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Authors: Ashlyn Chase

Immortally Yours

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Immortally Yours

Ashlyn Chase

 

Lizette has spent three hundred years on earth, but this is
her first time in a therapist’s office. Lonely and aimless, she feels that life
has lost its meaning…and she’s come to Colin for advice on ending it. If only
he weren’t so maddeningly, distractingly attractive, she’d be able to get on
with things.

The moment Lizette steps into his office, Colin knows he has
to help her. He also knows he has to have her—in every position possible.

As they spend time together, the heat between them rises and
clothes come off, revealing Colin to be not only a phenomenal lover, but a
picture-perfect nude muse for Lizette’s erotic photographs, as well. But in
trying to give Lizette’s life meaning, they might have ruined Colin’s.

 

Ellora’s Cave Publishing

www.ellorascave.com

 

 

 

Immortally Yours

 

ISBN 9781419935893

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Immortally Yours Copyright © 2012 Ashlyn Chase

 

Edited by Jillian Bell

Cover design by Syneca

Photographs: LiKar/Shutterstock.com; Romancenovelcovers.com

 

Electronic book Publication January 2012

 

The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of
Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

 

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not
be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without
written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056
Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

 

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this
copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or
distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without
the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including
infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is
punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. 
(http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or
print editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy
of copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons,
living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The
characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

 

The publisher and author(s) acknowledge the trademark status
and trademark ownership of all trademarks, service marks and word marks
mentioned in this book.

 

The publisher does not have any control over, and does not
assume any responsibility for, author or third-party Web sites or their
content.

 

Immortally Yours
Ashlyn Chase

 

Dedicated to one of by besties, Dalton Diaz. She knows
why.

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

Thanks to Jaid Black for taking a look at this manuscript
and giving it a chance, and thank you to Meghan Conrad for catching all my
mistakes and putting up with my frustrated hair-pulling.

 

Chapter One

After a year in therapy, my psychiatrist said to me,
“Maybe life isn’t for everyone.”

Larry Brown

 

Lizette had been sitting in the psychiatrist’s outer sanctum
for only five minutes when she asked herself,
What am I doing here?
Just
as she rose to walk out, his door opened and a six foot, brown-haired,
green-eyed god invited her in.

Oh shit.

Upon following Mr. Tall, Dark and Gorgeous into his office,
she sank down on a brown leather couch opposite him. He occupied a matching
swivel chair. Wishing he would join her on the couch, she tried not to stare—or
drool.

He picked up his pen. “What brings you here, Lizette?”

She waved at Dr. Colin Brayer’s Northwestern University
medical school diploma, which was on the wall along with numerous other
certificates and diplomas. “I know you’re smart as hell, but you can’t possibly
understand my problem. I think I made a mistake coming here.” She dropped her
gaze to her lap. “This is something nobody understands.”

“Try me.”

She glanced back at him. Did he have to sit there in his
crisp, white shirt unbuttoned at the neck? He appeared so put together—impossibly
tan, young and beautiful. Damn, he was making it hard to concentrate.

“Okay, but only because I’m here. I really doubt you can
help.”

“You’ve already made up your mind? Please. Give it a
chance.”

Lizette took a deep breath. Was she really about to divulge
her secret to a total stranger? A stranger she was paying a hundred dollars an
hour to listen to her whine?
Hell, yeah
. She wasn’t in favor of wasting
money and he was bound by law to keep her secrets to himself, right?

“Will you hold whatever I tell you in confidence?” she
asked.

“Unless you’re planning to commit a heinous crime,
absolutely.”

“Oh.”
Is what I’m planning to do a crime?

She hesitated long enough for him to tip his head and eye
her suspiciously.

“Are you?”

She swallowed hard. “Of course not.”

“You haven’t broken any major laws, have you?”

“What happened was no fault of mine.” She crossed her arms,
took a deep breath and spat it out. “I was born in a small village near
Lourdes, France—in seventeen-twelve.”

She paused, waiting for some sign of disbelief. The good
doctor merely stretched his long legs out in front of him and clasped his hands
behind his head as if settling in for a long story before a warm fire on a cold
winter’s night.

At least the smile had disappeared.

“Go on,” he said.

“All right. In my teens, a terrible epidemic wiped out half
the village, including my family, but I survived. I matured normally into my
late teens but by my early twenties, I stopped growing—and aging. Later, when
my eternal youth became apparent to the town elders, I heard whispers and knew
it was only a matter of time before I’d be considered a witch or a demon and
treated like any other freak—by that I mean someone different from the norm.”
Even the memory of what
could have
happened made her hands tremble.

He nodded.

