The only thing strong enough to kick my own arse, is me.

Typically, I am a very private person. I do not open up easily. I am very guarded and cautious and keep the details of my personal life hidden, only to be trusted with very few. So in order for me to come out here and share this with all of you, has taken careful consideration, laced with doubt and anxiety on my part. I decided to write about this for a couple of reasons. One, a good friend of mine of encouraged me to keep a journal and write about my experience with this and how I’m feeling because it will most likely help me get through this, emotionally. I know the effects of keeping things bottled up inside and letting it eat away at you. And something of this magnitude is already doing its fair share of damage to my body and psyche; so why add to that? And second, I know each person that experiences something like this; their battle is not the same as someone else’s. Of course there are similarities, but not all symptoms and struggles are identical. So if I can come out here and share my story, maybe in turn, I’ll be helping someone else. I’m not sharing this for sympathy. I’m sharing this for awareness, for support, and for hope. And if I can touch just one person, and let them know that they’re not alone in this and they don’t have to struggle in silence, and NO, they are NOT crazy, even though some days you do question your own sanity, but what they are feeling and experiencing is very real. Then I know in the very least, I’ve done something to hopefully help someone else…..

I have been diagnosed with Lupus. Possibly Vasculitis; but my Rheumatologist feels that Lupus is most likely what is at play here. I’ll get to that later. But first, I’ll give you a small glimpse into how this all came about.

Honestly, I can’t really pinpoint a time when my symptoms first started. I noticed some strange things happening sometime in the summer of 2013. But my symptoms weren’t bad enough that I truly thought something was wrong with me. I started to get these weird rashes that would come and go, and on different parts of my body. My sensitivity to the sun seemed to be increasing as well. I’m naturally a very fair skinned person, and I’ve always had to be careful in the sun, but that summer, it did seem like I was burning quicker, and just getting more uncomfortable. I chalked it up to my estrogen. (Although, I have been on it since 2008 due to a radical hysterectomy…and why would I be bothered by it now?) Needless to say, I brushed it off and ignored it. Fall was coming soon anyways…

Temperatures start dropping, the skies get darker, holidays are upon us, and snow is on its way! Fall and winter have always been my favorite time of year; but this time, something else was changing too. My body started to hurt. It was odd. It would come and go. But I noticed it particularly in the mornings and at night. When I would get up and my feet would hit the floor, I could hardly walk. I was limping around. It wasn’t like this every day, but more days than not. I found myself taking ibuprofen, a lot! Practically on a daily basis. But I also had a lot going on my life. I had started writing Raven’s Innocence, and spent a lot of time in the evenings doing that. Also, with my long commute to Kansas City and back for work, I assumed that maybe all those hours driving, was finally catching up to me. At that time, I had been driving 86 miles one way, going on two years I believe. Combine that with the extreme stress I was under due to personal reasons, no wonder everything hurt and I felt like I was falling apart. But I kept it to myself, didn’t complain, and life went on.

Sometime during that winter I started to have nose bleeds. Okay, not get gross here, but I discovered there was a lesion that had formed inside my nose along the nasal septum. Of course when I saw it, I was like “What in the Hell is that!” Then the more I thought about it, I wondered if it was something allergy related. In the fall and spring my allergies are terrible. I often times end up with sinus infections. I shrugged it off, but kept an eye on it.

As the months followed, I focused on getting my first book written, edited, and published. I still felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck some days, but you know, it was just “stress.” And the rashes were coming and going. By then I had switched to every type of perfume free, gentle, cleanser and lotion for sensitive skin, thinking maybe I was allergic to literally everything in this world that I came in contact with. Did the rashes improve any? Nope. But again, I ignored it. Finally that summer, Raven’s Innocence launched and I dove into writing my next book. Ignoring what was happening to my body. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Fast forward quite a few months, and I notice that the lesion inside my nose is getting significantly worse. I go ahead and see my doctor and she refers me to an ENT, telling me that does not look right and I need to be seen by a specialist. Of course then, I freak out thinking I have nasal cancer. It was looking pretty gross. And me taking to the internet to research all this, didn’t help my anxiety.

