Author: LK Collins
Book Tour: September 14 - 25
Genre: Erotic Suspense
Hosted by: S.B.B. Promotions
Post – Living in the after, the events that took place over a year ago are etched in my brain. Haunting me in the worst ways imaginable.
Traumatic – Physical and psychological scars have me so wounded that I can’t get through a day without my mind swirling with constant fucked up images.
Stress – Anxiety. Panic. Rage. I’m not myself and the pain I fight through each day has made me make some really bad decisions.
Disorder – Out of control. Not fucking normal. Nowhere even close.
I say fuck Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The life I left behind is gone and everything I’d hoped to return to has been stolen away, all while I was being beaten, starved, and tortured. But being Nate Wilcox, I pick my ass up, ‘cause I’m a fucking survivor. Even if my methods are totally fucked up, it’s all I can do to keep the pain at bay.
Oh fuck! The bathroom is covered in blood. It’s smeared down the wall and pooled around my mom’s head, where she’s lifelessly lying flat on her face. Fear freezes me. What in the world happened? The shower curtain is ripped down, her bloody hand print is smeared along the side of the tub where she struggled to get herself up.
“Ma,” I yell, finally willing myself to move to her side. I touch her back to wake her and suddenly I’m back in Afghanistan. I push away the images assaulting me that I have worked so hard to suppress. But still, before my eyes is a wounded soldier, shot, bloody, and hanging on to life. God dammit, stop! This is my mom, not that place. I’m scared to move her and know better than to even try. My worst fear in this world is something happening to her. Moving my trembling hands to shake her a little more, I’m about to lose it. I don’t want to hurt her, but I also want to wake her any way possible. My heart is thudding against the walls of my chest as I grab her wrist to see if she has a pulse. I sit in silence, fighting to hear her heart. How did this happen? Did someone hurt her? Where is all this blood coming from? My mind races, all the while I’m listening. I’m not sure if what I feel is her heart or mine, but I go with my gut and hop up the best that I can, my prosthetic making it hard to move around.
Quickly I swipe the phone off of her nightstand and grab a towel as I drop back to my knees, dialing 911. Tears stream down my face looking at her this way. The blood is coming from a gash on her head, and I try to click into numb soldier mode as I press the towel onto the wound to stem the bleeding. Someone had to have done this to her. There’s simply too much blood for her to have slipped and fallen on her own. I feel the panic overtaking me, worming through the numbness.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
“It’s—” I choke, staring at her weak body.
“Hello? Sir, what’s your emergency?”
“My…My mom…I…I don’t know what….” My voice is shaky and I’m struggling through each word. “She’s…she’s unconscious and—”
“Is she breathing, sir?”
Fuck, there’s a lot of blood. My mind flashes back to the battlefield, my chest tightens, I’m frozen.
“Sir, I need to know if she’s breathing?”
“I’m routing an ambulance to you. Are you at 211 Riverdale?”
“Sir, now please tell me, is your mom breathing?”
“She’s facedown, so… I don’t know.”
“Is her airway clear?”
Leaning over her, I look at my mom’s face and gently brush her hair out of the way. I can see that nothing is blocking her mouth or nose. Her eyes are closed and her poor glasses are smashed to hell, barely over her eyes.
“Sir? Her airway?”
“Good, does she have a pulse?”
“I think so.”
I hear the dispatcher in the background speak to someone, then she comes back on the line. “The ambulance should be there in less than a minute, just leave her ‘til the medics arrive. Are you okay to get off the phone and open your front door?”
“Yeah,” I say and hang up.
I take a deep breath and try to push the panic down, unlocking the door in a haze. I need to get my shit together. Running back to my mom, I rest my head softly against hers, I cry and just pray that she’ll be okay. She has to be. I’ve already lost one woman in my life, so I sure as hell can’t lose another. Lying this close to her, I can feel her breathing.
Thank God. Pulling the towel away, I check and see that her head is no longer bleeding. That’s good. But again my damn mind gets the best of me and morbid thoughts take over. I envision her in a casket, my dad and I crushed with grief standing over her, and the pain of it is as real as if I was standing right there, right now.
All of a sudden the room is flooded with EMTs. “Sir, I need you to get up,” one of them says, his voice so faint as I struggle to come out of the grief brought on by my vision. Where did it even come from? He gently helps me up as I’m still having a hard time processing things.
“What happened?” one of them asks me as the others begin to work on her.
I replay the story the best that I can, fighting to stay calm and in the moment. Then out of the blue – a flashback to the day Arion collapsed in the hallway outside of her condo, when I showed up like an asshole and scared the shit out of her. She had no idea that I was alive, and the pure shock alone caused her to faint.
Watching my mom just as helpless makes my world spin. Everything inside of me aches as my vision bounces between her, Arion, and war.
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