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Emma Potter has led a tragic life, witnessing her parents' murder at the tender age of five then being swept away to the Texas Hill Country to live with her grandparents. By the time she enters college, her uncle Peter is the only relative she has left and, while he's a bit unconventional, she treasures the familial bond they have.
But that familial bond is tragically ripped away when her uncle is killed in the night and Emma mysteriously witnesses the whole thing in a dream. While she's trying to sort reality from her nightmares, she finds solace in the arms of Aiden, her unexpected knight in shining armor. But Aiden has secrets of his own.
With Emma’s tendency to put up walls and keep secrets, she is hesitant to trust. Yet Aiden persists, even when Emma continually pulls away. She’s drawn to him; to his charm, his compassion, his smile, but she’s scared. She fears that falling for Aiden will only result in heartbreak once again.
While Emma fights to find her uncle’s murderer and decode the dreams that have become a nightly nuisance in her life, she must decide if she can accept the love she spent years trying to avoid, or if she’s willing to throw it all away to hide what she envisioned In A Dream.
Staring through her dance academy window with her hands pressed firmly against the chilled glass, Emma waited impatiently for her parents to pick her up from her lesson. Tall, brick city buildings surrounding her nearly touched the sky. Cars passed, quickly heading to their next destination, leaving gray vapor trails in their wake.
Emma peeked back at the clock on the wall in the quaint lobby, hoping her mother would arrive soon. Three months earlier, her mother taught her to tell time. Big hand on the 2. Little hand on the 6. It’s 6:10 PM. She was the only kid in her kindergarten class who could tell time. Her jet-black braid swung over her shoulder as she twirled in her tutu, thinking of how proud her mommy was when she finally told her the correct time. Her mommy usually arrived around this time so she turned her attention back to the glass, her face smashed against the windowpane. Her mommy always had trouble finding a parking spot.
“I see them, Ms. Adams,” Emma called to her instructor while running out the front door. Ms. Adams called after her, turning to get her coat, but Emma was already through the door, hurtling toward her parents. What happened next, as Emma jumped the cracks of the city sidewalk, was beyond anything her innocent young mind could comprehend. “Mommy!” she screamed, watching her parents fall to the ground.
Two figures in black hooded sweatshirts fled the scene after firing bullets into each of her parents. One shot hit her father in the head, sending him crashing to the ground next to a small puddle left from the previous night’s rain. The other bullet hit Emma’s mother in her upper back, causing her mother to gasp for air.
Ms. Adams heard the gunshots and ran to the window with Emma’s coat tucked in her hand. She saw Emma’s parents lying on the ground and two hooded forms fleeing the scene, rounding the corner and disappearing from view. Rushing outside, Ms. Adams threw her jacket over Emma’s shoulders as Emma clutched her mother. Momentarily, Ms. Adams turned her attention to Emma’s father lying stone-cold still while blood poured from his head and mingled with the water on the sidewalk. Grabbing his wrist, she checked for a pulse, but felt nothing.
Emma looked on terrified, hanging on to her mother. Rolling her over, Emma watched as her mother gasped for air, fear marring her face. “Mommy, get up!” Emma tugged frantically on her mother’s limp arm.
“Emma … I … love … you.” Each word was a staccato as it grew harder to breathe. “Go … inside.”
“No, Mommy. Not without you.” Tears welled up in Emma’s eyes as she pulled harder on her mother’s hand.
“I’m … always … with … you,” she sputtered. “Go.” With those words, her mother could hold on no longer. Her eyes rolled back in her head and closed as she breathed her last breath.
Ms. Adams pulled Emma forcefully while she clung to her mother’s motionless body. Emma’s hands ripped free from her mother as Ms. Adams carried her quivering small body inside to wait for the police, Emma softly crying, “Mommy,” all the way.
“Hi there,” a balding man, much older than most of the bar patrons, said. “Can I buy you a drink?”
The miniscule bit of confidence I’d felt from a single smile was quickly sapped from my shoulders as my head fell in annoyance. “No thanks,” I groaned, starting to inch away from the bar.
The man grabbed my arm, arguing, “Come on. Just one drink.” The alcohol heavy on his breath caught me off guard as I tried to pull away.
“No. Thank. You,” I answered through clenched teeth.
He had a pretty solid grip on me for someone who seemed so inebriated. “Come on, baby. I’m buying.”
I was staring the man in his eyes, trying to make my point clear when his stare went from determined to confused. The moment his head turned, I followed his gaze to a large hand steadily gripping the man’s bicep, the knuckles growing whiter by the second.
“I believe the lady said no.” It was the man with the gorgeous smile coming to my rescue, but his handsome smile had been ripped from his face, replaced with a menacing glare.
The bald man shucked his bicep from my white knight’s grasp and mumbled, “Whatever,” as he vacated his barstool and walked away.
My mouth hung open as I stared, completely in awe.
I spun on my stool, staring Aiden right in the face. My heart did somersaults as everything else inside of me went into panic mode. After our meeting this afternoon, I thought I had mixed emotions about seeing him again, but there was no denying what I was feeling now. As he hovered over me, offering to pay for my drinks, I felt my body instinctively lean into him. “What are you doing here?”
“Didn’t feel like being alone tonight,” he answered, nodding at Jake as he slipped away with Aiden’s card.
With looks like Aiden’s, I couldn’t even fathom the amount of women he picked up in bars. “Looking for women to fill your dance card?” I asked, trying to hide the bitter jealousy I felt imagining him with other women.
“Just one,” he replied, searing his piercing blue eyes into my emerald ones.
My thighs rubbed together as Aiden moved in infinitesimally closer. Gulping down my nerves, I breathily replied, “Well, good luck finding her.” Turning to take a sip of my beer, I struggled to get my hormones in check. This guy was my client. My blood shouldn’t be humming in my veins just from his nearness. I should be putting distance between us.
About Ava Lynn Wood:
Ava Lynn Wood is an insomniac who writes to calm the voices. When the voices get too loud, stories are formed.
Ava was born and raised in Texas but got to Florida as quick as she could, enjoying the fresh sea air and summer storms. She believes there is nothing more beautiful than an evening summer light show.
She’s married to the love of her life whom she shares two beautiful daughters and four sweet fur babies. Their marriage is the perfect “North-meets-South” pairing.
When she’s not writing, Ava can be found chasing her children all over the county, snapping photos of any and everything, visiting one of her local theme parks, or just spending quality time with her family.
To find out the latest about Ava Lynn Wood, go to www.avawood.net
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