Authors: Abby Niles
Tags: #romance, #The Awakening: Liam, #Entangled publishing, #Abby Niles, #category romance
The Awakening: Liam
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is
Copyright © 2013 by Abby Niles. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or
transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the
Entangled Publishing, LLC
2614 South Timberline Road
Fort Collins, CO 80525
Visit our website at www.entangledpublishing.com.
Edited by Guillian Helm and Nina Bruhns
Cover design by COVER ARTIST
Ebook ISBN 978-1-62266-282-1
Manufactured in the United States of America
First Edition August 2013
The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of the following
wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction: Big Bang Theory, Jeep, the Hulk, Xanax, Tupperware,
Rum and Coke.
Table of Contents
A citric taste flooded Liam Doyle’s mouth a second before a shot of terror had him jackknifing to a
sitting position. He clawed at his throat and the book he’d been reading crashed to the floor.
Not your reality. Not your reality. Not your reality
He repeated the mantra he’d used to keep from going deep into
, to keep from being paralyzed
The constriction around his chest and throat tightened. A cold sweat broke out over his body as he
fought the attack, fought to stay conscious of his surroundings.
Not you. Her
Desperate to get to his feet, he fumbled with the covers, but tumbled out of bed onto the floor on all
fours. Muscles tensed, threatening to lock into immobility as he struggled to escape her invading feelings.
Forcing stuttered puffs through his taut lips, he clenched his eyes closed.
Not you. Her
Ava. His mate.
The awareness of her loosened its grasp on his body and mind. He inhaled, once, twice, then pushed to
Something was wrong
. He had to get to her. As he stumbled from the room into the hallway,
another blinding wave of terror consumed him and he fell against the wall. Her fear was so powerful, so
crushing, he could barely stay on his feet, but at least his muscles were no longer trying to lock. He’d won
control over the attack. Now he had to help her.
How could he help her? Goddamn it, he didn’t even know where she was! He staggered the rest of the
way into the living room, inhaling painful breaths into his constricted lungs.
Snarling, his beast slammed forward with its teeth bared. As always, Liam’s body failed to respond to
the animal’s frenzy, but for the first time since she had rejected him eight months ago, he and his beast felt
the same overwhelming emotion—fear for their mate. What was happening? Why was she so fucking
The impotence of the moment made him bellow between fused teeth as he fisted his hands in his hair
and pulled. An icy cold filled his veins. Everything froze. His body. His beast. His emotions. Everything.
Froze. The terror slowly seeped from within him. A dark shadow crept in, replacing the essence that was
Ava that lived in his blood.
His beast roared.
This couldn’t be happening.
As her life force drained from him, he dropped to his knees. Tears scorched the back of his eyes. The
last flutters of her life ceased to pump in his veins and he was left with nothing but emptiness.
He searched deep inside for any sign of her, a flicker, a hope someone was trying to breathe life back
into her—to give her back to him. The emptiness did not shift, did not even shimmer. It lay inside him.
Heavy. Cold. Dead. Even his beast lay unnaturally dormant. No growls or agitated pacing, as if it, too, knew
its mate was gone.
Bile rose in the back of his throat. He shoved to his feet, making it to the kitchen sink before he could
no longer hold back the contents in his stomach. The sounds of his retching echoed throughout the kitchen.
Afterward, he slid down the cabinet to the floor, staring at nothing.
Where had she been? How had she died? The terror made him certain her death was at the hands of
someone else. Someone she knew? A stranger?
Two bare feet came into view and he lifted his head to stare up at his roommate, Brit.
“Why are you making such a damn ruckus, man?”
He swallowed, then licked his lips, trying to form the words, but unable to get the syllables out of his
“Liam?” Brit squatted in front of him, brows knitted as he cocked his head to the side and studied him.
“Is this some new fucked up symptom of
No, this…this was far worse. When Ava had ended their relationship eight months ago, her rejection
had devastated his bond to her, sending him into a debilitating condition called
. When they were
together, he’d reveled in the peace their bond had provided him. After she’d left, that peace had shriveled,
replaced with anger, bitterness, and helplessness that slowly ate him alive, changed him from the happy,
strong man he’d once been, to nothing more than a lost cause who was at the mercy of his mate’s emotions.
. He’d gladly spend the rest of his life like that if it meant he’d escape the darkness lying heavy inside
him now—a heaviness that would never ease, a darkness that would never lighten. Forever.
