Before I Wake: The Nightmare Chronicles

( 17 )

Overview

You may call it a dream job . . .

And in some ways, you'd be right. I actually get paid to study people's dreams. It comes much easier than my employers at the Sleep Center suspect; after all, I, Dawn, am the daughter of the king of the dream world, and I can roam the dreams of others, battling the nightmares that plague them.

I call it a nightmare . . .

Honestly, I could use a good night's sleep. But ever ...

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Before I Wake

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Overview

You may call it a dream job . . .

And in some ways, you'd be right. I actually get paid to study people's dreams. It comes much easier than my employers at the Sleep Center suspect; after all, I, Dawn, am the daughter of the king of the dream world, and I can roam the dreams of others, battling the nightmares that plague them.

I call it a nightmare . . .

Honestly, I could use a good night's sleep. But ever since I met Noah Clarke, I'm even more torn between the two worlds: smart, sexy, and able to control his own dreams, Noah could be my perfect man—except he's being stalked in his sleep by an unearthly evil, hell-bent on destroying him . . . and the entire world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061340277
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/29/2008
  • Series: Nightmare Chronicles Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,325,218
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

My husband says I have the best job in the world. The only thing that could top being paid to do what I love is if Avon Books decided that all their authors had to be hand-fed chocolate by Hugh Jackman, Gerard Butler, or John Cusack. But my husband probably wouldn't think so much of my job then, so instead I'll let him feed me chocolate and go on being forever thankful that I have the best job—and husband—in the world.

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Read an Excerpt

Before I Wake
The Nightmare Chronicles Chapter One

"You're a Nightmare."

Diet Dr Pepper halfway to my lips I paused, staring at the old man standing beside me at the Duane Reade checkout. My heart nudged hard against my ribs. "Excuse me?"

His face was the color and texture of a worn piece of leather, and his hair was a mass of tight, frizzy gray curls. But his eyes were as sharp as a child's. "You're a Nightmare, girl. What're you doin' here?"

I glanced around to see if anyone else in the drugstore had heard the old fella's surprising—and very vocal—accusations. If anyone had, they were pretending they hadn't.

He was just a crazy old man. No need to panic. No need to do anything. "Sir, I don't know what you're talking about." "You are not of this plane," he insisted, doing this weird little stomp with his foot that made me wonder if he had to pee. "You shouldn't be here."

I took a step away just in case his bladder gave out. It was instinct, driven by pure self-preservation. One thing living in a city the size of New York teaches you is that some people just don't have the same boundaries as the rest of us. Also, he creeped me out.

"Uh, okay. I shouldn't be here." I twisted the cap back on to my Dr Pepper as the cashier started scanning my items. Just a few more moments, and I'd be out of there. I should have gone straight home after work, but I needed tampons. "You do know, don't you?"

I had hoped that agreeing with him would end the conversation. Apparently, I was wrong. "Know what?"

"What you are." He was staring at me now with a look of wonder. "Shee—oot. I bet youdon't even know how you got here."

"I walked." I would not, however, be walking home. God, I hoped I'd be able to hail a cab pronto once I left the pharmacy. I never wanted to be somewhere else quite so badly in all my life.

He did that foot thing again, only this time his face twisted in annoyance. I took another step away. "I don't mean here. I mean here. On this earth."

I swallowed. My throat felt like I'd just swallowed a piece of carpet. "Sir, I was born here. Same as you." Maybe it was all the years of psychology classes, or maybe it was a little fear, but I needed to bring him back to the real world. This one.

He peered at me—a little too closely for my liking. "You may have been born here, girlie, but you don't belong. I wonder how you managed to slip through."

I wanted to get the heck out of there. What the hell was he talking about? "Just luck, I guess."

He stared at me with eyes that were slightly rheumy, but keen. "Luck, nothing. How old are you?" "Sir, I'm not going to tell you that." Next he was going to ask my weight, and I'd have to kill him.

"Twenty-eight."

His voice rang in my head like a gong. He was right. If I was creeped out before, I was ten times that now. It could have been a lucky guess, but I doubted it.

"You're mature," he informed me. "At your full potential. No tellin' what havoc you might wreak."

That was it. I threw some money at the clerk. I hadn't heard the total, so I could only hope it was enough. I grabbed my bag and started for the door, grateful for once that most of my five feet ten inches was leg. The clerk didn't yell after me, so I assumed I had given her enough to cover my bill.

I miraculously hailed a cab right outside and jumped in. As we drove off, I looked out the window to see the old man standing on the sidewalk near the door, watching me. He was drinking a bottle of Brisk—bought with my change I bet. He waved as the cab pulled away, and he yelled something. I couldn't quite hear the words, but to my paranoid ears it sounded as though he yelled, "You. Don't. Belong."

I knew I didn't. The question was, how the hell did he?

I was six years old the first time my mother told me I was a Nightmare. I cried, because I thought she was mad at me. But then she took me up onto her lap and told me I was special because no other child on earth had the King of Dreams for a father. She told me I could dream whatever I wanted, that in my dreams I could do whatever I wanted, and I believed her.

I asked my father what it was like to be the Lord of Dreams. He didn't know what I was talking about. It was shortly after that I realized he wasn't my father. My real father was the man who played with me in my dreams, who put a sweet smile on my mother's face. The man I called Dad looked at me like he didn't recognize me, and at my mother as though he knew he was losing her to a man with whom he couldn't compete.

Was it any wonder that I soon found myself preferring the Dream Realm to the real world? Of course there were parts of the Dream Realm—The Dreaming—that my father told me to stay away from. Apparently my uncle Icelus had let some of his "creations" wander free. Since Icelus's domain was all things disturbing and frightening, I listened to my father and never ventured outside of his castle, terrified of these monsters and what they might do to me. I already knew to be careful of the eerie mist that surrounded the land.

Before I Wake
The Nightmare Chronicles
. Copyright © by Kathryn Smith. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2008

    Amazing contemporary debut from Kathryn Smith

    Dawn Riley is a Nightmare. She has always known this, but being the daughter of Morpheus, King of Dreams, and a mortal is not something that she is proud of or can speak about. So, she turned her back on the Dream Realm to try and live as normal a life as possible in the real world. She graduated from high school, went on to university and got her PhD in neuropsychology which helped land her a job at MacCallum Sleep & Dream Research Center in New York City. Noah Clarke is one of her patients and a lucid dreamer, able to change his dreams and bend them to his own will. When an evil presence starts stalking him in his sleep and altering his dreams, he knows there is only one person who can help him. Dawn must accept who she is in order to help Noah and they must work together to fight for their lives and a chance at love. ******* This book blew me away. I was so impressed by it in so many ways. First and foremost was how fresh and strong Kathryn Smith's contemporary voice is. Many historical authors have tried their hand at writing contemporaries and fallen short. Not Ms. Smith. Not only does she succeed, she does it with striking clarity. ******* I absolutely love Dawn. She is smart and funny and definitely someone I could be friends with. I love that she doesn't have the perfect body or perfect hair or perfect features, but is happy with the way she looks. She even jokes about her love of food. That she can laugh at herself made me like her even more. Her flaws and little quirks just added to her charm. She's so down-to-earth and one of the most likable heroines I've ever read. And because this story is told in first person, I felt like a good friend was telling me her story. ******* I also love Noah. He is an artist, so he's very creative and has such an eye for detail. Due to a tragedy in his past, he is pretty closed off and doesn't like to talk about it. This also makes him a little uptight and wanting to be in control. Eventually, he starts to open up to Dawn a little bit at a time. The thing I love most about him is that he likes Dawn just the way she is, even when he finds out what she is. It doesn't matter, he likes her for her. *sigh* What a guy. ******* Kathryn Smith has created such an incredible, comprehensive world with the Dream Realm. And the way that she mixes it with the real world is nothing short of amazing. The secondary characters in both worlds are remarkable and endearing. It is a combination of all of these things and more that make this story so compelling, so undeniably good that I could not put it down. I was thoroughly entertained from beginning to end. If I could give this book more than five stars, I would. It really is that good. I am hungry for more and cannot wait until the second book in this series is released. Do not miss this one. I HIGHLY recommend it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2008

    Fans will enjoy Kathryn Smith¿s eerie tale

    In New York, psychologist Dr. Dawn Riley is the top authority on dreams interpretation at the Sleep Center where she works. She knows that her incredible skill is because of her ¿Nightmare¿ DNA as she is a chip off the old male block. Her father is Morpheus, the King of Dreams her mother met him while she slept and they hit if off, literally. To be with him in his only realm of existence, the land of dreams, her mom buried herself in a coma rather than raise her daughter. Her dad warned her not to visit all of the ¿Dreaming¿ places because her Uncle Icelus irresponsibly, in the name of freedom, allowed some of his creations to wander freely his sector is disturbing and is populated with frightening monsters thus Dawn always stayed at her father¿s castle when visiting his realm.----------------- For the first since Dawn was born, she is attracted to a man Noah Clarke who is a subject in a study she is doing. He feels the same way with his instant attraction to her. However, being half mortal has its negative side as the nasty Karatos stalks Dawn and Noah while they sleep. She is an expendable pawn in his plan to take over the Dream realm.------------------- The key the well written first paranormal Nightmare Chronicles is the Dream Realm seems real as a place where nightmares literally can leave visitors dead. The romantic urban fantasy story line is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down once Karatos begins his assault on his turf on the lead couple. Fans will enjoy Kathryn Smith¿s eerie tale with the consequence of trying not to go into a deep dreaming sleep.------------ Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2013

    Sweet dreams have a new meaning.

    The Nightmare Chronicles is a romance with a lil twist. Sweet dreams with a new meaning. Loved the book. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    Good read

    You know its a good book when you read it fast.

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  • Posted October 20, 2008

    Before I Wake: The Nightmare Chronicles by Kathryn Smith

    I was very interested in this book and excitedly started reading it. My excitement drained away very quickly. It was written in first person and the heroine came off as somewhat cocky and blithe. I get really tired of writers creating heroines like this. What really made me dislike this book was a shocking sex scene in one of her dreams. She was fully aroused by this dream lover but also repulsed and struggling to get away. She was treated badly and roughly, wanted it to stop, but she still participated. I find this wrong on so many levels. I put this book down and will toss it out as soon as I'm done with this review. I will not read books that revel in this type of scenario. What started out as a unique and interesting plot and could have become very exciting, has been ruined for me. It was a good premise that the author could have made something lasting out of, if she hadn't decided to go down this road. It always makes me sad when romances, books I have read and loved for so many years, take disturbing and twisted turns like this.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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