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Seized by Seduction


Why is the night I saw Dr. Randi Fuller still so vividly clear in my mind?

That irritating question nagged the hell out of Qua­sar while at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Get­ting more annoyed with himself every passing minute, he grabbed a beer out of the refrigerator and a slice of leftover pizza from the microwave. The very idea that any woman could linger on his mind for this long was preposterous. Especially when it was a woman he’d seen only one time.

But damn, she’d been beautiful, and he would admit to being awestruck and mesmerized. So much, in fact, he hadn’t been able to stop looking at her that night. She’d caught him staring and had boldly stared back. He’d seen the same interest mirrored in her eyes he was certain shone in his. A part of him wondered if she’d read his thoughts. After all, she was a psychic.

Deep down he knew that her paranormal abilities had nothing to do with why she’d been stuck in his mind for three solid months. For a reason he couldn’t explain, he’d felt this strange connection between them. One that had him still thinking of her three months later. As far as he was concerned, nothing about his obsession with Dr. Fuller made sense. He dated women. He bedded women. What he didn’t do was get fixated on one.

His phone rang and he recognized the tone. It was a call from his father. Normally he’d have let it go, but he decided to answer it. Maybe if his mind was full of anger at someone, it would keep his thoughts of Dr. Randi Fuller at bay. He’d never known a time when a phone conversation with Louis Patterson didn’t end in shouting.

He looked at the clock. Usually his father didn’t call past dinnertime. There was only one way to find out the reason for this abnormality. “Is there a reason for your call, Louis?” He had stopped referring to his father as Dad years ago. As far as Quasar was concerned, the man didn’t deserve the title when he’d unashamedly picked one son over the other countless times. And unsurpris­ingly, his father hadn’t made a fuss about the change.

“Yes, I wouldn’t be contacting you if there wasn’t. Doyle has decided to run for public office.”

Quasar’s stomach clenched at the thought of his older brother. Doyle was and always had been his fa­ther’s golden child. “Any reason you thought I needed to know?”

“Forever the smart-ass, aren’t you, Quasar?”

Quasar managed a tight smile while thinking, Yes, if it riles you, then it’s worth it. “Why do you think I need to know Doyle has decided to get his hands dirty in pol­itics?” He figured his old man didn’t like that question, especially the reference to dirty hands.

His father ignored the comment altogether. “The media knows about you. They might want to talk to you. Get an interview.”

Quasar chuckled. “Oh, I get it. And you’re afraid I’ll tell them something. Like the truth.”

Once again there was silence on the other end of the call. Quasar liked it whenever he could render the great, all-powerful Louis Patterson speechless. It was always this way between them. He was determined never to be controlled again, and his father was intent on controlling him like old times.

The old man finally recovered and said, “When are you going to forget about that and let it go, Quasar? You know I couldn’t let Doyle go to jail.”

But you could let me go and waste three years of my life behind bars for a crime I didn’t commit. Quasar knew there was no reason to get into an argument with his fa­ther about it. The man had wanted to protect Doyle, and Quasar had been the sacrificial lamb.

As far as Quasar was concerned, the only good thing that had come out of those three years in prison was meeting a man who’d proved that not all fathers were assholes. That there were some who loved their sons…no matter how many they had. That man was Sheppard Granger. Like Quasar, Sheppard had been jailed for a crime he hadn’t committed.

Shep, as the other inmates called him, was a lot older than most of the prisoners and served time for murder­ing his wife. It didn’t take long for anyone who hung around Shep to know he was a natural-born leader—a positive one. He gained the respect of many and was highly admired.

Before being sent to prison, Shep was the CEO of a major corporation, Granger Aeronautics. While in prison he became a father figure to the younger inmates, their mentor, confidant and role model. Instead of acting re­sentful for being locked up for a crime he didn’t commit, Shep used his time in prison to implement Toastmasters, Leaders of Tomorrow, GED exams and college programs. Shep was the reason Quasar had walked out of prison a different man. A man who would no longer allow his father to intimidate him. While growing up, nothing he did pleased his father. Louis always made him feel inad­equate, as if he would never measure up…like that time he’d become captain of the swim team and the team came in second place in its first competition. Instead of giving him accolades for even making it to the finals, Louis had verbally lashed out at him for not winning.

Prison had also introduced several other men into Quasar’s life. Some who were better brothers than Doyle had ever been. The first two who immediately came to mind were Striker and Stonewall.

“Quasar?” His father’s voice annoyingly intruded on his thoughts.

“I heard you. Doyle is getting into politics.”

“You gonna keep your mouth shut and not bring shame on the family’s name?”

