In Our Dream

Chapter One

"Tell me your name."

The unfamiliar voice was intense, yet gentle, and it resonated in all the right places inside of her.  "Jennah Best." She glanced around, trying to place where they were.

"I'm Dominic."

His voice was so close to her ear, she jumped and looked behind her.  Several inches above her face, she peered into dark, mesmerizing brown eyes.  "Where are we?"  She skimmed over his short, black hair and broad, shadowed jaw as she waited for an answer. 

He smiled at her. "Where would you like to be?"

She laughed.  "A thousand places, but that's not the point...where are we?'  She tried again to recognize something, everything seemed obscured, yet he was right in front of her and very clear.  "Do I know you?"

He shook his head slowly.  "No, but we are changing that."  He smiled at her again and she couldn't help but smile back.  He held out one large hand to her.  "Walk with me."

It wasn't really a question, or an order, and she did want to know what was going on, so she put her hand in his and flushed a little when she felt the heat as his large hand close around hers.  She had almost been thinking she was dreaming this.  "I don't mean to sound repetitive, but where are we, Dominic?"

He walked slowly beside her for a few moments and then stopped and gazed down at her again.  "It's difficult to explain, but we're in a place where few can go."

That wasn't exactly the answer she wanted.  She peered around him and almost sighed in relief when she saw a window seat in the old library.  What she was doing in the library's reading room with a strange man, she didn't know.  At least she knew where she was now.  A place where few can go?  The library?

"Shall we sit?"

She nodded, not wanting to say something odd again.  She let him lead her over to the window where he stood waiting until she sat down.  She glanced out the window to see the large snowflakes falling gently to the ground.  She tried not to notice how close he sat to her, but it was hard not to when the man was so large.  She tried also not to notice how wide his shoulders were. Her biggest weakness seemed to be men with broad shoulders.  Even though he was dressed in dark pants and a tasteful sweater, he seemed almost dangerous, and the well controlled female inside her liked this too much.

"What do you do, Jennah?"

She looked quickly from his broad shoulders to those dark eyes.  "I, ah, work for the police department here in town."

"A detective?"

She grinned and shook her head.  "No, I thought about trying it a few times, but got too old to pursue it by the time I decided."

He grinned.  "I can't see your age being the problem. You can't be more than twenty-eight, twenty-nine."

She knew she grinned at him like an infatuated idiot, but couldn't help it.  "Oh, I'm afraid I'm quite a bit older than that, but I'm going to take that as a compliment.'  She fought the urge to brush her long, wavy hair back off her shoulder. She didn't want to appear like she was flirting. She smiled at him again before looking back toward the window. 

"I think you're exaggerating.  So, what do you do within the department?"

She shrugged.  "Mostly desk work and gopher runs."

He nodded.  "What does that involve?"

"Transports, mostly.'

"To Wyestate prison?"

"Quite often, or to the court and next counties."  Jennah watched his eyes move over her face.

"Do you have a partner?"

She shook her head.  "Not often, unless it's a high profile I'm transporting."  She glanced at the clock on the wall and frowned.  It must need repairing. It couldn't possibly be almost five in the morning.  "Are you from here?"  She gazed around when she heard an odd buzzing, but couldn't tell where it was coming from.

"No."  He just sat there, studying her.

She tried to focus on him and then blinked. He seemed to be fading.

"I'll see you again, Jennah."

The buzzing grew louder.

Jennah opened her eyes. Her alarm clock was going off.  She reached over and slapped a hand on the snooze button and then focused to make sure she was in her room.  She blew out a breath and tried to shake the fog from her mind.  That explained a few things.  The dream was so real, but not at the same time.  Too bad, really. That man, Dominic, her mind had invented was quite nice to look at.  No more chocolate caramel popcorn for you before bed, she thought as she slowly sat up.

She moved carefully in the dark to her small kitchen. Actually, her whole apartment was small.  When she'd moved out of Dalton's, she?d taken the first place she could find.  Now, a year later, she was in no hurry move again.  Flipping on the dim light beside the sink, she went through the motions to set up the coffee maker. 

