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Monthly Archives: November 2021

Almost the end of the year. Challenges continue, floods, mudslides, the ups and downs of the Covid pandemic and the confusion on how to respond to it. My response to it is to protect yourself and protect your family, friends, and the community.


The pandemic and the things associated with life around it, have affected many people in many ways. People say we have lost a year, or maybe two, of our lives, especially the older people.

I’m one of the people affected. I haven’t been able to write, either edit or work on a new novel. The joy of writing has gone. It’s not fun anymore. I have nothing to say on my website. I avoid anything to do with marketing and then feel guilty because I should be doing more.


After struggling for the last year, without any results, I have decided to take a break. If I’m not enjoying it and excited, that will show in my writing, should I manage to drag a few words onto a page. I’m not sure how long this break will last. For now, I’m closing my website temporarily. I’m hoping by taking a break and doing things I used to enjoy like playing the flute or painting, I might get a fresh outlook on life and want to share stories again.


If and when I get a great new idea for a story, feel motivated and excited and can’t wait to get words on paper, I will start writing and rejuvenate my website. 



I may post to my blog occasionally if I have anything I feel might be interesting, writing related or not.

If you have questions or comments about any of books or anything else, you can reach me there.



I want to thank my web person, Dee Carver,, for all her hard work and for working on ideas for marketing for me. If you’re looking for a web person you can find her at Personalized Marketing Inc.

In the meantime, I wish everyone a healthy and safe Christmas or whatever you celebrate or believe in, at this time and throughout the year.


My books are still available if you’re looking for a gift or something to read over Christmas. I hope you enjoy them. And hopefully I’ll be back by this time next year. 



Targeted by Beverley Bateman

After and eleven year absence Janna Kincaid inherits a ranch and is forced to return to a town she only remembers with unhappiness, a man to whom she was briefly married and never wants to see again, and someone is trying to kill her.


Kye Hawkins has loved Janna since he first met her. They were married but a few weeks later she ran away, without an explanation. He still hasn’t figured out why. Now she’s coming back. Does she still love him? Can he rekindle the romance and also prevent her from being killed.


Janna doesn’t want Kye’s help in anyway, yet he always seems to be there when she’s in trouble. Can they work together to find a killer, save the Native burial ground and home of the spirits, and find romance again?

5 Star Review

Very Voracious Reader

"Exciting plot. Great characters. High tension and high action make this a page turner. Highly recommended."

Buy links:


Deep breath, Janna.

Splintered glass spread in a two foot semi-circle on the plush, cream colored, wool carpet. Janna jerked to a stop so she didn’t get splinters in her bare feet.

“You might want to put on some shoes, ma’am.” Delaney glanced at her feet, then pulled a small camera from his pocket and started to snap pictures of the area.

Janna nodded and found a pair of old runners under her couch. She slid them on but didn’t bother with the laces.

“Then I’m guessing he headed toward my bedroom. I heard a thud. I think he hit the coffee table.” Janna jerked at the hem of her nightshirt and indicated the large oak table in front of her brown, leather couch.

Delaney nodded and he snapped a few pictures of the solid oak and glass coffee table with the replica of the statue of David in the center. “We can get forensics to check and see if maybe he left any DNA when he hit it. They should be here shortly. You keep saying he, do you know who it might have been?”

“I have no idea. I just use ‘he’ because I don’t think of a woman doing this.”

A smile slipped across Delaney’s craggy face. “Oh, they do it all right.”

Janna moved through her open bedroom door. “He turned the knob and opened this door. He took a couple of shots in the direction of the bed and then left. At least it sounded like a gun with a silencer, and there were a couple of small flashes.”

“A silencer or suppressor can make the shot a lot quieter, but you will still hear it.”

Delaney said.

When she flipped on the light, Janna looked at the queen-sized bed with the mauve, shamrock green, and white floral duvet thrown back to reveal the matching and expensive mauve cotton sheets and pillow cases. This lovely set brought her pleasure each time she saw it—but not tonight.