“Don’t count on it.” Not giving his father time to re­spond, he clicked off the phone.

He laughed, imagining the look on his father’s face. Not too many people would have the courage to hang up on Louis Patterson and laugh about it. Oh, well.

Quasar was about to settle down in front of the televi­sion with his beer and pizza and see what was happening on the sports channel when his cell phone rang again. It wasn’t his father calling back but Roland Summers, his boss at Summers Security Firm.

Not long after being released from prison, he, Stone­wall and Striker had signed on to work for Roland’s se­curity firm. Since the three of them hadn’t known a thing about security work, Roland, an ex-con himself, under­stood the importance of them having steady and produc­tive employment and had gotten them into one of the top tactical training schools in the country. In addition, Ro­land had hooked them up for a full year with a former Secret Service agent by the name of Grayson Prescoli. Grayson had a reputation as being one of the best in the business while serving under three presidents.

After Striker was credited with taking down the as­sassin who’d been terrorizing Charlottesville, Summers Security received national attention and was hailed as one of the top-notch security firms in the country. Since then, the security firm had received numerous requests from around the country for their services. That had prompted Roland to hire additional trained bodyguards to protect celebrities, politicians, and members of wealthy families and handle security details during special events. As of last month, the security firm had gone global, and inter­national requests were rolling in. Stonewall was currently in Paris, acting as bodyguard to some billionaire playboy.

Quasar clicked on the phone. “What’s up, Roland?”

“I took a chance in reaching you. It’s your weekend off, and I’m surprised you’re not out on a date or some­thing.”

Quasar chuckled. Roland was not only his boss but also a good friend who knew how much he enjoyed the opposite sex. “I thought I’d hang around home this week­end.”

“Oh, I see.”

He figured Roland really did see and was fully aware that at times, Quasar slipped into pensive moods. It was during those times he preferred being by himself. “So what do you need, Roland?”

“I just got a call about an event at the Kennedy Center.

They’re expecting a ton of celebrities, will be increasing their security detail and need at least three of my men. Since you’ve done events there before, I’m reaching out to you in case you might be interested.”

“When is it?” Quasar asked.

“Next weekend. It’s on Friday night, but they’re foot­ing the bill for an entire weekend if you want to use the additional two days and do some sightseeing. If you’re interested, I’ll have the packet ready when you return to the office on Monday.”

“I’m interested.” He hadn’t been to DC in a while. It would give him the chance to check in on Ryker Valen­tine, a former inmate who, after returning to his home state of California, had entered politics and was now a US senator.

“Good. I’ll put you down, Quasar.”

“I hope you’re not overdoing anything, Roland.” The man had been shot earlier that year in an attempted car­jacking.

“My last scheduled checkup with the doctor was yes­terday,” Roland said. “I’m officially released with a clean bill of health.”

“Glad to hear it, but still, don’t tax yourself.”

“I won’t. I’ll have Carson to deal with if I do.”

Quasar knew that to be true. Carson was Shep’s wife and Roland’s good friend. She doted on Roland like a younger brother. “And how is Carson?”

“Fine. They found out last week that she’s having a girl. Everyone is happy. Especially Shep. After three sons, he’s getting a daughter. The baby is due sometime in July.”

Quasar smiled, thinking of Shep with a daughter. In a way, it was strange to picture Shep and a baby at all, considering his youngest son, Dalton, would be thirty this year. Shep was starting fatherhood all over again. “What about Caden and Dalton? Any word on what they’re hav­ing?” The wives of two of Shep’s sons were pregnant, as well.

“Caden and Shiloh are also having a girl. Dalton and Jules aren’t saying yet.”

Quasar shook his head and chuckled. “Leave it to Dal­ton to keep everyone in suspense.”

“Yes, that’s Dalton for you. Talk to you later.”

Quasar clicked off the phone. Maybe spending a week­end in the nation’s capital, visiting an old friend, was just what he needed.

“So what are your plans for Trey’s birthday?” Randi asked her sister, Haywood, as they tossed their shopping bags into the backseat of Haywood’s SUV. It was a beau­tiful day in Richmond, although forecasters had predicted rain later today. Randi loved shopping, and a day spent at the malls with her sister was the best. Even with the eight-year difference in their ages, they’d always been close. Usually their mother would join them, but their parents had left today to celebrate their thirtieth wedding anniversary on an international tour of four countries.

“You know your brother,” Haywood said, sliding into the seat behind the steering wheel and buckling her seat belt. “It’s going to be hard to pull anything over on him, so a surprise birthday party is out of the question. I think I’ll host a birthday dinner instead.”

