After I got over being ill, I thought about some of the things in the book and the characters did a dance on my brain and somethings had to be rewritten. But here is a small teaser until I can get the rest of it done - which (cross your fingers) should be out at the end of March.
So here goes.... Chapte 1 of Embracing Ember....
Everyone always said not to go toward the light. Ember took that advice to heart as she cowered in the dark, praying for the pain to stop. Her mind insisted on reliving every hit and punch. She remembered the pitying looks, how everyone would shake their head as if she were too stupid to get out of a no win situation. Leaving had become her goal because she knew one day that he would kill her. Ember was many things but she had never considered herself stupid. She could picture in her mind telling those people who would pity her, that she knew she needed to leave and that she planned on doing so, but preservation of life and limb had her waiting. Did he love her? Of that she had no doubt. She believed he loved her, probably too much, in his own twisted sense of love. But how do you leave someone who isn’t willing to let you go and is willing to persuade you from your choice in sadistic and painful ways?
Her mind focused on the frenzied sounds around her, the wail of a siren and the deep timbre of a male voice that spoke to her while he was moving, poking and prodding her. She found that while his ministrations exacerbated the pain his deep and even voice that reassured her that he was here to help aided to calm her. She felt like a weighted piece of lead, like her only senses were that of touch, which she wished would fade, and the sense of hearing that only added to her confusion. The fog that wouldn’t seem to lift became almost a comforting thought, at least here she didn’t worry about escaping her cruel tormenter, and he wasn’t here. She let go of everything and just listened to the person assuring her she would be okay.
“ALS unit 4, to Trinity Heart ER.” The mysterious voice stated, his calm voice never faltering even as the siren wailing sometimes broke into Ember’s peaceful fog. A static from a radio and then the female voice responded, “Trinity Heart ER, go ahead unit 4.”
The deep, male timbre responding, “Be advised transporting one time emergency status with a twenty-three year old female victim of alleged domestic abuse. Multiple bruises and lacerations noted all over the body. Patient is unconscious and was found unconscious on scene and not reactive to painful stimuli. Head trauma apparent with bruising noted to face. Patient was placed on spine board and C-collar on scene. Blood noted draining from ear and nose. Vitals are: blood pressure 78 palpable, heart rate of 112 showing sinus tach on cardiac monitor with not ectopic beats noted, respirations are 12 and shallow with bilateral chest wall movement, oxygen saturation was ninety percent on room air applied patient to non-rebreather with an increase to one hundred percent O2 sat. Temp 97.2 and blood sugar of 85. Two 14 gauge IV’s started to both AC’s with Normal Saline infusing at bolus rate Estimated ETA of 2-3 minutes. Do you require any further?”
The static followed his report about a girl and Ember’s sluggish brain didn’t piece together that she was that girl, broken and battered. The static of the radio broke into her musings of sympathy for the unknown girl whose condition was so bad and the disembodied female voice stated, “That’s a check unit 4. Trauma bay 2 on arrival. Has the suspect been apprehended?”
“Negative. One police escort will be arriving with us. Trauma bay two on arrival. Pulling into your facility now.” The jarring movement of her body caused pain to shoot through her, her body refusing to allow her to cry out. She retreated into the darkness that taunted her with its blissful unconsciousness. Ember sent a silent prayer to anyone who was listening that the girl who was dying would be okay as she accepted the heavenly peace of nothingness, never realizing she’d have to relive her worst nightmare.
He had messed up, finally. She stared in disbelief at the car keys that he normally took with him and with it her chance at freedom. Ember ran to the bedroom and shoved a few things into a duffel bag. She was out of here. Where would she go? She didn’t know, but she did know that it would be out of this hell-hole. Her eye still sported the multi-color bruising from his last beating over a meatloaf that didn’t look like he thought it should. He had fooled her before. When she was sixteen and a lonely little orphan girl, he gave her the attention she so desperately wanted and needed. Landon was beautiful, his blond hair and blue eyes only added to the innocent and angelic face his genetics gave him. He had spent time with her and listened to her. He was always gentle and never raised his voice at her. She fell in love deep and fast and when she turned eighteen she agreed to marry him. At the time she was ecstatic and the first few days of marriage she was the happiest she had ever been. She had a home and a man to love and to love her. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.
