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Authors: Vicki Leigh

Catch Me When I Fall

BOOK: Catch Me When I Fall
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Catch Me When I Fall
Number I of
Dreamcatcher
Vicki Leigh
Curiosity Quills Press (2014)

Recruited at his death to be a Protector of the Night, seventeen-year-old Daniel Graham has spent two-hundred years fighting Nightmares and guarding humans from the clawed, red-eyed creatures that feed off people’s fears. Each night, he risks his eternal life, having given up his chance at an afterlife when he chose to become a Protector. That doesn’t stop a burnt-out Daniel from risking daring maneuvers during each battle. He’s become one of the best, but he wants nothing more than to stop.

Then he’s given an assignment to watch over sixteen-year-old Kayla Bartlett, a clinically depressed patient in a psychiatric ward. Nightmares love a human with a tortured past. Yet, when they take a deep interest in her, appearing in unprecedented numbers, the job becomes more dangerous than any Daniel’s ever experienced. He fights ruthlessly to keep the Nightmares from overwhelming his team and Kayla. Soon, Daniel finds himself watching over Kayla during the day, drawn to why she’s different, and what it is about her that attracts the Nightmares. And him.

A vicious attack on Kayla forces Daniel to break the first Law and reveal his identity. Driven by his growing feelings for her, he whisks her away to Rome where others like him can keep her safe. Under their roof, the Protectors discover what Kayla is and why someone who can manipulate Nightmares has her in his sights. But before they can make a move, the Protectors are betrayed and Kayla is kidnapped. Daniel will stop at nothing to save her. Even if it means giving up his immortality.

A Division of
Whampa, LLC
P.O. Box 2160
Reston, VA 20195
Tel/Fax: 800-998-2509
http://curiosityquills.com

© 2014 Vicki Leigh
http://www.vleighwrites.com

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information about Subsidiary Rights, Bulk Purchases, Live Events, or any other questions - please contact Curiosity Quills Press at
[email protected]
, or visit
http://curiosityquills.com

ISBN 978-1-62007-486-2 (ebook)
ISBN 978-1-62007-487-9 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-62007-488-6 (hardcover)

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For Grandma,
who first showed me what it meant to love a good book,
and who, even when the world told her she was blind, found a way to read.

nvisible, I leaned against the wall at the back of Eva’s bedroom, waiting for her to fall asleep and for the Nightmares to arrive. The crows’ feet around Eva’s eyes crinkled as she smiled and shut the book she’d been reading before smoothing her blankets out around her and flicking off the light.

“Do you always have to be so brooding? While most people die, you get to continue to live. You should be more grateful,” my partner, Marlene, said.

Ignoring her, I closed my eyes. As Protectors of the Night—me a Dreamcatcher and she a Dreamweaver—we were both sworn to guard humans for the rest of eternity. Marlene created dreams; I fought off Nightmares. Which meant I was spending nearly every day in battle, and I would never get to see the Heavens. When I died—for good this time; I
was
already dead—I would just cease to exist. Lost in a black void. Not much of an eternity, if you ask me.

Marlene gave an exasperated sigh and stepped away to do her job. “Just be on alert, okay?”

When wasn’t I?
Not like I hadn’t been doing this for two-hundred years or anything.

I’d been just seventeen, sent from England to fight in what was now called the War of 1812. Why I’d wanted to be a soldier, I no longer knew. I could’ve stayed in my family’s home, the son of an Earl, and have married and fathered children. But instead, I’d gone overseas to the Americas and died. Not my cleverest move.

Now, I was still that young soldier, just in a different kind of war. Good versus evil. The cliché kind. I’d agreed to this afterlife because I couldn’t bear to be away from the family I’d left behind. But when the last of my kin were finally gone… I never should’ve tried to cheat death.

The smell of sulfur hit me and my hair stood on end. I uncrossed my arms, opened my eyes, and grabbed the daggers from my weapon belt. Marlene was still straddled over Eva, her hands hovering above the woman’s head. The dream she created shone above Eva’s bed, like a movie projector played video on the wall. Standing on the balls of my feet, I waited for the attack.

The first Nightmare entered the room through the wall by the door, its scaly, humanoid body twisting like a character from an exorcism movie. Stepping toward it, I gripped my daggers tighter and raised a blade like an American football quarterback prepping to lob a pass. The beast’s red eyes glowed as it slithered toward the bed. I wasted no time throwing my dagger. The blade stuck in the creature’s skull right between the eyes. The glow in the monster’s beady eyes faded as it crumbled to the floor without a sound.

Grimacing, I tore the blade out of the Nightmare’s head and wiped the black blood from my knife before pulling out a lighter and setting the beast on fire. The twisted body burned as fast as the oil in a Kerosene lamp, then turned to ash. Remembering how difficult it’d been to get rid of Nightmares’ corpses before someone invented the lighter, the corner of my mouth twitched. I could build a house with all the wasted matches.

“Something’s wrong,” Marlene said, panic coating her voice. “Her mind… it’s like I can’t pull the memories anymore.”

The dream above the bed flickered like a television before the power went out. I’d protected enough people to know what was happening.

“Just do your best. Give her something to hold onto as she passes.”

Marlene looked at me, her lips in a frown. This had been her first real case, taking over when my former partner transferred to a more difficult assignment. “You mean…”

I nodded, and Marlene turned away with tears in her eyes.

Maybe I should’ve been sad, but I’d watched over cancer patients, kidnapped girls, and soldiers. I’d even protected a little six-year-old boy who died in a coma after a drunk driver killed him. Eva was my first charge who had lived a full life and died in her sleep at a normal age. She deserved to go peacefully like this. And if I were being honest, as someone who had died young—and would remain so forever—I was jealous.

Turning away when the scent of sulfur hit my nose again, my eyes searched the room for the second Nightmare’s point of entry. The monster crept through the far corner near the window with a snakelike hiss, claws extended from its hands. I waited until the creature was a little closer to us before stepping forward to throw my blade.

Its claws contracted and the Nightmare’s hiss died, but I threw my blade anyway, ridding the world of one more evil. Still, I knew what had happened, why the monster was no longer interested in feeding.

Eva was dead.

With my arms crossed over my chest, I stood at the back of the funeral home, invisible to human eyes. Exhaustion filled every muscle and joint in my body, but I needed to pay my respects. Eva might not have known I was there, but after spending every night with her for eighty years, I felt like I at least owed her a goodbye.

BOOK: Catch Me When I Fall
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