Reunion

Reunion

by Sharon Sala
Reunion

Reunion

by Sharon Sala

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Overview

In the New York Times–bestselling author’s heart-pounding romantic thriller, a psychic and a man plagued by visions search for a killer.
 
A tragic accident left Gabriel Donner in a coma and his parents dead. Now that he’s awake he’s experiencing something even more traumatizing: dreams of grisly acts committed by a deranged serial killer—dreams that keep coming true.
 
In vivid detail Gabriel dreams of victims struck on the head and left with a single, thorn-less rose—almost as if he were the one doing the killing. He knows things about the murders that haven’t been made public, and he’s well-aware that telling the police would only implicate him in the crimes.
 
With nowhere left to turn and fearing for his sanity, Gabriel accepts the help of psychic Laura Dane. As they work together to decipher his visions, their relationship becomes something more. But as long as the killer is out there, no one is safe.
 
With twists that will shock you, Reunion is a fast-paced romantic thriller with a love story that will make you believe in the unseen. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780795345128
Publisher: RosettaBooks
Publication date: 02/12/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 373
Sales rank: 152,742
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

About The Author
Sharon Sala is a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of Oklahoma RWA. She has 94 plus books in print, published in five different genres--Romance, Young Adult, Western, Fiction, and Women's Fiction. First published in 1991, she's an eight-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, four-time Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine, five-time winner of the National Reader's Choice Award, and five-time winner of the Colorado Romance Writer's Award of Excellence, as well as Bookseller's Best Award. In 2011 she was named RWA's recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Her books are New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher's Weekly bestsellers. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

There were no clocks in Laura Dane's house. There was no need. For her, time was relative. She ate when she was hungry and slept when she was tired. She was the heir to Texas oilman Wallace Dane, her grandfather, and the fortune he'd left her was vast. She didn't have to lift a finger to help herself.

But she hadn't always been this way. Once she had tried, and tried very hard, to be part of the real world — to ignore that thing within herself that others couldn't understand.

She'd taken herself and her education, leaving the coddled comfort of the family estate outside Santa Fe, and tried in every way she knew how to be normal. She'd gotten a job in a bank in Albuquerque, rented an apartment nearby and pretended she was just like everyone else. She'd shopped at the advertised sales and rushed through life like the people with whom she worked — living on borrowed time and ruled by schedules of someone else's making. And then a common thief had upset her carefully balanced world and sent it into a spin she couldn't right.

It had happened at work — in broad daylight — on a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning. A man walked into the bank wearing an elaborate disguise and went straight to the teller window where Laura was working. He handed her a note, pushed a large bag across the counter and then stuck his hand in his pocket.

She touched the note and then gasped, looking up without having read a word. Even after she read the message, she couldn't believe it was happening. He wanted money. He had a gun. She remembered looking up in stunned confusion and staring into an unfamiliar face.

His hair was long, red and pulled back into a ponytail beneath a black cap. His beard was sandy, his eyes hidden behind a pair of dark glasses. His clothes were denim and dirty and when he leaned toward her and whispered, she froze.

"Hurry up, and don't play the heroine."

She did as she was told, opening her cash drawer and, with calm, methodical movements, putting the cash into the bag. Moments later, she pushed the bag back across the counter. His lips curled into a smile as his fingers closed around the fabric. Then he took his other hand out of his pocket and sprayed something into her face. She gasped and slumped, unconscious before she hit the floor.

His cry of alarm was all that was needed to cover the robbery. As people rushed to her aid, he turned and walked out of the bank. It was several minutes before anyone knew what had transpired. The police were at her side when she came to, asking her for a description. Unfortunately for Laura, the description she gave them was of the face she'd seen beneath his disguise, not the man that the security camera, and everyone else, had seen.

Her beautiful Saturday turned in to a miserable day. Marked by suspicion as a possible accomplice, she was forced to admit her secret — that she sometimes saw things that weren't really there, and that, at other times, knew things before they could happen. It had taken her more than five minutes of explanation before she'd had the guts to utter the word.

