INTO THE LIGHT
By Aleatha Romig
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
An investigator's search for a friend draws her into a world darker than she could have imagined.
Sara Adams awakes blind, unable to remember the most basic details of her life, but her darkness seems a blessing when she discovers the terrors of The Light.
Stella Montgomery investigates the news on the mean streets of Detroit, where she’s noticed a disturbing trend: young women are vanishing. When her best friend disappears, Stella investigates—despite warnings from her police detective boyfriend—following a twisted trail that leads her through the city’s most dangerous and forsaken precincts. There she uncovers something more sinister than she could have imagined: a shadowy organization known as The Light, led by the enigmatic Father Gabriel.
As Sara struggles to understand her place in the strange world she’s awakened to—an oppressive cult demanding unquestioning obedience—and her feelings for Jacob, the husband she can’t recall and whose harsh and tender attentions confuse and beguile her, Stella risks all to discover the truth. But enlightenment always comes with a price...
Published through Thomas and Mercer and scheduled to be released June 14, 2016
4 WTF Just Happened Stars
Aleatha Romig is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives in Indiana. She grew up in Mishawaka, graduated from Indiana University, and is currently living south of Indianapolis. Aleatha has raised three children with her high school sweetheart and husband of nearly thirty years. Before she became a full-time author, she worked days as a dental hygienist and spent her nights writing. Now, when she's not imagining mind-blowing twists and turns, she likes to spend her time a with her family and friends. Her other pastimes include reading and creating heroes/anti-heroes who haunt your dreams!
Aleatha released her first novel, CONSEQUENCES, in August of 2011. CONSEQUENCES became a bestselling series with five novels and two companions released from 2011 through 2015. The compelling and epic story of Anthony and Claire Rawlings has graced more than half a million e-readers. Aleatha released the first of her series TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE, INSIDIOUS, in the fall of 2014. These stand alone thrillers continue Aleatha's twisted style with an increase in heat.
In the fall of 2015, Aleatha moved head first into the world of dark romance with the release of BETRAYAL, the first of her five novel INFIDELITY series. She also began her traditional publishing career with Thomas and Mercer. Her books INTO THE LIGHT and AWAY FROM THE DARK will be published through this mystery/thriller publisher in 2016.
Aleatha is a "Published Author's Network" member of the Romance Writers of America and represented by Danielle Egan-Miller of Browne & Miller Literary Associates.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AleathaRomig @aleatharomig
Mute as I was, with my eyes covered and my hand encased in Jacob’s, no one but my husband noticed my lack of participation. I remained still as he continued to relay my nonexistent responses, leaving me a bystander to my own story and unable to affect its outcome. Maybe this wasn’t real, maybe it was a bad dream and the scene would soon fade. My stomach twisted as their exchange continued and they discussed my insubordination and correction. Each time Brother Timothy condemned, Jacob reminded him that my transgressions were alleged, not proven. It was as if suddenly I were on trial in my hospital room instead of in a court of law. It wasn’t until I heard the word banishment that their conversation again registered. Whatever had been said had apparently been the parting word. Murmurs floated above the sound of various sets of feet exiting, then finally there was silence. When the door clicked closed I released my breath.
Turning toward my husband, I waited for an explanation. Nothing. I was about to pull my hand away when I felt a tug on my right arm and a woman spoke.
“Brother Jacob, Dr. Newton would like to examine Sister Sara now.”
So many brothers and sisters. So unfamiliar.
“Are you giving her more medicine?” Jacob asked.
“After the doctor comes. He’d like her to be awake.”
“Tell him he’ll need to wait until morning. She’s had enough commotion for her first day.
Bring her medicine, something to drink, and let her sleep.”
I pressed my lips together in protest. Not that anyone noticed. They were doing it again. Discussing me while I was right there. Why does no one else find this wrong?
“I’m sorry,” the woman, who I assumed was a nurse, said. “The Commission hasn’t approved her intake of fluids. Refusal of nutrients is an approved decree.”
Jacob’s grip tensed. “I’m quite aware of the Commission’s approved decrees.”
“I’m sorry, Brother. I didn’t mean to . . .”
“It’s been over a week. She needs more than what she’s getting from that needle.”
“I believe they’ll discuss it in the morning since Brother Timothy was able to see and talk to her. They should have a revised decision by tomorrow. I can’t go against . . .”
Jacob sighed and his grip remained tight. “I understand,” he conceded. “Then bring me ice chips. If we hurry before they melt, they’ll be solids and not liquids. That won’t violate the Commission’s authority.”
“Bring me ice.”
Jacob leaned over me, his chest flattening my breasts. With our proximity in the darkened room, I could only make out his form, his shoulders, arms, and the silhouette of his hair against some distant faint light. There were no details. Hearing his familiar voice, without seeing his unfamiliar eyes, eased my anxiety. He smoothed the hair away from my face and kissed my nose. “We both follow Father Gabriel. You aren’t the only one who must obey the rules. I can’t question why you lost those memories any more than you can question me. All I can do is hold tight to the memories I have of us, for both of us. Even though you don’t remember my face, I remember yours.” He traced under my eyes, wiping away the remnants of tears. “I remember your beautiful blue eyes, the way they open with amazement at new discoveries and the way they flutter as you come apart beneath me.” He was back to stroking my hair. “I remember the first time we made love and every time since.
“I remember the first time I saw you, the first time I heard your voice, and”—he brushed his lips against mine—“the first time I kissed you.” He scoffed, “It wasn’t supposed to happen, but I couldn’t resist. I knew you were mine from the first time I saw you, even if you didn’t.”
His memories gave me a sliver of my past. “I didn’t?”
“No, not then. You were dating someone else.”
