Wednesday Sampler: Expect Deception by JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

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In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Monday’s Sampler features an excerpt from Expect Deception by JoAnn Smith Ainswortha war-time novel that rises as a paranormal mystery.

As one reviewer said: Ainsworth has penned a riveting story full of mysticism, intrigue, and nail-biting suspense.

The Story

Just when US WAVE Livvy Delacourt thinks she and her team of psychic Nazi hunters are ready for whatever The Reich can throw at them, Hitler adds a spy to the mix who also happens to be a wizard.

Now dark magic is being used to attack US facilities, and Livvy must match wits with the evil wizard, whose objective is to destroy Operation Delphi and all her team. If she fails to ramp up her psychic powers, she may perish—and perhaps cause the US to lose the war with Germany while she’s at it.

An emotional journey through paranormal realms, Expect Deception is a fast-paced, suspenseful tale of what happens when US Navy psychics pit themselves against their Nazi counterparts.

The Sampler

JoAnn Smith Ainsworth
JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 1943

The clock struck ten o’clock that Wednesday morning. A clairvoyant, a medium, a crystal ball reader, a seer of ghosts and a nurse with healing hands sat around the polished, antique table in the Hamilton House mansion library, now their conference room. The stormy weather that had heralded America’s entrance into the war had finally passed. Balmy breezes crept through the opened French doors, allowing exit to a flagstone patio and extensive estate grounds. They—the Operation Delphi team—were the White House’s top-secret psychic defense against Nazi mind control. They were attempting to raise their psychic powers to new levels. Distractions could wreck the experiment.

“Stay focused, people.”

U.S. WAVES Lieutenant Olivia “Livvy” Delacourt rolled her shoulders and shook out her hands before raising one hand to push back a bobbed strand of brunette hair still curled from the dampness of a morning shower. Beneath the starched, white-cotton collar of her uniform, she massaged a spot of tension at the nape of her neck. She and her team were attempting to coerce U.S. Navy Commander Barrington Drew III—“Trey” to most everybody—to act against his better judgment.

Livvy glanced at their goal written in white chalk lettering on the blackboard—Get the boss to eat hardtack. Skeptical engineer that he was, Trey wouldn’t be a cinch to manipulate into eating food he despised.

The stakes were high.

British spies had picked up rumors that Hitler’s inner circle of occult practitioners was capable of disrupting war preparations purely by mental suggestion directed against U.S. citizens. To combat this, President Roosevelt established the ultra-secret group The Watch Committee. In turn, and under the supposed oversight of the Navy, the committee created a U.S. occult team named Operation Delphi.

A second mission, but just as important, was to psychically search for Nazi spies who infiltrated cities and towns along the East Coast, especially in the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. In this, their team had had some success. A few weeks back, they’d zeroed in on German spies, resulting in their capture. But that success was a drop in the bucket compared to what must be done to win a war.

Visions normally came willy-nilly to Livvy. As a Delphi operative, she must invoke clairvoyant visions at will. If rumors were true, they were neophytes compared to their Nazi counterparts and had a lot of work cut out for them.

“We need to get this right.”

Livvy spoke aloud, as much to fortify herself as to spur on her team. She rubbed her hands together, the resulting friction creating physical warmth even as it drew sustenance from the ethers. She aligned her eyes to a crammed, floor-to-ceiling bookcase directly in front of her. Unfocusing her physical sight, she relied instead on her psychic third eye.

Releasing her willpower from the mystical bonds that anchored consciousness to her physical body, she allowed her spirit to drift upward as if riding a sunlit cloud. From ceiling height, she dispatched a mist of spiritual well-being to her physical body, which sat dutifully on the straight-backed conference room chair. With a mental tug on the silver cord connecting body to spirit, she drifted through the wall and along the back hallway.

Dragging the silver cord and probing ahead with rainbow-colored tendrils, Livvy glided closer to Trey’s office. Her spirit effortlessly slipped through the office wall and drifted leisurely across the ceiling, then floated downward, stopping behind the high-backed, black leather executive chair where Trey sat. Livvy knew that the comfortable chair and his rosewood office desk were a gift from his politically prominent, industrialist father, who was also a member of The Watch. A lined, yellow, legal-sized pad rested on the leather-bound desk blotter and had some notes written in ink.

From this close vantage point, Livvy reached out tendrils of mental willpower to tug on his aura and to entice him into the conference room.

“Make Trey eat the hardtack.”

“Dammit to hell.” He shouldn’t be bothered by hunger pangs. He’d eaten a large breakfast not that long ago. Trey pulled out a desk drawer, looking for candy, but no luck. Adding insult to injury, on top of hunger pangs something was poking him at the back of the neck. He checked beneath his uniform collar to see if the laundry tag was straight. His fingers unearthed nothing to explain the sensation or where the hell the smell of gardenias was coming from. Irritating.

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