Nothing ruins a romantic evening like a brawl with lowlifes—especially when one of them later turns up dead and my date, Detective Isabella Cherabino, is the #1 suspect. My history with the Atlanta PD on both sides of the law makes me an unreliable witness, so while Cherabino is suspended, I’m paying my bills by taking an FBI gig.
I’ve been hired to play telepathic bodyguard for Tommy, the ten-year-old son of a superior court judge in Savannah presiding over the murder trial of a mob-connected mogul. After an attempt on the kid’s life, the Feds believe he’s been targeted by the businessman’s “associates.”
Turns out, Tommy’s a nascent telepath, so I’m trying to help him get a handle on his Ability. But it doesn’t take a mind reader to see that there’s something going on with this kid’s parents that’s stressing him out more than a death threat…
And if you prefer to read the series in order; Rabbit Trick (.5) Clean (1) Payoff (1.5) Sharp (2) Marked (3) Vacant (4)
Christmas Makes Me Feel Old
A blog post by Alex Hughes
I’m in my early thirties. To my twelve year old self, this age would have been ancient, a number beyond belief. And this time of year, when my twelve year old inner child hears all the happy Christmas music everywhere I go, when that inner child sits up and squees at the Charlie Brown Christmas tree and the Macy’s decorations and the cranberry bread and cookies, well… it’s fun. A lot of fun. But I can’t help but feeling, now and again, very very old.
I like socks as a present nowadays, for example, the brighter the colors the better. Even white socks are fun, fresh and clean from the package. My younger self saw socks as a punishment only slightly above a lump of coal. Socks were for losers. Obviously I am old.
My younger self loved Christmas trees and decorations and shiny baubles around the whole house. I looked forward to the day we’d get out the lights and unstring them, testing every strand. I loved unwrapping the greenery around the porch, and sending out cards as soon as humanly possible. My older self gets busy and pulls out the tiny Charlie Brown tree on the coffee table halfway through the month, only then thinking about presents. I am old.
When I was little, my favorite thing about the holidays was baking Christmas cookies with my family. I’d even invite friends over for us to bake dozens and dozens of cookies together playing Christmas music as loud as possible while we ate the cookie dough and giggled. These days it’s a great year if I get a lump of refrigerated gingerbread dough and slice it for cookies to ice with a drizzle. By myself, or with Sam. Or both. (You can buy two tubes of dough, and they freeze!) Clearly I am old.
When I was younger, I loved tearing through presents for me. Me! Me! All mine. These days I have a lot more fun seeing other peoples’ faces when I give them their presents. I am old here too, but I don’t mind.
When I was little, I’d watch my grandfather literally assemble his presents into forts for the kids—he bought that many toys. Christmas was bright and shiny with tinsel and paper and wrapping, love and bickering and two weeks of a huge family in a tiny house in Texas. Now Christmas is small, with plain wrapping and a tiny tree, a short trip with a long car ride and a few quiet relatives. I am old, and I miss what was.
When you’re little, you think the holidays, the celebrations, the traditions are forever. When you’re older, you find out they took effort, and the effortless magic was instead a carefully orchestrated symphony of many parts that may not come again. You find out that things change. Things change, and I feel old, and I long for the magic to come again.
And then, in the middle of a grocery store with an old happy song playing Christmas cheer, I am a kid again, joyful and giddy, and the magic breathes a small breath, a small moment, into being again. I am not so old. I am, again, a child, staring at the wonder of Christmas.
About the author
Alex Hughes, the author of the award-winning Mindspace Investigations series from Roc, has lived in the Atlanta area since the age of eight. Her short fiction has been published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction, Thunder on the Battlefield and White Cat Magazine. She is an avid cook and foodie, a trivia buff, and a science geek, and loves to talk about neuroscience, the Food Network, and writing craft—but not necessarily all at the same time! For all the latest news and free short stories, join Alex’s email list at http://bit.ly/AlexsList.
You can find out more about Alex through the following links