About a week after marrying him she had washed some of his laundry. She didn’t fold his clothing the way that he should. He yelled at her, but didn’t hit her. When she served supper and his roast was a little over cooked, he threw the plate at her. She had started to cry, but she learned to never cry again, at least not where he could see. He had grabbed her by her hair and yelled at her, telling her how worthless she was. He called her names and then used his fist to make sure she never forgot how worthless she was. His once angelic face transforming into a mask of rage. He dragged her to the bedroom by her hair and raped her for the first time. The next morning he told her how sorry he was, and that he’d forever be regretful. He made excuse after excuse and she naively believed him. After the first year he quit apologizing. After the second she knew she didn’t love him and attempted to leave. He had broken her legs and taken her to the emergency room, making her recite the story of how she fell down the stairs. When he decided she didn’t look battered enough from that story, he broke an arm to be sure. She didn’t cry, her tears only ensured that she would be beaten more.
The nurse and doctor’s all knew. They tried to get her to tell them the truth, but she knew he’d only find a way to kill her before the police were able to stop him, so she vehemently denied the doctor and nurse’s accusations and reassured them that she indeed fallen down the stairs. He was of course furious that they had separated her from him to ask questions. He had grabbed her hair in his fist and assured her death if she had been telling lies. Her face was impassive when she assured him that she wouldn’t tell lies. He released the painful grip on her hair and put on the mask of the angel she had fallen in love with when the nurse walked back in with instructions about taking care of her casts. The nurse attempted on last time to get Ember to tell the truth, to give a plea for help. Ember knew better. Landon had reacted to her attempt at leaving him with an iron fist. He locked her in the house when he left for work, taking each vehicles car keys. She had to quit her job in the art department of an advertising agency. Six months into her new prison life she discovered she could work online as book cover creator and children’s book illustrator. Thankfully the equipment was available at her disposal and she hid her tracks well, getting paid in an account he had no knowledge of and doing all of her business on the internet. With the growing popularity of paperless transactions, she watched as her savings grew and planned for the day she could leave him.
With that dream becoming a reality she unlocked the locks keeping her prisoner and felt her hope dwindle into fear. He had come back. Her heart skipped a few beats at his malicious smile. The abuse started as it always did, with hits and kicks. He raped her like he always did, her beaten body protesting his vicious violation of her body. Then he decided he would teach her further lessons with a knife. The slices seemed to go on forever and her consciousness slipped away taking her to another place where she could hide. Where she could cry and know he wouldn’t punish her for her tears.
Ceylon looked around the very sterile looking healthcare center that he was currently touring with one of Earth’s healers, known as doctors. The older black man was several inches short of Ceylon’s six foot five height. He was an athletically built male with ebony skin to Ceylon’s long corded muscular appearance and deep, scarlet skin. Ceylon would be considered a doctor here on Earth, but where their healthcare system worked mostly with healers, the earthen system had many different types of healers. There was the doctor who could specialize in many different things, the nurse like Eon and Kylan’s mates, medical lab technicians that analyzed the specimens sent to them, the x-ray technicians that used the machines that utilized radiation to take internal pictures of the patient and so many others. While their technology helped them to fight infectious disease with better success than that of Salin, traumatic injuries and genetic disorders still eluded their healing capacity. Of course they could treat traumatic injuries, but they couldn’t completely reverse the damage. Just this morning he was shown the progress made with a little girl who was given a ten percent chance of survival after a car accident and had survived but would never walk again and her brain injury had been so severe that she would suffer from mental retardation.
Ceylon was still surprised at how well they were received by Earthlings when the party sent from Salin arrived here about a year ago. Of course at first they were poked and prodded to ensure no diseases would be transmitted to the general population and they still had escorts for their safety. There were still some humans who didn’t embrace them and sought to end their existence. The many vaccinations that they endured hadn’t been the best experience either. Ceylon was interrupted from his musings when the Dr. Langston said, “They are bringing a domestic abuse victim to Trauma bay two. Would you like to see how we work a trauma here at Trinity Heart?”
