Mirror Image

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Leaving her past behind her, Breanna tried to put the pieces of her shattered life back together, until the day his bother showed up. Could she forget Zachary and build a future with his mirror image? Breanna Neuman had dreamt of fairytales and romance, but her wedding left her with a nightmare that would never end. Leaving everything she thought she once loved behind her, she returned to Vermont and began to rebuild the shattered pieces of her life. With the news of her husband’s death, Breanna found herself reliving the memories she thought had been buried a long time ago. Phillip Kendall was young, rich and sophisticated, but he wasn’t her husband. As his twin, he brought back the images of dreams she had once embraced. He wanted to help her move past the nightmare that occupied her every sleeping hour. Could Breanna put the past behind her, or would she forever see Phillip as her husband’s mirror image?

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Chapter One

Breanna awoke with a headache that seemed to rake her entire body. Her eyes were swollen, her jaw tense and tender, and her spine felt as if she’d gone ten rounds in the ring with Rocky.

She struggled to sit up and moaned at the pain radiating up her abdomen. Her hand fell to the ribs that screamed for mercy and she grimaced at the pain that shot through her by the merest touch of her fingers. It took several moments before she felt her head slowly come back into focus and stood from the bed.

Walking slowly, she moved into the bathroom and sat on the toilet, thankful for the coolness of the seat against her hot flesh. The longer she was awake, the more details of the past day came into focus and she felt the tears stinging her eyes. Yesterday was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, and instead ended up becoming the worst nightmare she’d ever had.

Zachary Kendall was her knight in shining armor. He was rugged, tall – six feet two inches – straight blonde hair that was neatly trimmed around his ears and neck, and baby blue eyes. He was well built, loved to jog and swim, and spent many long hours at the beach.

He and his identical twin, Phillip, were the star football players in high school, though neither one pursued the sport when they went to college. Zachary obtained a business scholarship to Harvard, and Phillip went on to get a mathematics degree from Yale. Both were ivy-league graduates, which made for an interesting weekend at the Kendall’s during football season. Nicolas and Annmarie, the twins’ parents, weren’t sure which school to cheer for.

Breanna met Zachary at the local pool during her senior year of school, and they dated throughout the months that led to graduation. She loved swimming and worked as a lifeguard in order to save up money for college. The twins came from wealthy parents, but Breanna had to struggle to scrape enough together to pay for her car insurance.

Though she attended a community college in San Diego, she managed to secure her degree in English Lit. Despite Zachary’s teasing, she was proud of her degree and her alma mater. She graduated with honors, third in a class of two hundred and twelve, and a teaching offer from a local grade school.

They occasionally wrote each other during the years apart, but they were never very serious. She was the pretty brunette from middle class San Diego, and he was the rich kid from Beverly Hills. It just happened that they were to reunite at a local club fourteen months ago. She had gone out with her best friend, Jasmin, to celebrate her first official paycheck as a teacher. As an adult, Breanna’s looks had enhanced greatly, as did her figure. She was no longer the shy swim instructor, and had eyes turning to her from every direction.

The twins were there, showing off their new matching tattoos of their birthdate in roman numerals, when Zachary caught sight of her. It didn’t take much for them to fall into each other’s arms, dancing the night away and spending every day after that together. The night he asked her to marry him had been filled with romance and love.

Breanna was met after school by a chauffeured limousine that drove her to a very expensive spa. She was given the full treatment with a massage, facial, manicure and pedicure, and Brazilian wax. After that, the chauffeur drove her to an exclusive dress shop on Rodeo Drive, where she was fitted for an evening gown that cost more than a year’s salary.

With dress in hand, she was taken to a nearby salon and had her hair styled to perfection, then dressed in her new gown and heels and finally escorted to Quartette’s, where she found Zachary waiting for her. They dined on lobster tail, shrimp pasta, asparagus and pavlovas with whipped cream for dessert.

