Daredevil's Run. Kathleen Creighton
MILLS & BOON
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Table of Contents
Kathleen Creighton has roots deep in the California soil but has relocated to South Carolina. As a child, she enjoyed listening to old timers’ tales, and her fascination with the past only deepened as she grew older. Today she says she is interested in everything—art, music, gardening, zoology, anthropology and history, but people are at the top of her list. She also has a lifelong passion for writing, and now combines her two loves in romance novels.
This book is for DAVE and TIM…the two sweet, wonderful guys who have dedicated themselves to making my daughters’ lives happy (a task requiring more than a small measure of patience, empathy, and of course, love). How on earth did my girls get so lucky?
A SPECIAL THANK YOU…To Dawn, my firstborn (who calls to my mind words from The Sound of Music: “Somewhere…I must have done something good…”) and to the other wonderful people at Kern River Outfitters in Wofford Heights, California—Dwight Pascoe, his wife, Trudy, whitewater photographer Bob Walker—for making it possible for me to ride the river without once getting my feet wet.
It started the way it always did, with the dream of waking up in the darkness, of being afraid, terrified. Heart racing, pounding, sweating and shaking, wanting to cry but knowing he was too big to cry. He didn’t want to be a baby, did he?
He didn’t cry, he didn’t. But his chest and throat hurt as if he did.
Then the noise. Terrible noises—things crashing, breaking, thumps and bangs, voices yelling…screaming. A man’s voice yelling. A woman’s voice screaming.
There were other voices, too, small frightened voices—not his!—whimpering, “Mommy…”
And finally…finally the other voice, the one he’d been waiting for, praying for, soft as a breath blowing warm past his ear. “Shh…It’s okay…it’s gonna be okay. I won’t let him hurt you. Nobody’s gonna hurt you. You’re safe now. It’s okay.”
He felt safe then, and warm, and when the loudest noises came, he crouched down in the warm darkness and waited for the crashing and banging and screaming and yelling to stop and the lights to turn on, so bright they hurt his eyes. So bright he woke up.
Mattie’s voice. Mattie was standing beside his bed, poking him, shaking his arm.
“Wake up, Wade. Wake…up!”
“I am awake. Stop poking me.” He glared up at his brother’s face, just a dark blob in the darkness of their room, and scrubbed furiously at his eyes. “What’s the matter? What did you wake me up for?”
“You were crying.”
“Yes, you were. I heard you. Did you have a bad dream, Wade?”
“Maybe. So what?” He was the older brother, after all. “Big deal. It was only a dream. Go back to sleep, Mattie.”
Mattie’s shadow didn’t move, just went on standing there beside Wade’s bed. A small voice said, “I can’t. I’m all awake now, too. Can I get in bed with you, Wade?”
Wade let out an exaggerated breath, but the truth was, he didn’t mind. “Okay…but you better not kick me this time, or I’m pushin’ you on the floor.”
He scooted over and Matt lifted the edge of the blankets and crawled in beside him. For a few minutes Wade lay still, listening to his brother’s uneven breathing, feeling the warmth of his body drive away the last lingering chill of nightmare.
After a while, he heard a whisper.
“Was it the pounding dream, Wade?”
Wade’s voice felt gravelly as he answered, “Yeah.”
“And…did he come?”
“Did who come?”
“You know who. The angel. The boy angel.”