Authors: Amy Reece
The Seeker Series: Book Three
By Amy Reece
Copyright © 2015 by Amy Reece. All rights reserved.
First Print Edition: July 2015
Limitless Publishing, LLC
Kailua, HI 96734
Formatting: Limitless Publishing
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.
For the girls who feel like they can’t go home yet. And for the boys who love them enough to wait.
Table of Contents
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
That has such people in’t!”
“Ladies and gentlemen, as we start our descent, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full, upright position. Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened and all carry-on luggage is stowed underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bins. Please turn off all electronic devices until we are safely parked at the gate. Thank you.”
The message was repeated in French.
I stared out the airplane window, hoping to see a recognizable landmark, like maybe the Eiffel Tower, but glimpsed only vague brown and green squares below. We were still too high for any sightseeing.
“Stop biting your nails,” Rémy admonished, taking my hand away from my mouth. “Why are you so nervous?”
“Oh, I don’t know, Rémy. How about the fact that I just flew across the Pacific Ocean with a 22-year-old Seer who has been masquerading as a high school student? Or the fact that my mother and grandmother think I’m landing in Dublin right about now?” I had an unfortunate tendency to get cranky—okay, bitchy—when I got nervous.
“Oh, calm down,” Rémy said, unfazed. You’ll be able to call them as soon as we land. This is important, Ally. We must get you to my grandmother before it is too late. Your Seer Council never would have let you come voluntarily. It was necessary to do this.”
He referred to the fact that he and I had boarded a plane to Paris when everyone thought I was flying alone to Dublin and then on to Galway. I was going to be in so much trouble when I got back to Albuquerque, but Rémy was right; I needed to meet his grandmother, the Oracle, and the Irish Seer Council never would have granted their permission. They had a pretty good reason: they thought the Gaulish Seers had kidnapped the Oracle more than fifty years before. In reality, she had eloped with her boyfriend, a Gaulish Seer, and had lived happily and voluntarily in France ever since.
“I know, I know. I’m sorry. I’m just scared. And I miss Jack so much. I wish I told him about this; I’m not going to be able to contact him for so long!” My boyfriend was in Missouri for Army basic training for the next ten weeks and would be unable to contact family or friends for at least two weeks. “What’s he going to think when he finds out I sneaked away to France with you?”
“That you finally saw the light and dumped him for me?”
“Oh, my God! That’s exactly what he’s going to think!” I buried my face in my hands as I wailed.
“Ally, Ally, shhh.” Rémy put his arm around me and pulled me close. We were seated in first class, so we had some small semblance of privacy. “You’re working yourself up over nothing. We’ll send messages to everyone just as soon as we land, I promise. As for Jack, well, I wish he would be insanely jealous, but I think not. He really loves you, chérie. He must trust you too. It will all work out, so stop worrying.”
I nodded and tried to believe him. He was right and it was too late to change my mind, anyway, as we were about to land in Paris.
“Now, when we land, we’ll go directly to our hotel so you can get some rest before we drive to Rouen tomorrow. You’ll feel more yourself when you have some good food and some sleep. You’ll see,” he assured me.
It took an inordinate amount of time to deplane, gather our luggage, and navigate our way through the hideous lines—or queues, as Rémy called them—at customs. I was exhausted and craving nothing more than a soft bed as we headed toward the pick-up area. I expected to join yet another queue for a taxi and was surprised when a chauffeur holding a sign that said ‘M. Giles’ approached and took my bags from me. We followed him to a gleaming, black limousine and I slid into the back seat as he held the door.
Rémy laughed delightedly at my shocked expression. “What? Did you think the Conseil would let the next Oracle travel in a common, dirty taxi cab?”
“The what?” I asked, confused.
“The Conseil des Voyants is our version of your Seer Council. They have arranged for you to be well cared-for on your visit.”
“So, this is all for me, huh? If I wasn’t here, you would be taking a common, dirty taxi cab to your hotel?” I asked pointedly.
