There's a fine line between mysticism and madness...one they must cross to win.
Forbidden, Book 1
London psychiatrist Wesley Atherton is a man of science. He doesn't believe in love at first sight...until he finds himself inexplicably drawn to a green-eyed American beauty he bumps into on the Tube. Just his luck, Katherine, a fashion design intern, has an engagement ring on her finger.
Wes knows a thing or two about people, though. Instinct tells him there's something more than irresistible temptation behind their attraction. She doesn't love her fiance, he's sure of it--now if only he can convince her they're meant to be together.
Surviving a deadly train wreck is the first sign his intuition is spot on. The second--a psychic who warns them the Reaper doesn't like to be cheated out of its quarry. The situation defies all logic, but a string of strange and lethal events convinces Wes that he and Katherine are living on borrowed time. Pitted in a battle against death itself, Wes will do anything, make any sacrifice, to protect the woman he loves.
This book has been substantially revised and expanded from its original published version.
Warning: This book contains one bad-ass demon, spectacular shagging, a feisty American heroine, and one very hot, very British, knife-wielding shrink.
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September 17, 2009
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Excerpt from Forbidden-The Sacrifice by Samantha Sommersby
I felt myself flying backward. It happened in the blink of an eye. One second I was on top of the world, the next plunged into darkness, surrounded by the sounds of metal scraping against metal, shattering glass and terrified screams--one of them my own.
The railway car I was on had jumped the tracks. It was skidding sideways, momentum causing it to careen out of control. In the dim tunnel light I caught a glimpse of the rapidly approaching wall. The car crashing into it sounded like an explosion.
Then, just as suddenly as it had started, it ended. For a moment it seemed the earth stood still. Silent. I was wedged on the floor between two seats, my left arm and shoulder throbbing in pain. Using only my right arm, I reached for the seat in front of me and pulled myself up to a standing position. Without a moment's hesitation, I reached into my pocket for my lighter and struck a flame.
The air was thick with dust and debris that stung my eyes and filled my nose. I waved my hand in front of my face in an attempt to clear it. Squinting into the darkness, I called out for the woman who'd been in my arms just seconds earlier.
I spied her lying on the floor; she appeared unconscious. On impact she'd been thrown clear across the aisle. "Katherine!"
She didn't respond. I fell to my knees alongside her. Reaching out with a shaky hand, I offered up a silent prayer before checking for a pulse. Thankfully, she still had one and it was strong, steady.
I guided the light over Katherine's body, assessing her injuries. The butane burned and as seconds ticked away, the outer casing of the silver lighter became increasingly hot. Just as I noticed a tiny rivulet of blood seeping from her left ear, I dropped it.
The blood concerned me. The fact that she was unconscious concerned me even more. I pushed down the rising feeling of panic, then methodically began to search the area in front of me for the lighter. Within a few seconds I'd found it and was able to illuminate her face.
"Katherine, love, open your eyes."
Still no response.
"Henry? Where are you?"
It was the elderly woman Katherine and I had been sitting across from just minutes ago. It had been after midnight when we'd pulled out of the Mornington Crescent Tube station. There were only five of us in the car, Katherine and myself, the elderly woman and her husband and a young man.
I stood and held the light out behind me, in the direction where the young man had been. I heard a cough and seconds later he emerged, stumbling down the aisle through the rubble and awkwardly stepping over a section of twisted metal frame.
"Is she okay?"
I remembered seeing the young man nursing a bottle in a paper bag as he boarded. He was obviously pissed, unsteady on his feet.
"I'm trying to find out. I need your help. Are you hurt?"
"No, I don't think so."
"I'm Wes. What's your name?"
"Mark, I need you to help me. I've been injured." I was suddenly acutely aware of the pain in my left shoulder. "I need for you to do as I say. Do you have a set of keys?"
I handed him the lighter, then leaned over and opened one of Katherine's eyelids. "I'm a doctor," I explained. "Move the light up here, in front of her eyes."
With some relief I saw that Katherine's pupils were dilated, and although they were non-focal, they were still reactive to light.
