Well my patient readers—especially the growing number from countries around the world— I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to see little dots pop up from countries all around the globe. The Internet is truly an ‘amazement’. (love to hear from you)
You’ve indulged me as I blithered about any number of topics, not the least of which, were my adventure’s in the Realm of Writing. Have I mentioned how much I love writing? Well I do. Allowing my imagination to set sail is pure joy. Revisions and editing force me into my left-brain, but are still wonderful learning experiences. But the creative process is wondrous and constantly changing. I am addicted to Word Smithing. LOVE-it
Even after spending hours revising and tweaking, when I sit back and just read the story, I still enjoy it. I love reading about these characters, who have become so real to me. They’re like adopted family.
Okay, this is probably starting to sound a little crazy so I’ll stop.
Today’s blog is brought to you by the up and coming release of my next book, “Defying Gravity” which is the second book in the Damaged series. The first was “Damaged In Service”.
Last month, my publisher, Affinity ebooks, NZ, Ltd. Offered a free download of chapter one for those of you impatient for the second book, which will be released March 1st 2012. In the meantime, I offer you another teaser that may act as an inducement for those of you have not yet read the first book, an excerpt.
She waited for the elevator thinking about his suggestion. Of course, he couldn’t understand. The sexual assault of FBI agents didn’t occur on a regular basis. After pushing the button for the ground floor, Zeke pulled out the Post-it and read the name again. The idea of talking to another female agent who had experienced the same indignity might be a good idea.
Zeke was lucky that the midday traffic was light and she reached Dr. Nilsson’s office on Michigan Avenue with five minutes to spare. When she arrived at the office, the waiting room was empty and Dr. Nilsson’s door stood open.
“Agent Cabot, please come in. I didn’t expect to see you so soon. I thought you were enjoying some well deserved time off.”
They each took a seat in one of the comfortable club chairs at a round coffee table. In the center, a teak tray held a carafe and several glasses. Natural light from several floor-to-ceiling panels provided plenty of light and the indirect recessed lights added a pleasant ambiance. Zeke tried to get comfortable—something she rarely did in any office. It was even truer when the subject of conversation would be her.
“I was, until I got the call of duty.” She tried to laugh. “Actually, Agent Hartbrooke asked if I could come back to Chicago briefly to sort out some loose ends.”
Dr. Nilsson was probably around sixty with silver-grey hair pulled back in a braid. She was tall, close to Zeke’s height and slender. Zeke thought the pale skin and eyes were clearly Scandinavian features. The warm smile was disarming.
“I see.” Dr. Nilsson folded her hands in her lap as she crossed her leg.
Zeke tried to relax.
“I wanted to come back, at least for a little while.” She shifted in her chair and shoved her hands under her legs to keep from trembling. “There was … I had … I was attacked and, sexually assaulted.” Fuck. I can’t believe I just said that. She looked at the bookcase trying to avoid the doctor’s gaze. Zeke sped through a very brief summary of the attack in the campground in the mountains and subsequent hospital treatment. “Mostly it was a lot of bruising and a broken nose.”
“Was that what you wanted to talk to me about?”
“Well, yes. But there’s something else.” She cleared her throat. “I met someone when I arrived in New Mexico and she was with me that day.
“Our initial meeting was kind of an accident; then we bumped into each other on three separate occasions. The last time was when I fell off a hiking trail and she, well … she kind of rescued me. Because I injured my ankle, we ended up spending a fair amount of time together and developed a strong attraction to one another.”
Thinking about Anne settled her. She shifted and crossed her legs. “The trip to Taos was our first weekend getaway together and it was wonderful. I never dreamt I could be so happy. Too happy, I got careless.” The muscles in her abdomen tightened. “Two armed men caught us off guard. The attempted rape was unsuccessful, but ever since then, I feel … I haven’t been the same.”
“Can you tell me more about that?”
Her heart thudded against her ribs. She looked up into gentle blue eyes. Dr. Nilsson wore a concerned expression with their head tilted slightly to one side. “I really care for this woman and we were just beginning to get close, intimate. But that, when we got back to her house, I got spooked. When she touches me now, even a simple like a hug feels constricting, like I can’t get my breath and I don’t understand it.”
Zeke reached for the carafe and poured water into one of the glasses. She gulped it and put the glass down seeing a tell-tale tremor in her right hand.
“While I was working undercover here in Chicago, I was pretty closed off emotionally. I had to be. I didn’t think I’d ever have normal sexual feelings again. When I met Anne, that’s her name, feelings started to wake up but. It was exciting to find out that I could still be interested and aroused.” A brief flicker of light went off in her head. In that instant, she relived the incredible bliss that she had when they made love for the first time. A momentary wave of peace washed over her. “In spite of the utter joy I experienced with her, I feel like I’ve lost my moorings. I can’t seem to connect to solid ground. Do you know what I mean?”
“I think so, but go on.”
Zeke rubbed her hand across to her eyes. Where are the words? “Sometimes when I’m in a conversation, especially about work, I have trouble staying focused and I can’t feel the floor under my feet or the chair I’m sitting in. It’s like floating, a little. Focus is difficult because I feel so spacey.”
“Difficulty focusing is a very common symptom. From what you’ve described, Agent Cabot, your reaction seems fairly typical. Tell me, has your sleep been disturbed?”
“Not much more than it was when I left here, but some nights are better than others.”
“How about your appetite?”
“That’s improved some. Of course, the food is terrific out there. I just don’t always think to eat.”
“If you remember, when I saw you the last time, I suggested you try some medication for anxiety. I did that because I suspected your undercover assignment created acute post traumatic stress disorder. You realize a new incident would only compound that.” She uncrossed her legs and leaned forward with her arms resting on her knees.
“PTSD is unpredictable at best. There may be times when you feel fine, and without any warning, you may notice mild symptoms, some anxiety, loss of focus, or a full-blown panic attack. There’s no way to know what might trigger those symptoms. It might help to keep track of things that precipitate the symptoms.” She spoke again softly. “As I said, your reaction is not unusual. It will take some time for you to begin to trust your feelings again but I think it will be easier now that you have someone you can trust. Of course, the best thing would be for you to be honest with her.” Zeke struggled to stay in the chair and listen. Her heart was pounding and her mouth was dry. She tried to slow her breathing even as her hands trembled.
“Agent Cabot, did you hear what I said?”
“You’re going to be all right. Medications and therapy have proven effective in most cases. I’ll be happy to work with you while you’re in Chicago. Exactly how long will you be here?”
“I hope to leave soon because my work is finished. I really don’t want to be in Chicago for very long, it’s difficult.” Zeke heard her own voice slipping into the southern drawl she used whenever she was nervous.
Dr. Nilsson stood and walked over to a desk, and returned with a prescription pad. “I’m going to give you a prescription. This is for anxiety. I know you don’t like to take medication, but I think this will help.” She handed Zeke the prescription. “I would also like you to talk to somebody in Albuquerque. If you’re willing, I have a friend who specializes in PTSD and I will e-mail you her name and phone number. This is not something you can do by yourself, do you understand?”
“I think so.”
Zeke noticed the calm expression Dr. Nilsson initially wore had vanished, replaced by a worried look.
The doctor slid back in the chair and tented her fingers. “There’s more isn’t there?”
“Not really. I’ll get the prescription filled. I’m sure you’re right, it should help.” Zeke could barely wait to escape the confines of Dr. Nilsson’s office. They shook hands at the door and when it closed, Zeke slumped against the wall. Ragged breathing tore at her lungs and the pounding in her chest burned. Shit!