Home > Possession (Fallen Angels #5)

Possession (Fallen Angels #5)
Author: J.R. Ward

J.R. Ward - Fallen Angels #5 - Possession

Possession (Fallen Angels #5)
J.R. Ward



Chapter One

“Okay … where am I? Where am I … where—”

Cait Douglass leaned into the steering wheel of her little Lexus SUV, like that was going to increase the odds of her finding the hair salon.

Tennis-matching it between the road ahead and the lineup of ritzy shops to the left, she shook her head. “The real question is, what the hell am I doing…?”

As she trolled down an Epcot Center of luxury boutiques, she was out of her element. French bedding. Italian shoes. English stationery. Clearly this part of Caldwell, New York, was not only worldly, but capable of supporting these triple-H places: high-end, highbrow, high-cost.


Might be worth a good gander sometime, just to know how the other half lived—not going to happen now, though. She was late, and more to the point, it was seven thirty at night, so everything was closed. Made sense. The rich were probably sitting down in their crystal-strewn dining rooms, doing whatever Bruce Wayne did when he was out of his Batman costume.

Plus the environs made her nervous. Yup, lesson learned: Next time she decided to get her hair done, she was not asking her cousin, the one who was married to a plastic surgeon, for a reference—

Cait hit the brakes. “Gotcha!”

Yanking an illegal U-turn, she parallel-parked at a meter that didn’t require plugging, and got out.

“Brrr.” With a shiver, she pulled her lapels in tight. Late April in upstate meant that it could still get cold enough to count as February in more reasonable places, and as usual, the winter was hanging in strong—like a houseguest with nowhere else to go.

“I’ve got to move somewhere. Georgia … Florida.” Maybe relocating could be the crowning glory of her year of reclamation. “Tahiti.”

The hair salon was the lone still-open standout on the block, its interior lit up bright as daylight—and yet there didn’t appear to be anyone inside. Stepping through the glass door, the air was all sweet perfume with an undertow of chemicals, and the discordant, wavy music was way too sophisticated for her.

Whoa, fancy. Everything was black and white marble, the dozen or so stations spick-and-span, the row of sinks with their Liberace leather reclining chairs like some kind of napping center for grown-ups. On the walls there were framed, larger-than-life head shots of models rocking Zoolander’s Blue Steel, and the floor was shiny as a plate.

As she walked up to the reception desk, her sensible shoes made a squeaking sound—like all that Carrara didn’t approve of them.


Rubbing her nose as it kept tickling, she thought, for the love of God, the thing needed to sneeze or get over itself.

Lot of mirrors—which made her truly uncomfortable. She’d never been much for looking at herself—not because she was ugly, but because where she came from, that kind of thing was frowned upon.

Thank God her parents lived out West when they weren’t traveling. No reason they’d ever know she’d set foot in a place like this.

“Hello?” She went deeper into the interior, checking out the island in the middle that was obviously where they mixed the colors. So many tubes of various hues of blond, brunette, red … and some of a more Crayola spectrum. Blue hair? Pink?

Maybe she should blow this off…

The man who came out of the back was thin as a shadow, those shrink-wrapped black jeans clearly helping his toothpick legs keep him upright.

“Are you zee Cait Douglass?” he said in an accent that she couldn’t place and could barely understand.

“Ah, yes, I am.”

As his dark, dark stare narrowed and locked on her hair, it was like a doctor eyeballing a rheumatic patient—and though he hardly looked like a serial killer, something about him made her want to turn and bolt for the door. Her skin was literally itching for her to get out of here, and this time it didn’t have anything to do with her family’s fundamentalist value system.

“My chair, eez dis over here,” he announced.

At least … she thought that was what he’d said—okay, yup, he was pointing at one of the stations.

Now or never, Cait thought, glancing around and hoping to borrow some courage from something, anything. But nobody else was with them, and that trippy electronic music bubbling overhead made her brain spin. Worse, rather than being inspired by those photographs, all she could think of was that people really didn’t need to take what grew out of their head so seriously.

Wait, that was her mother talking.

“Yes, thank you,” she said with a nod.

Following his lead, she sat down in an incredibly comfortable leather seat, and then she was spun around to face the glass. Ducking her eyes to her lap, she jumped as he burrowed his surprisingly strong hands into her hair.

“So what are you thinking?” he asked. Which came out as something close to, Sue va troo zinking?

This is a bad idea, is what she was zinking.

Cait forced herself to focus on her reflection. Same deep brown hair. Same blue eyes. Same fine features. But there was makeup on her pale skin now, something she’d just recently learned how to apply without feeling like she was going into Kardashian territory. The body was different, too. Eight months of working hard in the gym had leaned her out in ways that the scale didn’t necessarily recognize, but her clothes sure did. And the handbag in her lap was bright red, the sort of thing she never would have worn a year ago.

Naturally, everything else was gray and black, stuff that had been in her closet since before this year of change. But the Sephora tips, like the pop of color, made her feel … well, not the way she used to.

“Zo …?” the stylist prompted, as he came around and struck a pose against the mirror.

With his arms crossed and his chin dipped, he reminded her of someone, but she couldn’t place it.

Cait fingered her hair like he had, hoping it would germinate an idea in her head. “I don’t know. What do you think?”

As he pursed his mouth, she realized he had lip gloss on. “Bloond.”

Bloond? What the hell was—“You mean blond?”

When he nodded, Cait mostly sucked back the recoil. Red accessories were one thing. Lady Gaga was another: She was prepared to dip her toe in the salon waters. Not drown herself.

“I wasn’t thinking that extreme.”

He reached forward and did that fingers-through-the-locks thing again. “No, deftly bloond—und viz the law lits as vell.”

Law lits? Like he wanted to go tort reform on her hair?

“I don’t even know what those are.”

“Tvust me.”

Cait met her own eyes again, and for some reason thought of her closet, where everything was arranged by type—and she would have done color sorting among the blouses, pants, skirts and dresses, too, but there were only so many variations on shadow.

Photoshopping a blond wig on her head made her want to hit the door again. But she was sick of her mouse-brown, too.

Now is the time to live, she thought. Never any younger. Never any better. No guarantee that tomorrow would come for her.

“Bloond, huh,” she whispered.

“Bloond,” the stylist said. “And ve’re lawyer up, tou. Ze changing vroom iz trough vere.”

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