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.The future stream was dry as if all of her energy had been sucked back into the past.Terrified of the implication, he dove into the seething water, repulsed by the stench and oily feel, yet determined to find her.The current strengthened, sweeping him along.Another cry, louder this time, assured him he was headed in the right direction.He raised his head and looked around, inwardly cringing at his surroundings.The images were torn and distorted, yet menace emanated from every shape, every shadow.He spotted her on the riverbank and struggled free of the murky water.The stench of fear and degradation clung to his skin.She writhed in the grass, naked and trembling.Her torso twisted and her back arched, yet her limbs remained unmoved.Was someone holding her down?Sitting beside her, he tried to pull her into his lap.Her body wouldn’t budge.Her screams became guttural moans that sent dread twisting through his being.“Angie, this isn’t real.Let go of the memory.” He stroked her hair back from her face, keeping his touch light and gentle.“You’re safe now.No one will harm you as long as I’m here.”She stilled, lying spread-eagled in the grass.Her skin was pale and clammy, her lips gradually turning blue.Not knowing what else to do, he sent a pulse of energy into her mind.“You’re dreaming, love.You need to wake up.”Her lashes fluttered and she whimpered, tears escaping from beneath her lashes.“Don’t…” She turned away from him, pulling her knees up toward her chest.“Go away.”“Wake up.If you still want me gone, I’ll leave.” It was a lie.He had no intention of leaving her side.But he could disperse his physical body and make her think he’d kept his word.Her image wavered then disappeared.He quickly followed her out.She was lying as she’d been in the visualization, curled up on her side with her back to him.He carefully touched her shoulder than ran his hand down her arm.“Are you all right?”“You have no right to spy on me.That wasn’t okay.”“I only entered your mind when I couldn’t rouse you.How often do you have these nightmares?”“I don’t want to talk about it.”Blayne sighed.Drakkin had warned him that he would need to push her if they ever hoped to heal her past.It wasn’t his nature to intentionally cause pain—unless the person deserved the discomfort.Angie definitely didn’t deserve more pain.Ignoring her struggles, he pulled her into his lap and cradled her against his chest.She buried her face in the crook of his neck and wrapped her arms around him.All right.They’d compromise.She could avoid his gaze, but she wasn’t going to avoid the cause of her fear.“Burying the pain has caused the wound to fester.Do you understand what the river was showing you?”“I’m not stupid,” she snapped.“My imagination isn’t subtle.”Her gift had delivered the cautionary images, not her imagination.However, the detail wasn’t important enough to correct.“Have you ever told anyone what happened?”“No.”The fact that she’d answered at all gave him hope.“Not even Tori?”“No.”They all suspected the abuse had been sexual.Such an attack explained many of her personality traits.There was no way to ease into something so horrible, so he just asked, “Were you raped?” Her entire body tensed and he had his answer.Fury surged through him, but tenderness drove it back.He couldn’t allow his reaction to her past to hinder her recovery.He had to stay calm and focus entirely on her.“Did you know your attacker?”“I’m not going to talk about this.” She pushed away from his chest and tried to squirm off his lap.He grasped her arms, but kept her upright, not wanting to mimic the helpless position he’d found her in beside the river.“You’ll never move beyond the pain until you acknowledge what happened.”“The past can’t be changed.” She glared into his eyes.“You said so yourself.”He ignored the argument.“When did it happen?”Emotion swelled inside her, spilling across their empathic link.Her chin quivered and tears gathered behind her thick lashes.“I went a little crazy after Mom died.One night I went looking for trouble and found it.There! Are you happy? I got what I deserved.No harm, no foul.” She wrested her arms out of his grasp and scrambled off the bed.He wasn’t sure if he should follow her and his indecision gave her time to lock herself in the bathroom.Though muffled, he easily made out the sound of her sobs.“Damn it.” He crawled off the bed and crossed to the bathroom.The door was locked, so he teleported inside.She’d lodged herself into the corner between the stool and bathtub.Her legs were drawn up to her chest, her arms folded on top of her knees.Her forehead rested on her folded arms and harsh sobs shook her entire body.Never feeling more helpless in his life, he knelt in front of her and stroked her hair.“It was not your fault.”“It was.” She didn’t raise her head and her voice was barely intelligible.“I encouraged them.They only took what I offered.”Them.They.The words echoed through his mind as anguish tore through his soul.Unable to leave her alone in her misery, he pulled her forward then swept her into his arms.Rather than return to the bed, he carried her into the common room and sat in one of the armchairs [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]