Claire Daniels
Body of Intuition
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Meet Cally Lazar, Energy Worker. A "recovering attorney," Cally pulled a U-turn on her career path and set up shop as an alternative healer. Her sensory skills help her find the stress in her clients' auras. But once in a while, what she finds will make her jump out of her skin...

Cally can read just about anyone's aura. There's the orange halo of health. The yellow of happiness. The pink of love. But this time -- working with the widowed Mrs. Snell -- Cally sees a bottomless darkness... and hears the voice of her client's dead husband.

The town police have already opened and shut the Snell case, calling it a suicide. But Cally senses something more. At a New Age seminar, she learns that the unfaithful Snell had as many enemies as friends. And as the seminar's attendees uncoil their karma, "out" their inner children, and decompress their distress, the ever-observant Cally hears clues from the mouths of her hypnotized peers. But when another guest is killed, Cally realizes she's not the only one seeing red.

From the back cover of Body of Intuition. © 2002 Berkley Prime Crime.


"Like tantra, you know?" the lush blond woman on my massage table said, her voice high and girlish. Too girlish for thirty. I'm thirty-five myself, so I figured I ought to know.

I shook my head without speaking. I was running my hands lightly around the edges of her body, trying to get a sense of her energy field -- and reminding myself not to be so critical. There was value in this woman, sweetness in her lusty innocence.

"You know, tantra is sacred sexuality," she insisted.

I nodded, a light clicking on in my brain somewhere. Tantra, right. The Tibetan Buddhists might have a problem with her definition, but here in Glasse County, California, tantra was sacred sexuality.

"So the people that are, you know, really into tantra, are tantricas."

"Uh-huh," I muttered. This woman had come to me because her husband had committed suicide at an intimacy workshop a couple of weeks before. But her aura wasn't the color I'd expect from a grieving widow. No blue or green of mourning or loss. Not that everyone's auras are the same, mind you. But she didn't feel sad either. She felt afraid. And the color I saw radiating from her center was a sickly yellow.

"So instead of Patricia, I go by Trica," she finished up, blinking blue eyes in an animated face. "Trica like tantrica, get it?"

"Got it," I answered. Criminy, she liked to talk.

"So why are you Cally?" she asked.

"Cally's short for Calypso," I answered and placed my hand on the top of her head, feeling the surprising softness of her blond curls. "Calypso Lazar."

"Your parents named you Calypso?" she asked in surprise. I recognized the surprise in her voice easily. I've heard it almost every time I've introduced myself formally from my first-grade teacher on.

"They named me after the sea nymph who kept Odysseus captive, not Harry Belafonte or Jacques Cousteau's boat," I explained briefly. The Lazars are a little different. We even have our own curse words. I'd tried to conform to more common standards at one time, but the Lazar in me always won out. So here I was, seeking auric clues, with a talkative tantrica on my massage table.

"Cool!" she squeaked.

Trica was just a tiny bit difficult. Keerups, she was more than a tiny bit difficult. First off, she had no real presenting issue. She just told me that her husband had committed suicide, and she needed some help. She wasn't sick physically. She wasn't even crying. And she wouldn't stop talking. She was a five-year-old in a thirty-year-old's body. And with that thought, even the glimpse of yellow in her aura disappeared from my perception. I tried to breathe in light and get my center back.

"Why did you use a cane to walk in here?" Trica demanded. I stroked her hair impulsively. Maybe I was right about her inner age, despite all the evident femininity rolled into her size-eighteen body.

"I have a weak leg," I told her. "Sometimes it buckles."

"But you're not using the cane now," she accused.

"No, I don't seem to need it when I'm focused on my clients," I told her.

I didn't tell her that my leg had been weak since my parents had been killed in an explosion when I was fifteen. Actually, my leg had buckled before I heard about the explosion, which was even stranger. Healer, heal thyself, right? But my fellow healers had convinced me that it was okay to have an occasionally weak leg, a memorial to my parents' death, and besides, it was getting stronger all the time. And, best of all, the weak leg allowed me to use a cane. Not very many people understand that a cane is a great weapon, but my brother York is a creative martial artist who has taught me the delights of what we christened "cane-fu." With cane in hand, I was Jackie Chan. As long as I had my glasses on, too.