There were two holes. One was in the mauve covered pillow. The second went through the blanket and sheet she’d pushed together when she slid out of bed. They were bunched together and could have been the outline of a body. The shot could have been about her heart level.

The enormity of the situation punched her in the stomach. A wall of nausea crashed over her. She reached for the wall to steady herself. Her gaze focused on the bed, unable to look away.

“Ohmigawd,” her chest felt like a hundred pound weight was sitting on it. Janna struggled to take a breath.

“You might want to sit down.” Delaney touched her shoulder and motioned her back to the living room.

Nodding, Janna moved robot-like to the couch, still in her nightshirt.

Someone tried to kill me. They really tried to kill me. If I hadn’t woken up, there would have been one shot in my head and another in my heart. I would be dead, not trying to figure out who fired the shots.

When she flopped down, the butter soft leather felt cool against the back of her thighs. She pulled her legs up under her and tucked in the hem of her nightshirt. She rocked back and forth. She could be dead right now. Her life could be over at twenty-nine.

He hadn’t broken in to steal anything. He’d broken in to kill her. If she hadn’t heard him and hidden behind the door…

Why? Why would someone want to kill me?


Hawkins Ranch Series: Book 1



Hawkins Ranch Series: Book 2


Missing by Beverley Bateman

Missing by Beverley Bateman

Running from a disastrous engagement, and an over-powering father, Dr. Allie Parsons agrees to help out an old friend and travels to Duster, Montana. She’s agreed to help the local doctor for a brief period of time until he can find a permanent new doctor. Raised her whole life in New York city, Allie is greeted with culture shock when she finds out how small Duster is, but she also finds a warm, friendly community. And the doctor turns out to be young, tall, dark and handsome. He sends her emotions shooting sky high. She’s welcomed into the Hawkins family and develops a relationship with his daughter. A mysterious stranger leaves notes at the clinic and Allie fears they are a warning he’s going to kidnap the doctor’s daughter.


Luke Hawkins, one of the Hawkins’ brothers is looking for a doctor to take over half the practice from the retiring doctor. He’s not expecting his temporary replacement to be a young, sexy, single woman from New York. He knows she’s the woman he’s been searching for all his life, but he also knows she won’t stay in Duster. He doesn’t believe the notes are meant for him until his daughter is kidnapped. Now he has to save his daughter and convince the woman he loves that she really is a small town doctor at heart.

Buy links:



A few feet from the counter, she stopped. His electric blue eyes locked on her. She couldn’t look away. Sensuality oozed across the space between them. Her breath hitched into an irregular rhythm, kicking her pulse up a notch.


“Good, you finally got here. I thought Jean would send someone a little faster.” His rich, smooth voice rolled over her. “Look, we’re backed up. Patients’ files are over there and the appointment book is on the desk. Check them in, pull their file, and put the file in the slot by the examining room door.”


“Excuse me?” She stared up at the man snapping orders at her. She’d run away from one tyrant and had no intention of putting up with another overbearing one, even if he was knock-down gorgeous. His firm abs, linebacker-type shoulders and muscular body did not compensate for his attitude.


Who did this jerk think he was?


Her back stiffened. She assumed he was the doctor, but his manners confused her. If staff and working partners were expected to put up with this, no wonder they hadn’t been able to find another doctor.


“You’re not going to make me repeat all that are you? I have a room full of patients. When I asked Jean to send a temp over from the hospital, I thought she’d send someone with training and at least a vague idea of what they were doing.” A sigh slipped through his lips and he rolled his eyes. The look he gave her placed her one step above an idiot.


He pointed to a huge pile of folders. “The patients’ files are...”


Allie pulled her shoulders back, raised her chin and tightened her lips together. “Excuse me. I believe you’ve made a mistake. First of all, I’m not stupid. Second, I’m not your damn temp. I’m a doctor, Alexandra Parsons, M.D. I understood you were expecting me.”


