Heather Silvio

Paranormal Talent Agency, #2

Reset to One

The Paranormal Talent Agency Saga Continues

All vampire Evie Jones desires is to enjoy her fun immortal life as an actress. Until she meets fellow actor Ryan Walter, who intrigues her with his insistence that his best friend has been framed for murder.

The appearance of her movie producer ex-husband in Sin City complicates Evie’s offer to team with Ryan to find the real killer. She wants nothing to do with her ex, but he may hold the key to more than one murder.

Amid their growing attraction, and with the help of her Paranormal Talent Agency friends, can Evie and Ryan solve the murders…and find their happily ever after?

This is the second book in the Paranormal Talent Agency series. Much like on television, each episode contains a complete sweet paranormal romance and supernatural murder mystery. But the crossover characters and hints of a larger story suggest reading these in order.

Chapter 1

Today was my 29th birthday. Again. That’s the joke, right? At some point in the latter 20th century, women decided to stay 29. So, they celebrated turning 29 every year, and their friends laughed and everyone had a good time. Forever 29. Except that I really would be forever 29. After all, I was a vampire.

 

And where was I on my 92nd 29th birthday? At an acting workshop organized by my new agent, Catherine Rodham, of the Peterson Talent Agency, or as individuals of my persuasion had been calling it, the Paranormal Talent Agency. Aren’t we clever? In all seriousness, though, she’s pretty cool – open to the other-than-human set, dating a half-incubus, and earlier this year, even helping to catch a serial killer!

 

On this beautiful summer evening in Las Vegas, six of us sat on uncomfortable metal folding chairs in a circle, staring at each other. Sizing each other up. Checking our internal files to see if we’d met before at an audition or on set. Catherine had done a great job mixing the group: three men and three women, race and ethnicity across the spectrum, ages from twenty-something to fifty-something, and several different species. They said don’t judge a book by its cover, but after over one hundred years on the planet, I had pretty good “species” radar. Three humans, pixie, werewolf, and me. As my gaze followed the circle, I caught my breath when it landed on one of the humans. Well, now, who did we have here?

 

I watched his luscious full lips while he said his name. “Hi, everybody. I’m Ryan Walter.” I drank in his lithe frame in the seat, glimpsed muscles at the edges of his running shorts and marathon-finisher t-shirt. An athlete. Yum.

 

“I recently relocated here from Los Angeles. Smaller market, I know, but I can’t afford food and rent in LA.” Everyone around the circle chuckled in agreement and his smile revealed perfect white teeth. I noticed, however, the smile seemed forced.

 

“I also work as a paralegal. It’s fun and pays the bills.” For an actor, he didn’t hide his distress very well. But, it wasn’t my concern. The auburn glint in his hair mesmerized me. Was that dyed or natural?

 

“I’m happy to be here.” I doubted this, but nobody challenged the comment. He finished and the next person in the circle began speaking. I was definitely not listening. I noticed that Ryan’s hazel green eyes, with just a fleck of gold, seemed anxious.

 

Our eyes met (now didn’t that sound cliched) and he checked me out the way I had checked him out. I tried to see myself through his eyes. I was turned in the 1920s but gave up my preferred style for years. One of the benefits of Vegas, however, was that, much like New York City, anything went, so my eccentric style was nothing more than that. Eccentric. Short, 1920s curly blond bob over blue eyes, very pale skin, and dark red lipstick. I looked like someone called for a stereotypical 1920s flapper from Central Casting, in all honesty. At least I wore jeans with my Gatsby-inspired green tank shirt and black ankle boots. I smiled widely at Ryan, who responded by looking at the ground. Hmm, that didn’t usually happen.

 

I realized it was time for my introduction.

 

“Hi, I’m Evelyn Jones. Everyone calls me Evie.” Jones, of course, was my latest fake name. “I moved to Vegas from New York to get away from the cold.” Everybody chuckled and nobody caught that I didn’t include a time frame.