Now, by this time it’s fall again and I get the referral to the ENT, but of course there is a couple of months wait being a new patient and all. So in the meantime, before that appointment, I’ll fill you in on other weird symptoms that started to occur. These symptoms would come and go. And I could not pinpoint anything that necessarily triggered them. And as a busy full time working mother, with a family, and also a writer on the side, I kept pushing these symptoms aside. I would find excuses for them. Or just ignore them. I was feeling like Hell all the time, but I kept it to myself. I was “Fine”. But here are the things I was experiencing, in no particular order:

*Body aches and pains. Sometimes, my legs hurt so bad, they felt like they could splinter. The same for my back and arms even.
*I developed a strange cough. My eyes were extremely dry and red at times. My nose would run a lot. These came and went, so I blamed them on allergies.
*Some nights I would feel like I was fighting off the flu. Everything hurt so badly from head to toe. I would run low grade fevers. I could have sworn I was coming down with something. But then I would wake up the next day, and the fever was gone. And I barely hurt.
*Mouth ulcers.
*Swollen legs, feet, and hands.
*My hands and feet would get so cold, like ice at times. My fingertips would almost look blue. I later found out that this was Raynaud’s.
*The rashes continued but when they came, they kept getting worse, especially the ones on my chest and neck. They almost looked like big lesions at times. I kept brushing it as being an allergic reaction to something. I didn’t know what though.
*I even had what is known as the ‘Butterfly Rash’ on my face, but I didn’t know what that was at the time or what it could possibly mean. And that particular rash only made an appearance a couple of times.
*Memory issues
*Extreme exhaustion
*Severe irritability (but when you’re in chronic pain all the time, irritability just starts to take over)
*Some days I felt like I was just in a mental fog that I could not break free from.
*That next February of 2015 I actually got the flu. And it was so bad! I missed over two weeks of work. I had to go on short term disability. I was at the doctor’s office multiple times during those two weeks. She couldn’t believe that I could not fight it off. She said it was one of the worse cases she had even seen, especially in someone my age. I was only 35 and honestly thought at times, it was going to kill me. And as sick and miserable as I was, I would have welcomed it! Looking back, my doctor thinks the Lupus was in full swing and I just couldn’t get rid of the infection. I had never in my life been so sick from something. I’ll spare you the details of that experience, but I never want that shit again!

Every symptom I had, I could give you an excuse for too. I just kept it all to myself, suffered through it, and kept on going.

It’s almost spring time and Yay!!!!! It is FINALLY time to see the ENT. Fortunately, seeing the ENT quickly puts my fears at ease. He did some testing and gave me some medicine for the lesion and scheduled a few more follow up visits. He also instructed me to stop using any type of nasal allergy medicine because that can cause lesions and sores to form inside the nasal cavity. As I continued to see him, the lesion got better, but not completely better like he had hoped. It was not going away.

So a few more things between my first initial appointment with the ENT, and the final appointment that led me into digging deeper to find out what is wrong with me…. All the symptoms I listed above, I kept experiencing. And that summer (just this past summer of 2015) I noticed that rashes were getting worse and I was finding that when I outside in the sun for literally any length of time, I would get a rash that would come up within minutes on any part of my skin that was exposed. Even with sunscreen. My oldest daughter is on the swim team. So you can only imagine what that was doing to me. And something new was starting; I could hardly tolerate the sun visually. Going outside literally hurt my eyes. It was painful and my eyes would water. My doctor told me it was possible I was actually developing a sun allergy and just stay out of it. I hate the outdoors anyway, so I was good with that. The only problem was, sometimes, when I was inside, if the lights were too bright, I was starting to experience the same thing…

Finally it’s October, and I’m going in for yet another follow up with the ENT because this lesion is not completely going away. Oddly enough though, the week I am scheduled to see him, I am once again feeling really crummy. But this time I’m having aches and pains in my left side in both the upper and lower quadrants. I’m worried I have a kidney or pancreas issue. So I call my regular doctor and find out she has left. Moved away…. And I have to see someone new. Freaking great…. Little did I know, this new doctor was going to exactly who I needed.

So I see the ENT on a Friday and he sits me down to explain that he thinks there is more to this lesion than what he originally thought and it was blanching and getting bigger and this is a major concern. He asked me if I or anyone in my family had ever been diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder such as Wagener’s. My answer is No. Then he asked me questions about whether or not I’ve experienced certain symptoms, and he goes through a list. Those questions opened up Pandora’s Box. As our conversation progressed, I opened up about everything I had been feeling. And it just so happened I had this appointment the following Monday with my new doctor. The ENT told me he was going to send everything he had on me to the new doctor and that I needed to tell her everything I had shared with him and that I probably needed to see a Rheumatologist.