She leaned back against the counter and watched out the window.  The street light illuminated a small area, just enough to show how thick the snow was falling.

She sighed. Heavy snow always meant a day of chaos.  There would be accidents, people going in the ditches, and usually, many people that were annoyed with the whole world because it was snowing. 

Jennah loved the snow, even if it did lead to the one holiday she wished she could skip.  Christmas, with all of the joyous people, the crabby people, the over decorated stores and windows.  She hadn't always hated Christmas. When it had meant something special and sacred to her, she had been caught up in the merriment.  Those days were gone.

Yawning, she turned and got a cup out of the cupboard as she listened to the coffee pot make its final slurping sounds, cueing that first treasured cup of coffee was only a few seconds away.

"You're not going to let the idea of Christmas depress you this early in the season or you'll be committed before it finally gets here," she told herself firmly as she poured the coffee. If only she would listen.

Sitting down, she pulled her cell phone off the charger to check for messages.  Two, Dalton. Without reading them, she deleted them and set the phone back down.  He still sent her messages regularly, or phoned, and it had been a year.  Some people just didn't take the hint very well. 
















She had hoped when the divorce went through a few months ago it would sink in and he'd get the picture, but she hadn't been that lucky.  Dalton Jesperson had crushed her heart, one piece at a time.  And if that hadn't been bad enough, he'd thrown the pieces back at her then expected her to speak to him!   The man needed some serious psychological assistance.

Sighing, she sipped the coffee and tried to think of something she still liked about the man she had married and given herself completely to.  Shaking her head, she grimaced. There wasn't one thing.  Now, after all this time, she had accepted the only thing that had brought them together and kept them together was great sex.  Not a bad reason, but she'd learned her lesson.  Falling in lust felt like love until the sizzle was gone, and then there was nothing left but resentment.

Dalton had almost driven her insane. He was fussy and picky and an annoying preppy type of man-that ironed his jeans!  On the other hand, he was a drunk who ignored her completely unless something wasn't going right in his little world. Then, everything was her fault.  He had accused her of sleeping with every man that walked by, even when she had devoted her every free moment, and too many that weren't free, to him and only him.  She had given up her job for him and had almost given up her free will just near the end.

Letting out a long, shaky breath, she took another sip of the hot liquid.  She could not dredge up all that hurt and anguish right now.  Fighting the Christmas blahs that were slowly working their way inside her would take all the energy she had.  She stared at the calendar.  It was November twenty-seventh.  Twenty-eight days until that dreaded day arrived and left for another three hundred and sixty-five days.  She just had to get through it.  Without alcoholic help, she decided.  Last year, she had tried that, but going into work several days in a row with her head aching with a hangover kind of way had taught her that lesson.

The cell phone ringing made her jump and slop a bit of hot coffee onto her arm. She glanced at the number and sighed.  The merry season had begun. It was one of her co-workers calling.  She flipped it open.

'Hello?"  She shook her head.  "Almost awake, what's happening, Rudy?" She slumped forward and glanced at the clock.  "I can be there in twenty minutes."  She nodded.  "Just try to keep them from helping too much until I get there."  She snapped the phone shut.

The happy season of chaos had begun.  Three college kids home visiting had tried to make the biggest snowman ever early this morning, only to have part of their snowman roll down a steep incline, and now two of them were stuck underneath.

She paused on her way to the bathroom to wonder just how big this snowball could be.  With any luck, the paramedics would have found a way to get the boys free without collapsing the rest of the snowman on top of them, and she would not have to crawl around in the cold snow before dawn.

It was very doubtful she'd be that lucky.

****

Dominic lay there, listening to the men waking up.  He looked at the ceiling and wished more than anything he could connect with Jennah again, but he didn't take a chance and close his eyes again.  Soon everyone would be awake, the lights would be on, and they'd be free to roam before breakfast.  It was definitely not the time to try to hook up with the mysterious woman again.  She obviously didn't even know she had to ability to do what they had done, and he knew trying to convince her that it had not been a dream was going to be an interesting task.

