Read an Excerpt
~ Paris, France
One step and this would all be over.
Erik stared down at the murky depths of the lake, a torch ablaze in his hand. His head was bowed, throat clogged with a bitter sense of loss. The water below was stagnant; a black mirror, yet it cast no reflection from its glassy surface.
He was grateful for that.
Closing his eyes, he swayed forward, then back, and forward again. It would be so easy to end his wretched existence, the exquisite pain that tore his breath away every time he thought of her. It had been two days since he’d last seen her and already, it felt like a lifetime. He longed to put an end to the torture. He had nothing left.
But he still had his pride.
Erik opened his eyes, the fingers of his free hand curling into a clenched fist. He’d survived worse than this in his life. It was only his heart that had been shattered, not his will. He didn’t need her. He didn’t need anyone. Fate had dealt him brutal blows at seemingly every turn, but he’d always managed to rise above the hardships. As a child, he’d been forced to endure whatever circumstances befell him. He’d sworn never to be powerless again.
He was in control.
Spinning around, Erik raised the torch higher and surveyed the remains of his lair. His lips tightened in a grimace. The mob had been thorough, ransacking and looting anything remotely valuable. He extended his gaze farther, toward the organ. It sat intact, though several pipes were dented in. If its size and weight hadn’t been a hindrance, it would have been carted away as well.
This lair was no longer home. He had to make a fresh start.
Erik strode forward. He weaved his way around an overturned table. His boots crunched on fragments of glass. Fingering the edge of the mask on his face, he was lost in thought. Memories of her began to intrude once more, preying upon his mind. He stomped them down. If he could excise them with a knife, he would. Nothing, however, was ever that simple.
He would have to learn to live without her.