Love Unrehearsed Page 1

Author: Tina Reber

Series: Love #2

Genres: Romance

“He’s mine!” Lauren Delaney screamed as she pushed through the crowd, violently shoving the innocent bystanders that separated us out of her way.

Her famous face, painted to perfection by a team of high-priced Hollywood makeup artists, was psychotically twisted like a woman possessed by the devil.

Instant terror crept through my veins and spread throughout my entire body just from the sight of her. My muscles locked down, in-stinctively preparing for an altercation that was long overdue.

Despite her hellish demeanor, the conniv-ing bitch still managed to look glamorous in her shimmery silver gown and stilettos as she charged straight at me. The blockbuster hit starlet obviously had no intentions to fight fair tonight. The crowd parted and it took a fraction of a second after that for me to notice the bright lights gleam off a long-bladed knife clenched in her fist.

My mind ordered my body to run.

A girl-fueled screaming match I could handle, although the verbal bitch-slapping I secretly desired to unleash on her would be best delivered in a more private setting. I could even deal with some hair pulling and feeble punches, if she left me no choice but to defend myself. Lord knows I wanted to rip her to shreds and dance on her grave for all the problems she had caused. But at this moment, I was in no way prepared to fend off a knife attack.

Thousands of flashes blinded me as the photographers swarmed like angry bees, stinging my eyes with each click. As I raised my hands to shield my face from the relentless paparazzi, Lauren plowed into my chest, knocking the air from my lungs and my feet out from under me. The back of my head slammed onto the red carpet, sending an instant message of overwhelming pain through my skull. Speckles of white blended in with a sea of crimson as I tried to refocus through the blur.

“Get off of me!” I screamed as she straddled me. I caught her by the wrist as she raised the blade, straining with her to keep from being stabbed.

“You really think you belong with him?” Lauren taunted as she pressed the blade closer to my face. Planted on top of me, she definitely had the upper hand and the advantage of leverage. The sting from the cold steel made me wince when the sharp tip scraped over my cheek.

“Are you prepared to die for him, bitch?” Little did she know that when I thought I had lost Ryan, a vital part of me did die for him that day. But it was the risk that I took to become involved with a famous celebrity, knowing that there was the possibility of my heart being returned to me in pieces. Thankfully, the miracle of my reunion with Ryan breathed new life into me, and my fractured heart and soul were well on their way to full recovery. I knew I could survive anything now.

As I struggled with her, darkness loomed around the edges of my thoughts, sending a chill through my veins. Foreboding concrete block walls suddenly formed and surrounded us, filling me with dread as they encased us in. Fear of impending death swelled inside me as we were being entombed.

I tried to scream but Lauren’s fingers tightened around my windpipe, cutting off the flow of precious air.

A vision of my father, resembling a faint memory, ghosted and then solidified into view. His fury was palpable; he appeared ready to go on a murderous rampage. His angry fists slugged into the hazy figure of a lesser man.

His bloodied hands wrapped tightly around a young man’s throat, mimicking the choke hold Lauren had on me. The two men continued to struggle, knocking things over in their wake. A large metal object flew from the wall and crashed heavy to the floor, causing a scream to tear from my throat as it missed my head by inches. My tears burned as they dripped uncontrollably from the corners of my eyes.

I strained through the haze to see the young man’s face, but no matter how hard I tried to focus, his features remained obscured by long, straggly, jet-black hair.

Suddenly, for no explainable reason, I didn’t care about myself anymore. Or my father. Or Lauren. I wanted to help the young man. I needed to help him, defend him. I had to stop my dad from killing him.

The guy looked right at me and spoke in an echoed rush as my dad continued to strangle him. “I love you, baby girl. I would never hurt you.”

A tiny voice inside me knew that he spoke the truth. Still, my body shook, watching his white teeth turn an ominous red when he smiled at me.

“You will never touch her again!” my dad shouted.

A bloodied tear fell down the young man’s cheek. And then another. I wanted to go to him and wrap my arms around him because that’s what you do when people are sad. Big teddy-bear hugs always make the tears stop.

Lauren’s clenched hand shook my neck, instantly reclaiming my attention. With a snarl, she raised the blade high in the air.

As I watched the blade come down, reluctantly resigned to letting Death take me and the darkness claim me, one last word echoed through the air.


Chapter 1


“What the hell?” Ryan’s head flew off his pillow, roused from his deep sleep when I screamed.

I sat up and kicked the blankets away with my feet, panicking to untangle myself as I rubbed the phantom pain stabbing fire into my chest.

Holy shit. Holy shit. Damn, that felt so real. Okay, calm down. It was just a dream. Just a dream.

Ryan leaned up on the mound of hotel pillows. I could see him scanning the room, looking for some sort of danger. “Tar, are you all right?” His hand grasped my thigh as he shifted his body closer. “Taryn, what happened?”

I wanted to answer him but I was momentarily stunned and completely incapable of coherent speech, still caught in a freaked-out haze between nightmare and reality. I tried to say something, I really did, but all that came from my mouth were raspy, stuttered breaths.

Fortunately it didn’t take me long to realize where I was, for it had been less than twenty-four hours ago when I boarded a plane and departed Providence, Rhode Island. Now I was shaken and panting for air in a luxurious hotel suite in Los Angeles, ripped from sleep by my own ridiculous thoughts.

Ryan tugged my chin; his voice was frantically curt. “Look at me.” His hand brushed my long hair out of my eyes. “Taryn, are you okay? Tar? Answer me.”

I grasped his arm and managed a weak nod. “Yeah, I’m okay. I’m . . . I’m so sorry I woke you.”

“Don’t worry about me,” he insisted, curling up closer.

If his throbbing pulse in my hand was any indication, I’d say I had scared the shit out of him, too.

He smoothed my hair back, wrapping a few strands behind my ear.

“What happened? You have a nightmare?” I nodded, trying to save myself from having to explain.