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By Patricia Rosemoor
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSHE SWEPT HER TONGUE up his hard length. His moan sent fingers of fire down her body to the heat between her thighs.
She wanted him there.
Slowly, she eased her body upward until their mouths met. He swallowed her whole with that kiss, making her feel as if she were drowning. Ending the kiss, she pushed herself up so she could see him. His sharp features, punctuated by a fall of inky hair across his high forehead, had never seemed so alive. Heavy lids over pale brown eyes revealed the promise of pleasure ... bedroom eyes that could make her insides curl.
Her insides were curling now.
She felt him moving under her, his hot hands on her thighs, a clever thumb lingering at her sweet spot. He stroked her clit until she arched back and opened herself wider to him.
"Now, che're, now," he urged.
She wanted to hold on, to draw out the pleasure a while longer, but he wouldn't ease up on her and the friction push-push-pushed her over the edge. As the pulsing began deep inside her, she dug her nails into his thighs. He jerked and made a low guttural sound. Then a treacherous sound pushed them both into the abyss from which there was no rescue....
Suddenly awake, Lucy Ryan sat straight up, her body soft and humming with pleasure from the erotic dream. But there was no pleasure in the pounding of her heart, like that of a frightened bird captured in flight.
In flight - that she was - and the erotic dream was in reality a nightmare....
The image of her lover came back to her as clearly as if he stood before her. Sharp features. Inky hair. Bedroom eyes.
She didn't know anyone who looked like that.
At least not yet.
Dear Lord, no. She couldn't bring anyone else into this, she couldn't risk another life. But even as she denied it, Lucy knew she had no control over what was shown to her in dreams.
A glance at the glowing numbers of the digital clock told her it was barely four. She'd slept a little more than an hour. Climbing off the thin mattress, she tried to stop herself from shaking as she made her way into the bathroom.
The motel was cheap and threadbare, but at least it was clean. She washed her face, then stepped into the shower, hoping the warm water would soothe her. Instead, it cleared her mind, made her remember too sharply what she had witnessed several hours ago, a nightmare turned real.
She couldn't stop the dreams from coming, couldn't change them. And because of that, a young woman was dead. And she was on the run, fleeing from the murderer's accomplices who were after her.
The only witness.
So what the hell was she supposed to do next?
Now that she had time to think, to consider her options, Lucy realized she had to go back to New Orleans and contact the police, tell them everything she knew. Rather, a version they could handle. That was the only way. Earlier she'd panicked and headed out of the city to anywhere away from the danger following her, but eventually she'd lost the thugs. And if she went back to the city how in the world would they know where to find her?
Reassured, she quickly pulled on her cotton flood pants and crop top, then shoved her feet into thick-soled sandals.
The authorities wouldn't believe her if she told them everything, but she didn't have to explain that she'd purposely gone to the scene of the crime, but had been too late to save that poor woman. She could simply say she'd been out for a walk and had stumbled on the murder. That would be believable. New Orleans was a late-night town and on weekends pedestrians crowded French Quarter streets.
In her mind's eye, Lucy could again see the horror she hadn't been able to stop. But before fear could change her mind, she shook away the memory.
Scraping a thick skein of coppery hair from her eyes, she grabbed her wallet and shoved it in her pocket - she'd left her shoulder bag on the floor of her car. Then she found her keys and peeked through the blinds. The motel sign glowed at her through a wet neon haze. There was no one was out to see her leave. Opening the door to a blast of humidity, she crossed the rain-slick pavement to her car.
It wasn't until she pulled out of the parking lot and checked her rearview mirror that she saw a set of high beams turn on.
Her chest tightened, but she told herself someone else had merely chosen to leave the motel at four in the morning. Though the rain had stopped and the moon was trying to pop out from behind a cloud, she turned on her wipers to clear the windshield, then checked the mirror again. The other car swung out behind her. Coincidence, she told herself, but just to make certain, she took a turn she hadn't meant to on a road she didn't know.
The other car followed.
She pressed the accelerator harder.
The other car kept pace.
She made another turn.
The other car turned, as well.
Her mouth was dry, her pulse fierce, but she told herself to stay calm. She was intelligent enough to think her way out of this.
They were speeding along a moonlit bayou, the long narrow finger of water crossed by home-built bridges to small dwellings, mostly ramshackle, some boarded up. Fishing camps probably, but none so far showed any sign of life. And there was no doubling back.
Her headlights hit a sign that indicated a split ahead.
Which way to go?
Driving on instinct, she stayed left, venturing deeper into bayou territory, and when she saw another road ahead and to the right - this one gravel - she killed her lights and made a wild turn, trusting the moon to guide her.
Excerpted from In Dreams by Patricia Rosemoor Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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