Into the Dream
The Arcadians, Book 1
by Laurie Roma
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-62242-826-7
[ SciFi Romance ]
Discover what happens when a woman gets transported to world where males are born into trios who are searching for the perfect mate to share…
What else could possibly go wrong?
With the way things were going so far, this day had been nothing short of a nightmare. Tomorrow was Allison Summers’s twenty-eighth birthday, and if only she could just live through the day she’d get to celebrate another year of her life…alone.
A few hours earlier, Allie had woken up late, courtesy of a blown fuse. Her next-door neighbor tended to blow-dry her hair while listening to music, ironing, and using her computer in the same room without using safety plugs.
Allie’s own studio was small, and, although she spent a small fortune for rent on her downtown unit, she knew better than to have too many electronics going at once. Of course everyone wasn’t blessed with common sense.
Her neighbor being a clear example of that.
After resetting the circuit breaker, she took the quickest shower in the history of the world then had to change clothes twice after spilling coffee on herself in her frantic rush to get out the door. Furthering her misery, it was a massive monsoon outside, and as usual all the cabs in Chicago tended to disappear as soon as the first rain drop fell.
She was a surgeon, for Christ’s sake. How in the world had her life come to this?
As a surgical resident at one of the best hospitals in the country, Allie should have been happy with her life, overjoyed even, but that was definitely not the case. With a deep sigh, Allie opened her umbrella and hoofed it the twelve blocks to the hospital in the pouring rain.
Soaking wet and miserable, Allie’s luck didn’t get any better when she arrived at the hospital. Once inside safety of the building, Allie knew by the nervous looks shot her way that she was making the other people in the elevator nervous as she muttered to herself. Embarrassed, she hunched her shoulders and passed the rest of the elevator ride in awkward silence.
Holding her poor soaked backpack she was never without, Allie told herself to wait until later to lament her iPod that had stopped working somewhere between block six or seven of her run through the torrential rain.
“Watch it! You’re dripping on me!” a nurse snapped as Allie hurried toward the residents’ locker room.
She pushed the door open to the room and rolled her eyes as one of the male residents snickered with bitter glee. “Wow, I guess someone finally decided to come in to work today.”
Yeah, like she was ever late.
Slinking over to her own locker, she dropped her backpack down on the bench and was relieved when the other man left, leaving her alone in the room. The surgical resident program she was in was brutal. People backstabbed each other and stepped over the bleeding carcasses of the fallen to get the best surgeries.
Allie understood the way the game was played. She was used to being alone and not depending on anyone for help.
She quickly changed into a pair of dry scrubs and looked down at the soggy shoes on her feet. She couldn’t wear those for the next twelve hours. Searching through her locker, she found a spare pair of sneakers and put them on then realized exactly why she had left them in her locker.
They pinched her freaking toes.
Allie sighed as she mentally added blisters to her list of complaints. Leaving the locker room, she hurried over to the main nurses’ station of the surgery wing. Glancing to the right, she noticed most of her team was busy talking and laughing nearby. Allie’s head lowered again before the other doctors noticed her attention on them.
It was never good to call attention to herself in this place.
She had been a resident at the hospital for almost two years now, but every day was still a test. She had never had a problem with men hating her before starting to work there. In fact, most men had always gone out of their way to get along with her.
Allie knew her petite frame with full breasts and a curvy figure, white-blonde hair, and aquamarine eyes were a stunning combination. Yeah, Allie wasn’t the beautiful thin-model type, but she could hold her own in the looks department. Although almost painfully shy, Allie forced herself to interact with people. Usually she just covered up her shyness and insecurities with sheer brass, but that didn’t seem to help at work.
Not in this particular circle of hell at least.
The attention she got from men had never bothered her before since she was usually able to keep them away by her “ice queen” attitude. But that was until she had started working for Satan himself. Philip Dwyer, the head trauma surgeon she worked for, was a known egomaniacal misogynist, and as the only female resident on his team, Allie’s life was hell. Talk about an old-school bastard who seemed to make it his mission in life to make her miserable.
To make matters worse, every man on their team had followed Dwyer’s lead and found pleasure in being downright hostile toward her once they realized that Dwyer wouldn’t protect her. But what Allie got she gave right back, earning her the illustrious title of “ice bitch” by her colleagues.
Not that it bothered her.
Well…she tried not to let it bother her.
Allie told herself it wasn’t their acceptance she needed. She worked hard for her own gratification. She was a damn good doctor and would be an even better surgeon when she was through with the program. But it would be nice to be able to go to work without feeling like she was walking into a combat zone.
Damn it, she was smart and probably even better than most of the surgeons in the hospital. That didn’t stop her team from treating Allie like shit though.
But hell, it was nothing she wasn’t used to.
Allie hadn’t led an easy life. Growing up in foster care had taken care of that. Her mother had been a drug addict, and she never knew who her father was, so when her mother overdosed, Allie was transferred into foster care. The foster care system was good in theory, but human nature complicated things. Her life had been one hellish day after another, but she had never let it break her.
Growing up, it was almost impossible to make friends, since she was always the new girl at school, so Allie did what she always did.
She relied on herself.
Some people thought she would end up in jail because of her loner status. Others thought she was just stuck up or snobby because she was so quiet. The truth was she didn’t know how to let people in, so she kept to herself. Accepting her social exile, she threw herself into school instead, earning a full scholarship to the university of her choice, and focused on making a future for herself.
Allie had been alone for so long it was difficult to learn how to depend on people. College had been the first time she had really made any friends and the first time she had let herself relax. Not that she had a chance to see those friends with the hours she put in at work. Her best friend, Raven, was a cop with the Chicago Police Department, and even though they lived less than two blocks from each other, they only got to see each other about once a week.
