Wednesday Special Spotlight
Circle of Dreams
Jane S. Morrissey
Leader of an elite psychic team, Cole Courtland is a shape-shifting wolf with a deep connection to the power of the Earth. His investigation of a string of mysterious murders throws him into the dangerous world of the Quytel and leads him straight to Brianna Doherty’s door. Bri is plagued by vicious nightmares of death and pain that leave her wondering about her own history. When her home is under siege, an enigmatic stranger appears out of nowhere to save her. Thrown together in a tangle of desire and danger, they are pulled deeper into the secretive world of the Quytel, an ancient order charged with maintaining the balance of psychic and paranormal power on earth. Staying one step ahead of those who would destroy them, they struggle to unravel the truth of Bri’s past and her family legacy. As her relationship with Cole grows stronger, the reality of who Bri is threatens to tear them apart.
Struggling against the confines of the damp bed sheets, which had become wrapped around her long legs during her fitful sleep, Brianna Doherty kicked them off in frustration. The clock on her nightstand read two-thirty. She groaned. Another sleepless night.
She tossed on her robe as she made her way to the bathroom. Splashing cold water on her face, she assessed her reflection in the mirror. Her mouth creased into a deliberate grimace. Her large green eyes, slightly bloodshot, stared out at her from a flushed face. Hands shaking, she pulled her long mess of blond hair into a ponytail and took a deep breath in an attempt to steady her racing pulse.
Oh, Bri. Get ahold of yourself, she thought. The nightmare hadn’t visited her yet tonight, but she could feel the aching deep in her subconscious. It was only a matter of time. She snapped off the light reluctantly and made her way through the dimly lit room back to her bed.
“Damn!” she bit out through gritted teeth, as she stubbed her toe on the large wooden trunk at the foot of her bed . . . again. She needed to move the damn thing into another room, but she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. It had been her mother’s chest and contained the few items she had to remember her by. Inside were several photographs of her parents, a hand-knitted blanket, her mother’s favorite scarf, and a few trinkets she’d been able to collect before she was taken from the house.
Flopping on her back, Bri pushed down the thoughts of her long-dead parents and touched lightly on the nightmare. She tried to think of it as a dream. It had less power that way, but it still frightened her to the core. As a reporter, she’d seen and heard countless horrific and terrifying stories, her scientific mind picking them apart and examining details until the puzzle made sense. The work usually didn’t get to her, but this did. It felt personal. Bone-chilling. Terrifying. It made her want to scream until she lost her mind.
The nightmare had started a few weeks ago, and she was sick of it. For just one night she wanted peace, to rest without dreaming, to wake refreshed and unafraid. She knew that this meant allowing the dream to come without fighting it. And tonight she would do that—but on her terms.
A week earlier, Bri had started diligently researching lucid dreaming—the ability to be consciously aware during a dream. She figured it was the only way she could get to the bottom of what the nightmare was trying to tell her. There was no doubt left in her mind that there was a reason this had started.
According to her research, she needed an object to focus on while she was in the dream, and she’d chosen an old coin that had been in her mother’s things. The image of small horse on one side and what looked like a deity on the other were smooth and worn. Grabbing the object from her nightstand, she laid back, her fluffy pillow not nearly as comforting as it usually was. The coin was cool in the palm of her hand, and her fist curled tightly around it. The uneven metal edges bit into flesh. Closing her eyes, she tried to deepen her shallow breathing. Her heartbeat quickened with apprehension.
The nightmare rushed in with frightening clarity, and she was helpless against it. Paralyzed. Flashes of light filled her mind and senses. Pain ripped through every fiber of her being. She could hear her own scream, high-pitched, blood curdling, and only in her mind. She couldn’t breathe through the panic rising in the back of her throat. She tried to swallow through the constriction and nearly choked. Losing her concentration, Bri was swept into the nightmarish world of overwhelming pain and insidious fear.
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttA024rO9eY