Encouraged, she continued. “I’d seen what happened to those
who were unusual, so I stole what I needed and traveled as far as I could on
foot. For months I traveled with anyone willing to let me accompany them,
bartering what little I had—including my body.”

When he didn’t react to that, she figured he might be the
right person to hear the whole sordid tale.

“Finally settling in Cologne, I worked in a perfumery with
the Farina family, descendants of Giovanni Farina, the man who formulated the
famous original Eau de Cologne. I spent many years in their service and,
because I knew their secret formula and kept it to myself, they were good to
me. When it was time to move on again I accompanied Jean Joseph Farina to Paris
where he opened their new location. He didn’t seem to notice my not aging. He
was what we would now call a nerd, only thinking about his work and hardly
noticing the world around him. Years later, the product would become immensely
popular with the Emperor and Empress of France. You would recognize their
names, I think. Napoleon and Josephine?”

A corner of his mouth curled up slightly.

Okay, so maybe he wasn’t taking her seriously. On the off
chance that he was, she decided to keep talking. It felt good to get it out.

“Back then, I was considered quite beautiful. My delicate
ivory face and blonde curls were in fashion. Now I have to go to tanning
parlors and iron my hair straight to fit the fashion of the times. At least I
don’t have to dye it, since it never gets gray—and blondes really do have more
fun.”

He chuckled briefly and she gave him points for having a
sense of humor as well as paying attention.

“I attracted the notice of the men of the French court. I
was invited to balls and they rewarded me with jewels and gowns for certain,
um, favors, but I knew that if I married one of them, I’d be expected to spend
my life in the public eye and sooner or later my secret would be discovered. So
when a certain Duke pushed the issue, I used the opportunity to move again. I didn’t
want to leave the Farina family but I could tell that they were beginning to
wonder why I hadn’t shown any signs of age.”

He adjusted position in his chair but his gaze never left
her face.

“I met a British gentleman when he visited the court just as
the French Revolution broke out. He managed to smuggle me out of the country
with him when he returned to England—thank God. It was a tumultuous time and
didn’t get much better for quite a while after that.” She shuddered, then
considered at the man sitting across from her. Why wasn’t he reacting? “Are you
still awake over there?”

“Yes. Do I seem like I’m not awake?”

“No. It’s just that you haven’t interrupted me to say that
I’m out of my mind and you’re going to lock me up and throw away the key.”

He uncrossed his legs. “Why would I do that?”

She sighed. This little game could go on for quite a while
if she didn’t get on with it. “What I’m telling you can’t be a normal problem.”

He sat up and scratched the back of his neck. “Granted, it’s
an unusual story. But as to your soundness of mind, I’d rather reserve judgment
until you finish. Why don’t you continue?”

She hoped this doctor wasn’t crazy himself. She had heard
some psychiatrists were nuttier than their patients.

“Fine. So I traveled to England with my rescuer, taking the
Eau de Cologne formula with me in my head. I didn’t want to betray the Farina
family but I had little else to bargain with, other than my body, and I knew if
I wanted to regain respectability I’d have to stop being a mistress and find some
kind of employment, eventually. The idea of marriage was out of the question
since to stay in one place, with one person, would lead to questions. Questions
I couldn’t answer. The gentleman who I’d rather not name kept me as his
mistress until he died. Apparently, he didn’t mind my staying young.”

“Did you love him?”

She snorted. “I—appreciated him. After that, in London, I
found a small shop that sold all types of fine gifts to the genteel class. The
Industrial Revolution had created many wealthy people willing to pay for
luxuries, so I had a market for my fragrance. I found that if I changed the
formula slightly, it still smelled appealing. That helped ease my guilt over
recreating and selling the famous Eau de Cologne. I rented a room above the shop
and put away as much money as I could until at last I had to move again.”

Dr. Brayer sighed but in a way that appeared sympathetic.
“That’s several upheavals already. It must have been difficult starting over
again and again.”

Does he believe me? Incredible!
She stared into his
eyes and detected no guile or sarcasm, so she continued. “It was. At the time,
I didn’t want to learn yet another language so I dyed my hair red and moved
back to Paris to the Moulin Rouge, where I became a dancer. I spent ten years showing
the world my cancan until the other girls became jealous.”

He smiled again.

“I still had the ability to attract the rich customers long
after my peers were forced to put out for the middle-class leftovers. My life
had become lonelier than ever, despite being with a string of handsome lovers.
Have you ever been lonely with many people around? It’s about the worst feeling
in the world.” She sighed deeply. “And then, hoping an adventure would help, I
elected to travel to America.”

“When was that?”

Finally, the man had asked her a timeline question. Perhaps
he was putting together the facts, which would prove she wasn’t lying.

