What would you sacrifice to save a stranger?
Isabel Cartier is career-driven and a little self-obsessed. Her future has been carefully planned—until something mysterious happens. When Isabel begins to experience premonitions of strangers in potentially life-threatening situations, she must decide what she is willing to do—and sacrifice—in order to save the people in her visions.
As her premonitions progress, the level of risk to her own life escalates, and she’s thrown into an unknown world that will put more than just her career in jeopardy.
It is only when her life spins out of control that she is able to take chances that she never thought possible—including opening her heart to love.
There's Matt, the handsome stranger she saves from a terrible accident. But will she ever see him again? Then there's Jeremy, her thoughtful neighbor who's down on his luck. Both will shape her path and leave her breathless. But it’s another man, who she sees in her visions over and over again, who will leave her questioning everything. Does he have nine lives, or is it up to Isabel to figure out the parameters of a game she doesn't quite understand in order to truly save him?
Visions follows Isabel’s journey to find out if she has the courage she needs to save the people in her premonitions, and how, ultimately, their lives are intertwined with hers.
What would you sacrifice to save a stranger?
When Isabel begins to experience premonitions of strangers in potentially life-threatening situations, she must decide what she is willing to do – and sacrifice – in order to save the people in her visions. It is only when her life spins out of control that she is able to take chances that she never thought possible – including opening her heart to love.
“I’ve been monopolizing a lot of your time lately, haven’t I?”
“I’ve wanted you to monopolize me,” he said in a low voice, his salacious grin adding heat to his eyes.
I felt my cheeks warm as I took his hand to lead him in. “Are you staying tonight?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
“Do you have plans tomorrow night?”
“What do you have in mind?” he asked in the same suggestive tone.
“Whatever you want,” I played along.
“Really? Well that could be dangerous,” he breathed mischievously. “What time will you make yourself available to do whatever I want?”
I giggled at his devilish grin. “Eight?”
“Eight is perfect.”
“So what exactly do you have in mind?” I asked coyly.
“Be at my place at eight. The rest of the evening will be a surprise.” He paused, cocking his head. “Anything goes,” he teased, a dangerous glint in his eye.
“Okay. I’m looking forward to it. I think.”
“Not as much as I am, my slave girl,” he chuckled, his brows dancing.
“Slave girl? You’re starting to make me nervous…I don’t want to re-enact Fifty Shades of Grey, if that’s what you’re thinking?”
His laugh didn’t subdue my nerves—there was something devious in it.
I knew I wasn’t getting any more out of him; whatever he had planned, he wasn’t giving it away. Given I’d only just discovered his cooking skills, I hoped he’d be flaunting his domestic capabilities again. But the heat in his eyes led me to believe it was something else he had in mind. I was a little nervous, but flushed with eager anticipation. Whatever was on the evening agenda, I knew I was in good hands. Warm, masterful hands…
I snuggled closer to him and breathed in his familiar scent.
“I might give you a preview,” he murmured in my ear, his voice deepening as he tugged me to the bedroom and pulled me onto the bed. A wave of heat immediately ignited within me and my hands found their way under his clothes. The feel of his skin against mine, his body moving with mine, took my breath away.
Later, I fell asleep in his arms, my last thoughts of the unbridled anticipation of whatever he had in store for the following evening.
It started as it usually did. Me looking down at the multiple-choice test with his hand on my shoulder. But then the scene shifted and I was no longer in the exam room looking at a piece of paper. A piece of paper couldn’t physically hurt me; what was now in front of me could. Absolutely terrified, I dared to take a glimpse at the man holding the gun. He was dressed all in black, wearing a riding jacket over a T-shirt and jeans. His face was completely obscured by the black helmet he wore. I glanced behind him and saw my terror reflected back at me in the eyes of the woman behind the teller. There were four other people in the bank, besides the three tellers. A woman, with a young girl who appeared to be between ten and twelve, and two men. One of the men looked to be in his forties, and wore a navy suit with a gold tie. The other was in a black suit with his back to me.
The young girl began screaming; a scream that made your blood run cold. Her mother instantly tried to placate her, eventually smothering her mouth when those attempts failed. That only intensified the screaming, agitating the girl more.
The gunman flew into a rage, demanding the girl be silenced before he silenced her. His hand twitched in fury. Could he honestly harm a child? I wondered, as fear crashed over me. The interminable screaming shrilled through the bank as the girl thrashed in her mother’s arms. My skin tingled, the air electrified with trepidation.
The gunman pointed the weapon directly at the child, narrowing his eyes. Time slowed down, like someone hit pause.