He shrugged. “No. If you weren’t here, I would rent a car and drive home to Rouen tonight.”
“Rémy, why don’t we do that? I don’t need a limousine and a fancy hotel tonight. I assume it will be a fancy hotel?” I asked, eyebrows raised.
“Yes,” he admitted. “It is a very nice hotel. And you do need it. Tomorrow will be stressful for you, so tonight you will rest and enjoy a fine Parisian meal. No arguments.”
The limo deposited us in front of Le Méridien Etoile on
Boulevard Gouvion Saint-Cyr
and Rémy checked us in, speaking in rapid French. We were shown to a two-bedroom suite, the likes of which I had never seen before. The decor was ultra-modern and sleek, with a living room in between two bedrooms.
“Wow, Rémy. This is beautiful!” I wandered around touching the metal lampshades, smoothing my hands over the butter-soft, white leather couch as he tipped the bellhop.
“It’s all right.” He shrugged in his signature Gallic manner. “You can have this bedroom.” He motioned for the bellhop to deposit my bags in the larger of the two bedrooms. “Why don’t you get settled in, perhaps change clothes, and then we’ll go to dinner downstairs, yes? I’m not letting you sleep until later tonight. It’s the only way to deal with jet lag.”
I really craved a nap, but knew he was right from my experience during my trip to Ireland. So, I instead took a shower and changed into a fresh outfit, by this time starting to feel hungry. Then I called my grandmother and Fionnuala, head of the Irish Seer Council. I was correct: I was in deep trouble with both women. My grandmother promised various kinds of punishment, including grounding until my 21
birthday, but she agreed not to tell my mother until she returned from her honeymoon. Fionnuala was nearly speechless with anger. She said she would have to speak to the rest of the council before getting back to me. Then she hung up. I didn’t have any way to get in touch with Jack, so I called his Aunt Trina and told her where I was, although not the true reason why I was in France. Jack’s family knew nothing about my psychic powers or Seers. He would be able to call home a few weeks into his training, but there was no way he would be allowed to make an international call. I don’t know why it was important to me to let her know where I was; maybe because it was the closest I could get to Jack at the moment.
We ate in the hotel restaurant, Ma Chère & Tendre, a trés expensive steakhouse with an incomprehensible menu, but Rémy ordered for me in rapid-fire French and I ended up with a vegetable side dish plate that was exquisite. He ordered a Charolaise filet, rare, for himself. I had to avert my tender, vegetarian eyes while he cut into the bloody, oozing mess.
“Mmm,” he moaned, chewing. “It is so good to be back in France where they know how to prepare food correctly. No offense, chérie, but American food leaves much to be desired.”
“I don’t recall you complaining while you were chowing down on cheeseburgers,” I replied.
“Well, yes, that is one thing you Americans do very well,” he admitted. “But I never acquired a taste for New Mexican food. I don’t understand your state’s love affair with red and green chile. It is on everything.” He shuddered and stabbed another piece of hemorrhaging beef.
“Yes, as God intended. Chile should be on everything. But I will admit that this is delicious. Thanks for dinner, Rémy.”
“Of course. I must take good care of you while you are in my country. Are you sure you don’t want some wine?” He held up the bottle he had ordered and was enjoying with his dinner.
“No thanks.” I shook my head. “Just out of curiosity, what is the drinking age here?”
“Well,” he paused to take a sip of the ruby red liquid, “there is no explicit consumption age, but it is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 18. Wine is important in France. We are not so prudish and judgmental as you Americans.”
“Oh, get off your French connoisseur high horse! Okay, I’ll try some.” I held out my glass, stopping him from pouring more than a small amount. I took a sip and made a face at the sour taste. “Eww. Gross. How can you drink this stuff?”
His expression was horrified. “
You just committed a crime, the way you slurped and gulped down this beautiful cabernet.”
“A wine crime? Really?” I asked in the most sarcastic way possible.
“Yes, definitely. Here, I will show you. First, you must appreciate the aroma. Smell it. Now take a small sip and hold it in your mouth, on your tongue.” I did as he said. “Now concentrate on the taste and feel of the wine. Can you detect the cherry?”
