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View Full Version : Excerpt: Barely Dreaming by Stephanie Beck (Fantasy Romance)



Pamela tyner
November 21st, 2011, 01:23 PM
Neela jerked and spun around. The woods? Oh my gosh, I’m sleepwalking. I’m really going crazy. But daylight filtered through the trees. If it were daytime then someone in the family had to have seen her. She took a step and then another. Her feet were bare, yet she didn’t feel the sting or scratch from the twigs on her tender skin. The sweats she’d worn to bed still covered her body, but according to the weatherman the night before, the May morning should have dawned in the eighties. If she were in the woods behind her father’s house, she would have been roasting in the heat.

Birds tweeted wildly around her and squirrels chattered as if they were giving her the latest gossip, but she didn’t understand. How could she? She’d never remembered her dreams. When she dreamed, she woke peacefully so the blank times had to be good. On the mornings she felt especially limber and happy, she assumed the dreams had been more than pleasant.

She smiled at the thought. She loved those times, but could this be one?

“There’s my girl! Where have you been, lass?”

Neela froze at the voice. It wasn’t at all familiar to her mind, but she ran toward it. When he came into sight, he wasn’t what she expected, but still her feet didn’t slow. Her body knew something her conscious mind didn’t. Since Neela accepted that she was dreaming, she listened to her body and flew into his open arms.

The stranger was a big, beefy man and with her nose buried in his chest, Neela realized he smelled amazing. Like a clean man, but with something else. Maybe it was the forest clinging to his skin and clothes, but just the scent of him calmed whatever fears her mind tried to conger.

“It’s about time you found your way back, my Neela. Yesterday I even went to your side to search you out, but you were safe enough at home and I didn’t want to disturb you. It’s a good thing you came when you did, though, or I’d have been on my way again.”

His deep voice held a touch of Scottish brogue. The accent had been her favorite in movies. Everything about the man personified what she’d always liked in the opposite sex. Tall, strong, with a huge, furry beard, and the voice…

“Who are you?” She winced at the purely inquisitive tone of her voice. She’d hoped to be a bit harder hitting, but she felt safe with her legs wrapped around his trunk of a waist and a good three feet from the ground.

“Who am I, love?” He pulled back, concern covering his broad face.

His wasn’t a traditionally handsome face because of the sheer size. He had to be close to seven feet tall and everything about him was huge. His bright blue eyes, even concerned, held humor and his russet red hair fell in soft curls a touch too long to be conservative. Handsome didn’t quite do him justice, but as she traced her finger over the curve of his cheekbone to his jaw rough with whiskers, she couldn’t shake the feeling that he was just right.

“Neela? What’s my name?”

She tilted her head, trying to get another perspective, but nothing came. “I don’t know. I feel like I should, but I don’t. I’m sorry.”

“Och, don’t be sorry.” He tucked her close as if he’d done it a hundred times and toted her through the forest. She didn’t know where they were going but fear stayed at bay. “It’s actually good you’ve come this way now, searching for me, just as I searched you out in your world. It’ll take a bit more explaining, but we’ll get it straightened out.”

Neela should have felt like a child in his arms, but she didn’t. She still felt like a woman, and from the way his hands gently massaged her lower back, he saw her as one.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Maybe if you think and feel really hard you can find it in that brain of yours, love,” he said.

Neela closed her eyes. Foolish or not, his words rang true. She’d never been one to blindly follow or believe, but with this man—this huge being—she felt like not only she could, but that she should trust him.

“You’re Gabe.” The answer came from nowhere and everywhere it seemed, but Neela grinned because she was right.

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