The Land Of Shadows

By: Michelle Horst

Acknowledgements





I want to thank God for being there every step of the way and blessing me with such an amazing life.

Thank you to Ronald and Sheldon, my lovely family, for being so patient with me.

Patti your covers rock, as always. I swear I’m addicted to cover shopping with you.

Kristine, my BFF and super-amazing PA, I’d be lost without.

My Beta Readers, Riza Matias-Gumboc, Liza Flor Dequilla, Kristine McGinnis, Kelly Marshall-White, Rhiannon Matthias - ladies you’re all kinds of awesome. Thank you for giving up the time to read for me, making teasers and pimping for me.

My book besties – Amy, Andrea, Edwin, Karen, Sharon and Kelly Fletcher – thank you for being my friends.

And most important – the readers, reviewers and bloggers – thank you for each of you. You make writing worthwhile. Thank you to Kathleen, Amy, Andrea, Sharon, Riza and Kristine for never giving up on Vaalbara ;)

Thank you to each blog that took the time to take part in the cover reveal and release day blitz.

Love ya all tons ;)

~*~





WARNING





This book contains graphic scenes of sex, violence and strong language. I can’t stress that enough.



If you are agreeable with these terms then I hope you enjoy the book. Some scenes may be disturbing to some readers, they are intended to be disturbing so that you will understand the main character’s hurt, her suffering and anguish, but also how she chose to overcome her difficulties. This book has an HEA, but it is part of The Vaalbara Trilogy.



You will notice that some of the characters dialect is different, this is for a reason. In the beginning you may find this odd, but as the book progress you will get used to it. Vaalbara is a world that has values, honor and virtues.



This book is intended for mature, adult readers who are 17 and older.



Happy Reading ;)



Faith lightens the path your shadowed mind has to walk.





PART I




Secrets



All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream – Edgar Allan Poe





Chapter One





You can never run from your past, it defines who you are today. But use your Awo given intelligence and enjoy the future. It only comes once.



Storm~

When I close my eyes, her face is all I see. She haunts my dreams. I hardly have control over my talents. She leaves me burning with desire at the very thought of her. She must be doing this for her own twisted pleasure. What other explanation can there be for her taunting me every chance she gets?

The heat radiating off me scorches every breath I try to suck into my lungs. But then guilt consumes my thoughts as the memories of that horrible day floods me. Its intensity throws me back to that day no matter how hard I fight it. I’m forced to face those memories with both great regret and the sweetest longing. I’ve been trapped in this hell for what feels like a lifetime, and I fear it will never end.

I try to suck in another desperate breath, but it doesn’t help. I can’t hold back any longer. A desperate groan rumbles through my chest as I grab hold of my shirt. My chest aches but it’s an aching only she can soothe. The mere sight of her makes it easier to breathe. It eases some of the relentless craving confined so deep inside of me. I fear there’s nothing left of me. There’s only this yearning for her.

I let the sweet torture engulf every part of me once more. It’s all I can do to survive. It’s the only way I can be close to her. The agonizing memories are all I have now.

With the misery comes my ecstasy. A simple moment is never enough to sate my longing for her. The memories once again flood my mind. Every muscle in my body tightens. My pulse races faster as if to meet her. The countdown to the nightmare that haunts my every sleeping hour begins. With one hand I grip the couch tightly, and the other is fisted so tightly in my shirt, I’m about to rip through the material. I wish I could rather touch her silky skin.

Her bubbly laughter is always the first thing I hear. It trickles softly to me like the wind chimes Sarah has hanging outside Elora’s bedroom. A cynical smile plays around my lips, knowing the memories will only leave a bitter taste in my mouth. But I can’t resist. I never can.

My lips part as anticipation builds within me. Heat rolls in waves from my scorching skin.

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