It was the woods—night dark and thick with underbrush that grabbed at him, tripped him up.  When he fell, he landed in a puddle of blood.

Her blood.

Lena’s blood.

Lena’s face shifted, reformed…and it was the woman.  The woman found at Law’s, her battered, ruined face staring lifelessly up at the sky.

He dreamed, knew he dreamed, but he couldn’t make himself wake up.

Even as the woman morphed from the dead woman to his lover to his partner, over and over in an unending circle, he was helpless, trapped, unable to stop it, unable to change it—

“Damn it, wake up!”

Breath ripping out of him in sobs, Ezra tore out of the dream and sat up, staring at the pale oval of Lena’s face.

“Shit.  Fuck.”

A cold, nasty sweat drenched him and he fought his way out of the blankets, stumbled over to the doorway, hit the light switch.  Lena sat in the bed, staring in his direction, her sightless eyes huge and frightened.  She had the sheet clutched between her bare breasts, her hand balled up into a fist.

“Are you okay?”

“Bad dream,” he said, his voice rusty.  He leaned against the wall, rubbing at the knotted muscles in his leg.

“Bad dream?” she echoed.  She gave him a faint smile.  “Ezra, when I dream about waking up naked in front of my high school English class while giving a report on women’s rights, that is a bad dream.  What you were having…I don’t think bad dream describes it.”

She held out a hand.  “Come back to bed?”

He didn’t want to. He was shaking, like a leaf, he realized, and half sick.  But at the sight of her slender hand, reaching out to him…well, walking away was one thing he just couldn’t do.

Swallowing against the tightness in his throat, he walked stiffly over to the bed and sank down on it.  Lena shifted around and when he lay down, she guided his head to her lap.  “Your leg is bothering you,” she said quietly.

Ezra didn’t answer.  Mind over matter.  Psycho-babble shit.  If he ignored the leg, didn’t think about the dreams…

“Tell me what you were dreaming about,” she said softly, combing a hand through his hair.


That was the last think he wanted to do.

No. No.

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“Walker has crafted a taut, scary trilogy opener…” Romantic Times

“Fascinating and complex characters, an evil psychopath, and a slowly building threat make for a can’t-put-it-down read…” Fresh Fiction

“The best romantic suspense I’ve read in 2011…” Pearl’s World of Romance

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