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by Dee Carney
Category: Romance/Dark Fantasy
Description: Nicholas is dead. He knows it. To his astonishment, he awakens to find himself in a place similar to his ravaged home. In this new place, Anna comes to his rescue and he finds himself quickly falling for her.
Just as he begins to gain her trust, he is thrust back into his own time where he is forced to resume his life as a Soldier. Now against unbidden forces, he struggles to find a way to stay in her time and gain her trust. Will his love be enough to keep them together?
eBook Publisher: Cobblestone Press, 2008
eBookwise Release Date: October 2008
5 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [121 KB]
Reading time: 72-102 min.
After pressing the button to open the garage door, the gearstick was shifted in reverse and she turned her torso around to cautiously back down the driveway. Easing out of the garage, she pressed the button to return the garage door to closed. Her eyes flitted to the grass separating her property from the neighbors. Slamming on the brakes, she threw the gearstick back into the park position and scrambled outside. On the grass lay the nude body of a man.
Quickly donning her nursing persona, Anna ran to him and scanned the prone body for level of consciousness and obvious signs of any injury. He was unconscious, but his respirations were steady and even. His pulse was also strong. On her knees, she gingerly pulled back an eyelid, noting the pupil size, then doing the same to the other eye. She frowned and looked at both eyes again.
"Well, I'll be," she muttered to herself. Mystery Man had one green eye and one brown eye. Other than an actress whose name she couldn't recall at the moment, Anna hadn't known anyone with this oddity before.
From where she knelt beside him, she couldn't find any signs of trauma or injury. There were probably a dozen or so well healed scars across his torso, but none looked recent enough to cause his current condition. He was obviously well nourished, so she didn't think he was homeless. That was all she could surmise about where he came from though.
She stood up and ran back to the car, cursing herself for forgetting her cellular phone inside of it. Dialing 911, she walked back towards him, watching him for any signs of change in his status. The call was quickly answered after the first ring and, after giving the operator the essential information, she stood by his side waiting for help to arrive.
As she stood there, Anna felt torn on whether to drape his naked body and risk missing a change in him or leave him exposed, offering her a rather thrilling view. Seeing someone nude was part of the job and sadly, even in a natural state, it took a lot these days for a man's body to capture her attention. This one did. He was tall, probably over six feet with a tan that suggested outdoor activities. Notably, he had close-cropped brown hair, suggestive of the military. His face was angular, an architect's dream. His shoulders were broad; his chest more so, with fine dark hair snaking its way down his body. The biceps also suggested a lot of attention and activity. His abdomen was flat with only wisps of hair surrounding his navel. Trying to convince herself that she was still in professional mode, despite the flush of heat to her cheeks, Anna's eyes slowly traveled further down. She almost screamed however when he jerked and started a fit of coughing. Ignoring the tremor in her hands, she kneeled next to him again, rolling him onto his side as his coughing worsened. When he moaned, her personal safety won the battle over occupation and she took a step backwards, simultaneously glad to hear the faint sound of sirens in the distance.
Although the coughing was subsiding, he continued to moan intermittently. He slowly turned onto his back and then to his other side, facing away from Anna. After a few minutes when he had not coughed or made another sound, she stepped closer. Kneeling again, her hand tentatively reached out for him. She did scream this time when his hand clamped onto hers. Rolling deftly, he turned to face her and those mismatched eyes stared at her with intensity and fury.
Not letting go of the vise-like grip on her wrist shooting bolts of pain through her, he sat up, surveying both her and their surroundings. If he cared that he was naked, he did not show it.
"Who are you and where are we?" he growled.
Anna tried to pull her arm away and winced when he pulled back. Before she could reply, however, his head cocked at the sound of the sirens only blocks away and he rose shakily to his feet, dragging a reluctant Anna with him.
Still amazed at his nonchalance of his state, she tried to focus her thoughts to the danger she was in. What had she learned from those self-defense courses the hospital had offered last year? Never go with your attacker, the instructor had said. Fight, kick, scream! Do whatever you can do to make him want to leave you there. The minute you go with him, it's game over. Someone in the back asked about the attacker having a gun. The reply was harsh and instant. If he has a gun, you run. Even trained police officers have a difficult time hitting a moving target.
Finding her paralysis broken, Anna yanked her arm for all she was worth and turned to run towards the house. To her surprise, his hand lost its grip on her and she was able to flee. Screaming at the top of her lungs, she found her strength and ran. It only took two full length strides for her to realize her latest predicament. She had already closed the garage with the remote and her keys to the house were also in the car.
With the calm only someone used to saving lives could know, she changed direction for the backyard. She was almost around the back of the house when she turned her head to find her assailant. Anna's eyes widened when she found him not even a full stride away from her. She shrieked again, not realizing that she had stopped, and turned to find a pathway to safety. It was only a few more feet before she felt his hand grip onto her shoulder, the force throwing her off balance.
She stumbled and he took the opportunity to force her to the ground. The impact was jarring, but Anna started scrambling forward immediately, ignoring the sting to her hands and knees. His hands climbed over her legs and pinned them down. Suddenly, his full weight was upon her and before she could scream again, a hand clamped over her mouth, cutting off any sound.
His breath was coming as quickly as hers as he whispered harshly into her ear. "Do not move! Not one sound!"
Torn, not knowing if it were more prudent to struggle or do as he commanded, Anna chose the latter, deciding to save herself for another or better opportunity to flee.