“Baby, Gillian, I’m here,” Chase’s voice enters my thoughts. I can feel his hand running up and down my back. The lights of the room start to penetrate my senses. I can see the French doors that lead off to the balcony, the mahogany desk in the corner, a wall of bookcases with medical texts and trinkets from around the world. I know this place. I love this place. This place makes me feel safe. Currently, I’m huddled into the corner in a fetal position.
“Come here, Gillian. I’ve got you, I’ve always got you. Remember, I promised to always bring you back,” Chase’s words reach my subconscious, and I fling myself into his arms. He holds me close, lifts me up and brings me to the chair I was sitting in previously. I hug him tight as he cradles me like an infant. Once my breathing comes back to a neutral pattern I uncurl my legs and look around. Dr. Madison is sitting in his chair, yellow pad held tight by his clenched hand, the paper scrunched up and creased, kind of like my heart after that flashback.
“I’m sorry, Dr. Madison,” I whisper and his head springs up.
“Gillian, you have nothing to be sorry about. I hadn’t realized that you were having the flashbacks again. This stalker business is bringing up some very old wounds, ones you obviously haven’t dealt with. How often are they coming to you?” He asks.
Shame hits me like a physical blow. “Um, I’ve been having them off and on for the past few months. When I moved in with Chase they were all but gone. Then this thing with Phil happened, now they’re back full force.”
“And the nightmares…tell him about everything,” Chase warns forcing me to be honest with the doctor and myself.
I close my eyes and let Chase’s scent fill my nostrils and calm me, his warmth replacing the chill deep in my bones, and his love washing away the shame.
“I’ve had one a night since the note appeared a few days ago at the hospital. I feel like I’m losing my mind, that I’m living in the past. The only thing that can bring me out of it is…” I suck in a breath as the tears spill down my cheeks.
“Is what?” Dr. Madison asks.
“Me,” Chase answers for me and I nod silently, not able to form words. “And I’ll do it every time. Gladly, baby. You’re mine. Not some sick fuck from your past that put his hands on you with hate. I swear to God if I ever see him…”
I turn in his lap and cup his cheeks. “No. He’s ruined enough of me. I can’t let him hurt you. Not you.” I lean my forehead against his.
“Is that what you think, Gillian? That Justin ruined you?” Dr. Madison asks softly.
I nod and look out the window. “I don’t even know why Chase would want someone so messed up. It doesn’t make sense,” I admit. Chase’s arms grip me tight. I scramble out of his lap and into the other chair needing the space to wallow in my own self-pity.
“Gillian, you are the best thing that ever happened to me. Not only are you the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known, your heart is bigger than those of a hundred people. You’re smart, silly, devastatingly intelligent, and your soul is pure. I want that in my life. I need that in my life, every day, forever.” Chase comes over to me and kneels at my feet. “No woman has every loved me, the man I am with you.” Chase swallows and kisses my hands. “You are not ruined. Baby, you’re perfect. Perfect for me.”
This installment held so many ups and downs for me! Beloved characters and best friends that we think are lost, friendships are tested and pushed to the breaking point, seeing the world through a stalkers eyes and Chase’s mom… I want to scratch that woman’s eyes out…
You can feel the love and connection and passion between Chase and Gillian coming from the pages! (yes, Ms. Carlan once again rocks the erotic love scenes!) His vow to always “bring her back” (referring to the horrid flashbacks she sometimes gets) are the things that fairy tales are made of! At many points in the book I wanted to reach in and shake Gillian and tell her to marry that man!! He loves you, why would you wait?!?!
And oh man, that last chapter… the suspense and action have me flipping the pages faster and faster, then GASP….
But you know what? All of these emotions and ups and downs and things that I should feel when I’m reading a book… Those are the signs that it’s a really good book! It draws you in, makes you feel the characters emotions and in this case Ms. Carlan left me on the edge of my seat waiting for more!! Come on March 2015!!
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