The restaurant was named after four brothers who joined forces and created one of California’s most expensive establishments. They played a string quartette during the meal, and visited the many tables individually, playing soothing love songs for the patrons who were happy to pay hundreds of dollars for their suppers.

It was a memorable night, with more romance then she’d ever read in anything written by the masters. Even now, she could remember the feeling of love, though the shadows of last night faded the visions she’d held so dearly in her heart.

After they’d eaten, Zachary had his driver take them to Balboa Park where he had arranged for a horse drawn carriage to take them for a leisurely ride. It was in the back of that slipper shaped hack that he revealed a large four karat diamond engagement ring. It took little to no persuasion on his part to convince her to share his life with him.

Breanna’s mother was a divorced hairdresser and struggled daily to make ends meet. Susan was delighted that her only daughter would be marrying the son of a very wealthy man, though she was terrified of how she would get the money for the wedding. Taking her friend’s advice, she had arranged to make a few extra bucks working as an escort on the weekends. A month into the job and Breanna received a call from her mother, informing her that she had earned enough for a modest, yet elegant wedding. The next morning her body was discovered at the beach, beaten, robbed, and completely nude.

Zachary insisted that he take care of Susan’s burial and gave her the most beautiful funeral Breanna had ever been to, though she could only remember the ones of her maternal grandparents. That was six months ago, and over all that time, her fiancé proved to be romantic and caring. He argued with his parents about the cost of the wedding, insisting that it would be his gift to his bride. He spent over twenty thousand dollars for a fairytale ceremony and reception, one that should have provided years of happy memories.

With the high society snobs invited to the event, she felt like she was being scrutinized and displayed on a pedestal for everyone to gawk at. Her five-thousand-dollar satin gown was a present from her new in-laws, along with a diamond and sapphire tiara that cost twice as much. Phillip had purchased a home in Bel Air for them, and Jasmin arranged for her father, a travel agent for Princess Cruises, to give them a honeymoon worth at least a couple of happy nights in private.

Then the unthinkable happened. Zachary was never much on drinking and avoided it as much as possible. He shared a few beers over the year and a half that they dated, but nothing significant and he never got drunk. With all the wine and champagne that was being served and passed around, it was only natural that they would be expected to drink. Breanna lost count of how many toasts were made on their behalf and felt the jumble of her own brain as the alcohol filtered through her system.

The young lovers were escorted to their rented beachfront home by Phillip, and Breanna remembered the silliness of trying to make it through the front door. She wasn’t drunk enough to forget everything, though this morning she wished she had.

Zachary insisted on pouring more champagne for them, while Breanna wandered around the glasshouse finding the multitude of wedding gifts waiting for them to unwrap. She was on the veranda overlooking the Pacific Ocean when Zachary handed her the glass of sweet, expensive liquor. They drank it in near silence as she tried to control her nerves, with very little success. He took her by the hand and walked her back into the house on legs much steadier than when they arrived. Once inside, he swept her into his embrace and carried her through the house and into the bedroom, then sat her down on the edge of the bed.

As desperate as their evenings were together while dating, the couple chose to wait for sex until their wedding night. Zachary taught her oral sex, and she had experienced her first orgasm under the stars by the touch of his mouth against her bare skin. Playing was fun and acceptable, even expected, but actual sex was out of the question.

Zachary reached forward and caressed her breast through the satin of her gown before unzipping his pants. Breanna knew he was anxious, he’d told her so the night before as they said goodbye for the last time as single people. She knew he wanted her to play with him, only because he kept whispering it in her ear as they danced the many dances at their reception, but the hungry look in his eyes seemed to frighten her.

She drew a deep breath to steady her nerves as he pulled his erection out of the satin slacks of his tuxedo. She reached for him and wrapped her slender hand around his hard shaft. The twinkle of her new wedding rings sparkled in the light from the bedside lamp and she smiled. He was her husband and there was no reason to fear him. Besides, it wasn’t like this was the first time he wanted her to use her mouth.