That Monday morning, I go to see my new doctor. And I must say, I LOVE her! She is amazing! She took the time to really sit down and talk with me. After going over everything, she looked at me and said “Nicky, you are literally a text book case for someone who has Lupus.” She ordered lab work, and also sent me for x-rays of my upper body to look at my lungs and kidneys and etc. Then she scheduled a follow up appointment for the next week to go over all the results.

Also, on a side note, and I won’t dive too deep into this. But after discussing with her my mother’s history and her sudden death at the young age of 43; (And also talking to other relatives about my mother’s health concerns) my doctor thinks it’s possible my mother also had an autoimmune disease, which was left untreated because every time she went to the doctor, they brushed her off and eventually thought she was just a hypochondriac. No one ran the specific tests to see if she did in fact have something such as an autoimmune disease. Because of this, she died very young and maybe she would be with us today if someone had just taken the time to listen to her. This is just speculation, and what’s done is done, there is no bringing her back. But it’s also important to know this is a possibility and why I should not ignore my symptoms any longer.

The following week I went to my follow up appointment and that is when my doctor told me that every test she ran, except for one, all supported my symptoms of Lupus and she wanted me to see a Rheumatologist. She told me I was too young to feel this way and that all my symptoms were not normal and she promised me she was going make sure I get the help I needed. Looking back at the timeline of events and how everything happened the way that it did, I know it all fell into place the way it was supposed to.

This next part isn’t very important, but she did give me a referral to a Rheumatologist and I was able to see him in November. Long story short, he had terrible bedside manners. He spent maybe 15 minutes with me tops. He didn’t ask me about symptoms or history or anything. Just looked over my previous labs, ordered a CT Scan, and literally shook my hand and said “I hope you don’t have to see me again.” I walked out of there Pissed as Hell, thinking “Believe me, I won’t be seeing you again you Asshole.”

The next morning I called my doctor extremely upset over the appointment with that Rheumatologist and she had me come back in because I needed something to help get me through this hump. The holidays were in full swing and my body was in full swing of what felt like, it was trying to kill me. My doctor had hoped the Rheumatologist was going to prescribed me something, and she was also upset and disappointed with his bedside manner and lack of concern. She gave a prescription for Prednisone and told me start taking it immediately after I had my CT Scan, which was a few days away. That day, she also got to witness what she called Raynaud’s Phenomenon. My hands were like ice and my fingertips were blue. Also, I was so swollen, like a fat tick. She gave me prescription for a water pill too. Set me up with a new Rheumatologist, and scheduled another follow up appointment.

Unfortunately, being a new patient, I could not see the new Rheumatologist until February 15th. So my doctor was trying to get me some relief, at least through the holidays because I was so miserable. Luckily my CT Scan came back, and it was clear. The reason it was ordered was to make sure I did not have any more lesions forming anywhere inside my body, especially the sinuses and brain. My lab work did however give the same test results as the previous ones; except the inflammation was even higher this time. Everything was just getting worse. I couldn’t suffer in silence anymore either. My symptoms were becoming real issues that were affecting my day to day to living. I ended up taking the Prednisone the whole month of December, and I hadn’t felt that great is so long! My aches and pains went away. I could walk without limping. I was clear headed. I was springing out of bed like a pop tart out of a toaster. I felt AMAZING! The water pill I was on pulled 4 pounds of water off my body in the first 4 days! My blood pressure dropped. I have never felt better.

Christmas came and went and since prednisone is a drug that doctors prefer you not to stay on for very long, I had to start the weaning the process. And as soon as my dose dropped low enough, BAM! Here comes all the symptoms I had previously experienced and I was quickly descending back into my own personal hell. My appointment with the new Rheumatologist could not get here fast enough!

Finally, just this last Monday, the 15th, I sat down with my new Rheumatologist and was able to get some answers. She spent 30-45 minutes with me going over everything I have been experiencing. She told me that I had either Lupus or Vasculitis, but she was leaning more towards Lupus because of the photosensitivity I am experiencing. Either way, she said she would treat them both the same way. She said she was going to start building my patient file. She explained to me that every time I have labs ran, my markers can change depending on symptoms and flare ups. She said autoimmune disorders, such as these, are complex and things constantly change. She also believes it’s possible my mother had Lupus or Vasculitis and it killed her. She explained to me the different treatment options and gave me information on the one she wanted to start me with. She told me to stay off the internet because all that will do is scare me. So what did I do? I went home that night and spent all night researching them, the medication she prescribed me, and ultimately have scared myself shitless!

