Sounds break through my insulated cocoon of unconsciousness. Harsh sounds. Ugly sounds. Buzzing. Beeping. Humming.
The fingers of my left hand twitch with the impulse to swat at… something. An alarm clock? The television remote? But although my wedding rings slide around my finger, my arm doesn’t move. Almost as if the platinum bands have turned into lead, weighing me down.
Panic whispers at the edge of my mind, though there is no corresponding pulse of adrenaline through my veins, forcing me into action. My limbs are heavy and uncooperative.
Make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop.
Despite my silent pleas, the unwelcome orchestra continues its assault. Buzz. Beep. Hum.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this awful, this lethargic. Filled with an all-encompassing exhaustion that has seeped into the marrow of my bones.
Survivor’s guilt, apparently. Sleeping the day away is preferable to facing what happened, what I’ve done. The dawn of a new day isn’t a fresh start, a new beginning.
It is a violation. A betrayal.
Make it stop.
Finally, I manage to clutch at my covers, dragging them over my head. Egyptian cotton, a thread count so high it could be spun of silk. Surely it will muffle the noise.
But something is wrong. The fabric is rough beneath my fingertips. It doesn’t smell of the lavender and verbena packets tucked into the shelves of the linen closet. And there is a sterilized stench to the air I didn’t notice before.
The whisper of panic becomes more of a murmur, then a shout. This isn’t my bed.
The beeping noises pick up, racing now. My breaths quicken, my lungs throbbing from the sharp bite of bleach with each shallow inhale.
Hospital. I am in a hospital. The buzzing and beeping and humming. Those are machines.
What happened? Think, think.
My mind is frustratingly blank even as my skin prickles with memories of another time. Another confused awakening. Another frantic search for memories. Did he… No. He wouldn’t dare. Not again. Not ever again.
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I fell in love with a beautiful, broken boy.
His whispered words of love were the sweetest of lies.
He gave me his heart and destroyed mine.
I am his.
I fell in love with the beautiful man who broke me.
His boldly spoken vow was the cruelest of cages.
He gave me his name and destroyed my soul.
He is mine.
The boy I once loved is now a man.
The man I once loved is now gone.
We are us.
I have been called many things.
Victim. Survivor. Daughter. Sister. Wife.
Now I am called something else.
Believe it or not, this is our love story.
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About Tara Leigh
Tara Leigh is a multi-published author of steamy contemporary romance. To keep in touch, click here! http://bit.ly/TaraLeighNwsltr. A former banker on Wall Street, she graduated from Washington University and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, but she much prefers spending her days with fictional boyfriends than analyzing financial spreadsheets. Tara currently lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut with her husband, children, and fur-baby, Pixie.
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