Clarabelle Buchannon was the town sweetheart, the youngest daughter of the town’s wealthiest, oldest family, and the only woman who’d ever truly caught Logan’s eye. But he was convinced that getting close to her would only endanger her. And that was before she got dragged into the war waging between his family and another. Now he needed to figure out how to protect her from the men pulling lightning from the sky, as well as the curse of knowing his secret; preferably without breaking both of their hearts.
Logan Hawke had always been a little mysterious; always been the living definition of ‘strong, silent type,’ but Clare never expected his silence to get heavier after she learned about the Hawke family legacy. Maybe, if she could just get him to listen, she could make Logan see that they were stronger together; strong enough, even, to survive the storm….
Logan Hawke jerked awake, his heart pounding in his chest in time to the rolling cracks of thunder from his nightmare. It took several deep, increasingly steady breaths for his heart rate to stabilize even as he swung his legs around until his feet were resting on the floor. He hated that memory. Ever since the day of that fight it had haunted him. Almost every night, for the past three weeks, he’d seen flashes of it in his dreams. If she’d just stayed down, after she’d fallen from that tree, maybe it wouldn’t be haunting him this badly. But she hadn’t. She’d kept fighting, kept trying to electrocute him. He’d had no choice but to fight back
He ground his teeth, fists convulsively clenching over his knees, as his mind fast forwarded the rest of that battle. He wished the memory would fade, but it didn’t. It refused to fall back, or even go dim around the edges. And the sight of his unconscious, beaten opponent – a woman he’d once thought he respected – being carried to her family’s getaway car would likely haunt him for the rest of his life. That was why he disliked violence. It was too easy for him. Too easy to break things or hurt someone. And he’d hurt Emma Matthews, badly. The knowledge that her family had been actively trying to kill his – even that her father had been partially responsible for the deaths of two of his uncles – didn’t ease the guilt and regret in his stomach.
At the end of the day, he and his family had survived that fight. They had more than survived, really; they’d won. That should have been enough. And in some ways it was. At least we haven’t heard from them since. It was small consolation, really, but it was all he had.
Logan sighed, forcibly uncurling his fists, and focused his gaze on his darkened bedroom. He looked around, hoping the familiar décor would distract his mind, and allowed his eyes to adjust to the lack of light in the way no one else could. It only took seconds to discern – in crisp detail – the shape of his tall, old-fashioned armoire and the sliding doors to his closet on the far wall. His dark, chocolate brown curtains were hanging, perfectly still, over the large window above the other side of his bed. His comforter and the thinner, warmer blanket beneath – also shades of brown – were bunched over the foot of the bed. His sheets were rumpled and twisted. And the clock above the nightstand, beside him, insisted it was barely past one. Far too early to let himself stay up.
Dragging a hand down his face, Logan took a long, slow breath and stretched out again on his bed. He needed to sleep. He would be busy in the morning and if he didn’t get back to sleep he’d regret it. For a moment, without bothering to tug the blankets back over his shirtless body, he let himself stare at the ceiling. When he found himself starting to list the things he had scheduled for the next day he released another breath and let his eyes close once more.
She was reaching, stretching her trembling arm beyond the top of the short wall of earth that separated them. Her fingertips were sparking and dark determination clouded her eyes.
Logan’s eyes snapped open again with a sharp intake of breath. Sleep wasn’t interested in being his friend at the moment, apparently. With a groan, Logan pushed all the way to his feet and started down the hall, toward his bathroom. Maybe, if he were lucky, he could splash some water on his face and chase away the memory for a few hours.