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Longing for a career-launching project, Rayleen aggressively convinces a representative to hire her. Moving her meager belongings, along with her son, from LA to Texas, she feels confident Texas will offer a new life.
Agitated with his entrusted friend’s choice for the renovation of his inherited ranch estate, Bronson begins spending time there and becomes amazed by Rayleen’s talents, but suspicious of her past. He tries to befriend the woman unlike most, and unwelcomingly noses into her life.
When a jealous former flame feels betrayed, she invents convincing schemes to rid Rayleen from Bronson’s life. With all the bizarre events unfolding, Bronson savors Rayleen’s sudden need of him before realizing how comfortably she fits into his life.
Surviving the downward spirals and regretfully refusing Bronson’s proposal, Rayleen remains obstinate of moving forward alone, knowing if her one remaining secret were exposed, no man would want her, or her son.
A desperate cry penetrated the depth of Rayleen’s con-sciousness, causing her eyes to open. Her breathing was la-bored and her eyes darted back and forth as she struggled to place her whereabouts. Within seconds she realized she was in her room, lying in her bed. Her body was hot, perspiration clung to her skin and her heart beat faster than a racehorse crossing the finish line of a race. The daunting tune continued to play inside her head, even though she was now fully awake. The dream was back, and for the love of God, she didn’t know why.
When she heard soft sobs, she adjusted her eyes to the faint light and discovered her six year old son crouched in the corner of the room. Untangling the covers from her body, she rose to offer comfort, but grew concerned when he cowered from her approach.
“Wyatt, it’s Mommy,” Rayleen assured him in a whisper. “Mommy was dreaming. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
Not receiving a positive response, she held out her arms and hoped to entice him into her embrace. “I’m really sorry, Wyatt, if I scared you, but I was dreaming. Mommy’s awake now. I’m not dreaming any more.”
His eyes fixed on hers, before moving her way. Once in her arms, she picked him up and hugged him tightly.
“I love you, Wyatt,” Rayleen said honestly while carrying him over to her bed.
Turning on the bedside lamp, she looked at her son with all the intentions of wiping away his tears, but gasped in hor-ror.
“Oh my God! Did I do this to you?” she asked upon seeing the red welt marring his cheek.
Wyatt nodded in affirmation, while she pulled him close. “Oh, Wyatt. Mommy was asleep and having a bad dream. I didn’t know you were in my room. I didn’t know you were here. You know I love you. You know I wouldn’t hurt you.”
Rayleen pulled him away to view his eyes, making sure her words were connecting and comforting. Relieved to see his fear subsiding, she kissed him repeatedly and began singing softly like she’d done so many times before. By singing the nursery rhyme, she hoped to drown out the other song swim-ming within her head.
It didn’t take long for Wyatt to fall asleep but she re-mained fully alert and furious with herself. The nightmare had a mind of its own and arose unannounced to rock her aware-ness. As hard as she tried to bury it, she was aware it remained alive in her subconscious. With it lying dormant for years, she wondered why it chose now to resurface and arouse her senses. Numerous times she’d tried to analyze the dream, but never found any importance or significance.
Lying down beside her sleeping son, she gently stroked his hair. She loved Wyatt more than life itself. It was her job to protect him. Wyatt was her little man and everything im-portant to her in this world. He was her reason for existing.
* * * *
Rayleen sipped hot coffee at the table in the morning, still disgusted over last night’s events. Everything was going well. Life was normal. Ira continually assured her that opportunity was knocking.
“Good morning,” Ira chanted cheerfully.
“Not so good for me,” Rayleen sighed to the plump, gray-haired woman with thick glasses who came to be mother, mentor, and guardian angel.
“I thought I heard you calling out last night. Is the dream back?”
“Yes, it is. Wyatt must have heard me also. He tried to wake me. Apparently, I belted him in the face.”
“Oh my dear,” Ira replied with a concerned look, coming over to rub her back.
The violent nightmares were frequent when Rayleen first came to live with her, but subsided in time. Ira consistently pried, trying to discover the reason for the inner turmoil, but Rayleen remained very private about her past and refused to discuss anything or offer any possible reasons. She knew there had been severe suffering by the expressions that crossed Rayleen’s face whenever the subject was approached. There was no use in persisting if Rayleen wasn’t willing to face it.
“I don’t know what to do if they continue.”
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 362
Paper Weight (lb): 15.2
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