What would you do to be with the one you love? Would you die and find a way, any way possible, back to them?
When Frank White married Catherine he took to heart the words "for better or for worse." With Catherine he got the worst of the worse, or did he?
After Catherine attempts to murder Frank while he sleeps, much to her surprise, Frank's dog, Win lashes out at her. When Catherine wakes, something very strange has happened, so strange that even Catherine has no idea what.
2008 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Nominee for Best Paranormal from a Small Press.
76,300 words, 201 pages
An Awe-Struck Release
From earliest childhood Regan was an avid reader and upon discovering Alexander Dumas and Charles Dickens she was hooked on books that carried the reader away to a different time and place. Preferring the quiet of her room and a good book to spending time with people she traveled far beyond those four walls.
Her first foray into writing, aside from tedious English assignments in high school and college, were two non-fictions intended to be of assistance to people with disabilities. Both books were completed, they made their way to the population that would benefit the most from them and she moved on or back to her reading roots.
It was while working as a police dispatcher, first for the California Highway Patrol and then her local police department, she began to write fiction, primarily time travels and romantic suspense. In the spring of 2009 she returned to the day job she always liked best, working as a legal secretary. Although, curled up in her bunny slippers with her furfaced children, Mel, Missy and Bogie, while writing is one of her most favorite things to do.
An ambulance roared by, its sirens blaring disturbing the quiet that otherwise surrounded the house. The road in front of Catherine White's house went for miles, stretching from a rural section of cattle farms in Greenburg County all the way to the city. The sound of the siren quickly came and went as they rushed someone to the hospital.
Catherine stood and walked to the kitchen doorway to look into the next room to see if the sound had disturbed her husband, Frank. There he sat, morosely swilling beer, trying to pretend she wasn't home. Catherine White hadn't spoken to her husband all day.
What was the point?
They had nothing to say to each other. She heard all marriages went through this phase, where conversation drags and the couple slowly pulls away from each other. If it were only that, she would be fine with it.
The truth of it was she had never shared Frank's goals, dreams, or desires. He never understood that.
Frank wanted their marriage to work.
She wanted her freedom.
Well actually, to be more precise she had wanted out of this farce of a marriage prior to James, her lover of six months, dying in a plane crash. Why he had to go to Spain a week ago was beyond her.
Mourning him would take more energy than she cared to spend on just another man. The dumb ass shouldn't have left her. In the week since he'd died her wish to have her marriage concluded rolled over and over in her mind.
Now there was nowhere for her to go, so she stayed with her husband and wished for someone else. It was her curse. She'd built a safety net in Frank but slowly, irrevocably, that net had changed to a cage.
All that really mattered was having a man. It was the only thing of importance in her life. Not just any man, though. He had to dote on her and think she was the sun and moon. Oh yeah, and he couldn't be Frank.
Not that she expected it to take long to find a replacement lover. After all, Catherine never had to look far for male attention. Ever since that first time behind the bleachers event during a football game it had been easy to attract men who could give her the things she wanted.
So why did I go off the deep end and marry Frank?
She'd have to chalk that up to temporary insanity. Well, that and wanting to show up that unbelievably plain and utterly bland Pamela. Pammie. Ugh. How bland ole Pamela ever made the cheerleading squad was beyond Catherine. But somehow dull and boring ole Pammie made it. The bitch had gotten everything in high school: the top grades, the best scholarships, the squad. The one thing she didn't get was Frank White.
That was the one thing Catherine got.
She smacked her gum and returned to the kitchen table, putting on the last coat of nail polish. She should've had them professionally done, but her last manicurist had tossed Catherine out of the shop after she had innocently flirted with the woman's husband. Jealous, so many jealous women out there, and they made life hard for Catherine. It wasn't fair. She couldn't help being beautiful.
Splaying her wet red nails on the tabletop, she lightly blew on them. Her diamond rings sat in a neat little pile in front of her. Each was a gift from Frank, a trinket of his affection. Some affection. When each nail was dry enough, she added her jewelry, watching it sparkle in the overhead light.