Allie’s shyness had held her back in life, but in a surgical suite, she ruled. She knew she had mad skills. Her stitches were perfect, her cuts precise and her hands steady. Now she just had to survive being a resident long enough to gain some experience and learn what she needed, and then she could really begin to live.
Growing up with nothing, she made something of her life, and she was damn well determined to be successful. She was a fighter. Always had been. She had learned to survive, had worked hard for this job, and she wasn’t about to let some dickless jerks ruin everything she had worked for.
She needed a break. After the morning she had, she just had to make it through today, and then she would be free for the weekend, as she was off the rotation.
Only a few more hours until lunch and then…
Allie was briefly distracted by rambunctious laughter coming from the group of men off to her side and couldn’t help but roll her eyes. She might have been a little late today, but why was everyone else not working? There were patients to see to, surgeries to prep. She took a moment to pull her shoulder-length hair back in a ponytail and waited in silence.
“Good morning,” Dr. Sydney Dixon said as she walked up to the group, carrying a stack of charts. Dr. Dixon was a legend in the hospital. She was one of the best trauma surgeons in the country and was on special assignment. She was rarely in the hospital unless she had a surgery to perform. Allie’s mood instantly perked up at the chance to work with the famous female surgeon.
Damned if Allie didn’t want to be just like her when she grew up.
“Dr. Dwyer is stuck in Michigan where he was medevaced out on an emergency run late last night. The entire Midwest had been hit with rain and sleet, canceling all incoming and outgoing flights, so he won’t be back ’til tomorrow at the earliest, so I’m doing a favor for the chief today and filling in for Dwyer. You’re on my service today. Let’s get to work.”
Dr. Dixon began passing out charts to everyone. Allie stepped forward and accepted hers. When she opened it, her heart fluttered.
Perhaps her day wasn’t going to be as bad as she originally thought.
* * * *
Oh, come on…
With a sigh, Allie stood at the entrance of the hospital looking out at the street and cursed her luck…again. Her initial thought about today had been right.
Today was just not her day.
Allie was able to perform a complex surgery under the watchful eye of Dr. Dixon earlier. The surgery had gone perfectly, and the praise Dr. Dixon had given her had made her feel like she could fly. She’d spent the rest of the day doing rounds and checking on patients. She’d thought surely her luck had changed.
That was until she had gotten back to the locker room to see her locker had been trashed, and found out that she had missed a meeting with the chief of surgery because Doug, one of the other residents, had “forgotten” to tell her about it. Allie had hurried to the chief’s office only to get a thirty-minute lecture on how important it was that she not miss any meetings in the future.
It was Friday, and she was hours away from the freedom of the weekend. The only thing standing in her way of getting this damn day over with was getting home unscathed, and she was determined to make it without any more incidents she would have to cringe about later.
That was easier said than done.
Allie gulped as she looked out at the view from the front door. It looked like the inside of a waterfall. Thunder roared and lightning crashed outside, streaking the dark-gray sky with streaks of fire.
Rain was too tame a word for it.
It was an act of God.
What Allie was looking out at was a monsoon of epic proportions. Before she had left the surgical wing, she’d been glad she had an extra hoodie in her locker. Now she realized it wasn’t going to help. No, this really wasn’t her day. Her tiny umbrella hung limply at her side as she tried to figure out some way to make it home without getting drenched.
That was so not going to happen.
“Oh, come on…” Allie moaned out loud this time.
“Do you need a cab, miss?” the security guard offered as he looked up from the front desk.
“Yes, can you call me one?” Allie asked and watched the security guard wince.
“You’ll have to wait in line,” the security guard said. He gestured over to a group of people waiting in the lobby, which looked to be like forty people, milling about.
No, she wouldn’t wait. She’d spend the entire night here if she did. “I think I’ll just go for it.”
“Good luck with that.” The security guard at the desk gave her a sympathetic smile, which she tried to return but knew failed miserably.
Turning back to watch the rain splatter against the glass, she braced herself for the inevitable. “Yeah, right. Good luck,” she murmured to herself as she hitched her backpack over her shoulder, pushed open the door, opened her umbrella, and ran.
She couldn’t see.
The umbrella did absolutely nothing to stop the rain from pelting her in the face and drenching her sweatshirt in a matter of seconds. Praying she wouldn’t get hit by a car, she loped across the street to make it before she was washed away in the rushing currents of water flooding down the drains. Almost there, Allie assured herself as she raced down the sidewalk. She heard the thunder boom overhead, so close she could feel her ears ringing from the sound.
When she got home she would treat herself to a hot bath, takeout, and maybe a good book. Yes, that was what she’d do. She’d forget this day ever happened and spend the entire weekend reading. Allie was almost cheered at the thought of what awaited her at home.
Her own little birthday celebration.
Raven was working tonight and no one else would celebrate her birthday, so she would, doing exactly as she pleased, which was hopefully getting a little R & R.
That was when the lightning struck.
Allie felt her entire body flame to life as she was engulfed in a white light so bright it hurt her eyes. She heard the crackling of pure energy surround her and felt herself falling. Unable to control her body, Allie cried out and hit the ground, hard.
She groaned as the light faded.
Every muscle ached, and she was surprised that she was still alive after what had just happened.
Or was she?
Allie lay on the ground, unmoving, and carefully wiggled her toes, then her foot then her arms to make sure they were still attached. Yep, all still there and in working order. She let out a snort of laughter. No, it wasn’t funny. But seriously, with the day she’d been having, who could be surprised that she had gotten struck by fucking lightening.
It was then that Allie realized that the rain no longer fell on her face, drowning her in its torrential downpour. She slowly opened her eyes then squeezed them back shut.
No, no this couldn’t be.
She opened them back up. But it was.
Fuck it, she really was dead.
Either that…or she was no longer in her own world.