This new Rheumatologist is something I will stick with. She was kind, caring, knowledgeable, and very informative. She took the time to answer my questions. Also, the timing was good because I had another really bad rash on my chest and neck. She was able to see the lesions first hand and she said the rash is something she sees often in patients with Lupus. She also asked me if I sat in an office that used fluorescent lighting. I do. She told me that fluorescent lights give off just enough UV light that they can also cause a photosensitive reaction, and with it being winter and I haven’t been in any sunlight, that would explain the rashes I keep getting. She ordered some more lab work and scheduled my next appointment with her; which is in May. In the meantime, she will call me when my next set of labs comes in. And I am supposed to call her if I have any problems with the medication she is prescribing me.

I took my first dose of Methotrexate yesterday. In another blog entry, I’ll describe what that was like. I’m still feeling the effects of it today. Methotrexate is used to treat certain types of cancers as well as autoimmune diseases. You must take it exactly as prescribed. The side effects can also vary depending on the person taking it. Not everyone experiences the same effects. And once again, after reading about all the scary side effects on the internet, I had to be reassured that the risks outweigh the alternative. I know that these autoimmune disorders, if left untreated, can eventually kill you. I also know that everyone can have different symptoms and degrees of severity. No two cases are exactly identical to each other.

I am to take the Methotrexate on the same day once a week. I am starting by taking 4 tablets, 2.5mg each, for the first two weeks. After that, I will take 6 tablets at a time, and continue that until I see the Rheumatologist again in May. Then it will be determined if my dose needs to be increased. She told me that it can take a month before I start to feel or see a difference at all in my symptoms, but to not get discouraged. She also gave me a prescription for Folic Acid, which I must take daily. This helps with potential side effects, such as hair loss. (Yeah, I seriously came unglued over that one. But the smaller the dose of MXT you’re on, the less likely you are to have this happen. But it’s important to take the Folic Acid every day.)

I’m also taking a multi vitamin, fish oil, calcium, and extra levels of vitamin D, all in hopes to strengthen my immune system and help manage this. With the MXT, I have to be extra careful being around people who are sick. My immune system is being completely suppressed now, and I am more susceptible to infection and will have very little capability of fighting things off on my own. There are lots of things I have to be more careful of now, but I won’t bore you with those details.

I do want to personally thank those few that knew I was going through this, and have been so supportive of me. You know who you are. I appreciate the support, the insight, the prayers, and the love. I know that I am fortunate to have found a doctor and a Rheumatologist that took the time to listen to what I had to say and made me realize that no I’m not crazy, something is WRONG with me, but that there are options out there and I can fight my way through this. There is no cure. And even with treatment, I’ll have flare ups. I’ll have some bad days, but they won’t be most days, like they have been. I also know that what I’m experiencing isn’t as bad as it could be. People out there are going through far worse things than I am. But what I am experiencing is very real and I have a lot to wrap my head around and work through. But in the end, I’m going to be okay. My faith in God will be one of my biggest rocks. I got this!

Going forward, I’ll blog at different times my experiences with this. I should have started before now, but I kept it all inside because I really was unsure of what was happening to me. I’ve spent the few months, as this progressed, living in a state of pain that has no escape. I have truly been able to grasp the hurt and depression that people go through that drives them to finally want to end it all because being gone is much easier than living. It’s the kind of pain that makes your body feel like it’s splintering from the inside out. Eventually it Fucks with your mind because you’ve lost all ability to cope. I became miserable, withdrawn, and sick of it all. But let me clarify, No I would not have taken my own life as an escape. I’m just stating that I could empathize with people who felt that was their only option with no end in sight. I felt like I was stuck in a well and could not claw my way out. But now, I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. I finally have some hope. I finally will get my life back. But most important of all, hopefully my girls won’t have to say goodbye to me so early, like I did my own mom….

A Breathtaking Romantic Thriller ~

Have you picked up a Romantic Thriller lately? This duet is NOT your typical romance story. Grant Alexander is Seductively Twisted and the ending will leave you gasping in astonishment and disbelief. You’ll be asking yourself, would you be willing to lose your innocence?

Snowhaven Novels 3

Raven’s Innocence book link (kindle only, but is also available in paperback)

Raven’s Undoing book link (both paperback and kindle versions)

So What’s Up With Me ~ Author Nicky D?

Cheesy intro, I know. But I have a tendency to write my thoughts out exactly how they spill from my brain to my fingertips. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve come out here to give an update on my life, or on anything really… So here goes…

First of all, just like with most people, what a jam-packed year I have had, especially the past few months leading into the Holiday Season. Now, if these Missouri temperatures would only drop down to where they should be, I’d be a lot more ‘jolly’ right now. It’s like 70 degrees out today! WHAT? Come ON MOTHER NATURE! WTH! Where is the cold and snow? And did I mention the cooollllddddddd…….Bahhhh! (Imagine me screaming this from outside in my back yard which is currently under water due to all this rain.)

