This excerpt is from Candy and Blood, available on Amazon.com now.
I awoke in the darkness, pitch-black shroud of night pressed against my chest with an unnatural weight. A hard, heavy throbbing in my head pulsed in unison with the corresponding ache in my belly and lower still in my most intimate of areas. Arousal teased my body while fleeting, fading thoughts tortured my mind. Dream images and sensations scurried back into the ethereal depths like roaches exposed to light, but I managed to capture a lingering few before their escape was complete: a slideshow of mental snapshots.
The feel of her breast against my palm. Her smile and a slight chuckle to accompany it. Curve of her shoulder. Shape of her thigh. Our fingers entwined and desperately clutching. A kiss that felt like our first; it set my heart bashing against the confines of my chest, blood splashing along the crowded passageways of arteries and veins.
This stutter-step of my pulse pulled me from my sleep. My skull full of sludge, memories and emotions twisted into a painful jumble made it hard to focus or concentrate on glimpses of a past that could never again be my present. Yet, the dream had felt so real. It was truth to me, and the let-down of my reality was a crushing disappointment. I lay still as the sweat cooled on my skin, and my heartbeat slowed to a snail’s pace. A hard ache of pent-up emotion sat in my throat like a tumor threatening to choke my will to live. For a moment, I indulged it and let the feelings of hurt, loss, and regret pummel me until it was too much to hold in any longer. Into the anonymity of night, I silently let the tears slip from my eyes, and the bulge in my throat melted.
In the darkness, I sorted through all that the dream had dredged up from deep within me, trying as best I could to sort the bitter from the sweet, but each memory and emotion was weighted with both. The incident passed and left me feeling alone—darkness and confusion my only companions. The sliver of relief I enjoyed was evanescent, and it evaporated in an instant as the building blocks of dread began to stack themselves within the depths of my psyche. I knew full well that it was only a matter of time before I’d be betrayed again by my own mind.