Lost Without You by D. M. Thornton - Read Online
Lost Without You
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Summary

You think trying to survive the Amazon rainforest is hard? Try being thrown back into reality. Back to civilian life. It's not so easy conforming to what is socially acceptable, and when you have to do it alone, your sanity starts to toy with your emotions.

Going back home was what she wanted, or at least that's what Brittany Powers thought. But being forced to go with people she despises wasn't what sheplanned. She no longer fits into the mold of what society thinks is right, and when she tries to find her own place in this world she once called home, the people around her think she has gone mad.

Cooper Owens won't ever be the same. Not after he watched the love of his life leave with the people he knew she hated. And now he has to deal with the fact that he was the one that put her there. He'd do anything to get her back, but he's lost his way...again.

The road of life has many paths. But when it's true love, the stars align in a way that paves the walkway to meet in the middle. It's up to Brittany and Cooper which roads they choose to take. If their love is strong enough, they'll find each other on the road less traveled.

Published: Whimsical Publications on
ISBN: 1940707811
List price: $3.99
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Lost Without You - D. M. Thornton

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Page 1 of 1

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Chapter One

Brittany

I have been walking around like a ghost in the halls for the past four months. Like a cloud in the sky, the wind takes me where it wants me to go. I’m a puppet on a string that is being carried through each day, no control over any aspect of my life. I guess you can say I have given up. Maybe I had a choice, maybe I didn’t, but nonetheless, I don’t even know who I am anymore. I go through the emotions every day, waking up in tears from the nightmares, angry that Cooper left me to fend for myself. The anxiety and self-doubt are the most consuming, and I can’t help but obsess over the fact that maybe I made the wrong decision wanting to come back here. I should’ve fought harder. Instead of telling Cooper I hated him, I should’ve told him I knew what I wanted and it wasn’t Chad, it was him. Always him. Why couldn’t he see that? I practically forced myself at him, and yet, he still pushed me away. I don’t understand. Maybe I never will.

If I ever thought I had a clue of what was waiting for me when I returned home to Colorado, I was wrong. Turns out my parents heard of my missing flight, put their house up for sale, and bought a thirty-acre manor outside of Boulder, complete with a swimming pool, stone pillars, open floor plan with vaulted ceilings and a chef’s kitchen, a game room, exercise room, great room, private master suite on its own floor, and a separate guest wing. Views from every window of the house carried on as far as the naked eye could see. It was breathtakingly beautiful, but it still wasn’t home. Odd, I really thought being back here would mend my broken heart. I’m coming to a fast realization that my heart never belonged in Colorado, or maybe it does, but it won’t know it for sure since my heart will forever be with Cooper. I guess it’s not the place in which you live, but the one you share it with that makes a home.

My father retired from his plastic surgery practice, selling it off for millions while my mother had no problems uprooting her life to start fresh somewhere new. Chad still lived in the one-bedroom condo we shared, working two jobs and only coming to see me every Thursday. Why I am living with my parents and not my boyfriend is something I can’t seem to understand. His promise to take care of me when we got back, to love me and to marry me only lasted a month before it was just another loose feather blowing in the wind. I guess he couldn’t handle the woman he got back. I tried to warn them, I wasn’t that girl anymore, but none of them wanted to see, none of them wanted to hear me. They’re getting a rude awakening now, that’s for sure. I don’t keep my mouth shut anymore and I’ll do as I please, even if they think it’s inappropriate. Fuck ‘em.

I guess the Amazon ran deeper in my veins than I had realized. It didn’t take me long to fall back into the same routine of not showering on a daily basis, walking around the house naked, and trying to build fires on the rooftop terrace of my private suite. The first time I walked around the grounds naked, my mother squealed like a dying pig and yelled for my father. Both mortified, they ran at me with a blanket and covered me. Then they scolded me for my inappropriate behavior and sent me back to my wing to get dressed. Of course I didn’t. I sat around my quiet two-bedroom house, naked for days. I wouldn’t shower until it bothered me, not when Chad would come see me and tell me how foul and disgusting I was. Okay, so maybe I add fuel to the flame by being a tad bit stubborn, and fight them tooth and nail on everything, but I see no problems in living the lifestyle I’ve come accustomed to. I’m not hurting anyone.

I found my peace roaming the many acres of the manor, collecting sticks and rocks, anything I thought might be useful. I made my own fire-setting tools and lit a bonfire that could have taken down the Redwood Forest. Of all those days I said I never wanted to see another fire, it sure felt good lighting that blaze. And call me evil, but I secretly wished it would burn down my parents’ new expensive digs. What? I’m a bit bitter, get over it. It didn’t take long for my father to smell the burning ash of wood and dirt before he ran up to my terrace to insist I put it out immediately. I ignored him until he stormed off.

He came back not too long after with a large bucket of water, and dumped it over my camp. Yelling at me, he said, You have gone mad, Brittany, haven’t you? Are you trying to burn the house down? What the hell is wrong with you?

