PALE WITH COLOR
While at a reenactment of the Wheatfield battle in Gettysburg, coffee shop owner, Cheyenne Clark is thrust into the drama by an enthusiastic if not handsome "doctor" who's taking his acting stint a little too seriously. She accepts the challenge of pretending to aid the cast in a field hospital, only to realize the soldier's wounds are real and the raging battle around her is too.
Chief surgeon, Captain Joseph Westerly, MD, trust facts and science, but he can't explain how he understands more of the medical field than his colleagues. Nor can he figure out why his is enchanted by the beautiful and oddly clothed woman, who claims she's from the twenty-first century. Cheyenne insists she needs to find a way home, but helping the captivating woman means losing her.
Trapped in 1863, where a lady endures life as a man's possession, Cheyenne is determined to return to her time. Staying would mean losing her identity, but leaving means giving up the one man who truly makes her feel whole.
Peyton Adams has two secrets: One, she's plagued by visions of gruesome slayings, yet is helpless to save the victims. Two, she's still in love with her ex-fiancé, even though he broke her heart.
Little does defense attorney, Cole MacLeod, know when he accepts the serial killer case that it will turn into a chase of life and death for the one woman who still holds his heart. Although he hurt Peyton years ago, he never stopped loving her.
Now, a dangerous adversary is toying with Peyton's mind--ultimately controlling her thoughts, and she experiences the excruciating torture of each victim. With every murder, the deranged maniac gains strength and taunts Peyton about her inevitable death.
Can Cole erase the pain he caused and claim the woman he loves, or will a madman end Peyton’s life before he has the chance to figure out how the psychopath is welding this gruesome power and prevent him from claiming anymore lives including the love of his life?
Kyle’s stomach clenched as remorse flooded his gut. “When you touched my arm, I responded. I didn't mean to scare you.”
Shelby hugged him and gazed into his eyes. The connection of her trust, coupled with his conviction to protect her, created an inconceivable force within him, producing a stimulus for something deeper, an impetus toward a commitment. He sucked in a breath and admitted there was more.
A visceral reaction drew him to her - where no woman had taken him in a long time. He visualized his hands in her thick brown hair spread on his pillows, tangled in sheets after a night in bed…with him. Sweet Jesus, it’d been ages since he’d had this type of response.
Her hazel eyes danced. Shelby tilted her head, and her silky hair cascaded down her back. The creamy skin of her neck invited him and his body answered in a primal way.
Her lips turned into a smile and her natural beauty smacked him on target. He shifted minimally to relieve the pressure in his jeans but not to dislodge her from his thigh. Hot streaks of desire shot through his veins, while tiny sparks set his skin on fire. He shivered, recognizing the irony. Reining in his thoughts, drawing back his fervor, he blinked long, inhaled fully and released the air.
With Shelby’s arms wrapped around his waist, their gazes still locked, her eyes were a window to her soul. He wanted to mind walk with Shelby. No. He intended to keep his vow. Damn, what was he thinking? What had this woman done to him?
Rocky spires projected toward the open sky, the highest pinnacle possessed a power beyond man.
Prue stumbled over a basket of dead flowers, the blue ribbon whipping in the wind. Her brother’s granite tombstone shipped in from South Dakota, read in block script, “Loving Son and Brother.” She dropped to her knees, a sob fighting to take flight from her chest. The flashlight fell out of her hand, bouncing against her thigh, the tunneled glow dipped and swerved. When it landed on the over-turned ground, the batteries rattled then clunked. Her arm stretched, capturing the long handle already wet from the night’s dew.
She sat on her ankles. The full moon had wiped away the stars that normally sparkled, hanging like crystals in the onyx sky.
She had waited for this special night. Drew had been gone for one week. Okay not really, he'd left her seven days, ten hours and twenty-three minutes ago, but who’s counting.
To think her mom and dad grew up with a variety of cool names to choose from and they were stuck with Nancy Drew meets Charmed. Her twin had been the analytical and practical one, while she had an affinity for the arts, whether picking a poem for the right occasion or decorating.