"The guys at the intimacy workshop are always going on about focus," Trica told me. "But I have a hard time focusing, do you believe it?"

I kept the smile off my face. Yep, I believed it. "Anyway, all that intimacy stuff is really tantra. They're just afraid people will think they're into orgies or something, like some of the other tantra groups."

"But they aren't?" I asked, not really sure for all of Trica's verbiage just what had gone on when her husband had committed suicide. Orgies? Intimacy with illegal drugs? Listening too long to Trica?

"Oh, no, the group wasn't into orgies," Trica assured me, shaking her head sadly. "Seeger, you know, my husband, or um... whatever he is now, he just wanted to have fun, you know. He always complained that he worked too hard at The Sensual Body, you know, the shop that he and Aileen owned. But Aileen did most of the work anyway. Seeger was thinking of opening a winery. I guess he won't now, huh?"

"No, I guess not," I said seriously. I put my hands on Trica's temples. There was something endearing about Trica. I can find a core of goodness in most people I work on, and I was finding hers now.

"You've got a nice house," Trica offered. "It's like... um..."

"Little," I helped her, smiling.

"No, not just little." Trica's eyes widened. "It's so cute, you know, like a dollhouse. I love the latticed deck and all the flowers. And your goats are so cool. What were their names again?"

"Moscow, Persia, and Ohio," I answered. I saw the yellow field again, now emanating from Trica's feet, and felt a strange tension in Trica's temples, almost as if it wasn't hers.

"Where's your cat?" she asked suddenly.

I looked around. Leona was gone, which was strange. It was usually all I could do to keep her claws off the massage table.

"Maybe she's playing with the goats," I whispered.

Trica giggled, and the yellow dimmed.

I was beginning to get a handle on Trica's energy. She was frightened. The girlishness was part of it. But still, there was something else at odds with the rest of her energy field.

Then I saw it. An orange blob hovering at her shoulder. I yanked my hands back, startled.

"Seeger would have liked you," Trica went on. She sighed softly. "You're skinny."

I breathed in again and didn't argue. Size acceptance is a two-way street. I loved the beauty of queen-sized women, like my friend Joan, and the grace of my 300-plus pound friend, Ben. And I wasn't really skinny. Like all Lazars, I was small, dark-haired, and fair-skinned, with features sharp enough to cut paper. It's those gaunt features that make people think we Lazars are skinny. They're in our genes. I guess the silly curse words are, too.

"I like your braid," Trica kept on in a small voice. Was she afraid she'd offended me? "It's really long."

I looked down at Trica and wondered if Seeger had made her feel unlovely as a large woman. Of course he had.

"Trica, you know skinny ain't all it's cracked up to be," I told her. She grabbed my hand now. "You are really beautiful," I told her honestly. At exactly five feet tall, Trica was a pint-sized goddess, bursting with beauty. Anyone would be crazy not to see it.

"Thanks, Cally," she whispered. Then she laughed. "Is your braid like a goat's tail?" she asked. I laughed with her, even though my goat's short little tails couldn't have competed with my braid.

I put my hand on Trica's shoulder and saw the yellow field shimmering. I sensed cold somewhere nearby and felt a wash of new understanding. Trica needed protection. I was sure of it. But what did she need protection from?

"Trica--" I began.

"You know, Seeger just smiled at me that day from the balcony, then he climbed on the railing, waved, and dived, like it was a pool or something."

I squeezed her shoulder a little tighter as the hairs went up on the back of my neck.

And suddenly, I felt myself falling. For a moment, I thought my leg had buckled, but, no, I was hurtling head-first toward nonexistent terra-cotta tile. Endlessly. I wanted to scream... and then I heard the voice.

"Tell her I didn't commit suicide," it said. "I was murdered."

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All content © 2002-06 by Claire Daniels / Jaqueline Girdner. Web site by interbridge.