig, or if you know someone is about to get shot. Suddenly the story I heard about Logan and Katie makes a lot more sense now,” he adds with a sense of wonderment. “Wow! That must be a trippy burden.”
“It can be. Fortunately, I can make an exception to my ‘no interference’ rule for matters of life and death.”
“What’s that best thing you’ve ever been able to tell someone, jigger, jig, jig?”
“I got to tell my mom that my little brother would be fine despite the fact that her pregnancy was considered high risk.”
“Jigger, jig, jig, how fun. Was she surprised?”
“I don’t know if she was surprised so much as profoundly relieved. My dad is a huge worrywart so for once my precognitive abilities made things so much easier.”
We eat in silence for a few more moments before Elijah gazes up at me with a serious expression, “What’s the worst news you’ve ever had to share, jigger, jig, jig?”
“The worst thing I ever had to do was tell my Uncle Aidan that my Aunt Tara had miscarried their daughter and no matter how quickly they got to the hospital, nothing could be done because she was already gone.”
Elijah looks stricken. “Jigger, jig, jig jigger, jig, jig, I’m sorry.” His right hand comes up and strikes his face with an astounding amount of force. He shoves it back down to his side and sits on his hand. “I was wrong jigger, jig, jig. You do understand what it’s like to wish you were normal. A few random words and physical tics are nothing compared to what you go through,” he insists.
“Life doesn’t work that way. We all deal with stuff. I don’t think ranking the stuff we deal with helps anybody. Actually, I don’t think there’s really a way to do that. I used to think my so-called gift was a huge burden and that it was probably the reason I have a hard time making friends. Yet now it would be a stretch to say I have any pre-cognitive abilities at all these days and I’m still having a tough time.”
“You might be right, jigger, jig, jig.” Elijah shoots me a ghost of a smile. “Jigger, jig, jig, isn’t that weird? You know, the whole time I was growing up, I thought everything would be different if I was popular and people knew who I was. Well, my friendship with Sadie and the whole social experiment which led to Behind Glass Bars made me more well-known and popular than I ever could have imagined, but I’m still lonely and I still feel as awkward and shy as I ever did. So, everything I thought would happen if only I was popular never really did.”
“As a kid, I just wanted to be normal so my family would accept me and stop thinking I was evil.”
Elijah looks furious. “No one should jigger, jig, jig have ever thought that about you. Kids can’t be evil. Jigger, jig, jig, that’s just wrong.”
I flash him a teary smile. “You would get along famously with my dad. That was one of the first things Jeff tried to teach me from the first moment we met, even before he and Kiera adopted me. He tried to drum two things into my head: First, kids can’t be evil. Second, it wasn’t my job to worry about the world. It was only my job to try my best at school and to have fun.”
Elijah nods. “Sounds like something my dad would say. Pretty solid advice, jigger, jig, jig.”
“It was great advice. I did a pretty good job of absorbing his advice about kids not being evil. I’m still not so great about not worrying about the whole world. Right now, I would give anything to get my gift back. There are so many people who need answers. These people have serious problems and they need my help. For the first time in my life, I’m helpless. I have no answers for anyone. I have never felt more worthless in my whole life.”
Elijah makes a series of odd facial grimaces. This seems to go on for a couple minutes. He appears frustrated with himself. Finally, he takes a deep breath and lets it out. “Jigger, jig, jig, jigger, jig, jig you’re not worthless to me. Mindy, regardless of whether you can see the future, you mean a lot to me.” He looks down at his cell phone and he raises an eyebrow. “We’ve been talking for more than an hour and a half, jigger, jig, jig. I can’t remember the last time someone besides my family had the patience to listen to me talk so long. Most people give up or they get freaked out if I make faces or hit myself.”
I flinch at his disclosure. “I hope you don’t think I’m that kind of person. I wouldn’t treat you like that.” I take a long drink of my soda to avoid saying more. People like that make me so angry.
“Jigger, jig, jig, I know. I wasn’t trying to suggest you were. I don’t think most people mean to be. They’re just uncomfortable with what they don’t understand.”
“I understand more than I’d like to,” I confess as I wipe tears away.
Elijah’s expression gentles. “I’m sorry you’re in a position where you have to understand, but it’s kinda nice not to have to pretend I’ve got everything under control when I totally don’t. Jigger, jig, jig, I like just being me.”
For the first time in several weeks I feel like I can take a deep breath and let it go as I wipe away tears. “You took the words right out of my mouth. Can we do this again … soon?”
“Anytime you want,” Elijah offers with a smile.
“You might be sorry you said that,” I admit. “I seem to have a lot more free time than I used to.”
“I’m a wildly creative person, I’ll probably find ways to occupy your time,” Elijah responds with a gleam in his eye.
Something in his tone makes me sit up and take notice. It seems a lot more than Elijah’s appearance has changed over the last few years. My stomach tightens and flutters a little with anticipation. Maybe coming home wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
Mary Crawford has been lucky enough to live her own version of a romance novel. She’s married to the guy who kissed her at summer camp. He told her on the night they met that he was going to marry her and be the father of their children. Eventually, she stopped giggling when he said it, and they will soon celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. They have two children. The oldest is a Doctor of Osteopathy. He is across the United States completing his residency, but when he’s done, he is going to come back to Oregon and practice Family Medicine. Their youngest son is in high school and hopes to be a mechanic when he grows up.
Ms. Crawford writes full time now. She has written and published over two dozen books and has several more underway. She volunteers her time to a variety of causes and has worked as a Civil Rights Attorney and diversity advocate.
Ms. Crawford spent many years working for various social service agencies before becoming an attorney. In her spare time, she loved to cook, decorate cakes and of course, obsessively, compulsively read.
Cover Design: Mary Crawford and Trish Ruschke Rice
Author Photo: Shaded Tree Photography
Cover Photo: Kelsi Rose
Hidden Beauty Series:
The Price of Freedom (novella)
Dreams Change (novella)
Heart Wish (100% charity release)
Hidden Hearts Series:
Port in the Storm (novella)
Pieces (a crossover novel)
Freedom (a crossover novel)
Links to Mary’s website, blog, books, etc.
Tempting Fate is available on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited. It is also available in paperback. The link is https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BWH9S95
Thanks, Mary, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!