Emily's Nightmare

Emily's Nightmare (Novella) -- August 1, 2012 -- Desert Breeze Publishing

Detectives Emily Rawson and John Cutter go from friends to lovers in a moment of unbridled passion, and it changes their lives forever.

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Fear pummeled Emily. She gripped the Glock and ducked into the enclosed stairwell. The faint odors of oil and gasoline rode the stale air. Time seemed to still. A bead of moisture rolled down her cheek. She wiped it away and peeked out the door.

Her assailant fired. White-hot pain speared her shoulder. She screamed, and the sound echoed wildly as she tumbled backward down the cold concrete steps.

She landed hard on her back. Sticky, ruby red blood coated her thighs. Her head pounded, and she lost her breath. Inky darkness spilled over her like rising water.

Emily Rawson bolted up in bed; cold sweat streamed down her back. The same awful dream. So painful and so real. Every damned night for the past three months. Ever since she’d made detective and John Cutter, her former partner, best friend, and confidant, had turned on her.

They’ll tear you apart, he’d said. Sex Crimes is no place for a woman.

His bitter words had gouged a hole in her heart and battered her self-esteem. She was a damned good cop and well-deserving of her promotion. Hell, Cutter had even bashed poor Mike Jamison, the high school history teacher she was dating. It made no sense.
She raked the ends of her short blond hair off her neck to dry the perspiration coating her fevered skin. Last night, she’d seen Cutter again at Bullets, the cop bar favored most by the detectives in her unit. He’d been just as abrasive. Not mean, exactly. Just belligerent as hell. And she had no clue as to why.

She threw off the covers and shivered. She and Cutter had been partners for three long years. She’d thought he was her best buddy. And now—

Her stomach churned as she remembered his latest news. He was joining Sex Crimes, too. Following in her footsteps, he’d said with a knowing grin. Bile burned her throat. Mike had dumped her two weeks ago, and she’d thought that was the low point of her year. If only she’d known Cutter would follow her to Sex Crimes.

She’d been attracted to him at the academy, even though he was an instructor and she was only a rookie, and had briefly entertained thoughts of dating him. Then they’d been assigned to the same precinct and their lieutenant had made them partners. Any thoughts of a romantic relationship with Cutter had gone out the window. Nothing said slut like a female cop sleeping with her partner.

She glanced at the clock. Six a.m. Shit. Only an hour before roll call. One more moment of peace before she dressed for work and confronted Cutter on her own turf. She was at home in Sex Crimes now. Her specialty was dealing with women who had been raped or abused—because she understood them.

Emily stumbled into the bathroom and turned on the cold water. The icy stream coursed over her wrists and hands, cooling her skin and calming her racing heart.
She never saw the face of the shooter in her dream, but in her waking hours it was Cutter. Shooting her down and stomping all over her sense of self worth—every time she asked him what was wrong. Why would he do that if he was still her friend?

She peered at her reflection in the mirror. Her oval face was pale and drawn, and dark circles underscored her blue eyes. What a way to start the day. Looking just like she had yesterday after interviewing Hillary Litts, a traumatized sixteen-year-old rape victim. The terror in the girl’s eyes had cut through Emily’s soul and dredged up memories she’d thought she buried long ago.

Emily tightened her jaw and shut off the water, then stripped off her shorts and camisole and climbed into the shower. The hot water felt wonderful after dousing her extremities in icy liquid. She welcomed the shock to her system. Anything to clear the cobwebs from her brain and allow her to forget those awful memories—and John Cutter—for just one damned minute.

As she toweled off, her cell phone rang. She bit out a curse. She had to get it. It might be the crime lab, giving her the particulars on Hillary’s rape kit. Or maybe her lieutenant, directing her to yet another crime scene. Weariness cloaked her movements as she wrapped the towel around her damp middle and scrambled for the sleek black phone on the nightstand in her bedroom.

“Rawson.” Goose bumps dotted her arms. She cradled the phone between her shoulder and ear and perched on the edge of the bed. Feeling exposed, she picked up her pillow.

“Emily, it’s Cutter.”

Oh God. Tension strummed through her. She shut her eyes. “What the hell do you want?”

“To apologize.”

Was he serious? Her eyes flew open. “You’ve got to be kidding! You’ve been acting like a jerk for three solid months, and now you suddenly want to apologize?”

“I made a mistake.”

Three months of mistakes.” She fisted her hand in the pillow and imagined squeezing Cutter’s thick throat. “You’ve embarrassed me in front of our colleagues and harassed me at Bullets. You even made me doubt myself. That hurt, Cutter.”

“I’m downstairs. Let me come up. We’ll talk.”

“No!” Suddenly breathless, she sprang to her feet. Cutter was here?