Psychic.

At that point the police had debated about whether to lock her up because she was a possible criminal or because she was possibly insane.

And even though the thief was eventually caught, and entirely from her description, it was too late to undo the damage done by her revelation. The truth about her "power" had cost her a job and several so-called friends. Hounded by the press and shunned by others, she moved out of her Albuquerque apartment and back into the family home on the outskirts of Santa Fe to lick her proverbial wounds.

Getting fired and moving home had accomplished two things. Boredom became the incentive she needed to take an active role at the corporate level of her late grandfather's holdings, and the New Mexico authorities were forced to accept the fact that she wasn't a fake after all. Over the next seven years, those same authorities accepted her help in solving several other cases, gaining her a solid reputation as a true psychic.

But that was then and this was now, and Laura had long since accepted the solitude of her existence. She no longer apologized for the fact that she didn't operate on the same set of principles as everyone else. Her realities were in the images that flowed through her mind. Sometimes they came quietly, like leaves falling onto the still surface of a pond, and sometimes they poured through her senses like rain through a downspout. And there were the times, not often, but they were there, when the images crashed in upon her like breakers onto an eroding shoreline. When that happened, it took all Laura had to retain her sense of self.

If she had lived in an earlier time, she would have been burned at the stake for being a witch. Instead, she suffered a different sort of ostracism from society. One that isolated her from any sort of normal relationship. She accepted her fate as her due, and only now and then did the truth of her situation surface. When it did, she battled her own demons and accepted the isolation, knowing there would never be a man who would love her enough to get past what she was.

* * *

Gabriel Donner slipped his belt through the last loop in his pants and then buckled it. It felt good to be wearing real clothes. Hospital garb left little to the imagination, and for Gabriel, who was four inches above six feet, even less than that.

He stood before the mirror, adjusting the collar of his blue knit shirt and tucking the shirttail into his slacks before turning away. Ever since the accident, he'd become uncomfortable with his own reflection. There was a sense of loss that had nothing to do with the deaths of his parents and came more from a loss of his own identity. He couldn't remember a time in his life when he'd been afraid. At least not like this. But now there were times when he caught himself hesitating before turning a corner in the hospital hall. And when the nurses were making their nighttime rounds, the urge to sleep with a light on was almost overwhelming. If Gabriel Donner had been a lesser man, the fear inside him might have won, but he was strong, both in body and in mind, and he refused to let it take hold.

He strode to the window overlooking the hospital parking lot, trying to pick out the familiar color of his uncle Mike's car. If it was down there, it wouldn't be hard to find. Canary yellow was impossible to miss. When he saw it parked at the end of a row, a bit of his anxiety lifted. Good! That meant Mike was already here. Within the hour Gabriel would be home.

Then his expression stilled. Home would never be the same. Pain dug a little deeper as he turned away from the window. It seemed impossible to believe that his mother and father were no longer of this earth. That they'd died without his knowledge, been buried without his presence, seemed obscene. His only comfort had come from knowing that Mike Travers, Brent and Angela's best friend and the man Gabriel called uncle, had stood in his stead at the graves.

He took a deep, shuddering breath, raking his fingers through his hair and telling himself to focus on the future and not the past. But it was hard. His last memories of his parents were of his father's sudden shout of warning and his mother's screams. After that, everything was a blessed blur that had faded to unconsciousness.

Guilt ate at him constantly. He'd replayed the moment over and over in his mind a thousand times, watching his father sliding behind the wheel of Gabriel's new car and insisting on driving to the restaurant where they were going to eat. Now he wished to God they'd stayed at home. If they had, they wouldn't have been driving on the Northwest Expressway, and the drunk who'd crossed the center median would have crashed into someone else.

He pivoted angrily, slapping the flat of his hand against the wall, unaware that he was no longer alone.