"Palmer?"  The voice croaked from the bunk below him.

'Yeah."  

"Shit's going to hit the fan at the chow hall this morning."

He sighed quietly.  'I know."

"You staying clear?"

Dom sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bunk.  "Going to try to."

The bed frame rocked as the man below him moved to get up.  'I've got your back if you watch mine."

"I will, Slick."  He still, even after all these months, had no idea why the scruffy man he shared this small space with was called Slick, and most of the time he really didn't want to know.  It was best that way, to not ask questions and not know things.  Problem with that was he was here to get answers.  He rubbed his hands over his bristled face and pushed his fingers into his eyes.  "It's going to be a long day on the inside."

He heard his bunk mate chuckle.  "All of them are."

Dom hopped down and stretched his shoulders back.  He wasn't a huge man, but having nothing much to do to relieve energy and stress but workout, he was definitely larger than before.  He'd have to buy a whole new wardrobe when he got out. Dammit!   He'd loved his clothes just the way they were.

He lowered his arms as Slick stood up.  The other man wasn't as tall as his six-foot-one, but he definitely made up for it in bulk.  Even with his larger size, he would not want to take on the stocky man.  Having Slick watch his back was one of the things that kept him sane in this place.

This place, Wyestate prison, was not a fun place to be, and if Dom had anything to do with it, he wouldn't be here much longer.  Then again, he'd been thinking that for the last six months he'd been here.  Two people within these walls knew he was a plant and not an actual criminal, and both stood there now, dreading going to eat breakfast.  Even the Warden didn't know, which meant that Dom was on his own.

Slick was the informant on the inside that had led the attorney general's office to placing Dom on the inside.  He'd shown him around, told him who was who, and promised to watch his back, and that was the end of it right there.  Any leads or solid fact would have to be found by Dom himself. 

He didn't blame him. When Dom was finished, he at least got to leave.  Slick would be here for the rest of his breathing days because of one stupid, drunken, drugged up night that spun out of control.  The man had Dom's admiration and respect.  He'd owned up to what he'd been part of and was taking his punishment with grace.  Dom wasn't even sure if he'd deal with it as well as the man that stood in front of him, looking out through the bars now.

"Stay nearby, Slick. I think we're going to need eyes in the back of our heads today."

Slick nodded and then looked over his shoulder at him.  "Last time it was this quiet at wake up, two men went down and didn't get back up."

Dom studied him for a moment.  "As long as it's not us, I didn't see a thing."

Slick gave him a big grin.  "You're really starting the think the part, man."

Dom cocked and eyebrow at him.  "Do I have a choice?"

Slick shook his head.  "Nope."  The loud clank of locks releasing chorused through the silence just before the bars slid aside.  "Show time."

"Hang back for two and let's assess who is instigating."

Slick leaned against the doorway.  "Not going to be too hard to assess.  Rod's group is pissed that Cherry's gang came out on top of the work draw.  A few less of Cherry's people and there's more space to fill on the team."

"Any idea what the work team was scheduled for?"

"None.  Too many closed mouths on this one."  He lifted both eyebrows at him.  "And someone's pockets are heavier because of it, too."

"I don?t like the taste of it."  Dom glanced through the bars to see some of Rod's followers hanging back when they normally rushed to get a place in the line near their dominant leader.  "This is going to be a massacre."  He leaned down closer to Slick so none of the inmates going by would hear.  "You see if you can talk with your guard buddy later and see if he knows why this work job is so special."

Slick stuffed his hands in his pockets and nodded.  "Let's get this over with."

Dom took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.  "I really miss quiet breakfasts."  He put his hands in his pockets and jerked his head so Slick would go out first.

"I miss a hell of a lot more than quiet breakfasts, man"

Dom grinned and followed him out.  Come to think of it, he missed more than breakfasts, too, but at least he'd gotten a glimpse of a sexy brunette last night. The hair on the back of his neck stood out, warning him that this was not the time to be thinking of anything but living through the day.