Excerpt from book:
Connor Garrett was a grown-ass man. He knew there was nothing to fear in sleep. He knew the darkness of his room didn't hide anything more sinister than a pair of carelessly discarded cowboy boots, waiting for him to stub his toe on them in the dead of night during a sleepy trip to the bathroom.
He knew these things, just like he knew the sun would rise over the mountains just before six this time of year, whether he wanted it to or not. He knew these things as surely as he knew that an early-morning breeze tinged with salt meant a storm would blow in from the coast later. That unintentional run-ins with barbed-wire fences burned like a son of a bitch. That wooden barns burned and people you loved left.
Yeah, he knew all that.
But it didn't stop him from waking up most nights in a cold sweat, his heart pounding harder than a spooked horse's hooves on arena dirt.
Because the simple truth was that Connor Garrett knew all these things, but his subconscious had yet to catch up.
He sat bolt upright in bed, sweat beading on his bare chest and his forehead. If this weren't standard procedure for his body, he might've been concerned he was having a heart attack. Unfortunately, though, he knew at this point that the racing heart, accompanied by chest pain, was just stress. Anxiety.
Damn lingering grief that refused to lessen even as the years passed.
He wasn't surprised when he woke up alone in bed, not anymore. It had been three years, after all. He wasn't surprised, but he noticed. Every time. Was acutely aware of how cold the sheets were on her side of the bed. It wasn't even the same bed he'd slept in with Jessie. He'd bought a new one about a year ago because continuing to sleep in the bed they'd shared had seemed too depressing. But it hadn't accomplished what he had hoped it might.
Because no matter how hard he tried, whether he lay down in the middle of the bed at the start of the night, or even on the side nearest to the window, he always ended up on his side.
The side by the door. In case of intruders or any other danger. The side that allowed him to protect the person sleeping next to him. The side he had taken every night during his eight years of marriage. It was as if his late wife's ghost was rolling him over in his sleep.
And then waking him up.
Unfortunately, Jessie didn't even have the decency to haunt him. She was just gone. And in her place was emptiness. Emptiness in his bed. In his house. In his chest.
And when his chest wasn't empty, it was filled with pain and a kind of dread that took over his whole body and made it impossible to breathe. Like now.
He swung his legs over the side of the mattress, the wood floor cold beneath his bare feet. He stood and walked over to the window, looked out into the darkness. The black shadows of pine trees filled his vision, and beyond that, the darker silhouette of the mountains, backlit by a slightly grayer sky. And down to the left he could barely make out the front porch. And the golden glow of the porch light that he'd somehow managed to leave on before he'd gone to sleep.
His chest tightened. That was probably why he'd woken up.
Abruptly, the dream he'd been having flooded back through his mind. It hadn't been a full dream so much as images.
Opening the door late at night to see Eli standing there, his brother's face grim, bleaker than Connor had ever seen it. And a ring of gold light from the porch had shone around him. Made him look like an angel of some kind. An angel of death, it had turned out.
As stupid as it was, he was half convinced that leaving that same light on downstairs brought the dreams back stronger.
It didn't make sense. But i"Yates' visually powerful narrative tells a timely, heartbreaking story starring an unforgettable couple."
-RT Book Reviews on The Couple who Fooled the World