Destiny Gift (The Everlast Trilogy) - By Juliana Haygert

Chapter One

If telepathy, soul-seeing, or palm-reading existed, Dr. Brown was using her powers and performing one of those, if not all, on me.

Her lips were pressed into a thin line. Her neck was long, strained. Behind her cat-shaped glasses, her narrowed eyes gleamed with a curious, cold gleam, intent on me. She was analyzing me, I could feel it. I could see it. She was studying my posture, my body gesture, my expression.

I averted my gaze and sat on top of my hands, hoping they would stop shaking.

“Nadine Sterling,” she said. Her tone was almost caring. “What brings you to me?”

The insanity of my mind, I could say. But I didn’t. I knew this would happen. Come all the way to the psychiatrist’s office and freeze, unable to confess anything.

“Nadine?” Her tone pressed on me.

I glanced at her. Her knuckles were white around her pen, a foot swung rapidly from crossed legs, and her hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail. It gave me the impression she would freak if any strand fell loose. She looked like a perfect, impatient robot, designed to dissect her patients’ brains inch by inch.

I didn’t like her. I didn’t feel at ease with her.

She sighed, leaning back in her chair. “I know it’s difficult to trust someone you don’t know, but I’m here to help you. You sought me out to help you.”

True, though that didn’t make confessing my sins any easier.

This time, she waited.

My mind took off to the place I most loved and, at the same time, most feared. “I have dreams.”

One of her delicate brows cocked. “Dreams? About?”

My gaze focused on the darkness coming through the large window behind her. It was afternoon and the sky was pitch black. Tall buildings in decay surrounded this one. A bat or two flew around. If I stood and looked down, there would be hookers and junkies and muggers filling the streets, and litter tossed through the lanes. If I were on the sidewalk, the reeking mix of garbage, dirt, cheap perfume, and human waste would invade my nose, making me gag.

“In my dreams, the world isn’t like that.” I pointed toward the outside. “The world isn’t in chaos, the huge bats aren’t attacking people right on the streets, and agriculture isn’t in crises. In my dreams, the world is safe. The sun shines high in the blue sky.”

I glanced briefly at Dr. Brown. She seemed to be in her late thirties, meaning she had seen the sun and the sky with her own eyes before the darkness took over. I envied her.

Her foot went still. “Sun and blue sky. What else do you see in your dreams?”

Oh, there was more. There was much more.

Dream was the word I used to calm my mind. Visions were more like it.

The first one happened right after my arrival in New York. At first, the visions came once a month or so, but now they assaulted me once a week. I blacked out every time I had one. I could be cooking, studying, walking on the street, and I would simply tune out, see whatever the vision brought me, then I would wake up as if nothing had happened, as if I had not spent the last thirty seconds or fifteen minutes daydreaming.

I was reluctant to call my visions hallucinations. Yet now, at a psychiatrist’s office, I guess I should. Hallucinations could be stopped with medication, right? That was why I was here—to ask the doctor to put an end to them. The visions were hindering my life. Last semester, I failed a class because I had visions during lectures and exams. Three days ago, I dropped a tray over a customer at the café where I waited tables. My boss almost fired me, accusing me of being distracted all the time. I was losing control of my life and I was scared.

On the other hand, if I stopped hallucinating, I would stop seeing him.

Every time I forced myself to think about this, about the dilemma of my life, I felt my soul ripping into two big chunks. But, in the end, his chunk was always bigger.

From the faint reflection on the widow, I could see a smile taking over my lips. It was impossible not to smile when thinking about him.

All my visions were about the same perfect and gorgeous guy. My dream Prince Charming was called Victor Gianni. He was twenty-three, tall and athletic, with light brown hair streaked by some natural honey-colored highlights, brilliant

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