by Cara Bristol
||Erotic Paranormal Romance
Buy Now From
Log in or register to post your review, add a comment, or subscribe to this page.
Return to Reviews
Destiny Grable can’t help that she's fallen in love Chance Everett, her best friend's boyfriend, but she's never, ever acted on her feelings -- until she and Zoe are in a car accident, Zoe is killed, and Destiny is reincarnated in her body. She never wished for something like this to happen, but perhaps now she’ll be free to love Chance the way she always wanted to.
Chance might have had pursued Destiny, but he has a kinky side and she was a nice girl. But now she’s dead, and the accident has forced him to take in his ex-girlfriend. As soon as she recovers and moves out, he’ll get on with his life.
Can two star-crossed lovers ever find happiness?
A bleeping permeated her brain, steady, repetitive, as annoying as a dripping faucet. She tried to turn away from the sound but couldn’t and found herself waiting for the blips, clinging to the respite of silence in between. Nor could she escape the smell. Rusty. Antiseptic. Invasive. She wrinkled her nose, but the odor crept into her sinuses, stuck to her skin, seeped into her bones. Her cold bones. Her hands and feet had frozen to ice, and she curled into a fetal ball to conserve her heat, ward off the pain. She hurt all over. Why?
Warmth arrived out of cold and darkness to settle on her shoulder with light pressure, like the soothing caress of a man’s hand. Destiny moved against it, seeking comfort. So real. So solid she could almost imagine fingers curling over. She peeled open her eyelids.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.” Chance Everett leaned close.
Though she ached everywhere, she found relief in his presence. Chance often had visited her fantasies looking like this: broad-shouldered, his body-molding T-shirt showing off serious pecs, his dark hair finger tousled, his worn blue jeans more faded over the parts she shouldn’t gawk at. But since she only dreamed him, her conscience allowed her to feast her eyes on every inch of his six-foot frame.
To smell him too. Destiny inhaled to capture soap, masculine comfort, and…automotive grease? She glanced at the hand warming her shoulder. Roughened by work, it bore a line of grime under the fingernails, the result of a cursory washing. She creased her forehead into a tiny frown and lifted her gaze to his face.
Tension bracketed his sexy, full mouth; the usual twinkle in his rich brown eyes had dulled to flatness.
This wasn’t the way her dreams went. Far from it—by now their clothing should have mysteriously disappeared, and he should be kissing her while whispering the naughty things he planned to do to her. Nor had he ever seemed quite this solid, had the sensation of being touched felt so real. And what is that irritating blip? She grimaced.
“Can you speak?” he asked.
“Uh, um. Yeah.” Or maybe not. The husky, quavering voice didn’t sound like hers. And her throat hurt.
Destiny rolled her head to the side, noting institutional green walls, medical machines and monitors, and that the bed on which she lay had rails. Like a hospital bed. Hospital!
“Do you remember what happened?” he asked.
Memories flooded in. Sheeting rain. Malfunctioning windshield wipers. A massive truck. Skidding. Crashing. Screaming. Grabbing for her friend Zoe, who was driving the car.
Please, be a nightmare.
Voicing her fear would solidify it. But Chance waited. “The accident.” She swallowed. “It was real, wasn’t it?”
He nodded. “Yes. The police called me at the body shop.”
That accounted for the grease under his fingernails. He’d been working, hadn’t taken the time to fully clean up. It also explained his presence at the hospital. Although he and Zoe had split up recently, they had remained on good terms, and since she had no close relations, authorities would have notified him. So why was Chance with her and not Zoe?
She would have bolted upright, except for Chance’s hand on her shoulder. “Oh my God! She’s…she’s all right, isn’t she?”
Bleakness darkened his eyes. He shook his head. “She didn’t survive the crash.”
His answer stabbed her in the chest, driving the pain deep. “No. No. No.” Tears overran her eyes, trickled down her cheeks. “She can’t be. She can’t.”
“I’m sorry,” he said, though she should be the one to comfort him. Even though he and Zoe were no longer a couple, they’d been close; he’d loved her once. Destiny cried, and he slipped his hand under the blanket and curled his fingers around hers.
Through her grief, she marveled at his stoicism, appreciated his effort to console her when the news had to have hit him hard. “I’m sorry.” She repeated his words. What else could she say?
How could Zoe be gone? If anyone deserved to be dead, it was she. Zoe had been belted in the car, while she had been unrestrained because her seat belt didn’t work.
She scrubbed at her eyes with her fist to erase the images reeling through her brain. She’d been slammed against the dash as the car smashed through the guardrail. Gotten a shock when her hand hit the radio button. The current had traveled through her entire body before latching on.
Destiny wept until her insides ached, until she lacked the energy to continue. He held her the whole time, disengaging only to shove several tissues into her hand after her sobs dwindled to shudders. She blew loudly, too miserable to worry about bloodshot eyes, a red and running nose. She lived. Zoe didn’t. For a long moment she lay there saying nothing as Chance sat beside her.
Finally she blew her nose again and then hid the hand clutching the wet tissues under the covers.
“Better?” he asked.
“Better. Thank you.” She ached for the loss of her friend but was grateful for Chance’s presence. His strength helped her face the tragedy. She wished she could comfort him, for his loss was even greater than hers, but she feared becoming a blubbering idiot, a further burden.
“I feel for her poor family, getting that call.” He shook his head.
“Family?” She peered at him. Zoe had no siblings, her father had never been in the picture, and she was estranged from her mother. Who still would need to be notified? “Oh yeah,” she said.
“I checked in with the hospital receptionist. She sent me to an empty room at first. Shit, I thought you’d died too!” His tone and shoulders sagged with relief, as if her death would have been as devastating as his former girlfriend’s.