“You’re the new doc? Shoot. I didn’t expect you today.” The heart-stopping man stared down at her. His full lips drooped in apparent disappointment.


The disappointment could be her or the fact he still didn’t have a temp. She couldn’t tell.

USA Today Bestseller Author Eileen Troemel writes action packed and emotionally powerful fantasy, scifi, romance. She’s versatile and writes in many genres.  She’ll try almost any genre if it means she can tell a good story.  In addition to her writing, she loves to read, crochet, and research genealogy.  Her best days are spent with her family of three adult daughters and her husband or writing.  

Author Interview

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?

Eileen: I write in many genres.  So far, I’ve published the majority of stories in scifi romance and fantasy romance.  However, I have stories in paranormal, shifter, and a variety of others.  I’ll have a contemporary romance and alternate history.  I like trying different genres because it challenges me to shape my story differently.  

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?

Eileen: In my late 30s, I was really an unhappy person. Once I had kids I stopped writing and decided I wanted to pick it up again.  When I did, I found myself again.  I started with poetry and then toyed with writing romance.  My daughters really encouraged me.  My oldest spent a lot of time talking plots with me when I worked on my first romance.  My middle daughter gave me the smack on the head (not literally) about shifting to self published.  My youngest daughter was encouraging about continuing to write. 

Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?

Eileen: Anything… everything… One of my poems was inspired because my garage light went out one morning as I was walking to my car.  My brain came up with – Standing in the dark.  This turned into a poem. For Seven Sisters, I’ve always said if there are aliens out there, they wouldn’t come here because we’re too primitive.  So the aliens are told – to save their world they must come to earth and they consider it a backwards planet.  But they had to come here to find their mates.  Inspiration can come from a phrase on the radio or a tv show or almost anywhere.

Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?

Eileen: Not really. 

Beverley: Who would you love most to meet ‘in person’ and why?

Eileen: There’s a group of people.  I’d like to meet my great grandmother from my dad’s side.  She moved to the US when she was sixteen.  Her family life in Ireland was unstable and coming here she met and married my great grandfather.  The family stories about her indicate she was sassy and strong.  But not just her, I’d like to as an adult talk with my grandmothers and other descendants.

Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?

Eileen: Free day?  This never happens.  But if it did, I’d probably either write, crochet (and watch movies or documentaries), and read.  If my family is available, spending time with them is always a good option. 

Beverley: What are you working on now?

Eileen: I work on a variety of things at once.  On the Line will be out in January.  It’s a contemporary romance in the K Bromberg’s Everyday Heroes world.  Marelo will be out in March.  It’s a sweet fantasy short story.  I’ve got a dark romance which is nearly done with a first draft.  It started as a short story and I’m building it up into a full novel.  I’ve got a contemporary holiday romance which will come out in November of next year in time for the winter holidays.  I’ve got a reverse harem scifi romance called Star Stranded.  This started as short story for an anthology but I think I can expand it to a novel.  I’ve got a dragon shifter book, panther shifter book, and a variety of others in different stages.  

Blurb for Seven Sisters

Aliens invade Earth!

Following prophecy Mycos traveled Across the universe to trade old technology to the backwards world in order to find his true mate.

Surviving the plague and life on the streets Lydia Struggles to keep her 6 sisters alive and safe. Mycos demands Lydia submit to him. She refuses.

Will he compromise in order to win her over and open the world up for other Hylatians to find their fated mates?

The fates of both worlds rests with these seven sisters.

Excerpt from Seven Sisters

“Ooof,” Lydia expelled air as she bumped into the tall man in the street. One of the aliens, one of the tall dark aliens who landed three months ago to make their world better. She glanced over her shoulder as strong arms held her tight against a strong male body. “Sorry,” she murmured as she hurried away, fear driving her from arms that felt safe.