Randi nodded while buckling her own seat belt. Yes, she did know her brother, and Haywood was right. It would be hard to pull anything over on Trey. It always amused her to watch people’s reactions whenever they discovered her sister had married her brother. Then Randi would have to explain, as simply as she could, that she and Haywood shared the same mother, where as she and Trey shared the same father.

Jenna Fuller’s first husband and Haywood’s father, Steven Malone, had died of a heart attack when Hay­wood had been four. Randolph Fuller and Jenna, who’d been college sweethearts, reunited and married when Haywood was six. Trey, whose real name was Ross Don­ovan Fuller III, was Randolph’s son from his first mar­riage and was named after their father’s brother, who’d been killed in the Vietnam War.

Thanks to Haywood and Trey, Randi had two neph­ews—ten-year-old Ross Donovan Fuller IV, who was affectionately called Quad, and seven-year-old Ran­dolph Devin Fuller II, who went by the nickname of Dev. Then there were her identical twin nieces, Brooklyn and Brynn, who turned three a few months ago. Randi adored her nieces and nephews and considered them her joy in life.

“What do you have planned for this weekend?” Hay­wood broke into her thoughts to ask.

“I’m thinking about painting my bedroom.”

Haywood glanced at her when she brought her SUV to a stop at a traffic light. “Why? You know you don’t want to do that.”

Randi chuckled. “What are you? A mind reader?”

Haywood shook her head, grinning. “No, reading minds is your thing, not mine.”

True, Randi thought as she settled back in her seat. After all, she was Dr. Randi Fuller, psychic investigator and behavioral analyst. She’d been fifteen when she’d gotten her first premonition but hadn’t told anyone until she was nineteen. That’s when she’d confided first in Haywood and then her parents.

No one had been surprised, since it was a known fact that Randolph Fuller’s maternal grandmother and great-grandmother had been psychics. Nor had it been surpris­ing when those not close to her family had been skeptical of her abilities. At first Randi had consider her psychic abilities a curse, especially after an incident in college involving her best friend, Georgie Mason, and Larry Por­ter, the guy she’d convinced herself she would love for life. She’d secretly confided to Georgie she had psychic powers. In her junior year she began dating Larry, and Georgie had betrayed Randi’s trust by telling Larry of Randi’s psychic abilities before she’d gotten the chance to do so herself.

When Larry confronted her about it, she’d confirmed what Georgie had told him. Larry broke things off with her, saying there was no way he could be involved with a freak. She’d taken their breakup hard, and it was only with her family’s love and support that she had gotten through that difficult period in her life.

“I wasn’t going to mention it, practically promised Trey that I wouldn’t, but…”

Randi glanced over at her sister. “What is it that Trey doesn’t want you to mention?” she asked, her curiosity piqued.

“It’s about Larry.”

Now she wondered if her sister could possibly read minds, since her ex-boyfriend had been in her thoughts just moments ago. “What about Larry?”

“Zach ran into him this week. Seems he’s moved to DC and works for an IT company there.”

Zach was Senator Zachary Wainwright, Trey’s bestfriend. Zach was also married to their cousin Adrianna, whom everyone called Anna. “Why would Larry mov­ing to DC bother me?”

Haywood shook her head. “Come on, Ran, it’s me you’re talking to. I of all people know how much you loved Larry and how badly he hurt you.”

Larry had hurt her. “I’ve gotten over him, Haywood. It wasn’t easy, but I did.” What she said was true. She’d taken a year off college just to get herself together. That time spent on Glendale Shores had been just what she’d needed. Located off the South Carolina coast, Glendale Shores was one of the most beautiful of the Sea Islands and had been in her family for generations.

“Are you sure?”

Randi glanced over at her sister. “I’m positive.”

Haywood didn’t say anything for a minute. Then she said, “I’m glad, because according to Zach, he’s married. Larry mentioned to Zach that he’s attending that big bash at the Kennedy Center this weekend with his wife. Since you have plans to go as well, there’s a chance you might see them there.”

Randi drew in a deep breath and felt…nothing. Not even that painful ache in her heart that it had seemed would take forever to go away. But it was finally gone. Who would have thought she would actually feel zilch upon hearing the man she once loved so deeply had com­mitted his life to someone else?


She heard the worry in her sister’s voice and glanced over at her. “I heard you, Haywood. So Larry’s married. I’m happy for him. Truly I am. And it wouldn’t bother me in the least if I saw him.”

She paused a minute, then added, “I got over Larry.

I now understand that not all men could handle a girl­friend having psychic abilities. I shouldn’t have expected Larry to be different.”

“Well, I did,” Haywood said with indignation. “He claimed he loved you.”

