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After five years in a nightmare of a marriage, Bedie Breckenridge wanted only two things - a child to love and the absence of men. Eleven year old June, psychic and secretive, wouldn't give two cents for the finest foster mother on earth. But she did love old houses, this one in particular, and was willing to do anything in order to call it home. Even keep the secret that a vicious entity inhabited her room.
When Bedie finds that June's murderous brother is stalking the child, she turns to parole officer Tom Lillard for help. While Bedie and Tom struggle to keep the child safe, June is fighting an entity who is as determined as she. Is the creature also responsible for the very different assaults on Bedie? To defeat it, Bedie and June will risk everything…
Sometime before dawn, the dream began. He was buried up to his neck in the grease pit, watching Doug Breckenridge shout at Bedie. The man's dark blue policeman uniform contrasted with the plain white cotton shift she wore. She looked like a martyr going to her doom. Her husband screamed at her until the cords stood out in his neck. His face was red with his rage, his eyes bulging from his head.
In the middle of the bellowing and uproar, Doug Breckenridge raised his hand. His wife shrank back against the brick wall of the basement and, as Tom, watched in horror, she began to bleed spontaneously from the palms of her hands. Her eyes dilated and went blank with fear, then she turned to Tom and stretched out the bloody palms imploringly.
Helpless in the pit, he was scrambling desperately to reach her. Bedie began walking blindly toward him and, as she did so, her husband crept up behind her back and raised both hands overhead, fists together, to hammer her to the floor. Tom gave one great shout of warning and woke up.
Sitting in the darkness, he pulled air into his lungs and fumbled, disoriented, for the light switch to the bedside lamp. The overhead light blazed on and he saw Bedie standing there in a yellow cotton nightgown. The fact that her face had the same look of blank dread it had worn in his dream, did nothing to make the nightmare fade. He spoke her name and her expression
changed from fear to despair.
"It's not gone, is it?" she said.
It took a minute for him to orient himself and understand that she was talking about McCullough, not Doug. "I had a nightmare, Bedie. Not too surprising considering the circumstances, I guess. But I didn't see any ghost. It's gone, all right." He looked at her.
Her hair was loose down her back and the sleeveless cotton nightgown clung lightly to her body. He had never seen her in yellow before; she was fresh and lovely and he wanted to put his arms around her more than he had wanted anything in a long time.
"Sorry I woke you. Did you get any sleep?"
She looked at the clock on his bedside table. "Some. It's almost five thirty. Do you want to tell me about your dream? My mother always said that you wouldn't dream it again once you told it to someone."
He smiled. "Sure." He moved over and patted the bed invitingly, knowing that she would never come and sit on it while he lay there with his bare chest showing above the covers.
Only she did.
Shutting the door behind her, she sat on the bed beside him. "Bedie," he said, "let me hold you."
She saw the naked longing in his eyes and shut her own against it, remembering the vow she had taken three years ago not to get involved with another man, the vow that had protected her all this time. Against her volition, her arms reached out and he caught her in an uncompromising grasp and pulled her down against him. Before she could protest, he tucked her
against his side and reached across her to turn out the light.
He held her lightly, fearing each moment that she would change her mind and leave. After a few minutes, he put a hand gently on her face. Her eyes were closed, but he could feel the trail of tears on her cheeks.
Tenderness welled over in his heart. "What is it, sweetheart?"
She shook her head and after a minute, put a hand on his chest. "Tom, if I kiss you, it doesn't mean anything."
"How am I supposed to answer a statement like that?" He smiled into the darkness. She could speak for herself.
"What I meant is, I'm not in love with you or anything. But I couldn't help loving you tonight. Not just you, all of you. Priya and Ty and you and June and Mr. Peyton. We were like a family down there. And I can't help wanting to feel close to you now."
Jane Hollingsworth is a Clinical Psychologist who lives in an old Victorian house. With three children and three books to her credit, she is currently working on a sequel. THE ANGEL IN THE STEEPLE, as well as a Young Adult adventure, THE PISKIE.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 316
Paper Weight (lb): 13.4
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