Still, I ignored him. I waited for him to leave then started another and another, until he gave up and let me be.

Any time my mother begged me to go into town and go shopping with her, I laughed in her face. You never wanted to do those things with me as a child! Why start now?

Appalled at how horrible I speak to her, my mother tries to distance herself from me unless it’s necessary. Nothing new there. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The more she keeps away from me, the better we both are.

I’ve begged…pleaded for a section of land I could garden, to create a place where I could get my hands dirty, to hunt for my own food.

They’ve all written me off, saying, You’re crazy. We have hired help for such things like grocery shopping. Why on earth would want to hunt? Maybe we need to take you to a doctor…get you some medication. You obviously have a mental disorder.

No, what I have is far more disturbing. Now, I’m not saying I don’t have some mental issues going on. Maybe I do. I cry a lot. I walk around like a zombie most days and choose not to talk unless it’s mandatory, but I’m not crazy. No, what I need is the man I love, the one that kept me safe and loved me. The one that I told I hated. The one that insistently pushed me away. What I continue to look for is what I will never be able to find here. My heart. My light. My soul.

I think about Ms. Emery every day and the words she once said to me. She told me the home I thought I wanted to go back to was a dark and lonely hole. I didn’t want to listen. I thought she was crazy. I even thought Cooper was nuts when he said, It’s not all what it’s cracked up to be. You think home is a perfect place. It has everything you need, everything you’re used to, when in fact, what is simple and most peaceful is where you are right now. Let your heart be your compass, hummingbird. It will lead you to where you need to go. I finally understand. Of course, I had to figure it out the hard way, but I get it now.

The home I once had, here in Colorado, is no longer my home, for my home burned down in the middle of the rainforest with the only family I’ve ever had. It’s funny how when you lose something, you think you miss it and want it back so bad, but when you find something new, it’s too scary to want to hold on to, so you run from it, afraid of the change it might bring. I’d do anything to run toward the scary...the uncomfortable, to embrace the change and let it show me things I otherwise would’ve been too afraid to see. I’ll never get that chance again. And that’s something I’m going to eventually have to come to terms with. I thought I was following my heart back here to Colorado, but it turns out, my heart misguided me. My compass is broken, and the only way to fix it is to find the one thing that made it work to begin with. My love. My warrior.

Chapter Two

Today started like any other day. I got up, made myself something to eat, actually took a shower, and sat for a while out on the terrace. It’s Thursday, which means Chad would be coming to see me this evening, but I felt like taking a drive. When I told Philip and Susan I wanted to go into town for a little shopping and possibly a spa day, they couldn’t have been more ecstatic. Susan tried to come with me, insisting we could have a girls’ day out, tea and massages, but I told her I needed to have a day to myself…to get back to the way life used to be. They bought it, so I took the Jaguar…how ironic…and headed into town, except I wanted nothing to do with shopping or the spa. That wasn’t my life before and it most certainly wouldn’t start now.

The sun is shining and the wind is light, so I opt to roll my window down on my drive to the condo in Denver. Breathing in the fresh, crisp air and letting it blow my hair across my chest and back brings me to a much-needed happy place. A small smile crosses my face when the wind brushes my skin. I’ve dressed in a loose-fitting floral blouse, tight-fitting jeans and a pair of Converse sneakers. I even attempted a little makeup. Just some blush and lip-gloss, but that is far better than most days, considering I haven’t worn a lick of makeup since I’ve been back.

I pull up to the condo, park the Jag next to Chad’s truck, and fumble for the key that’s in my back pocket. I skip the elevator and take the stairs up to the fourth floor to stand outside the door for a few minutes. It seems so foreign, a place I lived for six years and shared with my high school boyfriend. I scan the halls. It looks the same, but it’s not cozy anymore. It’s stale and lifeless. I don’t remember it being so drab, but then again, maybe it’s drab because I’m drab. I inhale a deep breath, slip the key into the slot, and turn it until I hear the click. The door pushes open with ease and I slide right into a house that is no longer mine. As I stand at the entrance, my brows pull together, letting my eyes capture every detail that is no longer my own. Those are not my canisters sitting on the kitchen counter. I had cute owls, not hideous chickens. I hate candles, yet they are scattered around the small living room like it’s a Yankee candle store, and I would never paint these walls yellow. I look back over my shoulder and glance around once more. I’m in the right condo; those are Chad’s shoes by the door. That’s my television, and that’s my couch. I take a few more steps until my hands are resting on the back of the couch. But this is not my blanket, I whisper to myself.

I look down the narrow hall to the bedroom and start my descent to the closed door. I’m not sure why I’m so nervous. This is my condo. Mine. As in I paid for it, but I’m not living in it, which makes me suspicious.

