If you've read it before--is it faster now? Smoother? BTW--if you've read it before don't feel you have to read it again, it is longer than my average blog LOL :) Honest opinions welcome!!
Waves crashed and pounded the rocky shore. Bitter wind flayed her face and slapped sea-spray hard against her cheeks, but Sorcha Logan didn’t feel the cold.
Black wedges of jagged rock flashed between whitecaps twenty yards out, playing peek-a-boo with the rising tide. Salt and kelp tasted pungent on her tongue as she tossed back her hair and raised her hands to the heavens in reverence and salutation. Gulls dipped and dove; riding the storm's blast and holding position to see what the ocean cast up. The
She couldn’t run anymore.
The rocks and stones that flanked the Scottish coastline could twist an unwary ankle, or break a foolish neck. She might be strange, but she wasn’t stupid.
Balanced on a rock six-foot above the lashing waves, water swirled and hissed before being sucked back out to sea. But rather than scaring her, each pounding wave helped calm the agitation that swarmed inside her mind.
Maybe she was a witch.
The steel-gray sky reflected darker hues in the greenish tinged sea and looked suddenly menacing. Sweat rolled down her spine, chilling her body and she shivered at the contrast, drawing her arms down, tight across her chest.
Unwelcome sensations span through the air, like the tripping of a silent alarm. The pressure of all-seeing eyes probed her shoulders, snagging her glance toward the houses that lined the coast.
A hundred tiny windows stared back blankly.
Old panic fought to burst free. Anybody might be watching. Watching the storm, or the blink and turn of the light beam that guarded the May Isle.
She held her breath, blood pounding through her ears with the cadence of thunder.
A jumble of seventeenth and eighteenth-century cottages, dressed in cold stone or painted cheery white, topped by crowns of bright orange pan-tiles, crowded against the edge of the sea—as if the fishermen who’d built them had staked their claim. Anyone could be watching the gale and the waves piling over rocks with all Poseidon’s might.
Foam frothed and lashed. Wrenching her attention back to the sea, she took a quick step back, slipped and cried out as she banged against cold hard stone.
God, I’m hopeless.
The sky grew darker. Sorcha stood, gingerly rubbing the bruise on her backside and concentrated as she probed for footholds down the slippery limpet-strewn rocks. A sharp outcrop grazed her palm as she let herself down that final step.
Focus. The ground was made up of slick rocks that ranged in size from tennis balls to beer crates. She leapt across a rock-pool that was re-energized by the incoming tide, skidded on a film of green seaweed.
The piped call of an Oystercatcher pierced the roar of the waves. Usually the black and white birds, with their day-glow orange beaks, cheered her.
Except right now. She crossed her arms over her chest.
I don’t feel cheerful right now.
A pair of the little birds danced back and forth just out of reach of the waves.
Maybe scared of a dog or a person I can’t see?
Biting her lip, she scanned the area, but nobody else was out on this wild night—just her, in her sneakers, and spray-and-sweat-soaked running gear.
A voice whispered close-by, words inaudible and just out of reach. The sweat on her body froze like rimed seaweed on a mid-winter’s day. Fists curled into tight balls as she fought the urge to cover her ears even though nothing protected her from the voices inside her head.
The birds danced in agitation and gave a shrill cry of distress. Lured by an irresistible force, Sorcha took another step forward and saw him.
In the rock-pool that was cut deeply into the bedrock of the coastal margin, cut deep enough for children to jump into safely during the summer.
Her heart pounded, the race of it drumming beneath her sweatshirt even faster than when she’d been running. Her breath caught in her lungs, expelled in a huge gasp.
She stumbled, scrambled over the rocks, but kept going.
Toward the man.
Toward the man floating facedown in the rapidly filling rock-pool where the children played in the summer.
Oh please God, not again.
She couldn’t move fast enough. Each second lasted a lifetime as she climbed each rocky steeple, lurched across each wide granite ledge. Blistering icy water slapped her legs as she ran into the pool and slid on the treacherous surface. Hissing out a startled breath, she grabbed at the pale wool sweater that dragged the man down.
He weighed more than lead, the heavy jersey pulling him down into the freezing depths. A wave washed over the top of the ledge, cascading into the pool and over Sorcha’s head as she tore at the man’s clothing and tried to lift his face for air.
Panic gave her strength.
If I can save him, if I can get a breath into those still lungs, pump his heart. He could live. He might not be dead. He might not be dead yet.
Desperate, she grabbed the material, felt the softness of the waterlogged wool stretch and give as she heaved. Turned him over and took an instant to absorb the fact that it wasn’t him.
It wasn’t him.
How many times did she have to relive that nightmare?
He was young, not even twenty, with dirty blonde hair plastered to his skull. He didn’t look like a fisherman, more like a student or a tourist. He wasn’t breathing...
Waves filled the pool, currents trying to steal the limp body from her arms. But she wasn’t letting go.
Teeth gritted, she focused every single fiber of her being on dragging his deadweight clear of the water. If she could get him there, if she could get him breathing, there was a five-minute window where she could run for help before the tide stole him.
Imagine how crazy she’d sound if she claimed to have found another body on the beach...only this one disappeared. Like she needed a reason for anyone in this town to look at her sideways.
She shook her head, clamped frozen fingers over the stretchy wool and heaved. It didn’t matter what it cost, she would not lose this man.
Slippery seaweed fringed the edge of the pool and made her skid. She went under as the man’s body slid back down the ledge, hit her head on the granite slab. Dazed, she sucked in a breath and choked as seawater entered her airway. Spluttering she rose to her feet, hooked her hands beneath his and dragged him backwards out of the weed infested pool and collapsed clear of the water.
Frantically, she looked around at the waves creeping around either side of the rocks.
There was no time.
Rough granite bit into her knees as she knelt by his side and checked for a pulse. She searched his thick wrist, then the tender wall of his neck for the telltale beat of life. Nothing moved. No flutter of blood, no rise or fall of chest.
His lips were blue. Skin, pale and waxy. Glassy eyes stared up at her, reminding her of another face...
“He’s dead.” The voice came out of nowhere, startling and loud, in spite of the storm’s roar.
Terror shot through her and she cranked out a scream. She didn’t mean to, couldn’t help the sound that screeched from her lips as a stranger loomed in the twilight.
“Take it easy.” The stranger held out his hands, fingers spread wide as if to prove his harmlessness.
But he didn’t look harmless to her.
Tall, with dark hair curling a little in the damp air, shrewd black eyes shone from a face drawn with hard lines and sharp edges. Dark and dangerous.