 

“I’ve been acting in independent projects for years.” Decades really, but who was counting? “I’m looking forward to working with all of you.” Despite my flippant attitude generally, I really was looking forward to working with them. I loved acting.

 

With introductions completed, the instructor, Anthony Gullo, explained the workshop plan. Without intending to, my gaze returned to Ryan, who kept checking his watch. I frowned. If he had somewhere else to be, why didn’t he just go?

 

Anthony asked Ryan a question. His head snapped up and he looked confused. “I’m sorry, I missed that.”

 

“Is everything okay? I notice you keep checking your watch.” Kudos to Anthony for calling Ryan out.

 

Ryan reddened in embarrassment. “I’m sorry. I’m distracted. Personal issue.”

 

“Anything we can do to help?” the pixie asked and her offer seemed genuine. I looked around at the others, who were nodding.

 

Although it seemed to me that his statement suggested he didn’t want to talk about whatever was bothering him, he opened up after that single question. I felt for the guy, I really did, but honestly, was this the time and place for his therapy?

 

Ryan spoke haltingly. “My best friend, Jim, was arrested. For murder.” Several small gasps were heard. “I know he didn’t do it and I don’t know what to do.” His gaze moved around the circle, as though looking for an answer. Silence greeted him. Until he reached me.

 

I shrugged. “Not to be mean, but how do you know he didn’t do it?”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“How do you know he didn’t do it?” I repeated.

 

 He frowned. “Of course, he didn’t do it.”

 

“I understand you believe that,” I tried again. “But how do you know that?”

 

Anthony jumped in. I suspected he regretted opening this can of worms. “Maybe we’ll shelve this conversation until the break? Ryan, if you need to leave to help your friend, we’d understand.”

 

Ryan shook his head. “I’d rather stay. There’s nothing I can do until he’s released on bail. Which should be sometime tonight.” He checked his watch again. “I could use the distraction. Thanks.”

 

We resumed the workshop, which went well. We all had new scenes that we worked. As we were wrapping up, I noticed in my peripheral vision Ryan was approaching. Uh-oh. I hoped I didn’t upset him earlier. I sometimes had that effect on people, even when I wasn’t trying.

 

“Evie, right?”

 

“Yep. Ryan?” Like we didn’t both know each other’s names. Such a convoluted dance humans did.

 

“Yes.” He hesitated. “I wanted to ask you what you meant by your comments earlier.”

 

“I didn’t mean anything by them.” I could see the pain on his face and I didn’t want to add to it. “I was just playing devil’s advocate.”

 

“Devil’s advocate? This is my friend’s life.” He lowered his voice. “Sorry.”

 

“No need to apologize. I can imagine how hard this is.” Certainly, in my 100+ years, I’ve had friends jailed. Of course, they were guilty.

 

“Thank you.” He stopped but didn’t leave. He shifted from foot to foot.

 

“Was there something else?”

 

Our eyes met again, and damned if I didn’t feel something. If only he wasn’t so caught up in his friend’s drama. He could be fun. Oh well. His phone beeped.

 

“It’s Jim.” The color drained from his face. His reaction perplexed me. He believed Jim was innocent. Wouldn’t he be happy Jim got bailed out? Although, it equally baffled me that he couldn’t entertain the possibility his friend was a killer. This fascinated me.

 

“I need to order a Lyft,” he muttered to himself and turned away, fiddling with his phone.

 

“Do you need a ride to pick him up?” Both of us looked shocked by my offer.

 

“I do. Are you sure?”

 

“Definitely. Let me make up for what I said.” That wasn’t really why I offered, I realized. I wanted to know more. I wanted to understand how he could be so sure of someone else’s behavior.

 

His dazzling smile returned. “Thank you. I appreciate it.” We exited the building together.

 

“Hmm,” I started, as we stood next to my dark green Fiat convertible. “How tall is your friend?”

 

Ryan laughed, a deep unexpected rumbling that caused me to laugh in response. “He’s average, I suppose. He’ll fit fine.”