Lydia scurried around the corner, down the alley. Evasion, escape were key at this point. The two boys, teenage boys following her, wanted her. If they got their hands on her, she would be dragged back to the hidey hole of their gang. She’d had run ins with them before and knew what their gang did to other street girls like herself. She didn’t see the dark alien follow her, didn’t sense danger from him. Six years on the street, she knew danger. She knew when to run, to hide, and to fight.

One of the boys jumped in front of her, grabbing her arms, holding her with a sneer. “Thought you’d escape again,” he growled in her ear, pulling her closer.

She punched him in the diaphragm, heard his woof of air, heard him grunt in pain. She turned to escape him only to have the other boy grab her. How had she missed him? She turned into him, her body already there. Stepping nearer him rather than trying to escape, she took him by surprise. He grinned as his arms wrapped around her thin body. Her knee made sharp contact with his groin, he dropped to his knees clutching himself and moaning. The first boy grabbed for her but she threw a quick jab at his nose. Blood spurted making him clutch his obviously broken nose.

She ran. She ran away from them in a direction perpendicular to where she wanted to go. She took to the streets, the busy ones full of workers and shoppers. Looking back, she saw no one, felt no one pursuing her. She hoped she lost them but dare not risk them following her back to her safe place. 

Buy Link for Seven Sisters

Social Media Links








November 11th is Remembrance Day in Canada. It’s a memorial day observed in Commonwealth member states since the end of the First World War to honour armed forces members who have died in the line of duty. It is also known as Poppy Day due to the tradition of wearing a poppy which is sold at multiple locations by veterans. It is also celebrated by parades, laying of wreaths, and a moment of silence to remember those who have died. John McCrae wrote this well-known poem.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

In the US November 11th is known as Veterans Day or Armistice Day. It is a federal holiday observed annually on November 11th  It honoring the military veterans, who are people who have served in the United States Armed Forces.  It is celebrated by the laying of wreaths and two minutes of silence is held at 11 am.

A Cruise to Remember

An amnesia victim found by the side of the road is befriended by Lillian, an older woman with early Alzheimer's. Lillian takes the victim, who they call Hallie, with her as a companion on a Caribbean cruise. Eric is an Interpol agent working on catching an international jewelry theft ring. He's undercover as the ship's doctor on the Caribbean cruise ship. Sparks fly when Hallie and Eric meet, but as the cruise progresses Eric’s thinking Hallie might be the thief stealing from the passengers. His reasoning is Hallie’s amnesia and Lillian’s Alzheimer's make a good cover. What’s the chance of two people traveling together having amnesia and Alzheimer’s? And then Lillian keeps coming up with pieces of jewelry passengers have dropped or lost.


To complicate everything someone is trying to kill Hallie and she has no idea why. Lillian finds an older cowboy who she's interested in and then there's the sleazy man who keeps hitting on Hallie. As the cruise progresses Hallie gradually starts to regain her memory. Eric decides she's not a thief, but has to find the real one and keep Hallie safe while their romance heats up.

Buy links:


Jack yanked her roughly against his chest and shoved her into a corner.

“No.” Hallie yanked one arm free and shot it at his jaw.

A shocked expression slashed across Jack’s face.

“There you are. I thought you promised to meet me for a drink?”

Jack dropped his hands. He spun around to face the speaker who approached them.

“What the hell...?”

Eric stretched his hand toward Hallie. “I don’t like being stood up. Shall we?”

“Yes, of-of course.” Hallie took his hand.

Eric slipped his hand around her waist and led her away.

Jack watched them depart, his eyes smoldered with anger, his chin jutted forward. “We’ll finish this later,” he hissed after her.

“Did we have a date, Dr. Peterson?” Hallie asked.

“No and call me Eric. I saw what he was doing. You didn’t appear to be enjoying it. My God, woman, don’t you have any idea how to handle a situation like that? And how the hell did you get yourself into that position in the first place? I didn’t take you for a stupid person.”

