Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Grave - Part 4

Desperate, he escaped the room. He bolted through the back door and the cold, fresh air slapped him in the face. He sucked in a deep breath, thankful for air free of tears and pain, and dropped to the top step of the back porch.
Tears burned his eyes. Fear surged up in his chest and he blinked furiously. If he started crying he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to stop. With a sigh, he scrubbed his palms over his face, pressing them to his gritty, burning eyes. It had been forty-eight hours since he’d last slept. But it had also been forty-eight hours since the nightmares had plagued him. Forty-eight hours since he’d jerked awake, a hoarse cry razing his throat.
If only he hadn’t suggested they drive separate cars to the Christmas party. If only he’d driven in front of Maura instead of following her and Ian. If only, if only…so many damn “if only”s. Even now he could hear the squeal of rubber tires. The screech of metal colliding with metal. Maura’s whispered pleas to save Ian first…Ian’s terrible silence. The acrid scent of burning gasoline invaded the cold, crisp breeze, and Gabriel sucked in several breaths, his heart working double time to keep up. Gold dots appeared in his suddenly dim vision and black streaks encroached on his vision, threatening to drag him under …
The gentle touch on his back was a length of rope he grasped and clung to with frantic hands. The length of thigh pressed to his drew him back over the ledge. The delicate, familiar vanilla and peppermint shoved back the dark.
Leah rested her head against his shoulder and wrapped her arms around his back and waist. She didn’t speak; she didn’t ask him how he was doing or offer condolences for his loss. She just held him. Unlike Ana, Gabriel didn’t have the urge to shove her away. As always, the woman with the bewitching green eyes, quiet strength and gentleness slipped under his guard. Since she’d been a child Leah had commandeered a piece of his heart, and where his best friends couldn’t offer him the comfort of holding him, touching him, she could. The warmth of her arms and body melted the chill encasing him.
How long they sat there, he didn’t know. When the tears came, he had no idea. He wasn’t aware of dragging Leah into his lap, clutching her to him, and sobbing out his grief into her neck.
Through it all Leah bore him up so he didn’t plummet into the abyss of insanity that clawed at him.
She was his…sanctuary.
To read Part 3, click here.
To read Part 2, click here.
To read Part 1, click here.
Twenty years ago, Leah Bannon’s beloved Uncle Richard vanished without a trace. Leah, now a private investigator, begins to suspect it was murder. When she reopens the cold case, Gabriel Devlin—-the man she loves but can never have—-inexplicably stands in her way.
          Only four people know the truth about Richard’s mysterious disappearance—-Gabriel and three childhood friends...who have all sworn to take that secret to the grave. But a hidden enemy wants those shocking secrets brought to light...even if he has to kill to make it happen.
          After experiencing an unimaginable loss two years ago, Gabriel refuses to put himself through the pain of loving someone who could be gone in an instant. But as he thwarts Leah’s investigation at every turn—-both to keep his friends’ pact, and to keep her safe from danger—-the sexy PI makes it impossible for him to protect his secrets. Or his heart...
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