Where was I? Oh, so the past few months have been busy as usual. I was finally able to get Raven’s Undoing released. What an accomplishment! I admit, I’ve been feeling really “behind” and disappointed in myself, as if I should be getting these books out faster, but let’s get real for a minute here. I have written and gone through the whole publishing process, and released 2 books in less than 2 years! My first book, Raven’s Innocence, only took 9 months from start to finish. Raven’s Undoing took a little longer. But you know what? I did it! And not to toot my own horn too much, but I must say, I am DAMN PROUD of myself for doing it! Balancing a family, career, and writing, took a lot out of me. It is no easy feat. And let’s not forget about the hours of marketing and promotion that we all have to put into this business as well. OH, and then there’s keeping up with social media and interacting with your readers. This isn’t easy…. But you know what? I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

I FLOVE what I do! (giving credit to the beautiful author Kristina Canady for the word Flove. I Flove it and I Flove her.) I love to write. It runs deep within every fiber of my being. It’s something I HAVE to do. If you’re a writer, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a part of who I am. Period. These past couple of years I feel like I have really grown and been walking down a path of self discovery. Some days I walk alone. Other days I walk with my friends, family, and author family! So many wonderful people that come and go with me on this beautiful chaotic journey. *insert happy crying face here*

To answer the question that is coming at me from so many, YES I am writing a 3rd book. Like I said, I’ll never stop writing. It is part of the Snowhaven Series. No, I do not know when it will be finished. To be honest, I only have chapter one written right now. I have been stressing myself out, telling myself I have to get this third book out asap! The stress of that irrational thought has me so stressed out that I’m finding myself unable to write another word right now. Finally I told myself to just STOP! Take a break and recharge Nicky…

It’s the holidays and right now, I just want to enjoy this time of year with my family and friends. So I’m taking a small break from writing on my 3rd book. But believe me, it’s only a small one. I just need to get through the holidays; but then the first of the year, I will pick it back up and keep writing. I don’t know how long it will take to finish because with this next book, I am going to write it completely from start to finish. Afterwards, I will then decide if I want to release it as one book, or split it up. I am writing Kat’s story and this book is going to be much darker than my first two. *insert devilish grin here* My imagination is running wild on this one…

Also, on a personal note, and not to give up too much detail, but I have been working through some health issues. An auto-immune disorder has decided it wants to try and kick my Arse. But my doctor is amazing and believes we are getting on top of this early. We’re still in the stages of lots of testing and really getting everything figured out and coming up with a treatment plan. So as you can imagine, this in itself has been really taking hold on me lately. Unfortunately, my writing has been on the backburner. But there is a light at the end of my tunnel and this too shall pass. I’m a strong woman. And I won’t give into this. Some days are better than others, but I keep my head up, keep praying and just know that – I got this!

As always, I want to thank everyone for their continued support. I have been blessed in so many ways. I know life has a tendency to knock us down, and then kick us even harder once we fall; but please remember that it can always be worse. Don’t forget to count your blessings and be thankful for all that you do have. Remember everyone has their own battles to fight and someone is always looking at you wishing they had it half as good as you do. Don’t be so quick to point the finger but slow to understand. You don’t have to like or agree with everyone you meet, but you also don’t have to be cruel or add to their despair. This world is turning into such an ugly and cruel place. Don’t be part of it…. Kindness costs nothing. Sprinkle that sh*t everywhere!

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. And take care of yourselves and each other! Wishing everyone a happy ending to 2015, and blessed beginnings to 2016!

Much Love,
Nicky D, Author

Ps. I do love hearing from my readers, so drop me an email anytime.

Holiday Specials on my Books!

FREE and On SALE? WHAT???!!! I’m Running Specials on both Raven’s Innocence and Raven’s Undoing. Check it out! And books make great gifts for yourself and others! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Raven’s Innocence book link

Raven’s Undoing book link (both paperback and kindle versions)

Raven’s Undoing ~ Excerpts from the novel

I really want to share some excerpts with you from Raven’s Undoing. Although this is the second book in The Snowhaven Series, it is also the conclusion to Raven’s Innocence. You don’t have to wait for the third book to come out to get Raven’s entire story. The third book, which I’m currently writing, is a whole new and different story in itself.