“Nineteen-seven. I had heard that America was all the rage
and someone had told me they had groves upon groves of citrus trees there. As
it turned out, the citrus was far away from high society’s lively mansions in
New York but I found someone to ship them north until I could think of another
way to earn a living.”

“Why did you need citrus?”

“For the fragrant oils.”

He nodded again. She saw no frown of confusion, no smirk of
disbelief, just an attentive expression and signs of encouragement. Now she was
beginning to wonder about
his
sanity.

“I sold the Eau De Cologne formula to an interested buyer
and he created his own version. Apparently Africans and Caribbean natives were
using a sort of ‘miracle water’ in voodoo and hoodoo and the scent was similar.
I was smart enough to acquire an interest in the business and earn a percentage
of their earnings.”

“Very enterprising of you. How did that turn out?”

“Very well—until recently. Better living through chemicals,
you know? My formula became much less popular, despite fame for its many uses.

“What kind of uses?”

He was testing her—she was sure of it. Well, she’d give him
the whole list and prove that she knew what she was talking about. “A cosmetic
astringent, an after-shower invigorating rub, a personal deodorant, a sickroom
deodorant, it’s used for rubdowns, before shaving, after shaving, insect bites,
headaches, nervous tension, itchy scalp, in hot weather it acts as a coolant
and, finally, it can be used as perfume. I use it to scent my hair and lingerie
drawers. Now the chemical companies have convinced people they need numerous
products to do the same things.”

She was sure he’d have questioned something long before this
if only to point out the reality of normal life spans—or to call her an
outright liar or say that she was delusional. Instead, he simply said, “I
thought I smelled orange blossoms.”

She stiffened against the couch’s back, open-mouthed. “Doc,
I’ve got to hand it to you. I figured you’d be giving me a diagnosis of
certifiable nutcase by now.”

“I’ve never heard of that diagnosis. And for what it’s
worth, I don’t jump to conclusions. But it’s clear that something about this is
distressing or you wouldn’t be here.”

“No kidding.”

A knock at the door interrupted them.

He frowned and said, “Excuse me.”

When he opened the door, she heard an anxious female voice
whispering frantically. It must have been his receptionist.

He glanced at Lizette with a concerned expression. “It’s an
emergency. Sit tight. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

She sighed as he left the room and closed the door behind
him. It was good that he took his other patients’ needs seriously but did it
have to happen on her dime?

* * * * *

Colin was glad Lizette had come to him and not gone to one
of his many colleagues who refused to believe in the existence of paranormals.
He took about five minutes to reassure a patient. She had taken an overdose but
nothing lethal. She was in an ambulance on her way to the emergency room and
he’d promised to meet her there later. He wasn’t looking forward to it—he knew
the ER would be hopping when he got there, because a flu epidemic had hit
Seattle hard.

Colin strode back to his office and hoped Lizette would
forgive the intrusion. The beautiful, petite woman was in crisis too. Her
accent was still vaguely French but with such modern terminology that she
reminded him of a blonde Juliette Binoche.

He returned to his chair. “Sorry about that.”

“Yeah. Look, I don’t mind an emergency if someone really
needs you. But I hope they don’t cut into my time often. You don’t come cheap.”

He winced inwardly. He’d heard that before and knew money
was tight for most people these days. But he didn’t think he was
overcharging—and he needed every penny. Paying off loans after medical school
wasn’t cheap, either. As much as he didn’t like to rush treatment, maybe he
could help her get to the root of the problem quickly, saving her some money
that way. She was right about natural products being replaced by chemicals. If
her multipurpose cologne had fallen out of fashion, her funds could be running
low.

Ordinarily, he’d let the patient reveal things at their own
pace, letting them talk until they came to their own realizations. Perhaps he
could suggest possibilities based on his own insight and experience and see if
something resonated with her.

But why did he care enough about her finances to compromise
his methods? She was a new patient. No different from any other new patient—or
was she?

“Have you ever been in therapy before?”

“No.”

“So what brought you here today? It sounds like this has
been going on for quite some time.”

“I can’t sleep. I’ve been having terrible dreams.”

“Tell me about them.”

As she went about describing disjointed images with no real
story, he imagined her in bed, tossing and turning…covers slipping off her
body… Suddenly, he realized how inappropriate the image was and he fought to
turn it off immediately.

To keep his ethical standards and his license, he had to
keep his hands off her.
Damn.
He wished he could have met her under
different circumstances. He wanted to continue to see her but she was going
broke. He was in a bind—unless he discharged her as soon as possible and then
pursued a personal relationship… He needed to know if she was free to do that,
however.

BOOK: Immortally Yours
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