“What? That was before we were here, right?”
“Yes, it was before everything.”
He sighed and laid his head back on his pillow. I was afraid he’d stop talking, yet more scared to ask him to continue. Thankfully, he didn’t stop, but when he resumed speaking, his voice had a faraway tone, as if he was seeing it all again.
“You were laughing, and I thought you were one of the prettiest women I’d ever seen. You have a great laugh.” He reached for my hand and intertwined our fingers. “I know this crash course in remembering how to be an Assemblyman’s wife hasn’t given you many opportunities for laughter. That’s why I want your memories to come back. Sometimes it seems like we’re back at the beginning. I want to be beyond that . . .” He was back up with his elbow beside me and his head on his hand. Looking down at me, he continued, “To where you laugh instead of cry.”
He touched my lips. “To where you’re not constantly apologizing.”
I kissed his finger. “I’d like that too, but you have to admit, this hasn’t been easy. I mean my eyes, leg, and ribs. I’ve just gotten my sight back. We’ve been banished, and my hair is gone.”
“I do.” He exhaled. “I admit that it’s been a rough few weeks, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
“The Light?” I asked with a smirk.
“Yes. See? It’s something everyone wants.”
My thoughts drifted to that night after service, the hunger in Jacob's touch and the way his lips had claimed my body. Just the memories made me tingle. Lying back on the bed, I held my side and sighed. If only he weren’t so worried about my ribs.
Courtesy of the truck ride yesterday, the injury was more aggravated then it had been. I’d tried hiding it. Shaking my head, I wondered if it was possible to hide anything from him. According to Elizabeth it wasn’t allowed. The way I saw it, I wasn’t lying. I was withholding information for the benefit of both of us. By the way his breathing became labored and his body hardened that night at the clinic, I wasn’t the only one who wanted to make love.
It seemed as if it didn’t matter if I told Jacob what I was thinking or not; he knew. Somehow he always seemed to know, sometimes even before I did. Maybe it was because we’d been together so long.
If only I could remember how long.
The sound of the rising garage door pulled me from my carnal thoughts, and I covered my cheeks. With a giggle I hoped they weren’t as flushed as they felt. If they were, he would know what I’d been thinking . . . I shook my head. I didn’t want that conversation. Exhaling, I willed the pink away.
When I heard the garage door lowering, I stood and made my way toward the stairs. Wearing the boot on my right foot made walking with my cast much easier. As I approached the landing, I took a deep breath and visualized the stairs. Since I’d counted them multiple times, I knew there were fifteen steps. I might not have my sight, but I was trying to be as self-sufficient as possible. I made it only to the second step from the top when I heard his voice.
“I’m coming down,” I called, taking one step at a time, cautious not to go too fast.
Even before I reached the bottom step, I knew he was there. When we went to service, I’d realized why I associated him with the scent of leather; it was his coat. When he wasn’t wearing it, just the right amount of aroma lingered around him. When he wore it, as now, the leather scent was overpowering. That, plus the sound of his boots walking and stopping on the wood floor, prompted me to stop on the fourteenth step. If I went one more, I was afraid I’d run into him.
“Sara.” His voice came from very close.
Gripping the banister, I tilted my face toward his. Smiling and hoping my cheeks had returned to their normal color, I replied, “Yes?”
“Did you hear the garage door go up?”
“And what did you think that meant?”
“I assumed it meant you were here.”
“So you knew I was home and yet you chose to not greet me?”
What the hell?
“Answer me,” he demanded, his tone now too calm. “Why weren’t you waiting for me at the door?”
The thoughts I’d entertained upstairs evaporated. I knew this tone. I not only recognized it, but with everything in me, I wanted to avoid it. My heartbeat quickened and my mouth dried like the Sahara. “I was on my—”
Interrupting, he rebuked, “On your way is not there, waiting as you’re supposed to be. When I return, I expect to find you waiting for me, greeting your husband.”
The bubble of apprehension that had waned and waxed in my chest since I awoke nearly three weeks earlier began to grow. “At the door . . . wh . . . I’m sorry . . . I didn’t know . . . you didn’t tell me to—”
He grasped my arm, the harsh movement a stark contrast to the eerie calmness of his voice. “Do tell, Sara, are you blaming me for your forgetfulness?”
What the hell is his problem?
“I’m sorry,” I pleaded. “I’m not blaming . . . I didn’t remember. If you told me . . . from now on, I’ll do it.”
“Must I remind you of everything?”
“I’m trying to remember; I am. I’ll be there from now on, at the door, when you come home.”
“Perhaps you need a reminder?”
My body sagged and my knees weakened. The bubble within me grew and popped, filling my nervous system with dread. “No. I don’t need a reminder. I’ll remember from now on. Please give me another chance.” If it hadn’t been for his iron grip on my forearm, I might have fallen to the step where I stood.
If I had, I wasn’t sure if it would have been because of the sudden dizziness his tone induced, the bout of trembling, or that it would’ve enabled me to beg. It wasn’t something I was proud of considering, but to avoid his belt, at that moment, I was willing.
“Sara, go to the door.”
Inhaling more pleas, I nodded. When he released my arm, I stepped down and down again. Around the steps, past the closet, I found the door between the living quarters and the garage. He was right behind me, his voice still eerily calm. “You may stand or kneel; the choice has always been yours.”
I swallowed the vile bile bubbling from my stomach. In that moment I couldn’t for the life of me fathom that merely minutes ago I had been having pleasant thoughts about this man. I also couldn’t imagine kneeling.
Who does that?
I brought my feet together, straightened my neck, and said, “I’ll stand, thank you.”
He reached for my chin and lowered it.
“This is where you are to be when I arrive, and if you choose to stand, your head will be bowed.”