I considered posting the first few chapters here like I did with my first book, but unfortunately, if you haven’t read Raven’s Innocence, then that would give away some serious spoilers. So I’ve chosen various scenes from Raven’s Undoing, in hopes to capture your attention, without giving too much away… Hope you enjoy! *MWAH*

*****Copyright © 2015 ND White*****
(All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without express written permission of the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.)

Excerpt 1
A cry rips from my chest as my legs give way. I slowly slump down onto the dock, sitting with my back against the railing. Knees drawn to my chest, I bury my face in my gloved hands, sobbing uncontrollably. My heart is wrenching in pain and feels like it might explode through the front of my chest. For a moment, I am thankful that no one else is here to witness my emotional breakdown. Lately the park has been secluded this time of evening, just before dusk. The temperatures are beginning to drop even more each day as that bitter cold northern air brings us closer to winter.

I continue to weep…for how long, I’m not sure. My body eventually starts to relax as my heavy sobs turn into a slow steady stream of tears. Finally, I lift my face and realize that the sun is setting around me. The moon looks full as its light starts to dance across the lake’s water. Shivering, I am suddenly aware of the chill in the air. I really should get up and go on home.

Trying to stand, my body is weak and I’m so very tired. I haven’t eaten anything all day; it is finally catching up with me. I don’t really want to get up now, anyway. I reach into my coat pocket and pull out my phone to check the time; it’s almost six o’clock. I slip my phone back in my pocket, take a deep breath, and slowly exhale as I lean back against the railing again. It’s cold enough now that I see can my breath.

Gazing into the distance at a cluster of pine trees, I think about how beautiful they are, how beautiful this park is, especially in the fall. I am not an outdoors person, but since… (DELETED SCENE…) most days I have been finding refuge here. It’s quite beautiful and serene. I come here to help clear my head. I either walk on the trail around the small lake, or I stand out here on the dock and stare at my reflection in the water below. What I love the most about it is that it’s secluded most of the time, so I am left alone with my tearful thoughts.

I continue to sit on the dock, watching the sun completely set behind the pine trees. I am very aware of just how dark it is and just how alone and vulnerable I am now. I attempt to stand again, but as I’m getting up, I feel a sudden wave of dizziness and my vision blurs. I instinctively grab hold of the dock railing…

The wave of dizziness passes and I let go of the railing, trying again to stand up completely on my own. I really don’t feel so well. I take in a deep breath and start walking back towards my Jeep. I only make it a couple of steps though before I stumble and slam down onto the dock, barely catching myself with my hands before my face eats the wooden walkway. Damn, that hurt! My head is spinning again and I feel very close to passing out. I can’t believe this is happening, not now… I don’t think I’m going to make it back. Shit. I need help.

I pull my phone from my pocket but I’m struggling to type in my password. Damn it, what is my password? My vision blurs and my brain feels foggy. I am fighting to keep myself alert. Focus, Raven. I feel a deep burning sensation in my stomach as my legs, arms, and lips start to tingle. This can’t be good. I realize that this is becoming a medical emergency and I’m not going to get my password typed into this phone.

My body is quickly weakening as I struggle to gain some control. My arms give out from underneath me as I relax down onto the cold dock, through no control of my own. Before I can press the emergency dial button, my grip weakens and my phone slips from my hand. Oh God. I can’t move. My eyelids are growing heavy. The light is fading away. I try to cry out for help, but the sound that escapes my lips is barely a whisper. It doesn’t matter anyway. There’s no one even here.

I guess this is it. It’s not so bad; peaceful and easy, actually…

Excerpt 2
We’re walking hand in hand, peering out at the setting sun. The breeze whips around us and the chill is just cool enough to make me shiver. He stops and slides off his jacket and gently drapes it over my shoulders. His scent surrounds me, as does the warmth of his jacket.

“Come with me, I want to show you something,” he says.

He grips my hand tighter this time and pulls me up the steep, rocky embankment until we reach the top of a giant boulder that looks out over the ocean. I gasp in awe because the view from here is breathtaking. He pulls me closer to him and wraps his arms around me. Waves are crashing against the rocks below us. As I look down, I feel a small wave of dizziness pass through me. There is no way a person could survive a fall like that. What a morbid thought to have. The breeze is picking up and I can feel a light spray of the ocean mist against my face. I look back up over the vast ocean, the sunset glistening across the water.

“The sunsets are beautiful up here,” he whispers.

I nod.