“I’m not stupid,” Hallie sniffed. “But you’re right. I feel pretty dumb right now. Jack out maneuvered me. It didn’t matter what I did, he wouldn’t give up.”

Hallie trembled.

“I suggest you stay away from him in the future. I might not be around to save you next time. Are you sure you’re all right?” Eric stopped and looked down at her.

“Yes, I think so. Don’t worry. I don’t plan to let him anywhere near me again.”


“I kicked, scratched and even yelled at him to leave me alone. Nothing worked and no one paid any attention when I yelled. I-I think he was going to try and make love to me right here on the deck. Thank you for rescuing me.”

“You looked terrified. I couldn’t believe you’d let him grope you like that.” Eric snapped.

“I couldn’t stop him. I did punch him. I even managed to draw blood at one point,” she said.

“You need to learn to throw a better punch than that if you want to do any damage.”

“Maybe you could teach me?”

Eric shook his head, “We’ll saw you had no idea how to handle him--so Eric to the rescue. By the way, he wanted sex, he didn’t want to make love to you, trust me. There is a difference. Don’t you remember anything about relationships? Or appropriate behavior between men and women?”


“You can’t remember anything about how you reacted in the past?”

“How could I? I don’t remember my past. How would I know how I reacted? And maybe no one has ever tried to rape me before. I don’t know. Give me a break. I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“Good. I hope so. You have no knowledge at all about what happens on a date?”

“No, not really; conversation, eating, maybe a movie, I guess. I’m going to have to learn that process all over again, except, it’s going to be harder because when you’re an adult you’re supposed to know what it’s all about. People expect that you know the games and the rules. Jack certainly thought I did. I feel like a child trying to play grown up games.”

“I guess I am going to have to give you lessons.” Eric warmed her with his smile. “Can I buy you a drink?”

“You don’t have to. I’m fine now.”

“You’re still shaking. Come on over here where it’s quiet.” Eric found a sheltered corner, away from most of the passengers. “Sit down, doctors’ orders. I’ll be right back with two drinks. You could use something to relax you. They have special sail-away drinks. You okay with that you?”

He slipped his uniform jacket off and draped it around her shoulders, over her shawl.

“Sounds great, but it’s not necessary.” She felt warmer in the jacket and his musky male scent enveloped her. It was pleasant and sexual. She knew didn’t react to all men’s scent this way. She looked up and noticed his lip curled slightly as he smiled.

“Yeah, it is. Keep the jacket on to help warm you up. I’ll be right back.”

Hallie sat on the edge of the chair. She forced herself to take deep, calming breaths. She relaxed slightly and leaned back. Eric’s jacket slipped from her shoulders to the deck. She bent to

pick it up when she felt rather than heard a buzzing sound, something like a mosquito, past her left ear.


She sat back up and twisted around to adjust Eric’s jacket. There was a hole in the back of the deck chair.

Funny, I don’t remember it being there before I picked up the jacket.

She ran her finger over the hole.

“Here we go.” Eric carried a couple of tall, red, orange and yellowed colored drinks topped off with parasols.

“What were you doing?” he asked.

“I’m not sure. There was a funny sound, like a mosquito, and I think this hole just appeared.”

“What the hell...?” Eric placed the drinks onto a nearby table. He ran his finger over the hole.

“It’s a bloody bullet hole.”

“A what? You’re kidding?”

“No, I’m not. Where were you when it happened?” Eric looked at the hole. He squinted back in the direction it would have come from.

“I guess that’s when I bent down to pick up your jacket.”

“My God, you could have been killed.” Eric pulled Hallie into his arms and squeezed her against his chest. “You’re sure you’re all right?”

“I think so. I mean, I wasn’t hit or anything. I can’t figure out what’s happening. This has to be one of the worst nights of my life.”