Wetting her lips, Breanna leaned forward and ran her tongue over the length of him several times. She felt him harden beneath her touch and smiled. He knew she didn’t like the taste, and she knew he would stop before she was forced to go further than she liked, so she quickly drew him into her mouth. Her tongue caressed him as she suckled, then she felt his hand slip into her hair.

Zachary pulled her up against him roughly, sheathing his arousal in her throat and causing her to choke. Breanna struggled to pull away from him, fear wrapping its way into her quickening pulse as she fought to breathe, but he continued to hold her tightly against him until she felt the heat of his release spill down her throat.

At last she managed to break away and pushed out of his grip. She stood up and paced her way to the dresser, gasping for air and spitting the remnants of his seed from her mouth. Zachary came toward her, anger shining in his eyes. He reached for her arm and held it in his steel-like grip, then hit her across the face, hard.

She could taste the blood from her lip as it trickled down her chin and into her mouth. She tried to pull free from him, but he struck her again, this time knocking her to the floor. Taking her by the arm, he jerked her to her feet, then ripped the veil off her head. He blocked her against the dresser with his hard body, ripping the front of her gown open.

Breanna cried out, but it did nothing to stop him. He wrapped his firm grip around her arm again then pulled her to the bed. She tried to struggle, fear of what was about to happen mingled with the reality of what he was doing, and she couldn’t hold back the terror. She screamed as he threw her to the bed, then gasped when he leaned his knee into her abdomen. She continued to struggle against his strength as he pulled his tuxedo jacket off and ripped his shirt open down the front.

Within moments, he was naked beside her, his light blue cummerbund left in tatters across the floor, his slacks pushed down to his ankles. Zachary was on top of her before she could draw a full breath. He continued to tear at her clothing until she was exposed to his assault. He leaned across her and suckled her neck hard, causing her to dig her nails into his chest in the attempt to get free.

Zachary growled angrily, leaning between her legs as he slapped her, once, twice, a third time. Breanna felt dizzy and nauseous. She lay against the mattress stunned, her lungs gasping for air, her face throbbing and wet with a mixture of tears and blood.

Before she could regain her composure, she felt it. The full demanding length of him thrust into her, ripping her virginal body open. She cried out again but was silenced with his large hand across her mouth and nose. For a moment Breanna thought she would suffocate, then found herself praying he’d kill her. This man wasn’t the Zachary she fell in love with. He was more like a monster, consumed and tormented by liters of alcohol he wasn’t used to drinking.

It took barely three hard thrusts into her before she felt the heat of his release fill her. She heard him growl, then felt the air against her moist face when he removed his hand, bracing himself on his elbows beside her. She smelled the alcohol on his breath as he leaned closer to her, but she held her eyes closed. She felt the pain of swelling surrounding them and chose to use them as an excuse not to look at him.

“You’re not a bad fuck for a virgin,” he said in a slurred voice that assured her he was drunk.

Breanna at last opened her eyes as she felt the weight of him leave the bed. She was embarrassed, insulted, afraid, and angry. She watched him reach for his clothes on the floor, then felt a strange, almost maddening heat build up inside her. Before she realized what she was doing, she was off the bed, her nails digging into his back.

Zachary screamed in pain, blood oozing from the deep scratches she was certain would leave scars, then turned around on her. The look of murder was on his face, but she didn’t care. She wanted him to know how angry she was, she wanted to cause him as much grief as he had caused her.

The cool carpet met her as he hit her, his fist striking her in the abdomen. She felt certain her ribs were broken, but his assault wasn’t over. He kicked her twice before kneeling beside her. Again, he wrapped his fist in her hair and pulled her upwards, then threw her back onto the bed. His assault continued for three more rounds of beatings and rape before she thankfully passed out.

That had been her wedding night. The memorable night she had dreamt of all the months of waiting. The night she would never forget as long as she lived.

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