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Kate Lawless, nineteen, is all alone in the world and struggling at the moment to make ends meet. Although answering a World Security League all-call for psychics is dangerous in these phobic times, she is tempted by the promise of reimbursement for just showing up. Screenings take place in a hotel conference room. When hers goes very well—a shocker—she is checked in so that she can undergo further testing. Staying at the ritzy hotel is quite a treat for Kate. The Christmas decorations are beyond beautiful. The festive background music reminds her of past holidays, most of them celebrated with a foster family or with other kids living in the youth ranch or orphanages that have been her life since the age of two. Her holiday plans this year? Enjoy this surprise vacay to the max, take the money, and pay her past-due rent.
Nikolai Nycov, a Russian member of the WSL team, is assigned to her. While he claims that he's only interested on a professional level, he won't stop meddling in her personal life. He comes off as deliberately distant one minute; helpful, the next. Although annoying, this actually intrigues Kate, as does the fact that her clairvoyance gets a psychic boost whenever Nikolai is physically close.
Distracted by her growing feelings for him, she finds it harder and harder to lock onto Mbali Tinibu, the ruthless Sierra Leone civil war criminal she is helping the WSL locate. Kate finally asks to work alone and is given permission in spite of Nikolai's objections. Only then does she realize how unpredictable and dangerous her psychic gifts can be. And having an annoying Russian around? Well, sometimes that's not a bad idea.