Jada is selling her childhood home. She takes one last look in her old bedroom hoping to reconnect with Rhydian—the man who lived in her closet. After losing her family, he is the one hope she clings to. The only way she can get to him is by stepping from her world into his.
Before Jada can find Rhydian, she’s attacked by a witch. When Rhydian saves Jada, he's intrigued but doesn’t remember her. A spell has erased his memories and Jada doesn’t know how to break it.
An evil still lurks in the darkness, out for Jada’s blood. Together, Rhydian and Jada must face the evil if they ever wish to be together and break the spell.
“If you stay in there any longer, you might find yourself dinner for the werewolves who drink here at night.”
Jada froze. She was completely naked. Surprising her seemed to assuage him. Jada turned and tried not to blush. His gaze roved over her face and settled on her chest before moving up. “I will if you hand me my clothes.”
Wonderful. She rolled her eyes. Hopefully, some clothes waited for her inside. Jada held her head up and stepped out of the water. Her cheeks burned as she walked past him and back into the cabin. Inside, the fire roared and a gown and undergarments were laid out on the bed. The witch looked out for her. Jada felt his eyes upon her as she examined the dress.
“See anything interesting?”
He grunted. “I read the letters. You were right. I found the responses in the trunk. Many of them I salvaged. The others had deteriorated. They tell an interesting tale. Maybe you’re in league with the witch.”
Jada pulled the gown over her body. It fitted her tightly and left her neck and the tops of her breasts exposed. “I’m not in league with her. This isn’t how I expected our reunion would be.”
“What did you expect? Flowers and sweet words?”
“I don’t know what I expected. I came here hoping that I could … I had nowhere else to go. Everything’s gone. You were the only thing I had left.”
“Do you want me to pity you? The person in those letters is nothing. I don’t know him. I don’t know you.” He scattered the pages across the floor between them.
Seeing her precious recollections strewn about was almost as bad as if he had torn them to pieces. She knelt down and tried to gather them up. Jada noticed mud covered his leather boots. The sides showed wear. His cape frayed at the edges. Rhydian had always kept his things pristine. Something else to indicate how much he had changed.
He stepped on her memories and forced her to look up at him. Jada told herself Rhydian didn’t remember her. Before her was a true creature of darkness she had read and written about. Now she had been thrown into one of her books. In this one, Jada didn’t know the outcome of the plot. The witch explained he could only be drawn out by the one who created him.
How can that help me now?
“Would you mind moving your foot, Rhydian?”
“You address me as though you know me intimately. You should be calling me, count, or my lord, or master.”
She snorted. “I don’t think so. No one owns me. Move your foot.”
“Why do those sheets mean so much to you? They are old, from a person who no longer exists. I recognize the hand, but the words are foreign to me.”
Jada stood slowly. He told her the truth. That person was no longer there and she had to connect with the man before her for this to work. Maybe this experience had to occur for her to say good-bye because she had said good-bye to everything else. “The letters were a solace after the accident. They gave me something to hold on to while I dealt with the grief. Maybe my coming here is a way to prepare me to get back to my family.” A sense of peace came over her as she realized the solution.
“Your family would be dead, I take it, from the way you’re talking,” he stated.
“Yes. Killed in a car wreck. By some simple twist of fate, I remained alive with this to show for it.” Jada gestured to the scar on her face.
Rhydian clutched her jaw once more and ran his finger over the mark. She trembled. “Not as bad as mine. You’re saying I should feel sorry for you for this?”
“No. I wouldn’t expect that. I was just stating a fact. I assume you’re here because you want to kill me.”
“To the point. I like that. You intrigue me. It crossed my mind that I should learn more about you, but I haven’t had a good meal in a while. If you’re offering, then I’ll gladly take it.” Rhydian pulled her forward to take her neck when she placed a hand on his chest.
“I have one request before you do.” Jada stared into his eyes. For once she hoped she could see the man she had loved, but only the darkness of the monster, of the vampire and the man that he had become, lingered in his gaze.
He growled and his pupils glowed red. “Make it fast.”
“One kiss. That’s all I desire. For old time’s sake. Even if you don’t remember me.” She touched his face, a gentle caress that brought tears to her eyes as she recalled the last time she had seen Rhydian. Jada wanted more than anything to take back the stupidity of her teenage years, and have him see her for the woman she had become. Her heart remained frozen. She had thought coming here would warm it.
“Why is this so important to you?” He caught one of her tears.
“Because at least I know you’re somewhere in there. After everything that happened, I can tell you I loved you. After all the years I kept your letters because, even though I loved my husband, you endured in my heart. Because … there’s no real good answer, except for me to say that I needed you. I was, and still am, willing to give everything up for you.”