Good morning! Welcome to the last post of official summer. Since today is the last day of my five-day giveaway for Hello Again, my paranormal romance suspense based on a Native American myth, I thought I would share a scene from it. Thanks again to Angelica Dawson and all the other fine authors who make this weekly post a reality.
For Charley Winters love means loss and pain. She’s spent the last five years struggling with her grief. Existing, not living. Drawn to Saskatchewan, she travels west take the job she’s always wanted. But life gets complicated when she’s rescued from a vicious tornado by her dead husband’s double, a man who makes her feel things she hasn’t in years. Add to that a native myth, a shaman, a green-eyed wolf, and her husband’s ghost … Can she lift a millennia old curse and find joy and love again?
Crossing the floor of the tiny one bedroom apartment that had been her home for the last forty-six months—but who was counting?—Charley stood in front of the dormer window, staring out at the dark, ominous evening sky, the hot, humid August weather presaging another storm. There’d been one every night for the past two weeks, and her nerves were shot. She hated thunderstorms, especially those accompanied by blinding lightning and rain that pounded down so hard on the roof, it was a wonder it didn’t come straight through.
In the distance, wolves howled as they did every night, their plaintive wails reminding her of the day Mike died. Had the animals always done that? She didn’t remember hearing them when Mike had been with her, but then, she’d had other things on her mind. She envied the animals their freedom. They could run and roam and yet here she was stuck in time and place, waiting to cash in her chips and join those she’d lost.
Being cooped up for hours on end inside the small space that was her home got to her, and if the power went out, plunging her into the dark, Lord help her. Mike had teased her about her fear of storms, but nothing he’d invented about spirits bowling or angels playing jacks had been able to assuage her terror. During the night, when he’d been home, he’d held her tightly, but there’d been more stormy nights without him than with him, and she’d yet to learn to cope with the anxiety they produced.
She’d spent more than one night in the garage checking the school’s various vehicles, as well as those of the staff who’d stayed at the academy during the break, but there wasn’t anything more to do there. Matilda’s engine had been washed and cleaned and looked like new. She’d even managed to do a little bodywork and repainting. Dad would be proud of how well she maintained that car.
Moving to the table, she turned up the portable fan, hoping it would cool her, knowing if she had another one of those dreams, she’d combust, fan or no fan. This past month, when she’d finally dragged herself to bed, so exhausted she could barely keep her eyes open, she dreamed of Mike, but those experiences were as different as night and day from the usual ones she’d had for almost four years now. In those, she tried to apologize for her part in his death, while he begged her to be happy, listen to his last wishes, and move on. Occasionally, she’d relive memories of happier times, but inevitably those ended with her in tears and filled with loneliness, so profound it sucked all the joy out of her.
She was depressed—had been ever since losing everything that mattered to her. She’d tried to set it aside, rise above the pain, but it was a futile effort. She’d gone to grief counselling, had taken the antidepressants that left her in a fog, incapable of thinking coherently, of functioning properly, and in the end, had given up on all of it. Life like this was her penance.
Miri claimed it was more than that. She was convinced Charley was being haunted, and she probably was—by her own guilt—but recently she had to admit there was something else going on.
These new night visions were wildly erotic dreams, so realistic that she’d swear they were actually happening. Since when was she so consumed with sex that she imagined having intercourse with what had to be her husband’s ghost? It was as if she’d morphed into some kind of succubus, an insatiable creature who couldn’t get enough of the man who infiltrated her deepest dreams. While the love making was similar to the special moments she’d shared with Mike, there was something different about the taste, the texture, and the scents she remembered. It was wilder, resulting in an earth-shattering climax each time, followed by hours of dreamless sleep.
The slightly furred chest she’d fondled, less hairy than she recalled, was smooth except for rough skin near the heart, but otherwise, the phantom who drove her wild was the man she loved. She prayed she didn’t cry out in her release, but no one had looked at her oddly or commented. Of course, with Miri and Lory, the other teacher on duty during the vacation period, at the far end of the hall, there was no one to hear her anyway.
While in the past she’d shared everything with Miri, these dreams or whatever they were, she kept to herself. The last thing she wanted was Miri dragging her to see yet another psychologist.
At first, the dreams had frightened her, but now, they brought comfort. What was happening to her? Had that damn biological clock of hers gone off, reminding her she’d be thirty in a few months? The last time her hormones had played havoc with her was when she’d been pregnant, and she was pretty damn sure her night visitor wasn’t the Holy Ghost.
It didn’t really matter who or what was behind the dreams. She’d never fall in love again. There was no room in her heart for anyone other than Mike and the twins, and casual sex was definitely not in the cards.
Hello Again in e-book format is free to download today. It’s also available through KU!
Don’t forget to check out the other MidweekTeasers.