Her parents would freak if they knew where she was, let alone what she was about to do. But then again, she wondered if they truly understood her loss. Her mom and dad had allowed her to hold him in his last few hours. She’d crawled onto the hospital bed, cradling him until he passed. A part of her had died with him. Without his humor and unwavering support, she was a lost soul.
The library book secured under her arm fell open to the exact place she’d marked. The chapter titled, ‘How To Bring Back Your Loved Ones”. Divine intervention at its best, she’d smiled, as she settled cross-legged. The air floated from a breeze to a brazened gust. Her hands trembled keeping one page from leaping to the next. According to the author, the portal should open at the stroke of midnight.
She cleared her throat, then chanted the written words. “Dear brother of mine, come forth to my realm and seek my face.” Over and over, she summoned Drew. Anticipation mounted as she continued, her mouth dry from repeating the spell for well over an hour.
The wind picked up, whirling around her. The dirt and the multi-colored leaves launched into the air and created a dust tornado. She squinted to keep the debris out of her eyes. A hauntingly eerie hiss emanated from the mountain of matter twirling before her while tentacles clawed in every direction. A foul miasma wafted past her nostrils. Her stomach lurched. She clamped down the smoldering cauldron’s lid of acid churning in her tummy. What in the world did she release? The appendages darted toward her almost hitting her face and body.
She crab-legged backward. The horrid bulk of particles grew taller, wider and moved closer. A voice echoed inside her head, “Run!” She fought to get to her knees. Then, she found her feet and raced toward safety. The heel of her right foot twisted from a rock she’d not seen, and she fell spread-eagled. She glanced over her shoulder only to find the raven mass had grown larger and hovered above her. An adrenaline rush pumped to each extremity. Crawling from underneath the devil incarnate, she jumped up, running out of the confines of the cemetery to her bedroom window.
Her hands held her weight when she vaulted through the opening, falling onto the floor. Immediately, she closed, locked and drew the shades. Goosebumps rose and the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end when the black bulk slithered inside. Looking for another place to hide, she escaped to her walk-in closet. Her back against the wall, she slid down until her knees were under her chin, watching…waiting.
The knob turned slowly then stopped. Her breath hitched. Suddenly, the door opened. Her fingers swiped the hair from her face only to see a full apparition, not misty or black but real. Drew doubled over laughing at her.
The ringing in her ears dissipated.
His clear voice resonated. “You’re so easy to scare.” In between his guffaws, he pointed his finger then he slapped his knee. “You should’ve seen your face. I’ve never seen you run so fast.”
Prue whispered, “Drew, can you hear me?”
“Of course, I can. Let me help you up.”
He extended his arms and waited for her to grasp his hands. Warily, she laid her fingers on his palm. They were cool, not cold or warm.
He hefted her up and hugged her. “Gosh, I miss you. But you've got to stop this hocus pocus stuff. It doesn't work.”
Surprised, she leaned away. “You’re here aren't you?
“Yeah, Sis, I am, but not because of your silly chant. Believe me when I say quit while you’re ahead. Come, let’s sit on your bed and talk. I’m going to hold you just like you held me before…”
She nestled beside him, resting her head on his shoulder. “I've missed you. How long can you stay? Have you visited mom and dad yet?”
“I’m not here for long…Prue, I’m in a really cool place so don’t worry about me. All you have to do is keep me in your heart and I’ll be with you. Do you remember the Irish Proverb you liked? It goes something like …’Love leaves a memory no one can steal’?”
“Well it’s true. I’ll be here for you…always.”
They talked and he held her for most of the night.
Now awake, she couldn't remember falling asleep, but he was gone. She grabbed a shower and put on clean clothes to go back to the cemetery. There she found her library book and flashlight. Just about to leave, she noticed something on the headstone that wasn't there before, in Drew’s handwriting, ‘Always.’
Her hand covered her heart and whispered, “Always.”