My hand hovers over the knob as I listen to the soft music playing behind the door. The thumping of my heart matches each beat that pumps in my ears. It makes me grow even more anxious. I’m not sure what it is I’ll find behind this door, but my gut is telling me that it’s not good. Chad and I haven’t been intimate since I’ve been home, mostly due to my poor hygiene lately, I’m sure, but then again, he hasn’t even tried to kiss me, let alone hold my hand.

I turn the knob as quietly as I can and crack the door ajar, catching a glimpse of Chad’s glistening backside. With a flick of my wrist, I push the door farther, letting it slam against the wall while I fumble backward, tripping over my own feet. Yep, I knew it! I wish I never saw it, but that’s my own damn fault for barging in, needing to get confirmation. Well, I sure as shit got more than I bargained for.

Chad’s head twists to look over his shoulder while the girl he has propped against the wall, banging from behind, grabs the sheet off the bed to cover herself. Who the fuck is she? the girl squeals.

The look on Chad’s face is rather priceless when I answer, His dead fucking girlfriend.

Chad he runs his fingers through his hair and tries to chase after me. Brittany, wait! He yells after me, but I’m already slamming the front door behind me.

I make it to my car and already have one leg in when Chad reaches me, screaming my name. He’s buttoning his pants as he approaches and grabs the door before I can slam it shut. Brittany, please wait, let’s talk about this.

I don’t look at him. I stick the key in the ignition and fire up the Jag. It’s not a big deal, Chad, really. I mean, I may not like it and all, but what were you supposed to do while I was trying to survive in the middle of the Amazon? Wait for me? No, I’m not upset that you cheated on me. Hell, I cheated on you. What I am upset about is the fact that I fell for your bullshit that you actually wanted to take care of me, marry me. Even though I wanted to go home with someone else, I still came home with you. Granted, it wasn’t really my choice to go with you, but I did and now everything I’ve gone through has literally been for nothing. I’m not mad at you, Chad, I’m mad at myself. Now I totally get why you only come around on Thursdays. Of course, that’s after you fuck her brains out. Then you come to me to tell me how disgusting I am.

Brittany, it’s not like that at all. You just don’t understand. I…

I laugh as I reach for the door. "There is nothing to understand. That up there isn’t new. That condo reeks of her bad taste. I’m sure she felt sorry for you after you told her you lost your girlfriend of seven years in a plane crash. You never did think I was alive. I’m sure when you and my parents found out I survived out there, you were completely dumbfounded, weren’t you? Didn’t think I could handle being on my own. Thought I was weak. I mean, that’s how you all kept me, isn’t it? Too bad for you guys, you didn’t get that same girl back. I tried to tell you, but ya’ll didn’t want to listen. Now, get your fuckin’ hand off my door before you lose your goddamn fingers."

Chad snatched his hand back and watched with his mouth down at his feet as I peeled away from the parking lot.

Chapter Three

A day of shopping actually sounds refreshing. Of course, it’s not your typical shopping spree of clothes, accessories, or beauty products. No, this is my idea of shopping. I head to the closest outdoorsman store and stock up on an arsenal full of bow and arrows, a rifle, knifes, a hand gun, traps, and everything in between.

Needless to say…when I got home, neither Philip nor Susan were the least bit prepared for what my shopping bags contained. I can’t say they were overly thrilled with my purchases. In fact, I rendered them speechless.

If you try to stop me from hunting and exploring all this acreage, you might find yourself behind one of these, I said as I waved the bags around aimlessly. It’s a sure bet to say, I scared the shit out of them.

Okay, so maybe I have lost it…a little. But can you really blame me? I’ve been through hell and back and, frankly, the hell I’m currently living in is far worse than crashing into the Amazon. Who woulda thought? Why is it that I’m the only one who can see that? I’m stuck between two worlds. One that I used to know and the one I wish I was in. I’m mad at Cooper for pushing me away, tossing me out like an old rag after he swore he’d keep me safe. I am angry at myself for allowing this to happen. I am even more pissed off that I can’t tell Cooper myself that he was wrong. He didn’t want me to end up hating myself, and I still do. He didn’t need to send me packing; the end result, as he said, is the same. And maybe I’m a touch selfish, but I hope to fuck he’s hating himself, too. I agree, I’m tense, a bit on edge, but with time, I’m sure it will pass. Everything does…right?

I keep to myself. No one else really wants anything to do with me anyway. I refuse help from the hired staff and my parents walk on eggshells around me, so I spend countless days exploring the land around me. I find the perfect patch in the field to build a raised bed to plant a garden in and waste no time going back into town to buy the necessary items I need to start. I pull into the drive when Susan meets me in the garage.

Did more shopping, dear? she asks, wary.

Yes. I found a great spot for a garden. Now I know you and Philip didn’t want me to, but it would make me really happy, and…

It’s fine, sweetheart, if it’s something that will bring you peace. Your father and I are supportive. Besides, maybe I can help you?

My face