A feeling of complete and utter helplessness reverberated through me as I frantically scanned the room, searching for some kind of help to magically materialize.
A number suddenly flickered in my vision, flashing like a number on a screen: 12.19. I blinked; it felt like a camera flash had just gone off in my eyes. Then I noticed the calendar. All I saw was Thursday before the scene began to move once more, still in slow motion. My attention instantly returned to the gunman. His finger inched towards the trigger. His whole body was shaking.
Panic crippled me. This was it and I had no idea what to do.
A growl erupted from the gunman’s throat as his feeble control shattered and his finger pulled back the trigger.
There was no time left to decide, to think. There was only time to act. Instinctively, I jumped in front of the young girl as I heard the deafening crack of the gun being fired.
I jumped so violently that I awoke, drenched in sweat.
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This sounds like a thriller. How would you describe the book?
The drama and risk involved in her premonitions escalates as the story unfolds, testing her resolve. Her other visions are far less intense – things that would be plausible on a more regular basis.
It’s not actually a thriller – it’s about her opening up to possibilities she never thought possible, and explores how she’s connected to the people she sees. It’s about her struggle to deal with these unexplained events and the choices she needs to make, ultimately redefining the person she wants to be.
And there’s a love interest or two thrown in :-) Who doesn’t love a good romance?
The concept of the book makes you wonder just what any of us would do if we had similar premonitions. Would we ignore them or go out of our way and risk our lives to save the people in them?
That’s the question! The premonitions that Isabel experiences start off small and end up becoming increasingly challenging and risky. She needs to throw all of her previous ideas and plans out the window and discover what she’s really made of – and what’s really important to her.
She starts off seeing everything in black and white and is thrown (against her will) into a world of gray. The more she sees in her visions, the more she’s forced to start looking within. She’s obsessed with trying to work out the rules, when really, there are no rules. She has to learn to stop thinking and just start feeling.
Her experiences leave her questioning the idea of fate: what’s controllable, what isn’t, what is she willing to give and what is she willing to lose?
Are any of the characters or events based on real experiences?
One of Isabel’s premonitions is actually based on a real event: a car accident I witnessed from my office window. The car ended up on the sidewalk and it was a miracle that no one was seriously injured. I guess it stuck in my mind. Of course, in Isabel’s premonition, one of the pedestrians wasn’t as lucky.
Where is the book set?
Mostly San Francisco, which I think is an ideal backdrop for the story. But Isabel travels to Florence, Italy at the beginning of the book, and four of the chapters are set there. I was actually in Florence when I wrote the first draft of those chapters, so I was feeling inspired :-)
Speaking of inspiration, what inspired you to write the story?
I was intrigued by the idea of how someone would react in these types of circumstances, especially if that person was the opposite of someone you’d expect to be open to it. Could they dismiss it or ignore it if they saw someone in danger? Would they feel compelled to act? How would the people in their visions be connected to them? What price would they be willing to pay to save someone?
I’m fascinated by the concept of fate versus choice, and the course of our lives being a tapestry with so many unseen threads tying it all together. Who controls the strings?
Having the ability to see into the future opens up a world of possibilities, but it would come at a cost. Especially if you couldn’t control what you saw, or when. I wanted to explore the contradictory effects of having that kind of ability.
I like the idea that nothing is what it seems. And just when you think you have it all figured out, the tables turn. What is the purpose, how much control does she really have and, in the end, who is it that is really saving who?
Plus, I like the idea of the girl being the one to save the guys for a change! ;-)
Why did you choose this particular genre?
I love the fact that anything is possible within the paranormal genre. And I’m intrigued by characters who have special abilities. When you can do anything or be anyone, who do you choose to be? There’s always a cost to the power that these characters wield, and I wanted to explore both sides of the coin.
Can you tell us about the next book in the series?
The next book is called Dangerous Games. I can’t give too much away or it will be a spoiler for the first book, but here’s the tag line for Dangerous Games:
‘Being gifted can be dangerous when the wrong people discover your secret.’
There’s a short description at the end of Visions, so readers can find out more without spoiling the ending.
Do you have any other available samples of your writing for readers?
I’ve written a collection of short stories, Unmasked Secrets, which is available for free download here: Amazon, iTunes and Kobo (anyone with a Nook can email me for a free copy). The stories are quite different, but I really enjoyed writing them. I hope you enjoy reading them!
Want to know more?
Go to www.lauraanile.com for more information about the author (or to email); take the quiz (‘What Would You Do?’); or read a short story from her collection, Unmasked Secrets.
You can also view the book trailers on YouTube at: www.youtube.com/laurananile
Visions is available for download here: