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"Please understand, and don't be mad at me. It hurts me inside when you're mad at me." Annie reached out, but he resisted. She stepped forward, grasped his right hand and gently pressed his palm over her heart. She lifted his left hand, pressed it against her breast, and he felt the tremors in her body. "Look inside me, Ryan. There's nothing but love for you. No desire to control you; just love for the only man I've ever wanted in my entire life."
Through her tears, he began to see what was inside, how deeply she cared for him, and had kept herself only for him.
"Please don't pull away. I couldn't bear it. These years we've been apart have been so hard. I've spent so many lonely nights thinking of you, seeing you so far away. But I kept going, waiting and praying you would come back to me. Please love me, Ryan, the way I love you."
He realized he did love her. That first day he saw Annie without the dirt on her face, when Ryan looked into those green eyes, he understood it then, what was in her heart, but he denied the truth. Maybe he had always known, buried deep, hidden from his conscious mind, but still there at his core. Perhaps that was what he sensed after April died; the yearning to return to his roots, and to Annie.
"Now I can remove all your sorrow, your loneliness, and your bad dreams. I know there's room in your heart for me beside April."
As he felt her chest pound, the dark shadows and sad memories from his past began to fade, replaced with warmth and peace. Ryan brushed the moisture from her face.
"Anything else I should be aware of?"
"Not right now."
He placed his hand at the curve of her back and closed the gap between theirbodies. "Guess I can live with that. It'll take some adjustment, a lot of adjustment, but we'll work it out together."
He lifted her hand and touched his lips to her wrist. He kissed her brow, her eyelids, and moved down to her mouth. He lingered inside, tasted that sweet flavor, and inhaled her scent. He caressed her neck, felt her pulse quicken, her muscles tighten, her breath matching his, increasing with each touch.
At that moment, Ryan felt the physical urge and emotional need to be with this woman, the hunger to consume her, touch her, become part of her. There was no hesitation, no reluctance to put forth his feelings, his desires. There was no ambiguity. Everything was clear.
Annie's voice trembled, "I've waited so long. I feel like I'm going to explode."
Posted July 23, 2009
Blurb: The town of Tanglewood Falls offers breath-taking views, yet the serendipity is misleading. The impoverished people and their forgotten community have been unwittingly exploited. Their act of trust and blind consent altered their existence and the secret has remained buried, until Ryan returns to explore his heritage. For twenty years, he's been haunted by confusing images, recurring dreams rooted in his past. He's driven to understand their meaning, to obtain answers to his lost memories. Ryan's search for truth collides with the folklore of the simple people and the belief that their beautiful Annie is blessed. Together, they unravel the mystery, but at a price. They become targets of those responsible for what happened to the town. As the truth is exposed, Ryan must grapple with his own reality; the fact that his past, his nightmares, and Annie's secret, everything is entangled in the desperate act of one lonely man.
Review: This being the first time to ever read this author, I did not know exactly what to expect. The author, Michael, took a hold of me from the first chapter. He weaves a story of not only the characters leaving you breathless, but a plot that will have you frantically reading to get to the next page. His characters show emotion, humor, love, compassion, and courage in a story that is beautiful to the end. There is a wisdom in his words that has you wanting to read all of his works. If you ever have the opportunity to read this author, please do. You will not be disappointed.