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Goddess of the Moon
A newborn is kidnapped
from her home hours after being released from the birthing center,
and psychic Diana Racine is asked by her lover, Lieutenant Ernie
Lucier of the New Orleans Police Department, to act as a consultant
on the case. Can she glean any vibes from where the baby slept?
Clutching the infant’s blanket in her hands, Diana envisions the
abducted baby in the placidness of a sun-drenched pink room. She
also senses a pervasive aura of evil, enough to send ominous chills
up her spine. When a computer search results in more kidnapped
babies in other states, a common thread develops. But nothing
prepares Diana and Lucier for the note that draws the psychic deeper
into the investigation. Under a picture of a star and the crescent
moon are the words, "Diana, we await you."
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Kidnapping babies uses to be easier.
He'd check the charts
to be sure he had the
right baby and wait for the perfect moment. Then a snip of the plastic bracelet,
slide the baby into the satchel in the
and out the employees’ door. No one paid
attention to a hospital janitor.
Now, impossible-to-remove bar
coding and electronic devices on the babies ignited a firestorm of alarms that
rivaled warnings of an enemy attack on the homeland.
He’d been careful breaking into
the houses. One reported kidnapping wasn’t even his. The propitious theft kept
the police from determining a pattern.
After the mother and child left
the hospital, he’d watched the house for days, safely out of sight. This
evening, the parents had shown off the infant to their guests, then put her down
in the nursery. He saw no activity at the house next door.
Another perfect moment.
Bushes hid the low window. He
donned latex gloves, pushed up the screen, and inserted a pry bar into the
sliver between the window sash and the outer sill on the right, then on the
left. Alternating sides, he pried upward until he’d exerted enough force to
break the latch. He raised the window and hoisted himself inside.
The little treasure slept
soundly, making those sweet baby noises he loved. He plucked a small plastic bag
from the padded satchel slung over his shoulder, unzipped it, and extracted a
square of gauze soaked with sweet wine. He touched it to the baby’s lips, and
she drew on her natural instincts to suck. Not too much, he cautioned
himself―just enough to act as an anesthesia, a technique rabbis used during a
Jewish boy’s circumcision. He gingerly placed her inside the satchel and cooed,
“Sleep, beautiful one.”
So far so good.
As if he were carrying a
package of fine porcelain, he carefully let himself out the window, closing it
and the screen after he hit the ground.
And he was gone.
Diana Racine spent three weeks bronzing in the South Texas sun without one
vision of a dead body or potential victim. Today, lying on a chaise with the
ocean sounds as background music, she opened one eye, then the other, and
settled her gaze on Ernie Lucier. He sat under the patio umbrella reading, his
caramel-colored skin safe from the sun's rays. He caught her looking, and his
smile crinkled the corners of his gold-flecked hazel eyes.
“This has been the best
vacation ever,” she said. “Do we have to go home tomorrow?”
“Some people have to work.” He
rose and was halfway to her when his cell rang. “Damn. I’d forgotten what that
nasty thing sounded like.” With an apologetic shrug, he returned to his seat and
Diana watched a vee of brown
pelicans soar above the palm trees fluttering in the warm breeze off the ocean.
She pried herself from her chair and lazily strolled to nestle in Lucier’s lap,
hoping to distract him from whatever the disruptive call had in store.
“What, Sam? I didn’t hear you.”
Then, sotto voce, Lucier said, “Diana, hold on. Something’s happened.” He raised
his voice, switching the phone to her side of his head so she could listen. “Did
you say a baby’s been kidnapped?”
Diana pressed her ear next to
Lucier’s. On the other end, Detective Sam Beecher reported that someone had
kidnapped a newborn from a New Orleans home by climbing in the nursery window
while the parents were entertaining guests.
“Anything to go on?” Lucier
“Nothing,” Beecher said. “No
prints other than footprints outside the window, but CSU says nothing unusual in
“Where was the baby?” Diana
asked, moving into Lucier’s phone.
“In a bassinet,” Beecher said.
“We dusted for prints, but nothing. The kidnapper wore gloves.”
“Don’t let anyone else near it
until I get there,” Diana said. “The fewer hands messing up the vibes the
Lucier signed off with a
promise to return to New Orleans as soon as possible. He rubbed Diana’s neck.
“Are you sure you want to get back into the psychic business so soon?”
“Darling, I’ve been doing this
since I was a kid. One more time isn’t going to send me over the edge. Now,
let’s pack and get an early plane back. We’ve no time to lose. You know as well
as I that every minute counts in a kidnapping.”
“That I do.” He pulled her
close. “I never wanted this vacation to end, but what do they say about all good
“Settled then.” She planted a
kiss on his lips and within ten minutes had folded all their belongings into two
suitcases while he made plane reservations.
Was it too soon? They’d spent
the last three weeks at an oceanfront house on South Padre Island. Sun, salt
water, and a man’s loving attention did wonders to erase the memory of the
serial killer who almost made her his last victim. Tanned and relaxed, she felt
But in the eyes of the world,
Diana Racine wasn’t normal. Not since, as a six-year old, her telepathic gifts
led police to the body of a missing child. Remembering that day and the many
that followed sent a familiar icy shiver through her. Entertaining the crowds
that filled venues all over the world had saved her sanity. Even so, she’d never
be considered normal―except in the eyes of New Orleans police lieutenant Ernie
Yeah, she was ready.
Lucier stuck his head in the
bedroom door. “Gotta go. It’s over twenty miles to the airport, and our plane
leaves in an hour and a half.”
“Wow, that was fast. I hope we
don’t hit any traffic.”
“No other flights till morning.
Beecher and Cash will meet us at the airport. Beecher said he’d drive my car so
I can look over the police report on the way.” He zipped their suitcases and
carried them out to the car.
Diana made a quick
run-through of the house. She always forgot something hanging behind the
bathroom door or tucked in a drawer, but not this time. Heading for the door,
she ran into Lucier.
“One minute.” He wrapped his
arms around her and pulled her close. “I love you.”
“Me too. You, I mean.”
“And you’re a great lay.”
Her laugh echoed through the
house and accompanied them to the rental car parked in the driveway.