Published by: eXtasy Books
Word Count :46059
Publication Date :2019-09-06
Series : Storyteller#3
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-2357-5
A friend can become an enemy in a heartbeat…
Shadow finds herself a single mother, although not by choice, due to Ghost’s absence. Walking the thin line between love and hate, Shadow vows that if—or when—Ghost returns, she will make him pay for disappearing in the first place.
Shadow fears for the future. The world’s climate is unexpectedly changing. Raz is educating her in the ways of magic. The more she knows, the greater her healing abilities will become—she hopes.
On top of all of that, Shadow’s misplaced trust in a man she considers a friend may just shatter her. Will she be able to pick up the pieces, handle being a single mother, and heal the world?
A tiny gasp broke through her thoughts. She turned to her stirring son. “Hey, Morgan.” She scooped him up, cuddled him close, and soothed away his disturbance with coaxing whispers, “How’s mama’s big boy?” She studied his face. “How do you always know, little one?”
She smiled. How many times have the twins pulled me back, kept me here, kept me going, forced me to fight back the thoughts? Those dark thoughts… Too many to count. If not for the twins, she’d be gone—and not just absent either—but gone from the world, gone from everything.
After Morgan fell back asleep, she tucked him back in his little spot and returned to the window. She just needed some time and space, a place to let loose of the pain, to shed the grief, to cry it all out.
Shadow stared out the window in an attempt to focus on something, anything. There was no one she could go to that wouldn’t cause her to shatter into a blubbering mess—the very thing she was trying to avoid right now. I will fight this, I can handle it. I can, will.
The dark monsters inside her rattled in their cages, demanded to be released, and hounded her from within. Her feelings welled up inside her, refusing to be tamped down and shoved behind barriers anymore.
It all bubbled up to the surface—absence, pain, tears, the not knowing. They were all monsters just waiting around a memory, lingering behind a word, lurking within the house itself, hiding behind the faces of her friends—their friends.
A monster broke its cage and battered her from within.
Shadow clutched her chest. Tears welled up in her eyes and streamed down her cheeks. He had come into her life, changed it, and given her the one dream that was impossible. Just as quickly he had gone, leaving her alone, without him.
The monster devoured her.
The nanny was suddenly at her side. “Shadow?”
“Can you take them for a bit, maybe just…”
“I’ve got them. Go.” Althea touched her shoulder.
Shadow wiped her face, but knew she’d never hold back the tears long enough to escape. She strode down the hall and across the living room, toward the porch.
Dodger intercepted her. “Shadow?”
“Move.” She tried to push him away. “Please…”
“Let me go!” She ripped free of his hold, heaved open the sliding glass door, and shoved the next body in her path out of the way. She sprinted for anywhere away from here, anywhere out there, anywhere away from the pain.
* * * *
Raz moved for the glass door.
“Stop,” Althea commanded. The three men froze and looked at her. “Let her go. She needs time, and if you don’t give it to her, she’s going to explode.”
Raz glanced at the babies she was holding. His thoughts were written all over his face.
“No, the babies are not in danger from her.”
* * * *
Shadow ran as fast and far as she could until she collapsed in a heap and cried until there were no tears left. Worn down and broken, she climbed to her knees. “Why!” She screamed at the top of her lungs into the night, again at the sky, and again at the world. “Why…”
She grabbed handfuls of dirt. “How could you leave me here, alone, to raise the dreams we built together, the dreams you gave me.” She threw a handful of dirt at the world. “You left me without even saying goodbye. You left me and hurt me in the process.”
She threw the other handful of dirt. “You abandoned me. You took the easy way out, and now I have to figure out how to go on, alone, without you. You should know that if not for the twins, I’d be with you, but I can’t do to them what you did to me, to us.” Her voice cracked. “You’re gone, and I never even had the chance to say goodbye. You’re part of me, but you’re not here with me.”
Shadow stood and trudged back toward the house, feeling numb from the pain and anger. The rising sun climbed over the horizon and warmed the chill.
* * * *
Dodger stood slowly as Shadow came into view at sunrise. He wanted to rush out and hurry her back, but instead remained statuesque. She seemed unaffected by the sun’s touch. Her slow steps turned into shuffled ones every now and then, but she was coming back. Dirt practically covered her, except where tears had trailed crooked paths down her face.
She looked straight ahead and stepped on the porch. It was like he wasn’t there. She didn’t look at him and simply walked through the open door. He quietly followed her back the hall until she entered the bathroom. He peeked in the bedroom at the sound of the shower. “She’s back, but I don’t think she’s in good shape.”
Althea joined him in the hall and looked at all three of waiting men. “She needs time and normalcy. She just needs us to be here when she needs us.”