Crystal Cove by Lisa Kleypas


  “Then how do I get out of this?”

  “I intend to consult an archangel. Heaven help me, we may even have to approach an Empyrean seraphim. But we’ll find a way. In the meantime, you must stay where you are.”

  “No.” Friday felt himself sliding back into the dark well of fear and fury. “Elsegoode, I can’t. You may think you remember what it was like to be human, but trust me, you don’t. I can’t go through it again. Especially not this way.”

  “Even for a short time?” Elsegood asked with quiet chiding.

  “No. I’ve had enough.” Friday hunched slightly and wrapped his arms around himself as fresh thrills of pain went through him. “Take me back up there,” he said through gritted teeth. “End it. Asphyxiate the body or make something happen so that I can’t stay in it. Please.”

  “As you well know, that’s impossible. Our kind is not allowed to end a mortal life. Moreover, even if I could, there is no certainty about what would happen to your soul afterward.”

  “I don’t care. If you leave me like this, Elsegoode, I swear—” He broke off with a savage groan and clasped his aching head in his hands.

  Elsegoode watched him with a curious frown. “How quickly you’ve adapted to mortality again. Your expressions, gestures…so very human.”

  Friday cursed him with a few choice words, causing the angel to react in offended startlement.

  “There’s no need for that. I’m doing what I can to help you.” Elsegoode’s brows lowered. “All this could have been avoided, had you done as you were instructed.” The dream began to fade. “I’ll return as soon as I can.”

  Friday plummeted back through the inchoate blackness, into dancing knife blade pain and choking smothering stillness. He was surrounded by machines and metal and plastic lines. One of the machines blew air into his lungs at far too slow a pace. With each breath, he thought he would suffocate for need of the next until it finally came. The tube was all the way down his throat. If they would take it out, he could breathe on his own, but he couldn’t ask for himself. Couldn’t move. Thoughts flew and buzzed around him like a cloud of insects, too fast for him to catch. Dark can’t breathe burning cold…end it…please…

  He strained at the invisible cords that tethered him to the body, to the earth.

  He heard a low and lovely sound, a woman’s faraway voice. He quieted and focused desperately, trying to understand what she was saying.

  She had taken his hand, her grip soft but comforting. She seemed to be telling him about the lightning and his condition, that he was in a hospital. Her fingers stroked his head, through his hair, tender against the murderous ache of his skull. Had he been able to make a sound, he would have groaned for her to continue. So good, that kind and sensitive caress, accompanied by words like take care of you…safe now…I’m here with you.

  His entire soul yearned for her, begging her not to stop, not to leave him. She spoke again, the quicksilver slurry of words beyond his comprehension. He struggled to reach her, return the pressure of her fingers, anything to convey the deluge of gratitude and need. As long as she was with him, he could tolerate the torturous pace of the breathing machine. He could even take the pain. Anything. Just stay.

  But all too soon another voice intruded and the hand pulled away. Someone was telling her to go. His response was visceral and immediate. His arm twitched, which in his current medicated condition was the equivalent of a primal howl.

  She leaned over him; her voice a silken rustle near his ear. “They’ll let me come back in an hour. I won’t be far.”

  ALSO BY LISA KLEYPAS

  Dream Lake

  Rainshadow Road

  Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor

  Smooth Talking Stranger

  Seduce Me at Sunrise

  Blue-Eyed Devil

  Mine Till Midnight

  Sugar Daddy

  Wallflower Series

  A Wallflower Christmas

  Scandal in Spring

  Devil in Winter

  It Happened One Autumn

  Secrets of a Summer Night

  Praise for Rainshadow Road

  “Flawlessly written … Kleypas brings together richly nuanced characters, an emotionally riveting plot, and a subtle touch of the paranormal to create an unforgettable romance that is pure reading magic.”

  —Booklist (starred review)

  “Kleypas launches the Friday Harbor trilogy with a delightful portrait of a picturesque town where people know everything about everyone and look out for each other.… She enchantingly weaves together additional connections with relatives and friends, leaving many dangling threads that will lead the reader straight to book two.”

  —Publishers Weekly

  “Lisa Kleypas can take broken people and infuse them with humor and heart.”

  —USA Today

  “Magical.”

  —RT Book Reviews

  “Characters with depth and something interesting to say … this winning first installment in a trilogy is sure to thrill fans of modern romantic fiction.”

  —Kirkus Reviews

  Praise for Dream Lake

  “A little magic, a lot of romance, and well-drawn characters make a satisfying read.”

  —Kirkus Reviews

  “Bestselling Kleypas proves that she has perfected her recipe for emotionally nourishing, richly rewarding love stories.”

  —Booklist

  “This is Kleypas at her contemporary best: The writing wows and the ending evokes happy tears.”

  —BookPage

  “Dream Lake proves to be a great combination of real-life connections and a paranormal spark. Lisa Kleypas proves her romance talent yet again in this new book. She is a star!”

  —Romance Junkies

  “Charming and romantic.”

  —Examiner.com

  About the Author

  Lisa Kleypas is the award-winning author of thirty-five novels. Her books are published in sixteen languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband and two children. Visit www.lisakleypas.com.

  This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

  CRYSTAL COVE. Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Kleypas. All rights reserved. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

  www.stmartins.com

  Cover design by Olga Grlic

  Cover illustration by Steve Gardner

  Cover photographs of the lighthouse and sky by Shutterstock.com

  ISBN 978-1-250-01175-6 (trade paperback)

  ISBN 978-1-250-03207-2 (hardcover)

  ISBN 9781250025920 (e-book)

  First Edition: February 2013

 


 

  Lisa Kleypas, Crystal Cove

 


 

 
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