Winter is on the horizon. I’m not sure what it’s like where you live but we’re having a lovely fall. Day time temperatures are above freezing and mostly sunny. 

The US border is finally going to open land travel to people fully vaccinated against Covid. We will finally be able to head south to our place in Tucson, hopefully before the snow begins.


This month we have Remembrance Day in Canada on November 11th. Let us never forget and honour our heroes, the armed forces, both past and present. Wear a poppy and have a moment of silence to remember.

In the US November 11th is known by the Americans as Veterans Day or Armistice Day. It honors the military veterans who are people who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Two minutes of silence is held at 11 am.


And then the Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a Federal holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Traditionally, this holiday celebrates the giving of thanks for the autumn harvest. This year it will be on November 25th. It’s a big family holiday with lots of food and football. 

I’m taking a break from editing. I need to get the house winterized, pack and plan our trip, then drive south. I do most of the driving. Our daughter will be staying in our place while we’re gone. So no blurb this month.



Enjoy the fall and remember Remembrance Day

I’m stealing an information letter from Amy Atwell, but I don’t think she’ll mind my sharing with writers, authors, and interested readers. It’s general information she searches out and shares.

Phishing / Spam Emails

I received an email regarding a Moderna Vaccine Survey.  It was addressed to an email address I don’t actually have, but copied to one of my Gmail addresses.  There were at least 3 different Unsubscribe buttons.  I didn’t click anything (don’t even click the unsubscribe buttons on these things!).  I just marked it as Junk/Spam and deleted from my computer.  

Amazon’s Transparency Codes on print bar codes:

Amazon adding transparency codes to KDP book covers to boost engagement

And, in keeping with Amazon wanting to add a QR code and track physical books (and people who scan them), if you don’t want KDP to generate your bar code (and include their own transparency code), you can now generate a bar code to give to your cover artist and have them incorporate it into your cover art.  On KDP, there’s a box to click to let them know that you’re including a bar code in your cover art so they don’t generate their own. 

Free ISBN Bar Code Generator, courtesy of Kindlepreneur:

Apple Holiday Delivery Times

As they always do, Apple is reminding you to upload books well in advance during the holidays.  Apple still tends to close down for the Christmas holidays, so remember that their could be a few days where processing is slow or the iTunes Connect dashboard goes offline.  

Basically, starting in early November, work toward uploading your eBooks or pre-programming price changes 2 weeks in advance.  If you plan to release a book during the first week of January, you should upload that content 3 weeks in advance so it doesn’t sit on a server while the Apple Books staff is off enjoying the holidays.  

Draft2Digital Promotional Pricing — all currencies, start and end dates.

If you’re logged in as the admin/owner of the account, you can preset promotional pricing in advance, just as you do at Apple, Kobo and BN.  

All retailers are encouraging you to order NOW if you need printed books by Christmas. 

Expect the delivery delays to be real this holiday season.

Current WIP


Susan fumbled for the key. Her left hand still gripped the dog leash. Her other hand automatically tried the doorknob, fully expecting it to be locked.


It clicked opened.


She frowned and hesitated a second. That was strange. He always kept it locked.


A soft popping sound came from inside the room.


A low guttural growl became a snarl. The giant wolfhound yanked on the leash, dragging  Susan reluctantly through the doorway. 

She let out an involuntary gasp. At the far end of the room Mr. Andrews, still sat in his favorite chair. He was slumped forward, dark blood matted the back of his head. The man behind the chair turned, his gun pointed at her.


Their gaze locked briefly. Susan shivered as she stared into his cold, pale blue eyes.


Wolf barked furiously. He strained at the leash, attempting to lunge forward. He jerked her closer to the man. He fired at her but missed when Wolf jerked her off balance.


In that split second, the animal’s shaggy head rubbing against her waist, Susan Brown, single mother and professional dog walker, knew the true meaning of terror.  Her chest contracted. She heard a scream.