I ran my hand over her hair. "Stay with me now. We'll get you out of here," I assured her before turning back to Mark.
"Remove her shoes. We need to check her motor response. That's it. Now, firmly run the key up the length of her foot."
For a second I held my breath.
Katherine's foot retracted.
"Thank God!" I whispered. She'd clearly felt it.
"So she's okay?"
"Not by a long shot. But it could be worse. Much worse."
"What's wrong with her?"
"Head injury. She's had a bleed, I think. We've got to get her to a hospital."
"Somebody help me. Henry?" It was the elderly woman again and she sounded short of breath.
I leaned down, placed a gentle kiss on Katherine's forehead, then whispered, "Wait for me, love. I'll be right back."
My coat was crumpled under one of the nearby orange seats and I reached for it.
"Help me get this over her."
"What's wrong with your arm?"
"It's nothing." I climbed to my feet.
"Do you have a signal?" I asked, pulling my own mobile out of my pocket.
"No. Let's check on the others."
Mark went first, holding the lighter out in front to show the way. First we reached Henry. He'd also been thrown across the carriage on impact, only his head had struck the window and shattered the glass. The scene was gruesome. The lighter went out, once again plunging us into darkness. I was almost grateful.
"Sorry," Mark apologized. He relit the flame, now holding the outside of the lighter with a bandanna he'd retrieved from his pocket. "The casing's hot."
Mark turned his head away from the dormant body. I couldn't blame him. The man's face was covered with blood; his neck had been partially severed by a section of glass. He was gone.
"Is he dead?"
"Dead?" The woman began to franticly call out for her husband. "Henry? Henry!"
I quickly crossed the aisle and crouched down next to her. "What's your name, love?"
"Margaret." She was struggling for breath. "Where's Henry?"
"Margaret, I'm a doctor. I'm going to try to help you. Are you hurt?"
"My arm. And my chest. It feels like something might have fallen on top of me. Where's Henry?" Her breaths were becoming more labored. "Henry!"
There was nothing on top of her chest. I checked her pulse. "I want you to calm down for me now. You're heart's beating like a humming bird. Do you have a heart condition? Do you take any medicines?"
"He's dead, isn't he?" Margaret looked me right in the eye. "Tell me!"
Before I could respond, the old woman gasped in pain and clutched her chest.
"What's going on?" Mark sounded panicked. "Is she dead, too?"
Things were going downhill fast. If we didn't act quickly, we were going to lose her. I bent over and placed my face next to Margaret's.
"She's not breathing and I've lost her pulse."
"Could be just a heart attack, but she was struggling for breath earlier. Could be an injury to the chest wall, or a collapsed lung, maybe an embolism. I'm a psychiatrist, for Christ's sake. It's been years since I've done this sort of thing and my left arm is useless! You're gonna have to help."
"Help do what?"
"Save her. Come over and sit by me. Give me your hand. I'll guide the chest compressions."
Mark dropped the lighter on the floor. "Damn it!"
"Leave it! Look, we don't have a lot of bloody time here. We need to open her airway. I want you to place your hand under her neck to tilt her head back and then pinch her nose, move her chin forward, and give her two breaths. Got it?"
There were a few scattered lights lining the left wall of the tunnel. My eyes had begun to adjust to the darkness and I could now see the outline of the woman.
"What if I do it wrong?"
He did, then I leaned over the woman again to assess her breathing. Nothing. I reached for Mark's hand and placed it beneath mine on her chest.
"We're going to do chest compressions. Not too much force. Fifteen times. Ready? One, two, three, four," I counted. There was an audible crack. I felt Mark begin to pull back.
"I can't do this." He sounded as if he were about to cry.
"It's just a rib. Not so much force. Keep going all the way to fifteen. That's it. Now, breathe twice!"
We continued the cycle six times with no response.
"It's not working!"
He was right. For the first time in ages I felt incompetent. I'd been of no more use to Margaret than the pissed boy had been. I reached up and wiped the sweat from my brow.
"No, it's not working," I admitted, realizing that I had to accept defeat and move on. Katherine was still alive and she needed me, was depending on me.