Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?
Sara sat upright in bed. Cold sweat dripped down her back and between her breasts. In the dark, her hand inched across the sheets of the new queen-size bed. A sliver of moonlight slipped through a crack in the thick drapes and landed on the empty pillow.
For a second she could smell his aftershave. She shivered, yanked her hand back from the pillow and pulled her knees to her chest. She clutched the covers tightly to her body.
Don’t be ridiculous Sara. He’s not here. He’s dead. He can’t hurt you anymore.
She’d cleaned the room enough times, over the last eighteen months, to get rid of any scent of him. She’d even bought a new bed, mattress and sheets.
He was dead. But in the dream he came back. Even in the dream Gordon had the power to return her to that pathetic, abused woman she’d turned into over the years of their marriage. For almost a year and a half Sara had worked to break the chains of abuse that kept her from living her own life. She’d come a long way. She hadn’t had the dream for months.
She swung her legs over the side of the bed. Her feet landed on Gloria’s soft, furry back. Sara reached down and patted the dog’s large head. “Good old Gloria, always there for me.”
The dog raised her head and licked Sara’s hand with a short whine, before she flopped back down to sleep.
Sara pulled on her robe before she crept downstairs. Hot chocolate would go good right about now.
She grabbed the milk carton from the refrigerator and took a swig from the container. Two years ago she could never have done this. Gordon would have punished her if he’d caught her.
“Here’s to you, you bastard, wherever you are.” She toasted the milk carton before she took another swallow.
It ticked the hell out of her that she’d been so stupid. He’d made her a victim and she’d allowed it.
Speaking as somone who has been abused myself, I think victims of abuse tend to lack nuance when we chide ourselves for “allowing the abuse.” Narcissists tend to single out people whose self-esteem is shaky. We might resist blaming the victim in other cases, but we are very quick to berate ourselves for becoming victims.
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This is so vivid and believable, Beverley! Well done.
You did a great job portraying the sickness that abused people are left with, even once their free of their abuser.