Draper had dreamed of her his entire life. The golden haired angel in the glass coffin.
After an epidemic that wiped out over half the world’s population, the next generations warred for the remaining resources until the survivors realized they needed peace in order to avoid extinction. By then the borders between the United States, Canada and Central America had disappeared and the new country was renamed Amelorica. And humanity begins to find its equilibrium within the four primary cities and the villages scattered to the west.
Zroya lives a sheltered life within the Southern Installation. Protected from the ‘contamination’ that brought humanity to the brink of extinction, she’s terrified to leave the safety of the known for the unknown. Even though women are treated like cattle within the Installation, it’s still familiar. However, it’s now Zroya’s time to become a breeder, she balks and is imprisoned.
Slaughter D’Reaper has been free from Installation control for sixteen years and thanks the Creator every day for that privilege. Now, he and his brothers are hunting for Zroya, to give her that same choice. How does he know about Zroya? From dreams that have been sent to him since he was fourteen. His obsession knows no bounds as he tears apart the country of Amelorica searching for the woman he’s come to love.
But is it true love which they can build a future on, or only a dream? And when given the opportunity for freedom, which will Zroya choose? The life she knows or love and a new beginning?
Sitting cross-legged, Draper gathered the overwhelming sea of feelings together and allowed them to wash through him as he centered himself.
He could see in Zroya’s actions that she was slowly accepting him, but would it be before he was forced to leave if Zev’s scars proved to be coordinates like Draper suspected?
Standing, Draper dusted the seat of his pants, stilling at the snap of a twig. He reached for his scythes, but came up empty. It was then he remembered he’d dropped them next the fire. Too vacking distracted.
Gathering his energy to lash out and praying it wasn’t a human, Draper curled his hands into fists. Zroya stepped from the shadows. The tension rolled from him at the sight of her.
Her porcelain skin drenched in moonlight was gorgeous. He wanted her badly, but knew she wasn’t ready for that step. Wrestling his desire under control, he continued to trace her delicate features with her eyes.
“Hello? Draper?” The fear in her voice pulled Draper from his perusal.
Pushing from the shadows, Draper walked towards her.
“Thank the Creator! I thought maybe my father had found me.” She heaved a breath of relief.
Her teeth nibbled her lip. “That’s my worst fear, that he’ll track me down. Not that it’s been long enough yet.”
“If it had he wouldn’t be taking you. You have to know I would protect you.”
“And if he killed you? What then?” the whispered response seemed to be dragged from her.
“My brothers would protect you and the people from Ketewah.” He craved to go to her and gather her in his arms. No one that met her would leave her defenseless.
“You all would try.” She sniffed.
Closing the small distance, Draper took a chance and cradled her cheek. When she didn’t pull away a small thrill of victory coursed through him. Every touch that he was granted was precious to him. “You’ve seen what we can do, so you should know we’d succeed. If he came here, he’d be on our ground and we’d destroy him.” Not wanting to push too much, he lowered his hand, stepped back and propped his shoulder against the tree she leaned on. “Why are you out here in the woods if you think your father would find you?”
“I needed away from everyone and you weren’t there.”
“So you thought to find me?” Pleased that she’d sought him out.
“Actually. Yes.” A tentative touch brushed his arm and then was gone. “I just wanted to talk, if that’s okay?”
“I love our talks.” He didn’t add that he would talk until he was hoarse if it meant more time with her.
“Is this one of our dreams?”
Surprised Draper’s eyes widened. “No.”
She smiled. “It sometimes feels like it. Doesn’t it?” She pressed her back against the tree and turned her face to the sky. “‘Did you know when I wasn’t dreaming of you, my mother would make up fanciful stories about you to entertain me?”
Grinning at the image of Zroya listening to stories of him, Draper dropped his lips to her temple.
Startled, her eyes met his and her fingers brushed the area.
“No, I didn’t know your mother did that.”
Her jade eyes met his, shadows darkened the light green depths as if they held a multitude of secrets. “I got jealous even with the stories. My mom could see this amazing future and all I had was what she chose to share and my imagination.” Her fingers plucked at the hem of her shirt.
“Can you clasp your hands behind you?” she whispered.
Draper smiled and followed her request. When she pressed into him and wrapped her arms around his waist it was all he could do to not gather her closer. Curious to hear the rest of the story and needing a distraction from the spike of arousal her nearness brought, Draper asked. “So what happened?”
“I asked her to take me with her and she did. She couldn’t bring me often because it drained her. She’d be almost comatose for days after, which I now realize left her very vulnerable.” Her voice trembled and he kissed the crown of her head.
“Which dreams did we share?” he asked, hoping to pull her from the past.
“One was just like this. Except we were strolling in the woods and sharing our thoughts and dreams. Discussing where we would live.”
“I remember that one.” Surprised, since there had been so many through the years he hadn’t expected to remember one in the thousand that had been sent. But that one had been vivid as if he were walking with her in the moonlight. It was one of the dreams that had convinced him she was real. “We were holding hands and you asked me to kiss you.”
She tilted her head her eyes luminous. “Would you, Draper?”
“It would be my pleasure.”