It couldn’t have come from her. She couldn’t even breathe.  She felt frozen, unable to move. She offered up a wordless prayer that her legs would move. She turned and felt a flash of relief when they responded. Yanking at the leash with both hands to get the dog started, Susan raced out the door and down the apartment hallway. Another shot missed her.


Oh God, I’ve got to get to Hank. I can’t let anything happen to my son. He’s too young to be without his mother.


Her pulse pounded in her ears, terror clutched her throat, her thoughts on her son she ran. The enormity of what she had just witnessed sank in. He would be after her, probably speeding silently down the hall behind her. Even if she got away, he’d have to find her. He ‘d have to kill her.


The dog’s leash was still wrapped tightly around her hand. Wolf whined as he tried to return to his master. Her mind fixed on her son, sweet, loveable Hank she dragged the dog along with her. . She had to get to Hank. If the killer shot her, what would happen to her son?  No father, and then no mother. Even if she escaped the killer would hunt her down. He’d find out about Hank. He might try to get to her through her son. Oh God, and then he’d kill them both.


Prodded by fear for her son, Susan rounded the second-floor landing, feet barely touching the floor. 


Damn, the dog is slowing me down.


She should let go of the leash, but it was wrapped too tightly around her hand. She would have to stop to release it. So, she kept running, dragging the reluctant, barking wolfhound behind her.


She didn’t see the man until she landed on top of him at the foot of the stairs. The three of them collapsed in a pile. Man, woman, and dog, all leashed together. Susan's gaze met his glare. She found herself staring into deep, Mediterranean-blue eyes. Her stomach contracted in a spasm of cold recognition. Then the terror blasted back, full force.


This had to be the worst day of her life.


“What the hell’s goin’ on?” He snapped.


Susan struggled against him. The dog leash, tangled around their legs, held their bodies firmly together.


The frantic dog continued to bark and struggle for freedom. The result pulled them even tighter together. The barking , the heat, the sweat, and the closeness surrounded and compressed her so she couldn’t breathe.


With supreme effort, spurred on by terror, Susan managed to get her feet solidly on the floor and slide out of the tangled mess. She hit the floor running, raced out the door, down the few steps and into the descending darkness of the humid, crowded, New York Street.


“You! Stop! Wait! Stop! Damn it!”


July rain spattered her face,  dripped off the end of her nose and chin. Behind her, she could hear him swearing and the dog barking. Free of the dog she sprinted through the crowd, down the street and around the corner. Her feet pounded  against the pavement as she pushed past blurs of people, lights, and buildings. She vaguely heard the angry voices as she shoved her way through the crowd, slamming bodies that were in her way and for the first time she could remember, she was glad of her height and her long legs. They rapidly covered the distance between her and Hank. Once they were safe, she’d take time to figure out a plan.


She felt badly about leaving the dog. Poor Wolf...he was such a sweet animal. Now he’d lost both his master and the only other person he knew, his dog walker. Hopefully, someone would be found to look after him, but that wasn’t her concern. Not now. Her mind was unable to focus and kept flitting from one idea to the next. She had to maintain her concentration and come up with a damn plan, for the sake of her son.


She didn’t slow down until she neared the apartment building. She jogged up the steps and into the building. She stopped and waited. She peaked outside. No sign of the killer. Hopefully, she’d have a little time to work out a plan.


The youngest of four, her family usually helped her solve her problems, even helped her make decisions. Until she was thirteen and was left home alone with her mother, they had done everything for her.  She had finally realized she was responsible for her own life and needed to take control of her own decisions. It was slow work. When she was under stress she reverted to her engrained patterns of behavior, wanting someone else to take the responsibility. 


She sighed because  she not only had to fight this battle alone, but somehow, she had to make sure Hank was safe. If she contacted her family the killer might even track them down and use them to get to her.


Who knew what a cold-blooded killer might do to keep from getting caught?