The nightmare was a darkness from within penetrating the consciousness of its victim in seeking a way out. It was the suffering soul’s cry for help.
Rafael Brown tossed and turned with total disregard, his limbs striking out and crashing against unseen foes. His long muscular frame slicked with sweat that was not all to do with heat wave they had been experiencing the last couple of days.
Anna jolted awake beside him. Her own varying shades of nightmares retreating unattended to the very fringes of her aching soul so that she may tend to Rafe. Lying next to him, on the his small makeshift pellet on the cold hard floor, offered poor consolation in the way of a restful night’s sleep but Anna would have it no other way. Sleep was of no importance. Rafe was everything.
Darkness whispered relentlessly. Ever searching and all-encompassing, it was bent on destroying all that Anna held dear. Battling that took all the love she had and even drew on the reserves she didn’t have. It wasn’t strange that the attack of the dark would strike deep in the night. It wasn’t strange that it would seek to bring low the soul that stood tall and strong all day, being the shoulder Anna and, indeed, everyone else would lean on, only to strike when that soul was in deep repose and defenceless to the attacks of the whispering dark.
Only Rafe was not defenceless. Not when he was awake and strutting about meeting all of life’s often grisly challenges and certainly not now, at rest in the deep of the night, in what should otherwise have been a moment of quite recuperation. Rafe was never defenceless… because he had Anna.
She turned to him now. Her movements urgent and hurried. Reaching out a trembling hand she shook him awake.
His reaction was instantaneous and feral. His spine arched and the cry of anguish that left his lips was bone chilling. A trained killing machine, he spared no wasted movement before the bulk of him was covering her, pinning her down with the weight of his bulk and brawn and the well placed hand – over her throat.
Anna’s cry of despair was choked-off before it could escape her parted lips. Her hands and legs trashed uselessly against him. He wouldn’t budge. His grip on her throat tightened. She gasped as uselessly for her next breath. This wasn’t the first time Rafe had been caught in the relentless grip of nightmare. It wasn’t the first time he’d turned feral on her either. But it was as if Eric Dayton’s continued unwanted presence at the base was slowly unravelling Rafe’s past efforts to put together the splinters of a fractured soul only to bring back the tortured empty shell he once was.
A glimmer of light shone through the flickering curtains. The breeze that fluttered in was subtle and tantalising. Anna felt its freshness wash against her face but try through she might, she could not get a scant measure of it in.
Anna gasped desperately for her breath feeling life slowly but surely slip away from her grasp. She was not afraid to die. She would die any day for Rafe. She would even die at his request. But not at his hands. Never at his hands. He would not survive the guilt. She could not be the reason for his no longer living. Rafe had to live on for the both of them.
She kept her eyes wide open. Training her shimmering emerald on the swirling dark depths of his. She saw no recognition within. She saw no hope of surviving this at his hands. He was lost to his inner rage. Lost to the bloodlust that gripped him. She took comfort in the momentary satisfaction his actions would give him. A moment’s victory in thinking Eric Dayton dead at his hands. It didn’t bear thinking what his reaction would be when he snapped out of it… only to recognise his mistake.
The light in the room grew brighter. The sun was steadily rising. Climbing up the darkened skies to send its rays across in clear defiance. It took light to chase away the dark.
But at times, that light could be a little late in dawning.
A sudden clatter shot through Rafe’s awareness, he jerked around to find the object of his nightmare lounging carelessly against the door. His eyes trained on something just beyond Rafe’s head. The smirk that played across his lips sardonic and taunting.
It was with dawning horror that Rafe stared back at him. It was with dawning comprehension that his grip on the swiftly chilling flesh slackened. The raw anguish of pure unadulterated pain left his throat before he even turned to stare at the lifeless body beneath him.
The soft voice sounded crystal clear in his ear, penetrating the shroud of pain that had him tightly in its grip. His heart spasmed then shook out a beat. Breath dragged into his starved lungs sending his chest expanding and collapsing in a struggle to replenish his oxygen starved brain. Rafe Brown lifted frantic tear drenched eyes to stare hungrily at Anna. The intensity of his gaze drawing her in.
Anna lifted her phone to better light up his drawn features.
“Are you alright? Was it the nightmares again?”
She lifted a sleepy hand to push aside a heavy lock of dark hair that fell over her shoulder to splay over his chest. Rafe stared on unable to answer and unable to tear his gaze away either. Was this an apparition or had the earlier been a nightmare? He couldn’t tell one from the other anymore. They were all becoming intermingled. Reality and the nightmares. How could they not be? When his nightmares and his dreams walked side by side- each and every day and each and every night?
Anna’s arms bare and strong reached around him. Her head rested onto his heaving chest. She clung hard, rubbing warmth onto his terror chilled bones. His own arms reached around her, heedlessly tight, drawing her to him and hungrily breathing in her soothing scent. He craved her with an intensity that defied reason. Rafe knew loving Anna was a mistake. A weakness his enemies would only use against him. He knew they would stop at nothing to draw them apart. But he also knew he could not live without her. She was all he had. She was his life.
He buried his face in her hair and breathed her in. Wrapped in each other’s arms with their love for each other whole and strong, they drifted back off to sleep.
The light from her phone went off and darkness seeped back in, surrounding them both in its grasp. But this time, they were too exhausted for even the dark’s taunting provocation. Their fractured souls momentarily taking solace in each other’s embrace leaving no room for the taunting edginess of the dark to seep in. They remained asleep and oblivious to its presence.
The nightmares drifted away seeking its next victim to pull under and submerge in pure agony. With a sheen of the dark so thick there is no glistening hope in the horizon, just pure endless depths of the dark.
A living breathing entity luring away life’s hopes and dreams.
But never love.
Love would withstand it all.
Anna Simmons is a broken soul searching for meaning in her life. Shattered by a number of people she trusted, she was almost on the brink of utter despair when savior came from an unlikely source.
Rafe Brown ex-army commando returned to Australia from a base abroad with a soul fractured to splinters. Moving through life in an aimless search to vent his spleen and seek retribution, he comes across his savior from an unlikely source.
Love, lust and passion ignites but beneath it all, two soul unites.
I would rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This is because the story was addictive from the start and I found the author's use of betrayal, kept me in suspense throughout the book. The characters were developed amazingly and I could not find a single spelling mistake in the book. The only thing I did not like about this book was the ending. The author ended the book on a cliffhanger, but considering that books in this genre usually have a predictable end, I welcomed the author's unique ending.
I would recommend this book to all romantic drama fans. This is an adult book and the reader should be prepared for the descriptive scenes in this story. The author impressed me with this book and I look forward to reading more of H.M. Irwing's books. Read more at the... The Online Book Club !
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