He turns to face me and cups my face with his hands, forcing me to look at him. We meet each other’s eyes, and slowly he leans in to kiss me. My pulse quickens as the kiss deepens and I feel the burn deep within my body. I love this man, and I know that he loves me. I can feel his passion burning through his lips as they touch mine.

He pulls away, lets go of me, and takes a step back. The air between us has thickened and his mood has shifted. His eyes, once light, are now dark.

“What’s wrong?” I ask as I take a step towards him.

He doesn’t answer me. Instead, he steps in my direction and firmly grabs my arms with both of his hands. His grip is strong and painful.

“You’re hurting me,” I wince.

He starts to pull me closer to the edge of the boulder and my anxiety rises. “Wait, stop. What are you doing?”

He grunts as he pulls me, with all his strength, to the very edge. I am crippled with fear. His eyes are raging with something dark and dangerous.

“Please, stop!” I plead. “I don’t understand. What are you doing? Say something, damn it!” I scream at him.

“I warned you, Raven. I told you that you would run away scared.”

“But I didn’t run away! I’m right here! Please…” I’m begging him, for what…I’m not sure. I don’t know what he is going to do, but I am terrified and tears start to stream down my cheeks.

“You should have. Good-bye, Sweetheart.”

And with great force, he propels me to the edge. I push back with every ounce of my strength, but I know it’s too late. I know what is going to happen next. I cry out in agony one last time as he thrusts me over the edge…

Excerpt 3
“You know what? Never mind. Forget I asked.” He’s shaking his head, avoiding my glassy-eyed stare. “That was insensitive of me. I’m sorry.”

Great…I immediately feel disappointed at the realization that he is now un-asking me out before I have the chance to decide for myself if I even want to or not. “Don’t be sorry Asher.” My voice is quiet and I’m trying to hide my own disappointment.

He looks at me with apologetic crystal blue eyes. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“What makes you think you upset me? I’m flattered that you asked me.”

“You are?” His face lights up.

“Yes, I am. In fact, I’m delighted.” I give him a warm smile and his body seems to relax right in front of me.

“Are you sure? You don’t have to say that to spare my feelings. I know that you were, or maybe you even still are, in love with Grant. And it’s—“

“Enough about Grant.” I cut him off mid-sentence. Oddly enough, the mere mention of Grant right now, probably because of the circumstances that are currently taking place, is actually pissing me off. “Asher…” I take in a deep breath while it’s apparent he is holding his, waiting to hear what is about to come out of my mouth next. “I would love to go out with you.”

And with that, Asher’s breathes a huge sigh of relief. He is grinning from ear to ear. Dimples are beaming from the corners of his smile. He is so adorable. “Really?” he asks.

“Yes, really.” I reach across the table and take hold of both of his hands and meet his charming stare. With a determined look, I whisper sweetly, “And please don’t bring Grant up again. His loss is your gain.”

And with that realization hitting both of us in this very moment, Asher slowly leans across the table towards me…

Excerpt 4
Something captures my attention out of the corner of my eye as I’m walking through the living room. There’s a white envelope on the floor, just in front of the door. I’m surprised by this, because it would have taken some work to slide that under the door, and how did I miss that when it was happening? Maybe someone shoved it under there when the music was up and I just didn’t hear it. Hmmm, how long has it been there?

I slowly tiptoe over to the envelope and carefully pick it up, like it’s going to bite. I turn it over and see Raven handwritten in black marker across the front of it. What in the hell is this? A strong feeling of dread washes over me as I head towards the kitchen cabinet to dig in the drawer for the letter opener.

Carefully I slice open the top of the envelope and pull out a letter that has been typewritten. I quickly skip to the end to see who it’s from before reading it.

No fucking way…

Excerpt 5
Make it stop, why can’t I stop? My whole body is convulsing while my stomach keeps desperately trying to empty what isn’t even there. I feel like I might pass out. I’m struggling to get this to stop, while straining to make out the shouting I hear coming from the living room. Now I hear footsteps; heavy footsteps…and Kat is shouting something about kicking someone’s ass. My bathroom door flies open.

“Christ! Raven…”

Oh my God, he’s here. I can’t even look up at him. First off, I literally can’t turn my head to the side right now, and second, I don’t want to look at him. And I sure as hell don’t want him seeing me like this. He kneels down beside me, I feel his warm, strong hands on my back.

“Don’t touch her! Get the hell out of here, Grant!” Kat is irate.

“Not a chance,” Grant bites back.

I can’t handle this shouting, not right now in such close proximity. I need them both to shut up. I lift my right arm and motion for them to get out, or shut up, or something; then I heave some more.