As I concentrated, I could, indeed, taste the subtle cherry flavor.
“Good,” said Rémy. “Now swallow and take another sip. This time see if you can detect the blackberry.” I was able to taste it. “Now, one more time. See if you can taste the violet.” I tried, but didn’t even know what a violet might taste like. “So, you see there is much to learn about wine, no?”
“I guess. I still don’t like the taste. Sorry. But I can see that there is a lot to it. So, you missed wine while you were pretending to be 17 in the U.S.?”
“Oui. I am used to drinking wine with lunch and dinner. I was raised this way, you understand?”
After dinner, he insisted we spend an hour or so listening to music in the Jazz Club Etoile, next to the restaurant, where he introduced me to more wonders of French wine. When he finally decided we could retire to our rooms, it was nearing midnight. I washed up quickly before sinking gratefully into my bed.
next morning, Rémy and I walked a few blocks to a small sidewalk cafe where he ordered
le petit déjeuner
for two. This consisted of a croissant, café au lait, and freshly squeezed orange juice. I watched as he tore off a piece of croissant and dunked it in his coffee, noticing that other diners were doing the same. This was apparently
for a French breakfast, so I did the same, rolling my eyes in gastronomic ecstasy at the flavor explosion taking place in my mouth. We didn’t have croissants like this in the U.S.! It was so fresh and buttery that I could have cried.
“It’s good, no?” Rémy smiled. His accent was much thicker since we had arrived in France.
I nodded because I was too busy stuffing more croissant in my mouth to speak. After breakfast, we walked back to the hotel, where the limousine was waiting to transport us the one hundred thirty kilometers to Rémy’s hometown, Rouen.
I was contemplative on the drive and grateful that Rémy seemed inclined to leave me to my thoughts. As I watched the gorgeous French countryside speed by, I reflected on the events of the last semester that had brought me here. I had returned to Albuquerque from Ireland without the answers that I sought; in fact, I was more confused than ever since the Irish Seer Council told me that I may be the next Oracle, a sort of leader of all the Seers in the world.
It had been a stressful semester in other ways, as well, what with the strange nightmares about a kidnapping that turned out to be psychic messages from beyond the grave from a girl named Ashley Hayes, who had been murdered in 1984.
The other stressful event was my break-up with Jack. It was still hard to think about the month we had spent apart because of his inability to deal with conflicting emotions over his father’s re-emergence in his life. We eventually patched things up, and he was now trying to develop a relationship with his dad, Marcos.
Lost in thought, I was surprised when the limo slowed down and turned into the driveway of a palatial estate; I had apparently daydreamed away the entire trip.
“Come, Ally,” said Rémy as he held out his hand to assist me from the limo. “It is time for you to meet the Conseil and my grandmother. They are very impatient to make your acquaintance.”
I swallowed my nerves and took his hand. He led me into a grand marble-tiled foyer where we were met by a stern-looking man in a black suit.
“Bonjour, Monsiuer Rémy,” he said in a deep voice. “
Ça fait longtemps que nous ne vous avons pas vu.
Ah, bonjour, André! Merci.
Voici notre invitée spéciale, Ally. J’espère que vous vous occuperez de tous ses besoins.
He turned to me. “Ally, this is our majordome, uh, butler, André. If you need anything at all during your stay, you have only to ask him.”
“You have a butler?” I squeaked. “This is your house, Rémy?” The place was a freaking palace! Suddenly, his spendthrift ways made perfect sense. He was literally rich.
“Oui, although technically it belongs to my grandparents. I grew up here, but I now have an apartment near the university. The Conseil hold their meetings here. Come. They are waiting for us.” He led me up a winding staircase and into a large living room where a group of about seven men and women were sitting on couches and in easy chairs, conversing in rapid French and drinking coffee. Although the house itself appeared to be several hundred years old, the room was furnished in a modern, comfortable manner with leather couches, glass tables, and modern art.