A Fictional Love Story
by Patricia Otto
Release date: November 12, 2017
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Julia Stanton’s dreams come true. Every time.
For her superstitious people, a gift like hers is to be feared not admired, so she keeps her ability to herself. Suffocating in her cloistered, patriarchal, Gypsy life, she chafes at the notion of existing on the fringes of society, the status her people prefer. Julia longs to know the wonders of the world she is only allowed to interact with while selling roses to make money for the family.
While riding atop the family wagon when they arrive in New York City in 1887, a sudden potent impulse draws Julia's gaze to a tall, handsome man in soiled work clothes standing on the sidewalk. When she sees flames of light radiating from his body, Julia is alarmed then overcome with curiosity. Obeying her father’s constant demands to stay apart from outsiders is no longer an option. Her need to experience the world is overwhelming. She must find this man, must learn about him and his gift. Though it means risking the only life she has ever known. What she doesn’t know, is the man with the flames is the man who will change humanity forever.
Three years after arriving in New York City and after several betrayals by financial backers, the genius inventor Nikola Tesla is digging ditches to keep from starvation. Only his walks each evening keep him sane and give him time to work on his inventions, designs he must bring to fruition for the sake of all mankind. When Nikola sees a young woman sitting atop a Gypsy wagon, he is shaken by his electric reaction to her beauty. A few days later, he meets her selling flowers and attraction explodes into curiosity. She tells him of the flames that he thought only he could see and curiosity sparks into need. When she tells him his future, he is dubious. When that prediction comes true, Nikola must discover everything about the beautiful captivating Gypsy with the extraordinary gift.
As Nikola shows her the world, Julia soaks up every nuance even as she opens his eyes to the people he walks among in the pulsating streets of the city.
While they are together, Julia dreams things that she hasn't before. She dreams of her own future. Then, a few nights later, she dreams a different future for herself. Now she must decide which path to travel. Whichever path she chooses, sacrifice and pain litter the way. Her decision will affect everyone, spreading into every corner of the globe, influencing the destiny of us all.
© copyright 2017 Patricia Otto
New York City, Spring 1887—
Strong hands cupped Julia’s elbows, steadying her. “Oh, I’m sorry.” The hands left her.
“It is I who should apologize. I was deep in thought. The fault is mine.”
The man towered over her, his gaze just as intense as it had been yesterday. Only today, the man was dressed in a suit and overcoat, his face clean, his dark wavy hair free of yesterday’s layer of dirt. “It’s you.”
He took a half step back. “I remember. You were sitting atop a vardo as I recall.”
His use of that one word made it clear that he knew exactly what she was and felt free to conclude from that who she was. Julia straightened to her full height though she still didn’t come to his shoulders. She was not ashamed of her heritage, but it was a disadvantage when a goujo knew it. “Yes.” It was time to put him back on his heels. “I’m surprised to see that you are not covered with mud. It’s early for a common laborer to be finished for the day.”
The man seemed untroubled by the barb. “There were problems that could not be overcome so we were dismissed for the day. I’m surprised that I am even recognizable without my usual layer of mud.”
Julia knew that casual conversation with outsiders would not have her father’s approval, but it was the one thing that she had craved, had waited for, all winter. Every one of her senses shouted this man, this goujo, was different from her customers. “The flames I saw coming from your body yesterday make you easy to remember.”
His deep-set eyes widened and he was silent for a moment. “Excuse me?”
Julia hesitated, wondering if it might be unwise to admit what she had seen the day before, yet a reckless bravado drowned out the wisdom ringing in her ears. “There were strange lights coming from around you yesterday when I saw you by the side of the road. They looked like flames in a campfire. It was only a moment then they were gone. You do see them, don’t you?”
His gaze became more intense, making him even more handsome. His lips, curved up just a bit at the corners, had Julia wondering if he was amused or hiding doubt? He cleared his throat. “The aura has been apparent to me all of my life. However, you are the first person to comment on the particulars of the spectacle.”
She swallowed. “What are those flashes?”
“I’m not sure. My theory is that it is the magnetic electrical energy field that we all emanate. I just have it in greater amounts than others. Thus it is visible to me.” He slipped his hands into his pockets. “And to you, it seems.”
“Does it burn you?”
“No.” He tilted his head. “Do you see it now?”
“Not right now. I saw them for a moment just now when you steadied me and then yesterday.”
He gave her a long slow look.
Julia felt the warmth creeping up to her cheeks. “Why are you looking at me that way?”
He cleared his throat. “I am having difficulty determining how you guessed?”
“I did not guess. I told you I saw them.”
“Oh?” His dark brows lifted. “Dare I ask? What else do you see?”
Julia stayed silent, feeling the sharp edge of his taunt.
“Come now,” he said in a low deep voice, “you people always claim to see things.” He held out his hand. “You all read palms, right?”
Julia’s anger folded in on her disappointment. How dare this man mock her that way? She raised her chin. “All people have the ability to see if they just take the time to look.” She crossed her arms. “Have you met the man?”
“I have met many men.”
“This one is different. A short thick man is quite insistent that you meet this second man.”
His mouth twisted as if he had just taken a bite of over-ripe fruit. “When will I meet the man in this prophecy of yours?”
“I do not know.”
“So it could be a week from now? A year perhaps?”
“Not a year.”
“But you just said you don’t know.”
“It’s never a year.”
“How long it takes for—” Julia stopped.
He gave her an intense stare. “How long what takes?”
Julia pressed her lips together.
He took a step closer. “Where do you get your information?”
“In my drea—it will be soon.”
He gave her a sly grin. “So why does this man want to meet me?”
Julia let her arms fall to her sides. “He wants to help.”
“That’s a rather general statement. Why don’t you tell me something of substance? Then I will know you have an actual ability.”
“I am not a circus act, sir. The man is a Mr. Brown from Western Telegraph. He believes in you.”