Authors: Rachel Branton
Tags: #lds, #Christian, #karen kindgsbury, #Romantic Suspense, #ariana, #Romance, #Suspense, #a bid for love, #clean romance, #dee henderson
I stared. I’d been wrong thinking Ava and Dimitri were the most assured, compelling people I’d ever seen. This new woman had the same confident bearing as the other two, but it was coupled by straight dark hair, a heart-shaped face, slanted Asian eyes, and flawless golden skin. Her revealing green tank showed an ample bosom and a torso that fell to an impossibly thin waist, flaring again for perfect hips. Her delicacy and utter perfection was the kind that inspired poets and started wars between nations—and made me feel completely inadequate.
I knew that feeling well. I felt it often in the presence of my mother.
“Cort’s got the room ready,” the woman said. She was younger than the others, perhaps in her late twenties, though her dark eyes were far too knowing for true innocence. A chill shuddered in my chest.
I knew Stella meant star in some other language, and the name fit her perfectly.
We were moving away, and Stella vanished from my line of sight. My thoughts of her cut off abruptly as I was wheeled into a smaller room, bare except for what looked like a coffin on a long table.
My heart slammed into my chest, its beating furious and erratic.
Ava withdrew scissors from the pocket of her lab coat and started cutting the bandages from my feet and legs. Dimitri began at my head. I caught a glimpse of blackened tissue, the bloody stub of my left arm. Tears leaked from my right eye, but I couldn’t see anything through my left and I doubted I still had tear ducts there. Now I knew why Tom had felt the need to lie. No one could be this badly burned and survive.
If by some cruel twist of fate I did live, I would be a monster.
I tried to struggle against them, but any tiny movement sent shards of pain in every direction until it seemed pain was all I had ever known. Neither would my mouth open to scream, though hoarse sounds of distress issued from my throat, sounding grotesque and panicked. My chest convulsed wildly with the effort. Before too long, my throat became too raw for sound, and even that haunting noise ceased.
“It’s okay,” Dimitri said, his voice gentle. “It’ll be over soon.” Somehow I didn’t feel comforted.
When I was nothing more than a mass of burned and bleeding raw flesh, Ava and Dimitri lifted me into the coffin. Exquisite torture. My vision blurred and darkened. Nausea gouged at my insides.
A gelatinous substance oozed around me and the pain slightly eased. Dimitri pushed it up against my chin and smoothed a layer over my entire face.
They’re drowning me in Jell-O,
I thought, but Dimitri made sure I had ample space beneath my nose to breathe. The syrupy sweetness I’d felt with the IV bags was increased a hundredfold, as though each of my damaged nerve cells had become a conduit for an IV.
Dimitri’s face leaned close to mine. “I’ve added something to one of these IV bags to put you out. It’d be impossible for you to sleep in this stuff otherwise. But you’ll heal better if you aren’t awake.” Already I struggled to keep my good eye open.
Ava stood by the coffin looking in. “Don’t fight it, Erin. You’ll have your answers soon. Sleep, Granddaughter. Sleep.”
I must not have heard her correctly.
Well, I suppose there could be worse ways to die than cradled in a coffin full of sweet gelatin. I gave up fighting and let my right eye close.
END OF SAMPLE CHAPTER. To purchase
(Unbounded #1) for your Kindle, or to read the book description, please click
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The Change (Unbounded)
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
has worked in publishing for over twenty years. She loves writing women’s fiction and traveling, and she hopes to write and travel a lot more. As a mother of seven, including a one-year-old, it’s not easy to find time to write, but the semi-ordered chaos gives her a constant source of writing material. She warns her children that if they don’t behave, they just might find themselves in her next book! She’s been known to wear pajamas all day when working on a deadline, and she is often distracted enough to burn dinner. (Okay, pretty much 90% of the time.) A sign on her office door reads:
Danger. Enter at Your Own Risk. Writer at Work.
Under the name Rachel Branton, she writes romance, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. Rachel also writes urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and science fiction under the name Teyla Branton. For more information or to sign up to hear about new releases, please visit www.RachelBranton.com.
BOOKS BY RACHEL BRANTON
Tell Me No Lies
UNDER THE NAME TEYLA BRANTON
Unbounded Series (urban fantasy)
The Cure (coming April 2013)
TABLE OF CONTENTS