Ceylon nodded and followed to the door of a room labeled Trauma Bay 2. He watched in interest as the people were gathered garbed in gowns and masks each watching the doors of emergency entrance as if waiting for something. Ceylon didn’t understand what domestic abuse was, but he waited in silence with Dr. Langston. A few moments later the telltale red lights of their emergency transport vehicles flashed as the ambulance backed into the bay. The crowd parted and people began to take their places as the doors slid open revealing two emergency medical staff wheeling in a stretcher. Ceylon allowed them and the other members of the trauma team to go in before coming into the bay. His breath caught in his throat at her appearance, his heart skipping a few beats as his world seemed to narrow on the pale female with the red hair. He took a deep breath and tuned into the chaos that surrounded him as they attempted to save the female’s life. Everything in Ceylon begged him to save this female, to protect her. Ceylon slid beside Dr. Langston before asking, “What exactly happened to the female?”
Dr. Langston looked at him in confusion before explaining, “She was beaten by her husband then he decided to cut her with a kitchen knife.”
Ceylon couldn’t believe his ears. This females mate had purposefully beat her within inches of life. Even Ceylon could tell that she was barely clinging to life as the trauma team rushed to change her fate. Before he realized what he was doing he stated, “I can save her.”
Dr. Langston looked over at him in question while the team worked as if he hadn’t just stated a life-altering statement. “What are you talking about?” Dr. Langston asked, disbelief saturating every word.
“I know it sounds unbelievable to you, but on Salin almost no one dies from traumatic injury. I will concede that your technologies are far superior to infectious disease, but we have developed a scanner that will heal her injuries entirely within twenty-four hours. I only ask that I get that chance. I believe your healthcare system will greatly benefit from this shared technology.” He said with his entire being hanging on the edge for his answer. Ceylon didn’t understand why it was so important for him to save this female, but he knew that he had to. It felt as if his life depended on it. He savagely stamped down the memories of his beloved mate, Ashwin and her horrible death to the blue death that had savaged his home planet, the entire reason behind his party’s journey to Earth. Their planet needed females for the continuation of their species. When Eon and Kylan had brought back their mates the entire planet rejoiced, especially when they learned of the impending births of two Earthling and Salinian children. Kylan had explained that although there were a few differences between Earthlings and Salinians that they were basically the same species and therefore a Salinian was an Earthling and vice versa.
Ceylon had nearly drowned in his grief when he helped to take care of Eon’s mate, Serenity when she contracted the Blue Death. She was nearing the end of her existence when Kylan’s mate, Anna determined that she must be immune to the deadly disease. At the insistence of his mate, Kylan had changed Serenity’s treatment and ultimately saved Serenity. When the opportunity came from the Council to go to Earth, Ceylon jumped at the chance to escape the reminders of his loss.
Dr. Langston sighed before stating, “Look, Ceylon, I’m going to be honest with you. It looks really bad for her, so that is why I’m going to allow you this, that and the government has been pressuring all of us to try and see if you had any secrets to impart. What do we need to do?”
Ceylon wasn’t shocked that the government wanted things from his home planet, in truth, Ceylon and his fellow Salinians were expecting to get the one thing they had lost, females. Ceylon nodded before stating, “I need her ready for transport to one of our ships.”
Dr. Langston shook his head before answering, “That isn’t possible. I can’t allow you to leave with her.” Ceylon had expected this, but without her coming with him to the scanner on his ship, so he sweetened the deal with the good doctor.
“I understand that, but she has to come with me to my ship for the equipment. I also understand that she is under your care, therefore it is prudent that you accompany me to my ship to see firsthand our technology.” Ceylon replied.
Dr. Langston nodded before announcing to the trauma team, “Everyone please stabilize the patient to the best of your ability without leaving this room and ready her for transport to the Salinian ship. Tell EMS to get me a unit STAT.” There were several yelled concerns, but Ceylon ignored them taking out his communicator. After their first encounters with the different types of communication devices, several of the scientist and engineers of his planet had come up with their communicators. It worked similarly to the Earthlings cellular phones, but didn’t require satellites or towers for successful communication.
“I need transport for three people, one Salinian and two earthlings. We are coming in with a female who has been gravely injured. Please prepare the scanner.” Ceylon replied. When the voice on the communicator stated he understood the instructions and assured that his transport would be swift. He watched with baited breath as the trauma team continued to stabilize her. What made this female so important?