Love on the Edge, Book 2
Running for her life...to a man who'd given up on it.
"Go to Callahan."
Pregnant, alone--and with no memory of who she is--these words are the only thing Hope can hang onto as she drives through a blizzard, searching for the reclusive Callahan. And when she finds him, she's not sure which of them is more in need of help and healing.
Haunted by the brutal murder of the woman he loved, the last thing John Callahan needs on his hands is an injured pregnant woman. But with the storm bearing down, he has no choice. Opening his home to her, though, turns out to be far from simple. Her unconditional acceptance of him, scars and all, opens windows to his soul he thought were forever sealed.
Then he discovers Hope's true identity, and realizes his past--and a powerful enemy--has come back to haunt them both. Even as he races against time to save her, John has to wonder...
Is Hope his redemption? Or his downfall?
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October 20, 2008
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Excerpt from Redemption by Sharon Cullen
Even though he'd chosen to live far removed from civilization, he now cursed his solitude. If he'd built his house closer to town, he could call someone, take her to a hospital, get her out of his hair. He was angry because her presence made his home not his anymore. And the lonely mountaintop cabin had been his welcome respite for so long, it now felt violated by this pregnant stranger.
His eyes began to drift closed and he settled deeper into the chair. Part of him still suspected her motives and warned him to stay awake, but he honestly didn't think he'd wake to a steak knife at his throat. He was her only chance of survival in these mountains. Besides, if she killed him, so what? He had no problems with dying.
A scream jerked him from his sleep. Before he was fully awake, he'd grabbed his gun from the table next to him, was on his feet and racing toward the bedroom. A surge of adrenaline had his heart pounding in his ears as he burst through the bedroom door, weapon drawn, hazy mind trying to clear.
She was sitting against the headboard, the blanket clutched against her chest, eyes wide and unfocused. Her mouth was open but only small whimpers escaped.
After a quick glance around, he lowered the gun and advanced cautiously. "Hey," he crooned, cursing that he didn't know her name. "It's okay. Just me. See?" He held his arms out to his sides.
She scooted back, making little sounds that reminded him of the small animals he'd freed from traps.
"Nothing to fear." He tucked the gun in the small of his back and sat on the very edge of the bed, ready to spring if she lashed out.
Slowly her eyes focused although her body wouldn't stop trembling. She was nearly buried beneath blankets, but it wasn't the cold making her shiver. "S-sorry. Didn't mean to wake you."
"I was just dozing. Care to tell me about it?"
She bit her bottom lip, worrying it for a moment. "I-I don't know. It was a nightmare." Her laugh was shaky. "Obviously. I..." Her gaze went to the window. She seemed to look out the window a lot. "There was blood." Her voice dropped to a whisper. "Lots of blood. I remember being scared..." Her voice trailed off as a lone tear traveled down her pale cheek.
"Tell me about the blood. Had someone cut themselves or was there more?"
"More than a cut." She shuddered. "A lot more. I think... I think someone was k-killed."
His stomach dropped. "What else do you remember?"
She shook her head, her eyes losing focus again. "Just the fear. Oh God, I was so scared."
"Were you inside a building?"
She shook her head, then nodded. "Yes. A building."
"I-I don't know. House, I think. But it could have been an office. There was a desk."
Elegant fingers rubbed her uninjured temple and she closed her eyes. Then her fingers dropped and her eyes opened. Bleak, washed out, filled with exhaustion and fear. "It's all blurry."
He tamped down on his frustration. Had she killed someone? Was she taking him for a fool? Using him? She was such a tiny thing and when he looked into her eyes all he could see was despair, desperation and fear.
He stood and she lunged forward, holding the blanket to her chest with one hand and snagging his jeans with the other. Instantly he stepped to the side to break her hold and her hand fell to the bed.
He wanted nothing more than to get out of the room. No, more than that, he wanted her out of his life. To put her back in that car and watch her drive away. Because he didn't want to deal with whatever it was she'd just brought to his front door.
"I'm going into the next room so you can get back to sleep." Even he knew the stupidity of that statement. A veteran of more nightmares than he could count, he knew full well there would be no more sleep for her this night.
The blanket slipped, revealing a creamy shoulder and a pink bra strap. "Please," she whispered. "Don't leave me alone."
He squeezed his eyes closed for a moment. "I'm not fit company tonight. You'd probably be better off in here."
"Please," she said again, chipping away at his defenses. "You don't have to talk to me. I'll sit on the couch and be quiet." Her eyes begged. She was nearly on her knees in front of him in a pleading posture.
"Fine." He turned on his heel.
"I need clothes. I can't walk around in a blanket."
That was the truth. The blanket was old, faded green and ragged, certainly not sexy until wrapped around her. He stomped to his dresser, pulled out sweatpants and an old sweatshirt, and tossed them on the bed, ignoring her outstretched hand. Once again he turned on his heel and walked out, breathing a sigh of relief when he closed the door behind him.
She probably needed help getting dressed, what with her injuries, but he was damned if he would be the one to help her. Undressing her had nearly undone him. Touching her again was out of the question.
When she emerged, she held the folded blanket in front of her. She'd had to roll up the sleeves of the sweatshirt several times and it still bagged around her wrists. Her slim hips, swollen belly and legs were swallowed whole by the gray sweatpants. Good, he didn't want any reminders of her pregnancy.
As she'd done several times that night, she peered out the window. He'd never bothered with curtains. No one came out this way, so there'd been no need for them, plus he liked the morning sun shining in. He liked being able to turn his head and see nature without the screen of gauzy curtains.
"It's still snowing," she said.
"How long do you think the storm will last?"
"Then we can leave?"
We? What was this "we" crap?