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Patti O'Shea - Paranormal Action Romance Author


Excerpt from In The Darkest Night

Kel surged to his feet, fighting for air. He grabbed the neck of his sweatshirt, yanking it away from his throat, but he still couldn't take a full breath.

The walls were closing in on him. The chanting inside his head was getting louder and he cranked up the stereo until Korn blasted through his house. It didn't help. He could hear the echo of their words, smell the scent of burning herbs. Tonight was going to be a bad one if he couldn't circumvent this. Soon.

Nearly all the lights were on, but Kel moved, snapping on the few that he'd missed. It didn't help. A searing pain started near his left shoulder blade and he rotated it, trying to make it stop. The sensation only intensified.

He dragged both hands through his hair and struggled to control the fear. Kel wasn't letting those bastards win--he'd escaped, damn it. He'd escaped.

Perspiration beaded on his forehead, dampened his hair. And the voices increased in volume.

"No." No, he wasn't going through this, not again. Not today. He couldn't. Four nights in a row was too damn many. He felt as if he were made of glass, as if another tap would shatter him into a million jagged pieces. And maybe this time he wouldn't be able to put himself back together.

Maybe this time he'd stay broken.

Kel shuddered, an icy chill raising goose bumps on his arms. There was a little time left to head this off before he reached the point of no return, but letting anyone see him this close to the edge made his stomach roil.

He paced around his living room again, and with every circuit, the straitjacket tightened around him. Screams reverberated through his head, made his mouth go dry. It wasn't real, but that wouldn't matter--it would feel real once it overtook him. Kel wiped the sweat from his upper lip and clenched his hands, hoping to halt the shaking.

The sole way to prevent the replay was to find some company and there was only one person he trusted enough to see him like this. Going to his brother opened a can of worms, though. Logan might not ask questions tonight, but he would tomorrow or the next day and he wouldn't allow Kel to slide. Logan already knew too damn much and this would reveal even more.

He shouldn't have waited this long. Too bad he hadn't sought out Logan before reaching this point.

If it was just his brother, it would be a bit easier to give in, but things were different since Logan got engaged. It wasn't only his brother's home anymore, it was Shona's, too. Admitting defeat meant more than one person would see him with his soul bared, his weaknesses exposed. He liked Shona, but he didn't have the same level of comfort with her that he had with Logan. And she'd brought changes that Kel didn't welcome. He grimaced. Be honest--it wasn't so much that he didn't appreciate them as he couldn't deal with it.

Korn gave way to Seether and Kel continued to move. He could feel the cold, stone slab against his chest and belly and the heated iron a millimeter away from his back.

God. Please. Not tonight.

Pain lanced through his shoulder, strong enough to drop him to his knees. He groaned and panted harshly, unable to get enough air. Kel heard the laughter, the taunts. The scent of charred flesh bit at his nostrils and he swore he could feel the iron pressing

He couldn't do this. He'd deal with Logan's questions later. Now, Kel needed salvation.

Fighting his way to his feet, he did the spell to open a transit and crossed to Logan's home. The place was dark and he cursed quietly. He was interrupting. Again. It would embarrass Shona, but he needed his brother even if it meant knocking on the bedroom door. Kel waved a hand to turn on the lights and it was only then that the emptiness registered.

Reaching out with his senses, he scanned the house, but no one was present. Where were they? Logan and Shona weren't supposed to leave for London until Fri-- Damn, it was Friday, and if he remembered the flight time right, they'd taken off from Sea-Tac about an hour ago.

Kel closed his eyes and wrestled with the upsurge of desperation. He could contact Logan telepathically, ask him to use a transit to come home and he would, no questions asked. The problem was that his brother wouldn't be able to return to the airplane, not when it was traveling at five hundred miles an hour, and there was about eight more hours until it landed at Heathrow. The flashback would be long over by then.

The trembling began in earnest and Kel crossed his arms over his chest, trying to control it. There was no one else he could turn to, not when he was like this. His parents were already worried about him and he'd scare his sisters. Logan had been his last hope. His only hope.

As if that admission was all it took, he could see shadowy forms hovering over him, hear their voices, feel their pleasure at his pain. "Stop!" But Kel could barely hear himself over the roar in his head over the pounding of--

The door. Someone was at the door. He grabbed on to that knowledge like a lifeline.

Lurching forward, Kel staggered into the marble foyer and to the front entrance. He didn't care who was out there. What mattered was the past had receded enough that he was no longer looking into the abyss.

More frantic knocking. He flipped on the porch light, grabbed the knob, and jerked open the door.

He didn't recognize her by appearance--the one time he'd seen her, she'd been messed up pretty bad--but he'd never forget her unusual energy signature or the mental calmness he'd felt while healing her. Farran Monroe.




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