* * *

Mike Travers paused in the doorway. When he saw Gabriel's mood, his smile disappeared. This man was like the son he'd never had. He'd adored him as a child and loved and respected him as an adult. He was well aware that he could never take Brent and Angela's place in Gabriel's life, nor did he want to. But something had to be done about Gabriel's growing anger. This wasn't the first time he'd witnessed such an outburst, and, as a psychiatrist, Mike knew only too well the long-term effects that guilt could have on a man.

"Gabriel."

Surprised to find he was no longer alone, Gabriel looked up, and when he saw Mike's face, the anger within him began to subside. He managed a smile, shamed that he'd been caught acting out on these moods that had taken over his life.

Michael Morris Travers was a small, frail man pushing his way toward his sixty-eighth birthday. His hair was thin and graying, and his clothes were always rumpled. Considering his skill and reputation as a top-notch psychiatrist, his appearance was often deceiving.

It had been a source of constant amusement between Brent and Angela that their best friend looked more like an absentminded professor than the consummate professional he actually was.

Gabriel frowned. "Look, Uncle Mike, I, uh ..."

Mike put his hand on Gabriel's arm and felt the muscles knotting beneath his touch.

"It's all right, boy. I've had a few days like that lately myself."

Gabriel relaxed. He never had to explain himself with his uncle Mike.

"Ready to go home, boy?" Mike asked.

Wariness crept into Gabriel's expression, and he shrugged.

"As ready as I'll ever be." He picked up the phone and called to notify the nurses' station that he was ready to leave. Then he turned to Mike. "Did you bring them?"

Mike thought of the roses lying in the back seat of his car and nodded. "Yes, all twelve dozen."

Gabriel seemed to relax, but Mike was still bothered by Gabriel's earlier request.

"I'm not certain this is the right moment to make a visit to the cemetery. This is your first day out. The flowers will certainly keep a couple of days if you'd rather wait."

"I've already waited too long," Gabriel said.

There was a stillness about Gabriel's expression that made the old man nervous. As a child, Gabriel had been exuberant to the point of aggravation. As an adult, the wild streak in him had matured to a strong, dependable man who had a tendency toward playing practical jokes. This quiet rage was unlike the real Gabriel. More than once during the past few days, Mike had felt as if the Gabriel of old had died along with his parents in that wreck, and that this man was little more than a skilled imposter.

A few minutes later, they were on their way out of the hospital. Within the hour, Mike was pulling off the highway and through the main gates of Rosemound Cemetery. It was the first week in June, and already the Oklahoma days were miserably hot, although the grass around the headstones was still green and well-clipped.

"We're here," Mike said, parking beneath a spreading oak to avail himself of the shade.

Gabriel's mind blanked as he gazed out across the rows and rows of tombstones. It seemed impossible to think he would never see his parents again. The fact that they were buried beneath six feet of Oklahoma soil was more than he could take.

His voice was shaking as he wiped a hand across his eyes. "This is so damned obscene."

Mike reached across the seat, gripping Gabriel's arm and giving him an understanding squeeze.

"I know, boy, I know. Sometimes life is just plain unfair."

Gabriel reached for the flowers in the back seat and got out without answering, intent on what he'd come to do.

"Let me help," Mike said, handing Gabriel three of the wrapped bundles, before gathering the remaining three up for himself.

He started across the grounds, leading the way for Gabriel to follow. "When I called in this order, I cleaned out the florist," Mike said. "They put these in bunches of two dozen each. I assume that's all right with you?"

The sweet scent of the bloodred roses was rich beneath Gabriel's nostrils as he followed Mike across the grounds. He lowered his head, slowly inhaling their essence and remembering his mother's love for the blooms. Tears were thick in his throat, but they stayed, refusing to fall.

"It's fine," he said.

Moments later, Mike paused.

Only then did Gabriel think to look down. When he did, reality hit. The physical evidence of his parents' deaths was staring him in the face. The tall marble edifice bearing both their names was right before him, and it was all he could do to keep breathing.

"Can I help?" Mike asked.

