She wakes from the explosion to find she’s been transported more than a hundred years into the future to a new world where nothing makes sense. As handsome and as kind as Dr. Julius Freeman is, Katia doesn’t buy his story that she’s been in a coma, and she certainly doesn’t trust him. She does know, however, that the horrors of her previous life have followed her to this century.
Katia stirs more than strictly professional feelings within Julius, but he, too, harbors a dark secret that could threaten everything building between them. When Julius is attacked and kidnapped, Katia must face her demons and fight like she’s never fought before to save the man she loves.
by Charmaine Ross
Charmaine lives in Melbourne, Australia, where, if she’s not working on her latest romance and falling in love with yet another hero, you’ll find her reading, watching, and basically indulging in her addiction to any story on any media type she can get her fingers on. Find Charmaine Ross at www.charmaineross.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @CharmaineRossAu.
An excerpt from Cursed:
The voice came from a tunnel. Muted. Like I was hearing it over a bad, long distance telephone line. It sounded surprised. That was strange. I thought they’d be ready for me here. I couldn’t smell the smoke, so I guessed I’d made it into the next world. I drifted back into the soft, black abyss.
“No you don’t.” A voice, loud and angry.
I felt rough hands on me pushing hard on my chest. It hurt. I wanted to drift into the blackness again. It was warm there. Nothing could hurt me. I was safe.
A sting on my neck. Burning in my veins. The voice was yelling. I didn’t think angels yelled. At me? No. I heard other voices. Indistinguishable urgent mumbles. People. More than just one. A group.
Thoughts tumbled through my mind and pooled in an untidy heap. Was I in Heaven? My recollection of what I’d heard about Heaven was that it was a pretty nice place to go. In those years where I existed on the street, Heather would tell me, “Katia, you’ll love it there. The sky is a beautiful cloudless blue, and there are green fields full of wildflowers, and you are always happy. There is no sadness or pain. You can do whatever you want to do.”
She often glossed over the way in which I would get there. I guess she didn’t know either. We were both kids. Something about being good, but that didn’t ring true to me anymore. No one we knew was good.
I knew that you were sad when other people went to Heaven, which was pretty much a contradiction. If it was a place you wanted to go, then you should be happy that someone actually got there.
I told Heather Heaven would be warm. It was much better than those freezing nights when the cold bit into your bones as sharp as a knife and there was nowhere warm you could go, no one you could turn to because that would get you into trouble—bad, bad trouble.
Something wrapped around my arm and was pulled tight, pinching my skin. There was a sting in the crook of my elbow. Ice through my veins.
“Wake up.” Warm breath enveloped my ear. The voice was gentle and insistent. Nice. But I didn’t want to listen to it.
I shook my head. A mistake. Pain seared somewhere in the middle of my brain. My stomach recoiled. I wanted to sink into the black again. I liked it there. The ice was taking me away from it.
My heart raced. A force pulsed through my veins, pushing through arteries that opened wide and greedy, waking every pore, every cell back to life. Like I was born all over again, and it was hell.
My mouth opened and sucked in air in a coarse, noisy gasp. My back arched upward and lifted my body high. My arms flopped outward like a sacrifice, opening ribs, expanding lungs. Pain sliced into every sinew. I didn’t want to breathe. Didn’t want to move. Why couldn’t I just stay dead? It was nice there.
Someone uttered, “Holy shit. She’s alive.” There was silence, except for the noise my lungs made when I sucked in a struggling breath. But my body was too heavy. I gagged, choking for air now. Suffocating. My body not responding. Why the hell wake me when I was perfectly happy being dead in the abyss? I dove back down.
“We’re losing her.”
“Give her another shot.”
More ice flowed into my arm. The blackness gave way to gray shadows. This wasn’t what I wanted. No warmth now. I was cold. Freezing. I hated the cold. My body ached, heavy, limbs were useless. I couldn’t move. My head throbbed.
Snow White didn’t wake up this way. Heather had always said I looked like Snow White. Raven dark hair, white skin, blue eyes. She used to say she liked the way I looked, but Heather was romantic. Why didn’t I live like Snow White? Where was my prince?
“That’s a girl. Wake up,” The soothing voice was back in my ear.
A wave of anger shattered the black into a thousand splinters. I wanted to go back, and he wasn’t letting me. The least he could have done was ask me if I wanted to wake up. I would have told him no, leave me alone. I liked being left alone.