I hope you enjoy … and come back every day before release day (April 11) for more of the countdown!
(If you missed yesterday’s post, you can find it here.)
A chill cuts through me, a cold sweat breaking out over my whole body as Damien eases the limo in behind the van, then kills the engine.
I turn to him, searching his face for the answers I need, but of course he doesn’t have them. And for one quick, horrible moment, I’m overwhelmed by the sensation of being swept out to sea, pulled away from everything warm and safe until I am cold and alone and drifting without anything to anchor me.
Outside the car, a little boy of about four runs across the lawn toward us, his eyes wide. A woman who’s probably five or six years older than me hurries behind, calling for him to stay away from the car.
I watch the boy, as mesmerized by him as he is by the Phantom. Then his mother reaches him and swings him around, making him laugh before she settles him on her hip, and he snuggles close, his thumb going into his mouth.
I exhale, only then realizing I’d been holding my breath.
“Come on,” Damien says gently, reaching for his door.
“But she’s not here.”
He brushes a lock of hair off my cheek, the touch as soothing as his voice. “But the house still is.”
He’s right. I’d been focusing so hard on my plan to see my mother that I hadn’t thought about the other memories that surrounded her. Memories made inside the walls of this house. I think of Ashley, who would now be about the same age as that young mother, and suddenly I want nothing more than to see the room that had once belonged to her. “You’re right.” My voice is thick with the tears I’m determined not to shed. “Do you think we can go in?”
“We’ll go in,” he says in the same firm, confident voice I’ve heard in both the bedroom and the boardroom. Immediately, I relax, because no matter what else went wrong today, I am certain that somehow, someway, Damien will get me inside that house.
He gets out, then circles the car to open my door. It’s early summer, and a wall of Texas heat slams into me, overwhelming the lingering cool inside the air-conditioned car. Damien helps me out, and by the time he shuts the door behind me, the mother and her son have reached us.
“May I help you?” Her voice has the clipped, polished tone of someone raised in the northeast.
“I—I’m Nikki Fairchild,” I say, figuring that under the circumstances, she’ll recognize my maiden name. “I was looking for my mother,” I add lamely when she just stands there, apparently not recognizing the name at all.
Continue reading here: Countdown Day 6!
Want more? Be sure to pop back tomorrow for more of Anchor Me, available April 11. Grab your copy now!
And if you’re just now meeting Nikki & Damien, why not grab of copy of Release Me, the book that started it all!