The story behind Pieces of Me came to me as soon as I saw the cover. That was how the story behind Stay also started. In the same vein as Stay, Pieces of Me is a short, amnesia trope story. I’m so excited to share Ava’s story with you. Continue reading for a sneak peek.
It’s been eighteen excruciating months of surgeries, intense rehab, and soul-searching therapy. Eighteen months of reliving my assault in my nightmares.
I want the nightmares to stop. I want to pretend the scars on my body don’t exist, but he won’t let me. Every time his email hits my inbox, I’m reminded of his role in my assault, and I…I can’t let him go.
Imagine my surprise when he agrees to help me get over the trauma from that night. We’ll meet face-to-face and talk. I’ll get my closure then forget I ever met Gavin Langston.
But when we finally meet again, he isn’t the man I’m expecting. This man is different and more dangerous to my heart than I’ve ever imagined.
The sun isn’t in my rearview but dead center in my line of sight as I take the turn that will get me to my place.
I flip the visor down. My fingers shake from the memory that flashes in my mind, coming at me any time, day or night.
Bright lights in the darkness. Twin beams. Headlights aimed at me. I’m drunk. Dazed. Not too certain I’m seeing what I’m seeing. I wave my arms to get the driver’s attention.
Does the person see me? The car drives at me. Oh, God, oh God. I run and stumble in my high heels. Heels I’d bought specifically for this night out.
Hulking metal slams into my body. Sharp pains. Bone breaking. I’m thrown in the air and hit the ground with a “whoosh” from my lungs.
I gasp for breath and see stars behind my eyelids.
I’m going to die.
I’m going to die alone in this dark and empty street.
I didn’t let my friends know I was going out tonight. Didn’t tell my dad, either. They would be all up in my business, and I’m not ready to share with them a piece of the good-looking hunk I’ve been messaging for the last month.
Brakes screeching in the silence brings me back to the present. That same unbearable sharp pain gnaws at my left hip and shoots down my leg. I clamp my hand over my leg and dig my nails into my skin through my dress, hoping the pain from my fingernails will help ease the other pain.
Sticky, wet goo on my fingers. I’m bleeding. Bleeding and broken. I need to call for help. I open my eyes and shield them from the glaring headlights with my blood-stained hand held high.
The person behind the wheel has turned the car around, and I’m dead center in the street. The car comes at me.
No. No. No.
I cry out for help and scramble onto my hands and knees, dragging my small purse cinched at my wrist with me. A gunshot pierces the air. I duck my head and will my body to move, but my left leg doesn’t get the message.
Another gunshot and the car veers to the side, missing me. I stretch out on the pavement and fumble for my purse.
My heartbeats slam against my ribcage. Bile coats the back of my throat. I dry heave. Heavy footfalls come toward me.
Oh, God, oh, God, the person is returning to hurt me. I grapple inside my purse for my cell phone. The footfalls get closer. I raise my head, but I’m tired. So tired.
I stick out my arm in an attempt to stop another assault. A large hand grips my wrist. Thick fingers search for my pulse. A man. The heavy footfalls belong to a man.
“Help me,” I croak.
“Please,” I beg. I can’t see his face. It’s too dark. “My hip, my leg…broken. Please.”
A ping breaks through the silence.
His phone. He’s getting a message. He pulls out his phone the same time I grasp mine. His screen lights up the night, giving me a hazy view of his face through my drunken and shock state. I gasp, recognizing him.
“You were in the restaurant. My date and I arrived first. They gave us your table.”
The table with a stunning view of the city skyline. The most sought after table at the Ambrosia, according to my sophisticated, foodie friends when they later visited me at the hospital.
He had made a scene when he saw me seated at the table, but acquiesced when my date returned from using the restroom. The annoying stranger with the quick temper never apologized to the hostess for reaming her out. What a jerk.
My cell in my hand grows heavy. “Call nine-one-one, please.”
The air shifts, and the man is…gone.
But he isn’t gone.
He’s been with me since that night. He comes to me in my nightmares. My dreams, too. Six months after my assault, he reached out to me through email. I almost deleted the message. Hesitated to respond.
The questions I had from that night were answered by the detectives that handled my case.
Why did you abandon me?
Why didn’t you call for help?
Why did you leave me in that empty street bleeding and in pain?
The questions were answered to satisfaction by the detectives, but not him.
I had called for help. I had stayed conscious long enough to tell the cops what happened.
Gavin Langston didn’t so much as apologize or try to see me until that first email a year ago.