Voices by Jo Barrett

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    Alex knows he's there, she senses him, and he doesn't frighten her, as so many have in the past. It's something new to be aware of someone without opening her mind to the invasion of others' thoughts. To hear their most private secrets, feel their most horrific pains, but this man is different. Matthew brings with him an unexpected, all-encompassing love, and the one thing she's craved her entire life--blessed silence. But will an insane doctor, bent on exploiting her secret, shatter the healing peace she finds in Matthew's arms?

    (58 pages) - Spicy


    Chapter One

    Alex watched the leaves spinning toward the earth with the gentle autumn breeze as a crow called in the distance. The sounds of the city droned steadily in the background. The park lay at the edge of the chaos and provided the solace she craved, although never truly found.

    "You're here everyday when the weather's nice," a male voice said from behind her.

    Him again. Not unexpected, but a little annoying just the same. He was likely sitting on the bench, as he did almost every afternoon at this time. Alex never did. She preferred the ground. The cold stone always seemed to seep into her soul, where the earth beneath her felt warm and giving.

    "Yes, I come here often," she replied without turning her head. She didn't care what he looked like, and had never bothered to look before. Nor did she know his name. She wasn't interested, but that was no reason to be rude.

    A toddler wailed at the foot of the hill. His mother stopped the stroller and picked up the brightly colored teddy bear that had fallen to the ground. She placed it in his tiny hands, and his crying ceased.

    "I enjoy watching the people," the man said. "It amazes me how the human form can take on so many different shapes."

    She merely nodded. Why comment on the obvious?

    "For instance," he continued. "That lady over there stretching, getting ready for her jog? I'd say she's dropped at least forty pounds since spring. And that pair over there by the water fountain. She had a baby recently. That's her farther up the path in the stroller being pushed by the old woman. I think that's the grandmother. It's nice to see them out and that everything went well. I wasn't sure the woman would make it the way she was waddling a few weeks ago," he chuckled.

    The deep throaty sound made her pulse skip a beat. Strange, she rarely had basal reactions to men. Their invariant disinterest in her usually deterred any movement in the direction of intimacy.


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