Yes, he had claimed that, and when I needed him to be supportive and understanding, he’d been neither. In fact, he was a total ass. “Well, like I said, I’m over Larry, and no one has to be afraid to mention him around me or freak out at the thought we might run into each other someplace whenever I’m in DC.”

“I’m glad to hear that, Randi. I know getting over Larry was not easy for you. But I’m still concerned, be­cause you haven’t dated much since your breakup with him, and it’s been close to four years.”

Reaching up, Randi adjusted her sunglasses. Had it been that long? “I date.”

“I didn’t say you hadn’t dated at all. I said you don’t date much. There’s a difference.”

“I date enough. Criminal cases take up a lot of my time, Haywood. You know that.” After college she’d gone to work for the FBI as a behavioral analyst. She’d found the position too restricting because she couldn’t assist other law enforcement agencies. That’s when she’d made the decision to freelance. In between job assignments, she used her time writing books on psychic criminology that were being used at the FBI Training Center at Quantico. And on occasion, she would teach classes there, as well.

“Speaking of cases, you haven’t said much about the last one you worked. The one in Charlottesville,” Hay­wood cut into her thoughts to say.

Randi shrugged. “Wasn’t more to tell. All the details were blasted on television and in the newspapers.” It had been crazy when a mobster who’d been found guilty had put a hit out on everyone in the courtroom the day of his sentencing. Close to ten people had been assassinated before it all ended.

“The media gave you a lot of credit.”

“They shouldn’t have. It was a team effort.”

“Yes, and with all the cases you’ve helped solve, you’d think people’s skepticism of an investigative psychic’s abilities would have lessened.”

Randi was well aware that most people didn’t believe or accept the possibility that some individuals were born with psychic gifts. Over the years she’d gotten used to closed-minded people. “It’s not always easy to have an open mind to the unknown…especially when it contra­dicts what you think you know or believe,” she said in defense of the doubters. She would admit that in the be­ginning, she’d had a hard time accepting people’s atti­tudes about that. Now she mainly ignored them.

“Why do I get the feeling that there’s something you’re not telling me about that case in Charlottesville?”

Randi started to speak, to deny there was anything she wasn’t telling her sister, but she knew there was no point. Her sister could read her like a book. “I saw him.”

Haywood had pulled her SUV into the parking lot of one of their favorite dress shops. She brought the car to a stop, cut the ignition and turned to Randi. “You saw whom?”

When Randi felt a part of her breath backing up in her lungs, she let out a whoosh; otherwise, what she was about to say would overwhelm her. It practically did whenever she thought about it. “While in Charlottesville, I saw the man Gramma Mattie told me in my dream that I would one day meet.”

As Randi expected, Haywood was quiet for a minute, allowing what she’d said to sink in. Then her sister lifted her brow, stared at her with that thoughtful expression she could wear so well and asked, “You saw him?”

The corner of Randi’s mouth lifted into a smile. “Yes. And it happened pretty much like the dream said it would.”

In actuality, it had been a vision instead of a dream, but she’d told everyone it had been a dream so they wouldn’t ask too many questions about the experience. It had happened during that year she’d spent on Glendale Shores while getting over her breakup with Larry. Her de­ceased great-grandmother, who’d also been blessed with psychic powers, had come to her in a vision. Gramma Mattie had told her Larry was never meant to be her mate, and there was a man chosen just for her.

Her great-grandmother further said that Randi would know him when she saw him. Although no physical de­scription of him was given, it was revealed that the first time she saw him, he would be wearing all black, and when their gazes locked, she would feel the connection.

And she had.

“I don’t understand, Randi. If you met him, then why isn’t he here with you? Why haven’t you introduced him to us?”

Randi smiled, hearing the excitement in Haywood’s voice. “Mainly because I haven’t officially met him my­self. I saw him one night at the crime scene, and he saw me. Something passed between us just the way Gramma Mattie said it would. I’m sure he thinks it was nothing more than sexual attraction.”

“And you didn’t say anything to him?”

“No. It was the same night the assassin was killed, and everyone’s attention was focused on what had happened. Two people had come close to losing their lives that night in a fire. Besides, according to Gramma Mattie, he has to make the first overture. The only reason I know his name is that I overheard someone call out to him.”

Randi didn’t say anything for a moment. Then she added, “And another thing, the most important thing Gramma Mattie said, was that I have to earn his love, and he has to earn mine.”

“How?” Haywood asked.

Randi answered thoughtfully, “I don’t know. But what I do know is that if one of us fails, then we both lose out on love. There’s not anyone else out there for either of us. If not together, then we will live apart and forever alone.”

Seized by Seduction
by by Brenda Jackson