Fiercely independent Helen Winters was born completely blind, but she vowed never to let her disability keep her down. She did not expect a traumatic event to devastate her life and force her to drop out of college. Disillusioned by the cruelty of people, Helen retreated from society to live by herself as a reclusive writer in the woods—where no one could ever hurt her again.
When a brilliant young doctor shows up on her doorstep, promising her that his new research can give her the ability to see for the first time, Helen stubbornly refuses. She has learned not to trust anyone, and to rely only on herself. But Dr. Liam Larson will not take no for an answer. He makes it his personal mission to rescue Helen from her loneliness, and bring joy into her world once more—the joy she has denied herself for so long.
When Helen’s demons come racing back into her life, threatening to rip her apart and destroy the strength she has carefully rebuilt, Liam is the only one who might be able to save her.
Can he reach the broken girl in time, helping her to heal and see the world in a different light? Or will Helen’s grief send her spiraling out of control, lost to him forever?
Helen Winters was living a lonely existence when the charming Dr. Liam Larson coaxed her out of solitude with the promise of healing her sightless eyes. She was hopeful at the prospect of gaining vision for the first time and being reunited with her family. She was also growing somewhat fond of the persuasive young doctor. For the first time in years, she was being magnetically drawn to a new friend...
Then everything came crashing down.
Plunged into a hellish nightmare, Helen is forced to face the same evils she ran away to escape so long ago. She is unprepared to have her hopes crushed and her peace destroyed. She finds herself living in constant terror and drowning in fear--and Liam's voice is the only thing that can keep her afloat. His comforting touch becomes the only light in her pitch-black darkness.
Helen has always been a tough girl who relied only on herself. But this time, she can't survive alone. Due to the horrors of her past, Helen has promised herself not to trust anyone. When her life becomes unbearable, how can she trust Liam enough to let him save her.
After many years of darkness, Winter never thought that she'd be happy or safe again. Her whole world changed when she met Liam Larson, a charming young doctor determined to be her knight in shining armor. When a brutal night unleashes vicious reminders of her past, Winter must struggle to hold on to the little bit of happiness she has found.
When everything begins to fall apart, Liam's strength and kindness might not be enough to save her. Battling with the betrayal of her family, terrifying nightmares, and frequent reminders of her enemy that make daily life difficult, Winter's first instinct is to run away. She is tired of being the victim and living in a cruel, crowded city where she doesn't feel like she belongs.
But Liam promises her that if she only trusts him, he can change everything. And that's exactly what he attempts to do, starting with an operation to heal her eyes, and then her heart...
“I know what I did to you was wrong,” he says, “but I just couldn’t help myself. That day, when you were sitting and crying on the stairs in the engineering department, it wasn’t the first time I had ever seen you.”
I sink my teeth into my bottom lip to try to keep from responding and betraying how upsetting this is.
“I’d been watching you for weeks,” Grayson admits softly. “I thought you were really cute, and I wanted to ask you out... but I didn’t know how to do that. I used to be really shy when it came to women. So, I followed you. I memorized your schedule, and I would watch you enter your classes, and wait until they were over, and watch you head back to your dorm.”
I was being stalked. The realization that I had no idea that this was happening hits me like a ton of bricks. All this time, I thought it was just a random attack. If I could see—if I had been able to see, I might have noticed that I was being followed. I press the palms of my hands into my eyes, hating my body for being so flawed. I inwardly curse my disability.
“There was just something special about you, Helen. There always was. I watched you moving through the crowds of people with this serene look on your face. You just seemed like someone holy to me. Someone greater than everyone else. I spent weeks following you, and studying you from afar, and trying to gather the courage to talk to you.”
I take a shuddering breath. Listening to this story is filling me with horror. I don’t want to hear his perspective. I don’t want to revisit this event. I just want it to be finished and over.
“Your hair was the color of mahogany, but when you stepped into the sunlight, it burst into flames like the strands were made of copper. I couldn’t stop staring at your tawny locks, and the way they curled around your perfect face. I was just so drawn to you, Helen. I’ve never felt that way about anyone. It was like you were calling out to me. Like touching you was part of my destiny.”
“Please stop,” I say in a hoarse voice. “Please stop talking about this. Please go away.”
“Then a day came when something changed. I could see the change in your face. Your eyes, they used to shine like burnished amber. But on this day, they were just dead. They were empty, like sand or rust. You didn’t go to class. You wandered aimlessly until you just collapsed and crumbled into tears. You were sad. I’ve never seen you so sad, Helen.”
I can’t listen to this. His retelling makes everything fresh. I can feel the way I felt that day, even before he made my day worse. I shake my head, unable to believe that this is happening to me.
“That was the first day I could find the courage to talk to you,” Grayson said. “I had to say something. I had to try to lift you up and be your hero.”
I swallow a bit of saliva that has been gathering in my throat. “When I first heard you speak,” I manage to croak out, “I thought you were nice. You could have asked me out. I would have probably agreed.”
“I wanted to,” he admits. “More than anything, I wanted to. I just... I don’t know what was wrong with me.”
This is so painful. He sounds like a wounded little boy. I don’t know how it’s possible, but I’m beginning to feel a pang of sympathy for him. His voice still sounds as kind as it did the first time I heard it—the first time it deceived me. I press my face into my hands, hating myself for pitying him.
Grayson sits silently outside my door for a few minutes before speaking again. “I couldn’t control myself,” Grayson says softly. “You were just so beautiful, sitting there on the stairs like a broken angel. I needed to touch you to see that you were real. And once I started touching you, I couldn’t seem to stop. I felt like you might disappear right before my eyes. I needed to have you, while you were still here on this earth, in human form. I couldn’t waste a second not being inside you. I needed to drown in your beauty; I needed to feel you around me. I needed to feel every inch of you, whether you would have me or not.” His voice has been growing quieter until it is a barely audible whisper. He pauses to take a deep, mournful breath.
“I felt like I could fuck you into being real. I felt like I could fuck you into being mine.”