"You're not here," she said. "I just want you to be so badly I'm seeing things."
"You ask a lot."
She closed her eyes and shuddered with the need pulsating through her body. Her hand moved beneath her sweater, fingers tracing over her abdomen before sliding over her bra. Where her hands drifted, ripples of energy followed, creating a trail of sensation over her skin. Desire warmed her blood.
"I miss being loved," she whispered.
"I love you." Shane's voice against her ear. "Let me touch you."
"I wish you could." She ached for him, for the love they had shared, for the laughter, and the partnership.
With a sigh, she set the wine bottle onto the floor and pulled her sweater off. Another shudder went through her body, ripple after ripple of intensity. Closing her eyes to submit to fantasy, she moved her hands over the swell of her breasts.
She felt his lips against her neck, breath against her skin. Shane's blond head bent over her, the familiar scent of his shampoo overwhelming her senses, his voice whispering about how much he loved her.
She missed making love, holding a man against her, tasting him on her tongue, feeling him move between her thighs.
"Believe in this, Sierra. I'm really here," the whispered command made her squirm against the seat and reach for the zipper of her jeans.
But the zipper slid down without her fingers touching it. Her eyes snapped open.
"Is this really happening?" She choked out the words from a throat swollen with fear while her heartbeat raced with hope.
"Do you want it to be?" He loomed over her, a solid form, yes, but one zapping with an electrical current. "You see me."
"I see you."
He kissed her; energy sizzled between their mouths as he shoved her jeans down her legs. Where he touched, her skin reacted with an intensity born of loneliness and need. She ached for him.
He slipped the bra from her shoulders, kissed the swell of her breasts, and pinched her nipples. His breath moved across her skin.
She didn't care if this was a dream or if she'd finally slipped into insanity. She twisted beneath him, sensation overwhelming logic. Her hands moved along his back while she shut her eyes, worried that if she opened them the fantasy would end.
Where his body touched, pulsations surged over and into her skin like a million needle pinpricks. She wanted more, needed all of him filling her.
She kicked the jeans free and spread her legs wide. Her hands moved between her thighs, fingers sliding into her wet folds. Not enough, she reached for the wine bottle and slid its neck inside herself. She craved being filled up by a man again, but she'd use whatever necessary to come close to the satisfaction that always eluded her. She slid the neck of the bottle in and out, uncaring about the wine sloshing under her ass and over the leather cushions.
Partially terrified yet immensely turned on, she watched Shane's ghostly fingers create indentations in her flesh where he touched. If this was some stress-induced-wine-assisted dream, she hoped she never woke up.
Shane pulled the wine bottle away and sent it crashing to the floor. Bending his head, he sucked between her legs, lapping up the spilled wine on her skin. Tasting. Licking. His hands cupped her ass, pushing her tighter against his face.
Pleasure flooded every molecule of her body. She moved her hands to her breasts while he sucked on her clit. Shockwaves crackled through her nervous system.
"How can this be happening?" she asked.
"You ask too many questions, sometimes you just need to trust that there aren't any answers." He flicked his tongue over her nipple as he propped himself over her and pressed his hips against hers.
"I want you inside me."
He complied, his mass thrusting inside her...more than that...through her.
A burst of energy so intense she feared losing consciousness shattered through her body and burst out of the top of her head. She couldn't breathe, couldn't move. Wave after wave of sensations tore through her. When they subsided, she opened her eyes and gasped for air.
Shane hadn't disappeared. He leaned heavily against her and smiled.
"You're a ghost. I don't believe in ghosts." She reached for his face, amazed she could feel him. "I thought you were a dream."
"I come to you in your dreams...you don't believe." He covered a breast with his hand and squeezed. "I need you to believe, Sierra."
"I do." She wrapped her arms around him and held on tight. "I can't believe I can feel you. How is this happening?"
"I love you so much. I couldn't leave you." His breath moved against the side of her face.
Her heart swelled with the idea that he'd been there through the all night crying jags, the tantrums at the office, the lonely walks on the beach, and the tangents in her journal where she'd talked about disappearing.
"I'm losing it all, Shane. I want to give up. Every day has been a struggle since you died. I just...can't."
"Yes, you can. You're my superstar."
"You were always my biggest fan, my only fan." She smiled with sadness and squeezed her eyes closed to prevent the tears from falling.
"You're not alone."
But when she opened her eyes, she was. She glanced down at her naked body stretched along the sofa before looking at the empty bottle on the floor next to her.
With a sigh, she rubbed trembling hands over her face. Over the last eighteen months, she'd gone through all the grief stages, but no one had told her that the hallucinations would feel so real. Maybe no one talked about it. Perhaps everyone kept that part secret for fear of spending the rest of their lives in a straight jacket.
She sat up, body still tingling from whatever had just happened, and looked at the mess she'd created.
"Symbolic of my life," she muttered before pulling on her sweater and reaching for her jeans. She needed a major clean up...and she wasn't referring only to the spilled wine on the leather sofa.
From the back cover...
Only the good die young. When Shane Weston is murdered before prosecuting a key member of the Mexican drug cartel, he can't accept the idea that all of the plans he had had for his life will never come true. More than that, he can't let go of the love he has for his fiancée.
Love never dies. Sierra Daniels is crushed after Shane's death. Head writer on a successful television series, she can't get back into the groove of life. All enthusiasm for work is gone. Ready to quit everything, she travels to her cabin in Lake Tahoe in hopes of escaping everyone's expectations and disappearing for a while.
The lines between right and wrong often blur. Alexander Blaine has risked his future on a career change from DEA agent to lead consultant and writer on hit television series. Sierra's grief has shadowed everyone around her, including him, and jeopardizes both of their careers. Unwilling to accept defeat, he follows her to Lake Tahoe determined to break through the barrier enveloping her and make her see that life is still worth living.
Letting go is like a death. Sierra never thought she would be caught in a love triangle between her writing partner, Alex, and the love of her life, Shane—especially because her ex-fiancé is now a ghost. Tormented with both guilt for moving on with someone else and a desire to be free of the past, she's into the gray area of right, wrong, life, death, ghosts, dreams—the part of life where all the lines are blurred.