"No."

Gabriel's answer was stark and filled with pain. Mike's heart went out to him, but this was something Gabriel needed to do all on his own.

"I'll wait for you at the car. If you feel weak, or need help in any way, just call. I'll be watching," Mike said.

Then he laid down his flowers and walked away, leaving Gabriel alone with his sorrow.

The sun was warm on Gabriel's face as he dropped to his knees. A robin swooped from a nearby tree, landing a few feet away before hopping across the ground. He rocked back on his knees to watch and, just for a moment, could almost believe he was at home helping his mother tend her garden of roses and not kneeling at her grave. But then a pushy little breeze rattled the papers in which the roses were wrapped, and he was reminded of why he'd come.

With a heavy heart, he unwrapped the first three bundles of roses and laid them on his father's side of the grave, spreading them as he went, until the fresh mound of earth was completely covered by the long-stemmed beauties.

But when it came time to decorate Angela Donner's side of the grave, he unwrapped the first bundle of roses, then hesitated. There was something he'd left undone. He dropped back to his knees and picked up a single, long-stemmed rose. Then, one by one, he began breaking the thorns off the stem. Only after it was completely smooth and unable to harm did he lay it upon the ground. He picked up another and began to repeat the same process all over again, echoing a habit his mother had practiced for all her life.

The rose had been her favorite flower, but she had frequently commented upon the irony of such beauty being capable of causing such pain and had done what she thought was fitting by removing the thorns from her glorious bouquets.

The process was tedious, and more than once he pricked his own finger. But the pain was nothing to what he was feeling inside. His grief gave way as he dropped the last rose to the ground. Tears ran hot and angry, and rage filled him.

"Ah, God, why them and not me?"

But there were no answers. In spite of the heat of the day, a chill settled inside him. Weary beyond belief, he started back to the car. A few yards away, he heard someone sobbing. Startled, he turned to look. There was no one there. He touched his cheeks, but his own tears had already dried.

The voice. It was back. Foreboding swept over him in waves of defeat. He thrust his hand through his hair, feeling the place where they'd shaved it to stitch up the wounds.

"Leave me alone," he muttered. "I've got troubles of my own."

After that, the voice was strangely silent.

CHAPTER 2

Brent Donner had founded Straight Arrow Security when Gabriel was ten. Gabriel had joined the company straight out of college. Now it was all his, and he didn't want it.

It wasn't that he didn't know the job. It was the being in control that bothered him. He kept asking himself how the hell could he operate a million-dollar business when he couldn't control his own thoughts?

Twice in the past few days he'd come close to telling his uncle Mike about the voice. The man was a psychiatrist. Surely he'd heard wilder stories from other patients. But an instinct for self-preservation kept him quiet. He'd convinced himself that this was nothing more than an anomaly, and that it would eventually go away. Therefore, the less people who knew what was happening to him, the better off he would be. That was what he'd told himself. That was what he believed.

And yet, when they turned into the winding drive leading to the Donner estate, Gabriel found himself beginning to panic. Could he live among the memories without losing his mind? He shuddered. Maybe it was too late. Maybe his sanity was already coming undone.

He shoved aside the negative thoughts and made himself focus on the three-story mansion with its gleaming white walls and elegant Corinthian columns. Like four guards on duty, they stood two stories tall, bracing a third-story balcony that ran the length of the home.

His gaze moved from the house to the grounds, and even though he couldn't see it, he knew the most beautiful spot was his mother's rose garden at the back of the estate. His belly knotted, and he wondered if this would ever feel like home again.

Mike parked and then pointed toward the house. "Matty must have been watching for us. Here she comes."

Gabriel tensed. Facing her wouldn't be easy.

Matty Sosa was more like a grandparent to Gabriel than the family housekeeper. When she saw him, her face crumpled, and she began to hug him fiercely.

"Madre de Dios. You are too thin."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Reunion"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Sharon Sala.
Excerpted by permission of RosettaBooks.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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