 

 We drove in companionable silence to the detention center to retrieve Jim. The red brick building looked like a prison and I shuddered when we entered the parking lot.

 

“Do you know where we need to go to get him?”

 

“He said he’d be waiting out front.”

 

Big brown letters across a tan semi-circle announced we had reached our destination. Sure enough, a guy stood in front, off to the side, scuffing the toe of his shoe on the ground. He looked like a stereotypical surfer, with his bleached blond hair and lean, wiry appearance. I couldn’t see his eyes from the car. My guess was blue.

 

“That’s Jim,” Ryan confirmed my unspoken assumption and I directed the car to the curb. I watched out the window while Ryan embraced his friend. They talked for a second before Jim followed Ryan to the car.

 

I twisted in my seat to say hello to Jim, now ensconced in the back seat, chuckling internally because I was right. His eyes were blue. Then I felt bad for my internal chuckle. Poor man. His eyes had that lost look. His face somehow already seemed wan, like he’d been in jail for months, not just long enough to be bailed out. He managed a slight smile.

 

“Nice to meet you, Evie. Thanks for the ride.”

 

“No problem. Where to now?”

 

Silence greeted my question. I’d have thought Jim wanted to go home, given the late hour, but since nobody said anything, I went with my gut. “You guys up for a late-night snack?”

 

Jim looked so grateful for the suggestion that I actually felt guilty for a nanosecond, given my ulterior motive. For some reason, it bothered me that Jim was hoodwinking his friend. I was determined to show Ryan he was wrong and that I was right. People couldn’t be trusted. It didn’t matter how close they were to us.

 

Ryan suggested a Denny’s midway between here and Jim’s home in Southern Highlands and I started in that direction.

 

“How are you doing?” Ryan tried for nonchalance, like we hadn’t just picked Jim up at the jail.

 

The silence stretched for a few blocks and I wondered if Jim was going to answer. And then he did.

 

“I’m not sure,” he admitted. “I feel like I’m underwater. Ever since I was arrested. My lawyer hadn’t been certain I’d get bail. Even without a criminal record. Because I was arrested for a felony.” Jim fell silent.

 

Nobody said anything the rest of the way to the diner. I had so many questions, my mouth wanted to blurt them out. I refrained, figuring that maybe food would loosen Jim’s tongue. After all, how could I find the holes in his story if I didn’t know his story?

5 stars From EA Walsh on Barnes & Noble

Reset to One (Paranormal Talent Agency #2) by Heather Silvio was a fun quirky read, that had a little bit of everything to keep me not only entertained, but flipping the pages.

 

Book two in this unique series, it's fast becoming a favourite of mine. Following up from book one, we are following a new set of MC's, new paranormal supers, and a new murder mystery. This out of the box read, brings a new fresh take on the supernatural, making the sort of cooky cutter mystery plot, exciting and interesting. As this story is short, I do get why that plot wasn't as drawn out, but in all, I did like it. But most of all, I love the MC, Evie. I liked her in book one, (from her short appearance), but this book showcased her powerful personality and bluntness. She had me at "How do you know your friend didn't do it." You girl are savage.

 

Overall this book was a joy to read, and I can't wait to read the next instalment. To end, this book gets my super high recommendation and my stamp of approval.

 

Happy Reading

-E.A. Walsh

 

 

5 stars from Kristen L on Goodreads

I love when a series gets even better with a new book release, and that’s exactly what this one did. Evie’s a vampire with trust issues. Ryan’s a human with the same problem. The chemistry sizzles between them from their very first meeting. When Ryan’s best friend is charged with murder, those issues rear their ugly heads. Both want to be right, so the only option left is to solve the murder while investigating the chemistry between them. Until a ghost from Evie’s past throws a wrench into the works. Some of the things I appreciate most about this series is that: first, the story is dedicated to solving the mystery and second, the time is spent developing the connection between the characters. There’s attraction at first sight but in the books so far it’s been more complication than benefit.