PROLOGUE PART 2
Instead of pity or contempt or any of a thousand other things the author could have offered that would have breached the fragile dam of Myka’s control, however, Helena simply walked softly forward and began to strip the sheets from wrecked bed.
Meeting the agent’s shocked gaze briefly, the author’s lips quirked. Not a smile, not even close, but it was gentle and rueful and conveyed a sense of understanding that Myka hadn’t been aware of needing.
“I could never stand to sleep on the same bedclothes after I’d woken from a nightmare. If you’d like to go shower, I can manage this easily enough,” the older woman said, her tone gentle and matter-of-fact.
Wells’ casual acceptance eased something inside Myka and the agent found herself nodding, still somewhat stunned at the turn of events.
“I…yeah that would be a good idea.” Grabbing her robe and a towel she turned to go to the bathroom, pausing in the doorway to throw a glance over her shoulder to where Wells continued to calmly change the sweat soaked sheets.
“Thank you, Helena,” Myka said quietly.
The older woman merely nodded, her dark eyes understanding.
The hot shower did much to improve Myka’s sense of physical well-being at any rate. Somewhat more relaxed and feeling at least closer to human, the agent walked into her bedroom and found Helena placing the last of the pillows on her newly made bed.
There was something in the older woman’s movements and expressions that tugged at Myka for a moment until it struck her, and she could have kicked herself for being so blind.
“How long have you been having trouble sleeping?” she asked softly.
Pain flashed over the author’s features and Myka knew the answer even before Helena replied, her voice tight, “Since Christina’s death.”
Myka’s heart clenched. A part of her wanted to reach out to the other woman, but just as Helena had apparently known what Myka needed earlier, the agent understood that words of sympathy were useless in the face of such deeply felt anguish.
Instead, in a moment of gut instinct and irrationality, Myka spoke softly, “Stay with me tonight.”
And because it was one of those nights when Time seems to have turned its attention elsewhere and nothing seems quite real, Helena let out a slow breath and nodded.
“I would like that,” she replied. The earlier tension in her tone was gone and Myka could detect a faint thread of relief beneath the proper diction. Perhaps concern for the younger agent wasn’t the only thing that had brought Wells to Myka’s door that night, she realized. Myka then pushed the thought away. In the end, the reasons were irrelevant.
And that was how they ended up sleeping together. Helena wore a loose button down and thin cotton pants and Myka was dressed in an oversized t-shirt and boxers, but there was an intimacy to what they shared that night that went far beyond physical desire or skin against skin.
Dropping her towel in the hamper, Myka waited until the author was settled and then switched off the lamp and followed her. It was surprisingly easy to roll onto her side and let Helena press herself against Myka’s back. Their bodies fit together like two long lost puzzle pieces and when Helena draped one arm around Myka’s waist and rested her hand below her ribs, the agent threaded her own fingers through the older woman’s and felt something click into place deep within her. She had never been much for cuddling and had trusted so few people in her life with physical intimacy, but in that moment, held close to Helena’s body with the author’s breath soft against her neck, Myka felt safe.
For perhaps the first time since Colorado, sleep came easily for the agent; the nightmares kept at bay by Helena’s warmth.
When Myka woke the next morning and watched the sun slant across the planes of the older woman’s face, she realized she had been granted something infinitely more valuable than a good night’s sleep.
Nor was that the last time Myka Bering would open her eyes to find Helena Wells next to her.
It became something of a ritual for them, albeit one they never really spoke of. The older agent seemed to have an uncanny ability to discern when Myka’s sleep was troubled…or nonexistent. Many was the night that the soft sound of her door opening would release Myka from the grips of a nightmare or merely the empty, exhausted wakefulness that so often left her drained and aching the next day. Without speaking, Helena would simply slip into Myka’s bed, pulling the younger woman into her lap. The author would hold her close, stroking elegant fingers through Myka’s hair and that gentle touch would sooth away the last tendrils of remembered pain. Eventually, Myka’s heart would calm and the two women would seek sleep in each other’s arms.
Helena had shown Myka that the night was no longer something to be feared.
And then Helena was taken from her.
PROLOGUE PART 1
Myka expected the insomnia.
She hadn’t slept properly for months following Sam’s death. Even after she’d settled at the B & B and come to accept it as her ‘home,’ her nights remained disturbed by images of the man she’d cared so deeply for.
And then Helena came to the Warehouse.
It was actually Myka’s nightmares that brought the older woman to Myka’s bed the first time they slept together. Literally slept and not made love.
The dream had been particularly vicious this time, Sam’s brilliant blue eyes not just empty but accusing and Myka had been unable to stop the cry that tore its way from her throat as she wrenched herself to waking. So strong were her efforts to free herself the agent actually managed to topple off the bed, landing tangled in her sheets in a pathetic heap on the hardwood floor. After the six day mission they’d just completed: Six days of running, hand to hand combat and being constantly on edge, the cruel destruction of even the promise of a decent night’s sleep was too much for Myka. Exhausted both physically and emotionally and still struggling against the clinging tendrils of the nightmare, the normally stoic agent was too weak to control the first sobs that clawed their way up from her chest.
Fisting her hands in the sweat dampened sheets, Myka sucked in broken breaths, trying to force her body to obey her.
It took much longer than it should have, but at last, the agent felt – somewhat tenuously – in control again. Standing shakily, she flipped on the bedside lamp, throwing a warm glow over her room. She was just looking at the mess she’d made of her bed when a soft knock sounded at her door.
Heart hammering in her chest, Myka spun, dreading the thought of having to deal with Pete’s concern or Leena’s knowing looks right now. She was just thinking of how to politely get rid of her partner or the innkeeper when the doorknob began to turn. Whoever was on the other side was apparently not interested in waiting for her permission, for the door opened silently. It was neither Pete nor Leena nor Claudia who dared disturb her.
Instead it was the last person Myka felt able to face at that moment.
Embarrassment at her disheveled state clawed at Myka’s chest as she forced herself to meet the fathomless gaze of H.G. Wells. Helena stood in the doorway, quiet and composed and there was Myka, eyes red and hair a mess standing in the destruction of her own bed because she couldn’t even sleep through the damned night anymore.
The rage she felt at her own weakness made the backs of her eyes sting once again with tears she would never allow herself the luxury of shedding.
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