“Check this out!” Lilly motioned at the sign in the dim window on the right, which read, ‘Madam Aurora – Tarot Card Readings.’ “Let’s go inside!” Lilly exclaimed.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Annabel replied – she had an inborn distrust of psychics and palm readers.
“Come on, it’ll be fun,” Lilly urged her. “Don’t you want to get your fortune read?”
“I’m not sure – if it’s anything like what it’s been recently, I think I’d rather stay in the dark.”
“Well, I want to get mine read – I want to see what’s in store for me and Simon,” Lilly insisted. “You don’t have to get yours read if you don’t want to.”
“All right, have it your way,” Annabel surrendered, knowing full well that once Lilly got something into her head, it would be impossible to talk her out of it.
Lilly tugged on the front door, but it was locked.
“It says here that you have to ring.” Annabel pointed to the small sign next to the intercom.
Lilly pressed the intercom button, but no one answered.
“See? There’s no one there – you probably have to make an appointment in advance or something like that.” Annabel was glad of an excuse to leave. “Let’s go. Maybe next time.” She tugged at Lilly’s sleeve.
Just then there was a rustling noise from the intercom receiver. “Who is it?” asked a distant voice.
“Madam Aurora? We’re interested in a tarot reading,” Lilly spoke into the intercom.
“Come on up – it’s the top floor.” The front door buzzed open.
“In we go!” Lilly swung open the front door and Annabel had no choice but to follow her friend inside.
The lobby of the building was completely deserted. Lilly pressed the elevator button and several moments later an elevator rolled down the see-through metallic shaft.
“I’m not going up in that.” Annabel looked suspiciously at the archaic contraption. “This thing looks like it’s from the nineteen twenties.”
“Come on! I’m not walking up five flights of stairs in heels!” Lilly pried open the elevator door.
“Only because you are my friend, but if we get stuck, it’ll be all your fault.” Annabel went inside the clammy-smelling elevator and felt the floor sink underneath her feet.
“OK, up we go!” Lilly pressed the top floor, and Annabel shut her eyes as the elevator rattled into motion, hoping that this would not be the moment when the elevator would finally succumb to its wear and plummet down the shaft.
“See? We made it just fine!” Lilly exclaimed after the shaky elevator ride ended with one last final thump. She pushed open the elevator door and headed down the hallway that looked like it had recently survived an explosion: paint was peeling off the walls and the floor was sinking underneath one’s feet.
“Are you sure about this?” Annabel asked, thinking that if Madam Aurora were indeed a reputable card reader, she would not be maintaining her establishment in such dingy quarters.
“Right this way,” came a voice from the opened door down the hall.
Great, thought Annabel, abandoning all hopes of escape.
A sly grin twinkled on Madam Aurora’s face as she held the door open for Annabel and Lilly to enter. “Please, come inside.”
Twenty-eight-year old Annabel Green is about to tie the knot with her college love, an aspiring author Jeremy Blake, but her plans for an ideal wedding are rudely interrupted when she catches Jeremy kissing his gorgeous book agent.
Shell-shocked by Jeremy’s betrayal, Annabel retreats into the quiet routine of TV dinners and solitary evenings. It is then that Annabel’s best friend, fashion designer Lilly Clayton, sets herself on a mission to draw Annabel out of her shell. In an attempt to persuade Annabel to keep an open mind on dating, Lilly takes Annabel for a stunning makeover, but after Annabel passes on a date with a dashing entrepreneur, Lilly decides that more drastic measures are needed. Lilly invites Annabel to see a palm reader who gives Annabel a lucky charm that is supposed to help her find true love.
A few weeks later, during her trip to Paris, Annabel meets a handsome Parisian, and as the two embark on a whirlwind romance, she starts to believe in the power of the talisman the palm reader has given her. But what Annabel doesn’t know is that Lilly is hiding a secret that could unravel her faith in her newly found luck in love.
About the author:
Marie Astor is a die-hard romantic who wholeheartedly believes in true love, which is why she writes in the contemporary romance genre. Marie is the author of a contemporary romance novel, Lucky Charm, and a short story collection, A Chance Encounter and Other Stories. In addition to being a writer, Marie is an avid hiker, an excellent swimmer, a good skier, and a capable badminton player. Currently, Marie is working on her next novel - stay tuned for details! Marie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.