“Oh, Hunnie,” Kat pouts sympathetically.

I feel her eyes on me. I know she feels helpless. I feel helpless. Grant continues to rub my back and Kat stands in the doorway. Finally I feel my stomach start to relax and tension leaves my body. I think it’s over, for now at least. I squeeze my eyes tightly shut, hoping that if I open them, I’ll find myself alone in here and that I was only imagining the fact that Grant is here, by my side, at this very moment. These are not the circumstances I wanted him to see me under.

Excerpt 6
“Hey, sleepy head…” I hear a faint whisper and a hand gently sweep across my cheek. My eyes flutter open and find Asher standing in front of me.

“Oh my goodness, did I fall asleep? I’m so sorry!” I quickly straighten myself up trying to gain my composure.

Asher lets out a chuckle and sits down next to me on the sofa. He takes hold of my legs, lifts them up, and then pulls them across his lap. I turn my body along with him. I feel so embarrassed.

“There’s nothing to be sorry for. I just came in here and found you sitting there with your eyes closed. You didn’t move a muscle when I approached you, so I think you might have. Are you feeling okay?”

“Yeah, I’m great. Just really tired, though.” More like exhausted… “The skating and falling over and over again must have taken a lot out of me. And I am so sore, especially my feet and rear end.” I cover my mouth as I yawn. Dang, I just want to curl up and go back to sleep…

“Well, I might be able to help with your feet at least…” His charming grin is infectious and I can’t help but smile back. He carefully unzips both of my knee high black boots, slides them off my feet and sits them down on the floor. Then he takes hold of one of my feet and gently starts massaging it. I let out a soft moan as my head relaxes back against the sofa. Usually I would protest someone touching my feet, but right now, this feels heavenly.

“Oh Asher, this feels amazing. Thank you.” I think that came out sounding a little sultrier than I intended it too.

“It’s my pleasure, A Stόr.”

“Mmmm, that’s the second time you’ve said that to me. What does it mean?” I tilt my head to the side, giving him an inquisitive look.

“A Stόr is Gaelic and it’s a term of endearment used to mean ‘darling,’ or sometimes, ‘treasure’.” Asher stops massaging one foot and then starts in on the next one. “And you, Raven…to me… are both.”

Excerpt 7
“I don’t want to just tell you, Raven. I want to you show you.” And with that, his delicious mouth comes crashing down onto mine. My breath catches as he forces his tongue between my lips, tasting me. I moan, unable to stop myself from kissing him back. My brain is yelling at me to ‘stop!’ but my heart is telling my body, ‘Don’t you dare!’

Continuing to kiss me, he backs me up until my legs hit the bed and I stumble backwards, but he stays right on top of me as we fall down together onto the soft surface. His hands are exploring my body and I am loving every second of it.

Grant pulls himself off me and tugs at my pants until he slips them down around my ankles, before pulling them off and tossing them aside. The cool air in the room causes goose bumps to rise across my flesh, but I know that he will be warming me up very soon. He then gently slips my black lacy panties down and lets them drop to the floor. I feel the wetness pooling between my thighs. He stands above me with a carnal look his eyes and I realize right then I want him to take me…to claim me once again…

Excerpt 8
Asher knocks on the door, asking if I’m okay. Between heaves, I manage to call out, “Please just go away. I’m sick, but I’ll be okay.” I hear Asher’s footsteps carry him down the hall and away from the bathroom. The room is spinning around me as I fight to stay conscious. I think I’m trying to go into shock…which, right now, is not an option. My knees grow weak as I start to shake. I press my back against the wall and let my body slowly slide down until I just slump onto the floor. With my head buried between my knees, I start rocking back and forth. Breathe, Raven, just breathe. I am totally freaking the fuck out right now.

This can’t be happening. This is not happening. This is all a nightmare and I’m going to just pass out soon and wake up all snuggled up in my bed back at the apartment. I try to stifle my cries as tears start streaming down my cheeks, but what I really want to do is scream at the top of my lungs. I have to pull myself together and get the hell out of here! I can’t tell Asher what’s wrong. There has to be a mistake. Something isn’t right; there is no way that ‘Grant’ (DELETED SCENE) It’s impossible…because, if not, then that means that Grant…

Oh God, no…my heart sinks as my stomach jumps up in its place and my head is over the toilet once again. I refuse to accept it. It just can’t be. This time my cries escape my lips as I wail out loud. Oh Dear GOD…!

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Asher and Raven at dinner

Asher kissing Raven in snow



Grant and Raven making love