Sierra by Taylor Dean
Have you ever been lost in the woods? Alyssa Fontaine’s life, loved ones—everything familiar and dear—are brutally taken from her. Taken captive by two men, she endures a horrific nightmare. A new life is forced upon her and even a new name. Just when it appears that no hope is in sight, she is saved by an unlikely twist of fate. Trapped in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, life will open its arms to her again and she will embrace it. She will find love such as she never knew existed. Sierra is a heart-wrenching story of the power of the human spirit to survive amidst impossible circumstances and severe losses. It is a story of survival . . . and hope.
This is one of my favorite scenes in Sierra. It's a pivotal moment, wherein Alyssa's life can change for the better--or for the worse. After facing extreme cruelty, she is faced with utter kindness. I love the marked difference between her experiences. ~Taylor Dean “Please sit,” he whispered. Her eyes were drawing him in. She didn’t seem to be scared of him, she seemed to know he wanted to help her. First, he filled a glass with water and held it to her lips. She drank thirstily, but then shook her head negatively when he wanted her to finish all of it. At the sink, he filled a small plastic tub with warm water, grabbed shampoo, and went back to Alyssa. The kitchen sink doubled as his bathroom sink. He had all he needed to clean her up, including a small first aid kit. He knelt in front of her. Once again, he gently touched her chin and lifted her face to his. Her eyes were bright with unshed tears. She had the biggest brown eyes he’d ever seen. “Just relax and let me take care of you, Alyssa,” he whispered softly. She responded with a slight nod. Sitting in the kitchen chair, he had her slowly lean her head back till it was resting just above the tub. He gently began to wash her hair, first getting it wet and then massaging the shampoo into her scalp. She winced when he touched the spot where dried blood matted her hair, so he was extra gentle there. Her long hair was tangled and filled with dirt and bits of dried leaves. It took some time to get it clean and several refills of warm water in the tub as he rinsed. Alyssa closed her eyes and relaxed for probably the first time in days. He worked conditioner into the long locks and then had her sit up as he gently combed through it, removing all of the snarls. He then parted the hair where the wound on the scalp was located and took a look at the gash. It was angry and red, and it needed stitches, but would have to wait till he could retrieve his medical supplies from the supply room. He disinfected it with alcohol and moved on. He again knelt in front of Alyssa. Her eyes opened and stared deeply into his, desperately trying to communicate without words. A lone tear fell, drizzling down her cheek. He brushed it away with his fingertips. This was harder than he thought. He knew this was the first gentle touch she’d felt in days. The abuse she had suffered was obvious to him as he noticed her many bruises. He grabbed his kitchen stool and sat before her. Using a washcloth, he began to wipe her face clean. As he worked, their eyes met and held. Ever so gently he wiped the dirt and grime away from days spent outdoors. And with it he wiped away tears and pain. “Please help me,” Alyssa whispered. Alex stole a glance at Pa and Adam. Pa’s eyes were closed and a soft snore emanated from him. Adam was wide awake, his shotgun pointed at Alex, but he stared into the fire sullenly. Alex leaned forward to grab the tube of anti-biotic ointment on the table. With his lips to her ear as he brushed past, he whispered, “Everything’s going to be all right, Alyssa. I won’t let them take you, I promise.” Alex then applied the salve to the small cuts on her face and lips. Each and every one of his ministrations clearly brought relief to her. Every time Alex looked her in the eyes, she met him with eyes that spoke volumes. He refilled the tub and washed her arms and hands and then took his time cleaning her fingernails, occasionally massaging her hand as he looked into her eyes. He also applied cortisone cream to her numerous mosquito bites. Next, he decided to tend to her neck and wrists. He cringed inside at the raw, bloody skin underneath the ropes. The first thing he’d wanted to do was cut the ropes, but he didn’t want to push his luck. However, now it was time. He went to the kitchen counter and unsheathed a kitchen knife. The sound of the knife being unsheathed brought Adam to his feet immediately. Shotgun aimed at Alex, he yelled, “Put it down, Doc.” Alex faced him without flinching. “I’m cutting the ropes. They’ve rubbed her skin raw and it’s going to get infected,” he said with steel in his voice. “You can have the knife when I’m done.” Pa awoke from his snooze in the commotion. “Sit down, Adam. Doc’s right. Let ‘em fix her up,” he growled. Adam continued to stand, anxiously waiting while Alex cut the rope on her neck and freed Alyssa from her leash. He then cut the other ropes and freed her wrists. She closed her eyes and Alex could see the relief on her face. He wondered just how long she had been bound. He handed the knife to Adam roughly and stared him in the face. “Satisfied?” “Won’t do any good, I’ll just be puttin’ the ropes back on ya know,” Adam taunted. Not if I have anything to say about it, thought Alex.
Praise for Sierra:
Every now and then you come across a novel that profoundly takes your breath away, and Sierra is that novel. -Kathleen of Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Riveting from beginning to end. Be prepared to read straight through. -Sherry of Fundinmental Book Reviews
I thought I had read romances before, and books like "Jane Eyre" and "A Tale of Two Cities," I had always considered the peaks of romantic literature. Let me say this. This is the most romantic book I have ever read in my 38 years on this planet! -Ruth of My Devotional Thoughts
What I like most about Sierra was how Taylor lulls you in the beginning, then she shreds the peaceful scene to pieces. It happens so fast you barely have time to comprehend what is going to happen. Just like in real life. -Laura of FUONLYKNEW Book Reviews
Author Taylor Dean
Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding that she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense—you’ll find all sub-genres of romance in her line-up.
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