Friday, June 15, 2012
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Cassie Johnston needs to move on from a bad break-up. To start, she gets a new hairstyle and leaves the hospital scrubs behind for a research lab coat. Exhausted and yet excited about the new challenges, she’s unprepared to handle it when her heartbreaker walks back in to her life.
Mikhail Ivanovich tried to do the right thing for the woman he loves, but he’s haunted by her absence. Buying himself in work hasn't helped and eventually he accepts life is too short not to spend it with the woman he loves.
A heat wave blankets New York City and the two finally sit down to talk about what happened between them. Will they reunite or are there too many insurmountable problems standing in their way?
WARNING! There's a sexy shape shifter living in NYC wearing a 3 piece suit that will do anything to get his woman back in his arms where he can keep her safe and happy!
“You okay, Cassie?”
“Oh yes, yes, sorry everyone.” With a smile pasted on her face, she looked around the table at the faces of her worried and anxious workmates. They’d all been enjoying lunch together until she’d screamed in terror at something no one else could see. “I guess my mind traveled into uncharted territory.” The small group of men and women tittered and returned to talking while she put her hands on her heated cheeks. It was a useless move to stop the blush staining them from spreading further, but she did it all the same.
Groaning silently with embarrassment, she reminded herself how, until then, the altered reality only happened at home, while she slept. Realistically, she could no longer blame her weird tiger dreams on her problems with change. Maybe she should talk to a mental health professional.
Why couldn’t she be like everyone else?
Why did she have to embarrass herself by daydreaming about her white tiger while sitting in the company’s air-conditioned and packed lunchroom?
Flustered, she fussed with her salad before eventually excusing herself early, telling her lunch mates she needed to make a couple of calls before heading back into the lab. Actually, what she needed was a few minutes alone to pull herself back together. She made her way to her office, all the while focused on controlling her breathing and heartbeat, which were still unsettled from the recent trip her imagination had taken.
Sitting at her desk, she opened a file, and pretended to read while her mind raced through what had happened. There was something going on that wasn’t right. If she had any doubts in leaving the hectic pace of the hospital floor for the quiet one of research, they were long gone. She couldn’t be more thrilled with her decision to accept Dr. Winton’s offer. While change was not her thing, the new job had actually been a good decision.
On her first day at work, she’d been placed on a team looking into diabetes, specifically childhood type 1. They were trying to pinpoint the problem gene or genes in a bid to eradicate or, at the very least, find a means to treat the disease. It was exciting and rewarding, as well as slow and methodical work, with hours spent alone in a clean room. The people in her group were great, focused on the job at hand, and yet were still real. Not for one minute did she feel like the new kid on the block. It had been an easy transition, she couldn’t have asked for better.
Unfortunately, it meant the only problem she’d had all week was between her and the tiger. For almost a year, he’d offered her comfort through her imaginings, and she was thankful. Suddenly, he’d moved out of her dreams to take up residence in her brain, ensuring he was with her whether awake or asleep. She was scared on many different levels and, because she wasn’t sure how to handle it, she’d tried to ignore his presence.
Apparently that tactic was no longer an option.
All week the white beast haunted her. It was the visits while she was up and aware that upset her the most. Everything would be moving along normally, her eyes and brain focused on something, maybe a printout full of data, and the white tiger would be there waiting for something. Or, like what happened in the lunchroom, her mind would travel and there he’d be, coming for her. Sometimes an aura of impatience surrounded him and eventually he’d make his presence known while growling and pacing. Other times he’d be there, quiet, curious but not intrusive. Then there were a few times when he’d lie down and purr. Those were the more curious incidents. Whenever they happened, she was drawn to him, and wanted to hold him close. Then she’d remember he was a ruthless beast and a figment of her imagination.
The worst time was when she believed he spoke to her. She didn’t know why her subconscious expected and accepted a tiger could speak, but it did. The words were always the same and clearly enunciated as they kept an ongoing, unrelenting cadence beating through her body. Come back? That implied she knew the tiger, personally, and that wasn’t possible. People and animals did not communicate.
Was she losing her mind? Schizophrenic? Obviously something wasn’t right in her head and it was getting worse since the tiger never truly left her alone. Even right then, as she was internally freaking out at her desk, he was there waiting for something from her, and she didn’t have any idea what it was. However, she was absolutely certain about one thing. It was becoming increasingly clear, the cat’s tolerance for her to do what it wanted her to do was running desperately low.
It was odd how she’d never seriously questioned his presence in her dreams before today. He was always there, giving her comfort, but something had changed because he wouldn’t leave.
Mentally, Cassie pushed away from the tiger sitting in her mind, and turned her focus back to work.
I’ll question the state of my mental health later. The minute she spoke those words to herself, she swore a growl reverberate through her soul, bringing a chill to her flesh along with it. Her first response was to snarl back at the tiger and doing so earned her a purr, which put her right back where she’d been.
She was questioning where her sanity had gone because it clearly wasn’t present.
* * * * *
The next morning she was lying in bed, panting for a breath, while her heart pounded wildly after another visit from the white tiger. She couldn’t simply accept his presence any longer. To make matters even more difficult to handle was the continuation of a record breaking heat wave. The weather had escalated to dangerous levels, with massive power outages, which seemed to have put all the city’s residents on edge. She wasn’t sure if it was the heat or dreams, but it was too much for Cassie to take. It was time she found a doctor who would listen to her concerns about having an imagined tiger camping out in her head.
Trying to relax, she fluffed up her pillows, and mentally approached the issue that left her questioning her connection with reality. When she found no answers to any of the questions she had, Cassie got up, and made her way to the shower, bypassing the warm and going straight to cold.
With her new job came a different schedule. It was her first day off and she needed to do some errands. Thinking about the freedoms she’d gained by taking a Monday through Friday job made her smile. It had been a long time since she’d had an entire weekend off. She wasn’t sure what to do.
Actually, maybe she’d get the errands over with, and do something different like catch a movie. Theaters usually had great air conditioning and the weather reports she’d heard last night had called for another hundred degrees plus day.
However, before she made any decisions of what to do, she wanted to read the newspaper. All she’d done during the past week was stay on top of the headlines and she was eager to read in depth about what was happening around the world. A small pleasure of hers was to have the weekend paper delivered to her front door. She didn’t have to get dressed and walk down the block to the corner shop for one, all she had to do was open her door, and there it would be.
After drying off, she made her way back into her room to get dressed.
Since it was already hot, she decided to forgo both bra and panties until she had to go out. Given the choice, she didn’t want anything binding her in the hot weather if it wasn’t necessary. She put on a short spaghetti-strap cotton dress and was ready to start the day by settling on the couch to relax with the paper.
Making her way to the front door, she unlocked and unbolted it, pulled it open, only to be stunned speechless.
Leaning against the stair rail outside her apartment was Mikhail Ivanovich, in the flesh, and he was holding her paper. Even in the sweltering temperatures, he looked cool, calm, and utterly handsome. The man looked sexy in a simple white t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers without socks. It wasn’t fair. Dressed to the nines or casual like he was with his white hair tamed and framing his sexy eyes, he always had the ability to ignite her passion and need to be fulfilled.
©Tilly Greene, 2012
Buy Come Back by Tilly Greene ebook at Amazon and print from Amazon│CreateSpace
Future Come series releases: Come to Me [book 2] - F/W 2012 and Come and Stay [book 3] - Sp/S 2013