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9780425282762Hi. I’m Cass Donovan, owner of Mystical Musings, a small psychic shop on Bay Island. My shop sits in the perfect location. The front door faces the boardwalk, and the back door faces the beach. I love sitting on the back porch and looking out over the bay, watching the boats headed to Long Island, the kids playing on the beach, and tourists flocking to the lighthouse that overlooks it all. It brings back such fond memories from my childhood.

Though I grew up on Bay Island, I left seventeen years ago to go to college and only returned last year after my psychiatric practice and my marriage both failed. But that’s another story.

I opened Mystical Musings last year, but the idea of the shop on the boardwalk actually originated when I was trying to save money for college. When I was in high school, my friends and I used to spend hours sitting on the beach, and what better way to pass the time than people watching. I loved studying the tourists, then make up stories for them, giving them fictional lives based on what I perceived.

I found it easy to determine moods, since most people wear their moods clearly in their expressions, but then I started noticing other things, more subtle tells. The way some would twist their hands together when they were nervous or fold their arms across their chests when they were hiding something. It got to be a game. Sometimes my friends would join in, offering their own insight into the tourist’s lives, swearing they were right when my gut would tell me they couldn’t be further from the truth.

Then, one particularly boring day, a group of us were hanging around making up stories. One of the boys issued a challenge I couldn’t ignore. He dared me to approach a woman and share my story with her. I still laugh remembering the looks on their faces when I shrugged, stood up, brushed myself off and marched down the beach toward her. With only one backward glance, I walked up to her and said, “Excuse me.”

She had kind eyes, but there was a sadness in them that I wanted to understand. When I offered to do a psychic reading for her, she agreed with a good-natured but skeptical smile. As it turned out, I was extremely close on all counts. The sadness in her eyes was from a recent break up, the way she wrapped her arms tightly around herself was a defense mechanism. She didn’t trust people, wanted to keep them out, thanks to her ex-boyfriend’s cheating. I had nailed so much of her story, and was ready to walk away with a smug smile for my friends. But then I realized the sadness still filled her eyes, and I found I wanted to help, wanted to do something to alleviate her suffering.

So I offered her a premonition, a brief glimpse of the future I imagined for her with a man who would treat her like gold. Though she still appeared somewhat skeptical, there was a bit of optimism and hope as well. And I realized how good it felt to use my gift to help someone. I still think about that woman on occasion and wonder if any of my predictions came true. I certainly hope so.

Anyway, much to Chief Langdon’s dismay, I spent the next few summers approaching tourists and offer to do “readings” for them, only charging if I was able to give them an accurate depiction of their lives. In the beginning, I got about half right. By the time I left for college, I was rarely wrong. When I returned to Bay Island, I picked up where I left off, but this time, I opened my own shop, and now the tourists seek me out.

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