Taryn Campbell awoke in a cold sweat for the third night in a row, the same dream riding her. She went from cold to hot in the space of seconds. Images flashed through her subconscious of runic script, an ancient well filled with clear water tinged with white, and the carved image of a voluptuous goddess. The images spoke of life and magic, but there was blood there too.
Those images were haunting her night after night, bleeding into her days. But it wasn’t them that took a hold of her heart and shook her soul. The man in the periphery of it all, guarding her, did that.
The man pulled her to him, dark and powerful, with eyes the color of the evening sky before the stars come out to play; deep blue bleeding to black. In her dreams he touched her cheek, he held her hand, and when he sunk into her, he brought her to heights she’d never reached while awake. That shook her more than mystical wells filled with magic white water, guarded by voluptuous goddesses and protected by runic script.
Taryn knew no dark men with deeply chiseled features and blue, soul-searing eyes, which made the clarity of her serial dreaming even more disturbing.
The seconds ticked by like minutes, muting the dream images as rational thought returned. Her body still hummed with her dream lover’s invisible touch as she got up and made her way to the kitchen. Her hands shook as she poured herself a glass of cold water from a pitcher in the refrigerator, its light illuminating the small space. It was still dark; dawn had yet to break.
Even the coldness of the water couldn’t keep the man’s image from searing itself on her soul. She shivered in the early summer heat and made her way back to her bed, hoping for an hour of uninterrupted sleep before she started her day at the Celtic Research Center. Today, the dream didn’t fade as it had every other day.
“Get a grip, Campbell. It’s just a dream.” Saying it out loud did nothing to stem the foreboding feeling flooding through her.
Jesse Mohr saw movement in the pre-dawn light. The night-vision binoculars helped. Taryn was up and he now knew she didn’t sleep naked. The man-sized t-shirt she was wearing did nothing to detract from her elemental sensuality. That she couldn’t hide under an oversized parka, down snow pants, and Eskimo boots.
Jesse laughed, a self-deprecating sound that hurt the back of his throat. He was a fool. He’d been one ever since he took on this ridiculous self-imposed quest. A quest so fraught with danger that if he failed he could lose the only thing that mattered in his life—the love of two women.
One he was watching now. A woman who, in his early morning honesty, he acknowledged being in love with, sight unseen, for more than a dozen years. The other, the mother of his heart. If he continued on this path, he could destroy all three of their lives. If he didn’t, the hole in his mother’s heart would remain and the self-inflicted scar on her soul would never fully heal.
Jesse would rather rip his own heart from his chest than deny Reed this chance to know her daughter. If that meant Taryn shut him out of her life and her heart before he even got the chance to imprint himself there, well then, so be it. He owed Reed more than his life and his love—he owed everything to the woman who saved him.
Taryn Campbell was just going to have to forgive his intrusion into her well-ordered universe because Jesse had no intention of losing her now that he found her. Jesse spent the last month getting to know everything he could about the woman she’d become since Reed put her up for adoption. He’d been in love with the idea of Taryn before he knew the woman she’d become. Now, Taryn held his heart. And she didn’t even know his name.
Today, that would change.