She had no choice but to play out the con. “What question weighs your mind?”
“I’ve suffered a recent…setback.” A soft chuckle rippled across the space between them. “Ask your spirits how to remedy that.”
“The future is a vast, open plain. Without more to go on—”
“If you’re legit, they’ll know what I mean.”
As if maintaining the ruse weren’t difficult enough. She stalled for time with more deep breaths. “My guide wishes to know your name, so he may call upon the proper advisors.”
Silence expanded to fill the tent before he spoke. “Hawkins. Tombstone Hawkins.”
Her eyes snapped open. Finally, a chance to regain control of the dodge. “It’s not wise to mock the spirits.”
“Ain’t mocking nobody. That’s my given name.”
“Sounds like you should be contacting the Beyond yourself instead of inconveniencing me.”
The smirk she’d noticed earlier broadened into a full-fledged sneer brimming with sarcasm. “Please go on. I ain’t seen an act this entertaining since I was knee-high to a toad—and that’s been a mighty long while.”
The sparkle in dark eyes, the broad shoulders hunched over the chair, the amusement stretching his lips all spoke of a man for whom a rough-edged kind of charm came naturally. If pressed, she would admit this saddle tramp’s raw masculinity could enchant a less worldly woman. Cleaned up, he might even be attractive.
Too bad he was such an insufferable clod.
Directing her gaze to the crystal ball, she lowered her voice into the singsong rhythm that never failed to lull gullible marks into a trance of their own. “Spirits, Tombstone—” A giggle bubbled upward. She cleared her throat. “Tomb—” She nearly choked trying to catch a snort. Damn the man’s name anyway. “Mr. Hawkins seeks—”
His flattened hand crashed down on hers, practically pressing her palm through the tapestry. She glanced up.