• Round: Books: 5 Page Challenge

  • Genre:
    Fiction: Romance
  • Submitted: May 29, 2011


Status: Elevated to Round 3

  • Want it elevated: 69%
  • Publishing Pro Rating: Under review.
  • 2%


  • 4%


  • 25%


  • 47%


  • 22%


% want it elevated


5 Page Challenge

Pages 1-5 | Extended Sample


Plagued by nightmares where she's entombed alive, Rachel seeks help from a sleep research clinic. Dr. Nic Covelli is confused by his feelings for the dark haired beauty who haunts his dreams every night...until he meets Rachel and recognizes the familiar green eyes and raven hair of his dream lover.

Pages 1 - _


She was suffocating. 

Rochelle’s hand went to her throat then fluttered weakly to her side. Her mouth was so dry she could barely swallow and she would have wept if there had been an ounce of moisture left in her body.  Was it night or day? She couldn’t tell, not when they’d so carefully applied a thick layer of mortar before fitting each brick snuggly into place. There wasn't so much as a pin sized hole for light to seep through.

Even knowing no sound could possibly be heard beyond the airtight room they’d entombed her in, Rochelle had screamed until her voice was so hoarse and raw it was nothing more than a rasping whisper by the time she gave up. They’d finally broken her, but what did it matter? He wasn’t coming. She knew that now, just as she knew her last breath was only moments away. 

Rochelle’s heart ached, but not for herself. It ached for the man who would be utterly crushed when he was told she’d deserted him. He wouldn’t believe their lies at first, he was much too certain of her love for that. But as time passed and she didn’t return to his waiting arms, would he give credence to their false accusations? She prayed he wouldn’t.

Her eyelids closed as her labored breath came less frequently and the weariness of fighting for air took its toll. Rochelle allowed herself to slip sideways along the rough wall until she lay with her cheek pressed against the floor, the stone slab only slightly colder than her own body temperature. The only warmth she felt at all was in her shoulder where the bullet had lodged, but even that was beginning to fade.

She would sleep now, Rochelle decided, and dream of a time when nothing mattered but the love shinning in his eyes for her, only her. In his arms she’d been safe, secure in the knowledge they were destined to be together forever. Even as death slipped its icy fingers around her throat and began to squeeze, she wasn’t afraid. Because her love knew no bounds, and because she envisioned Nicolo’s handsome face and the wicked grin he always wore just before he seduced her back into his bed. 

One brief kiss from his sensuous lips was all it had ever taken to ignite a fire in her soul. And his hands…so strong and yet so incredibly gentle as they stroked her intimately, their warmth searing her skin and giving rise to an inner heat that was as volatile as a live volcano. It was always so good with Nicolo, so good. 

Rochelle smiled, breeching the gap between life and death as she slipped into his dreams and gave herself to him one last time.


Chapter 1

Present Day

Nic bolted upright, staring into the darkness for several minutes before shoving the blankets back and swinging his legs over the side of the bed. Raking his fingers through sweat soaked hair, he tried to shake off the feeling that what he’d experienced was real, that she was real. He dreamt of her often, the raven haired beauty with green eyes and skin that felt like satin beneath his fingertips. She haunted him, and not just at night when he slept.

At work, at home, even on dates with other women his mind was consumed with her; thoughts that made him ache to hold her, touch her, feel her writhing beneath him as she surrendered herself. Just as she did in his dreams every night. Nic groaned out loud and pushed himself off the bed, thoroughly disgusted by the physical reaction he was having to a woman who didn’t even exist.

He padded to the kitchen and downed a glass of ice water before climbing back into bed only to lay there with his eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. If she was just a woman his subconscious mind had planted in his dreams, why did he still feel her warmth surrounding him? Why did her soft scent linger in the air and on his skin long after he woke up? And how was it possible he could taste the sweetness of her lips and feel the tingling sensation where her elegant hands had wandered?

If she wasn’t real…why did he feel this horrible loss deep in his chest as if his heart was being ripped out every time he woke to find she wasn’t lying beside him?

“Pathetic, truly pathetic,” he muttered.

He was a healthy, thirty-four year old male who'd never once been so obsessed with a woman he couldn’t drive her out of his head. Except for her. What would his colleagues say if they knew he’d been plagued by erotic dreams for almost a year, and that he had genuine feelings for his imaginary lover. What deep seeded childhood issue would they drudge up to explain it? 

Nic scoffed at the idea.  Recurring nightmares were often a reflection of childhood or even adult trauma, but in most cases there was something tangible to grab onto. He was a realist; he didn’t believe dreams were anything more than fantasy or an indicator of a troubled mind and balked at the concept they were visions of the future, or even more ludicrous; memories of a past life. 

He'd devoted his life to sleep study and held fast to the belief it was usually some form of anxiety buried in the subconscious mind that found a way to manifest itself in dreams. Still…he could almost hear those soft, throaty moans she made when he was kissing her followed by a sharp little gasp as he eased himself into the warmth of her body. His chest tightened as her whispered words of love sent a thrill racing through him.

Good Lord, he needed to find a real woman and fast!


Rachel Delacourte scanned the directory encased on the wall, a slight scowl marring her delicate features. Lucisano Research owned the entire building, a minor detail her hair-brained sister neglected to tell her when she’d coaxed Rachel into coming here. She checked her watch, letting out an irritated huff.  She was already five minutes late. How long had she been standing here, staring like an idiot as if the answer would miraculously appear?

She gnawed at her lip. What difference would it make if she didn’t show up for the appointment? They probably couldn't help her anyway, and at least she’d be spared recounting the nightmares to a perfect stranger. But what if they could help? The chances were remote, but even the smallest of odds were worth gambling on at this point. Because the dream scared the holy crap out of her, Rachel admitted to herself, and because it was becoming more vivid each time she had it.

She wasn’t the only one who noticed the dark circles under her eyes or the gradual withdraw from outings with friends and family over the past year. But she couldn’t seem to gather the energy to socialize and there was such a heaviness in her heart all the time, as if she’d lost something she would never be able to get back. Maybe it was just the sleep deprivation, but Rachel didn’t think so. Deep down inside, she could feel something ominous brewing and it was only a matter of time before it erupted.

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