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Fool Me Once

Author(s): Jessica Joy

Toni and Blair were friends once, or at least Blair had thought they were friends until Toni’s betrayal caused a botched sting operation that had nearly cost him his life. His misplaced trust in her had cost the lives of two of his friends.

Toni arrives back in Blair’s life under mysterious circumstances when she crashes her Porsche near his driveway. When she wakes after the accident she has no memory of her past except for the strange disconnected images of a murder scene that haunt her dreams.

Blair wants to take down Toni’s lover Farrell Hagen, the man responsible for the deaths of his friends. To do this Blair needs information he believes Toni can give him once she regains her memory. Desperate to keep Toni safe until she can give him the information he needs Blair tells Toni they were long time friends and had planned to spend the Christmas holidays together.

But the fraud he perpetrates takes on a life of its own and reality begins to pattern itself after his lie when this Toni is nothing like the Toni he knew before the accident and he finds himself emotionally and sexually attracted to her.

As they work together to try to piece together the meaning behind the disjointed scenes of a murder that haunt Toni’s dreams the attraction between them flares.

When they make love for the first time they learn that things can’t possibly be as they seem. This knowledge puts them on a collision course with death as they race to unlock the secrets of Toni’s mind before the killer comes for Toni.

The nightmare slid quietly into her mind. This time, however, there were subtle changes to the scene. She was no longer surrounded by velvet darkness. Distinct images took form around her. She was high up on a metal platform of some kind, in a cavernous alley of brick buildings. Her car was below her. Slowly, she turned once again to face her image in the window. Her reflection still mouthed a warning for her to run. This time behind her double, she could see a room, a kitchen.

Like every other time she visited this dream world, she was rooted to the spot, unable to move, and in thrall to the gruesome events about to unfold.

“No,” she whispered, wishing she could do something to derail the chain of events that had replayed every night in her dreams.

Predictably her double turned away from her. This time, she saw a man’s arm. A crisp white cuff with a gold cufflink peeked out from under the sleeve. In the hand was a nasty looking gun. Toni tried to move, but her dream paralysis held her immobile. Her mirror image fell back against the window and bright dots of liquid red splattered the glass. With nauseating horror, she watched as her dream double slid down the panes of glass, a swath of red marking her descent. With a certainty that slowed the blood in her veins, Toni knew her mirror image was dead.

Toni screamed because she couldn’t escape the terror that had coiled around her neck and was choking off her breath. If she didn’t escape, she knew she would be the next victim.

Blair paused in front of Toni’s door, listening to her murmured moans. It was the same every night. How much longer would her mind torture her? His own dreams hadn’t been much better. Night after night, he’d returned to the site of the ambush, each time knowing what would happen but unable to turn his team away.

Toni screamed. The sound pierced his middle like a long, cold blade. By her second scream, he was half way across her room. She was writhing on the bed, thrashing her head from side to side as if she was trying to escape.

He dropped down beside her on the bed and grasped her shoulders. “Toni, wake up.”

Her struggles ceased abruptly, and she blinked awake. Shaking violently, she grasped his forearms and pulled herself up against his chest. His arms slid around her and drew her against his body. His cheek pressed against her hair, he murmured words of comfort.

Several minutes passed before the tremors subsided, and Toni pulled back enough to look up at him. “I don’t know how much longer I can handle these nightmares.” Her voice trembled. She shut her eyes. “I think someone is trying to kill me.”

His grip tightened. “I wish I could tell you that you’re imagining it, but it wouldn’t be true.”

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ISBN (Print): 0-9774682-2-4
ISBN (Electronic):
Genre: Suspense
Date Published: 12/03/2005
Publisher: Black Velvet Seductions

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