Destiny shifted in the bed. She’d had a big crush on him, but they’d never been more than friends. He’d met Zoe, and even though that relationship had ended, she couldn’t compete with a beautiful model. Her social circle and Zoe’s frequently intersected, and while her friend had flitted about, Destiny and Chance had gotten to know each other. She appreciated the quiet strength he radiated, his low-key humor, his niceness, and, okay, his hot bod. Still she’d doubted she had rated a blip on his radar screen, her a frizzy-haired, nearsighted girl of unassuming looks. But he’d always been kind.
In the middle of his crisis, he’d personally delivered the bad news rather than allowing her to hear it from the nurse. He let her cry on him, but his visit disconcerted her in a way she couldn’t pinpoint. She shifted her gaze from the scrutiny of his dark eyes and glanced around her hospital room.
Cold. Sterile. A place that prepared for the worst and then confirmed it. She had no desire to stay a second longer than she had to. She contracted and released the muscles in her arms and legs and wiggled her toes. Working order. A positive sign.
Probably Chance had not been given any reports of her condition, but it couldn’t hurt to ask.
“How bad a shape am I in?”
“You got off easy, relatively speaking.” He flicked his gaze to her temple. “You banged your head in the crash and needed a few stitches, but they say there’s no brain swelling.”
The first positive news she’d gotten. Relief seemed to lift ten pounds from her body. “I wonder how long they’ll keep me.”
“Only overnight as a precaution. I’ll come by around nine to take you home.”
Destiny blinked. Chance would drive her? Not her mother and father? And now that she thought about it, where were they? Why weren’t they at the hospital? “Where are my parents?”
Confusion flitted across his face before his features froze. He tilted his head. “Your parents?” He stared at her like she’d babbled in tongues.
“Didn’t the authorities contact them?”
“You want me to call your mother?”
“Not you. The sheriff’s department. Or the hospital. My mother is listed as my emergency contact in my wallet.”
“She is?” Chance drew his brows together.
“And my sister’s secondary.”
“You don’t have a sister.”
“Yes, I do. I guess you don’t remember, but you met her a couple of times.”
He shook his head. “I would’ve remembered meeting your sister.”
He had met her. She recalled the way Laura smiled cryptically upon introduction. Her sister’s empathic abilities had picked up something about Chance, but she had refused to reveal it, despite Destiny’s badgering. But she wouldn’t argue with a man who’d just lost his girlfriend. Stress and grief played tricks on the mind. And she didn’t remember every person she’d ever met.
“It’s not important,” she said, dismissing the discussion with a wave of her hand.
He sighed. “No, at least not right now.” He stood and leaned over. His scent and nearness caused her pulse to race, then skyrocket when he brushed his lips over hers in a soft kiss.
“Try to get some sleep. I’ll come get you in the morning.”
And leaving her emotions in an uproar, he left.
His kiss hadn’t been sexual yet demonstrated an intimacy in its familiarity. In all the time she’d known him, he’d never kissed her. So why now?
For comfort, why else? Yet the way he’d done it, the ease, hinted of a physical closeness they’d never shared. His lips had connected with hers unerringly like he’d kissed her many times before and knew exactly how to turn his head.
You’re imagining things. You’re not thinking straight.
Everything felt so unsettled. Odd. Like the absence of her parents. It did not make sense they wouldn’t rush to her side after she’d been in a serious accident. The only likely explanation was that they hadn’t been notified.
But better the news of the accident come from her than some emotionally detached public or hospital official. She could reassure them of her health and safety before telling them where she was.
Every muscle protested when Destiny twisted her body to reach for the bedside phone. No doubt she would have some colorful bruises. She couldn’t believe how lucky she’d been. Zoe shouldn’t be dead. Tears threatened again. Later. Cry later.
After a few frustrating attempts, she discovered she had to dial nine to get an outside line. The phone at her parents’ house rang several times. Should have called Mom’s or Dad’s cell. She had started to hang up when her mother answered.
“Hi, Mom. I guess you guys didn’t get the news,” she said lightly, carefully, to avoid alarming her.
“Who is this?” Her voice broke on a suspicious note.
She wasn’t surprised her mother didn’t recognize her voice. She’d strained her throat screaming, and the husky tone that came from her mouth didn’t sound like her. “It’s Destiny. I am perfectly fine. I had a car accident, and I’m in the hospital. But I’m okay.”
Her mother’s shriek hammered nails into her head.
“Mom, it’s all right. I’m not hurt.” Destiny held the phone away from her ear as the screams continued.
Her father rumbled in the background, then came on the line. “Who is this?” he barked.
She cleared her throat. “It’s Destiny.”
“You’re a sicko. If you call here again, I’ll report you to the police.”
He hung up.
Copyright © Cara Bristol
Destiny wakes up in hospital with her own mind and memories, but in her friend Zoe’s body. Zoe’s ex, Chance is there to comfort her and take care of her, still thinking she is Zoe, but when Destiny’s memories and personality emerge, he finds himself falling in love again, not with his ex, Zoe, but with Destiny.
I liked Destiny’s Chance, but felt I was left hanging, as far as how the switch came about, and who Zoe really was. Was she just a wraith passing through the ether in order to allow Chance and Destiny to hook up? I think I’d also like to have known if Destiny was ever able to reconcile her new persona/body with her parents who believe her dead. Might have been a nice touch for them to accept her in her new form. It’s a cute little twist on a love story, with the requisite conflicts and motivations. I liked the characters, story, and even the man-whore brother. If you are looking for one for your e-reader or to tuck in your suitcase this one qualifies.
Manic Readers receives books from authors, publishers, and publicists which are given to
reviewers in exchange for their honest opinion. Each review represents the opinion of the reviewer
which may or may not have been influenced by receiving the book at no cost.
No comments available.