Unshed tears blurred his vision. “A-Ava’s dead.”
Brit jerked back. “Fuck.” He scrubbed his hand across his mouth. “Fuck.”
“Terrified. She was so terrified.” He rubbed the area above his heart.
His friend fidgeted, looking uncomfortable as his face scrunched into an I-have-no-clue-what-to-do
There was nothing he could do—nothing anyone could do.
“It’s going to be okay.”
No. The nothingness inside him ensured it would never be okay. Liam shoved to his feet and strode
down the hall, needing to escape the small cabin and Brit’s sad, knowing expression. His friend knew what
would happen to Liam now, knew the future he faced.
“Hey,” Brit called. “Where the hell are you going?”
“Got to go.” After he snatched the keys off the end table, he yanked the door open.
“Hey! Liam! Just stay here.”
He slammed the door behind him.
Within minutes, he was behind the wheel of his truck, driving down the dark, winding mountain road,
with no destination in mind. The shock of her death slowly subsided, leaving behind an overwhelming
His mate was no longer alive. Never again would he feel her course through his body, but live the
remainder of his time with this silence.
Why had he given up? He should have fought for her. Now she was lost to him forever.
He slammed his palm against the steering wheel. Fucking
Had he been human, not stuck in the debilitating, soul-sucking obscurity of the condition, nothing
would’ve stopped him from winning her back. But the longer Ava refused to have anything to do with him,
the more the
had taken over his life, made him stop giving a shit about anything. Until he was
aware of nothing but her emotions flowing through his body…and the sinking realization that his mate had
never loved him.
fucking loved him. Even as she’d tried to reject him, she’d hesitated, cried, and then his
stupid mouth had supplied her with the fury to go through with it.
The real reason she’d left him had died with her.
As had his chance to fix what had driven them apart..
When he turned onto a street, he realized he’d driven to Ava’s neighborhood. Even in death she still
drew him to her. He stopped in front of her two-story house. Every window was illuminated. A strangled
sound whistled out of his chest.
This was where she’d died.
Ava only kept the lights on when she was home. As soon as she walked into the front door, she started
flipping on every switch in the house, saying the shadows gave her the spooks. A quirk he’d found
endearing. But it hadn’t been the shadows she should’ve been worried about. It was the monsters waiting
outside. He should’ve been here to protect her. He would’ve killed to keep her safe. His beast would’ve
Was her body lying on the floor still undiscovered? Was the killer still inside?
No ambulance, police cars, or fire trucks were present. Other than the bastard that had taken her life,
Brit and Liam were the only ones who knew she was dead. Imagining her body, lying alone, felt like a knife
to the heart. He had to go in. See for himself she was truly gone.
After he jogged up the stone walkway, he grabbed the key from the top of the doorframe and opened
the door. Ava’s familiar floral scent tackled him as well as the metallic stench of human blood. He recoiled,
almost losing the strength to proceed, but he forced himself to follow the reek up the stairs, death taunting
him the entire way. When he entered her bedroom, the smell overpowered him. He gagged, stumbling
backward against the wall.
Could he face this?
Damn it, he had to.
Forcing himself back into her room, his gaze immediately went to the puddle of blood at the foot of the
bed and the curled fingers lying in it—Ava’s slim, French manicured fingers. His throat tightened, making it
difficult to draw in air. A part of him hadn’t wanted to believe it, couldn’t accept it, but the evidence before
him forced him to face the truth.
Ava was truly dead.
As he moved to the corner of the bed, his beast roared, thrashing violently inside. Liam moaned, and
dropped to his knees beside her still body.
“Oh, A-Ava. What did they do to you?” He leaned over her, hands held out toward her, unable to
believe his mate had been taken from this world in such a violent manner.
Blood drenched her turquoise camisole. The sticky substance streaked through her strawberry blond
hair and puddled beneath her head and body. So much blood. There was so much fucking blood.
He reached toward her, then hesitated, afraid of touching her, afraid to find the warm skin cold as ice,
scared to accept.
Tears burned his eyes. When he finally touched her, he brushed aside a lock of blood-stained hair that
clung to her cheek. One touch wasn’t enough. He skimmed the back of his fingers down her cheek and the
side of her neck, relieved to feel the warmth had yet to seep from her skin.