The weather had been strangely at odds with her world for some time now. It had been weirdly banal. Heat in mid-spring bordering on summer was hardly out of the ordinary and neither had her life been so, that is until that incident almost a year back. That and overcoming that had rendered the ordinary out the window ever since and seemingly forever. Could one ever overcome a tragedy? Especially if that tragedy was done to oneself? If being raped could ever be called a tragedy. But if not that then what? Either way, Anna Simmons was hard placed now to recognise ordinary even if it was staring her right in her face.
The skies above rumbled its disagreement before a torrent of water gushed down. A down pour in spring. Really? Where was the hail and brimstones? Where were the quakes and tornados?
The rain pelted down on the slanted open windows, sounding a lot louder than it otherwise would. No doubt displeased by the clear lack of appreciation but Anna was oblivious to the paltry display. The weather had failed miserably as a distraction. She was far from distracted. She was staring right out at the cause of the her most recent miserable angst. Matt Preston was seemingly as bad as her in not at all being impressed by the weather. He was out there, soaking in the rain, oblivious to the downpour. Staring right back at her.
His blond hair was darkened by the rain and slicked back from his face. It was a far cry from how he usually wore it, in soft waves that only emphasised his blue-eyed angelic good looks. Not that there was anything remotely angelic about the brawn he was sporting beneath his shirt. Wet from the rain and plastered against his tall, lithe and tight-assed frame, Matt Preston was impressive to behold. Over nine months back and she had been all doe-eyed over him. Besotted was the more apt word. Wildly and hopelessly in love was the accurate description. He had swept into her life at an opportune time. Low from years of abuse, bully and disrespect, Anna had never dreamt of anyone who looked like Matt Preston casting her a second glance, let alone riding in as a knight and shining armour and sweeping her off her feet.
To be honest, it hadn’t taken much to have her fall head over heels in love with him. All it took was a little attention and she was gone. Down the rabbit hole and irrepressibly in love. Yet, it had all crumbled in no time. As it should have. With no proper base to sustain that love, it had been bound to happen.
Anna had loved Matt with all she had. She had told him her darkest secrets, confiding in him all that made Anna- Anna. Yet, she realised now, that confidence had been one sided. She’d told her tale but he hadn’t told her his. If he had, things would have been different. She would have been different… and very likely still in love with Matt.
Trust was a hard act to ignore. You either had it or you didn’t. She hadn’t but she might have it now. Trust for him. Trusting him. She would willingly bet her life on that trust. But the life of another? Anna wasn’t so sure.
The rain subsided to a steady drip. Peppering the world with constant splashes of liquid cloud. Dispelling the darkness with each drop and inviting the sun to glare brightly and unhindered once more. Perhaps, she should take a leaf out of Matt. Perhaps the rain that would dispel the gloom would also wash away a few dark clouds of her own. Staring out at the world being put through a thorough wash, Anna leaned against the window frame before leaning out beneath cracked open glass. Drawn against better judgement she stuck her head right out, allowing the rain to pour right over her drenching her head with some sky juice and hopefully, washing the mess out of her brains while at it. But this kind of mess will not simply be soaked away. Made from some of the toughest stains a soul could bear, Anna doubted anything would wash it away. Her tears certainly hadn’t. Rafe’s love for her didn’t. But then neither had Matt’s.
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Losing her virginity to such a charming and passionate young man felt like a dream to Anna Simmons. That dream quickly turned to a nightmare when Anna's prince charming suddenly began treating her like nothing more than a prostitute, causing her deep emotional and physical pain. Exposing her to vile situations and demeaning her in the most disgusting of ways, the love of her life was quickly exposed for the devil he was.
Anna learned a difficult life lesson from the person she thought cared for her the most- that people are not always who they seem and that those we love the most are sometimes the ones that leave us with the deepest pain. Through the bitter relationships she endured with her step-father and step-brother, Anna was forced to the realization that she must take care of herself, by any means possible.
Anna soon meets a man who is going through a similar crisis to hers. His kindness and adamancy that she must seek justice for herself gives her the motivation she needs. The genuine care and selflessness of his character helps her to realize a strength in her that she must horn into, in order to seek revenge on those who wronged her. Together, they battle their demons with an "if we go down, we'll go down together" attitude, and find a love they had never known existed. Through all of the heartache and disgust for the experiences they had gone through, they bring each other a calm and peace they had once given up on. Their relationship is unconditional and relentless, giving the notion that soulmates do exist.
Heartaches is a story of the thin line between pain and pleasure. Centered around rape, it portrays the emotional and physical damage sexual assault can result in and how love can be more powerful than hate.
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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