Eight years later and all Frank spoke of was having children. That and maybe moving closer to his parents. She wanted none of it. And why should she? She was only twenty-five and certainly didn't need the baggage of dirty diapers or crying kids. Frank was too much baggage all by himself.
If only Frank were gone…
She would have the house, the money, and no husband. She wouldn't jump into another set of vows either. For once in her life, she would be free to do what she pleased.
If Frank were gone.
The chilling thought clung to her mind, digging in with a life of its own. She popped the gum in her mouth and thought about it. The act of murder was easy. Over the years, she had watched a dozen television shows about catching killers. There were ways to do it and not get caught. Shoot him then claiming someone had broken into their loving home wouldn't be hard. Playing the sad and devoted widow might be nice.
Catherine felt a smile spread on her face. There would be so much attention. Men and women alike would flock to her to offer their condolences. She could have her pick of men and they could sleep next to her right there in Frank's bed. She might even manage her men two at a time.
On a whim, Catherine went to the bedroom and pulled the forty-five from its box in the closet. Frank had bought it and had taught her to use it for those nights when work kept him late. He called it work. She knew that his evening work meant wining and dining different developers who might be interested in his services. There were occasions when supplies were shipped late or an interstate job ran at night instead of during the day. Let him stay late every day for all she cared.
His little construction company was hardly the glossy enterprise that her friends' husbands held. She had to admit that the hard work gave him a nice body, but one she didn't want touching hers. There wasn't a reason why, at least none she'd ever been able to put her finger on. He was tall, broad-shouldered with thick brown hair and amazing eyes and was really quite handsome. More often than not, he turned women's heads wherever he went.
Frank never noticed.
He just went about his business. Maybe if he would have gone after a few of those women, some spice, some challenge, would have been added to their marriage. But not good ole Frank.
Her mind returned to the task at hand. The pistol had a good grip, and she clutched it, enjoying the weight. It had a rich smell of oil and metal, something unique she never noticed in another object. The cold metal of the silver gray gun reminded her of ice. She supposed murder should be cold, emotionless.
She didn't feel emotionless though. Holding the gun, knowing what she was about to do was euphoric.
Catherine opened the clip and checked the bullets the way Frank had shown her. The man wasn't much good for anything, but at least he had shown her how to load and fire the gun.
There were five bullets. The thing was ready to go with a flip of the safety. She would finally get out of this marriage. How simple it would be, a pull of the trigger instead of long arguments with a lawyer presiding.
She paced to the window and peered out over the yard. Divorce could be an option, if she wanted to be poor and her infidelities brought out for all to see. Strong, silent and stoic Frank would grant her one.
He might even want out of the marriage, too, but his sense of right and wrong wouldn't permit him to make the first move.
No, a bullet to the brain would be more merciful than a long, drawn-out divorce. It would be so easy. After he was dead she would mess up the room, make it look like someone broke in and then call 911 to report an attempted robbery. There had been enough visitors to the house that the police would find other fingerprints, and if they didn't, well, her story would be the intruder wore a mask and gloves.
Catherine went to the hallway, trying to move silently. The door to the den, Frank's room, was open slightly. He'd been sleeping in the den for the last five months. She suspected that he knew about her affairs. He had to. The timing of his move to the den coincided with her meeting James. She remembered the night he came home early and looked her deeply in the eyes before asking if she still loved him. She'd told him yes. She'd lied, not to be mean, but because she didn't know what else to say.
Barely into the room, she heard him breathing low and deep, already asleep. That was life with Frank. Come home, have a beer, go to sleep.
The door swung open slowly, his damn mutt on the floor by the couch. The Shepherd looked up and bared his teeth. That dog never liked her.
I may need to take a shot at him as well.
Frank loved the stupid dog and had named him Winter, although he only called him "Win" most of the time. He'd gotten the dog five months ago, about the same time he found out about her recreational activity.
"Stupid dog," she whispered.
Maybe she shouldn't have said anything because the dog looked at her, watched her pull the gun up and aim it at Frank. For a minute her heart raced in her chest, excitement mixed with fear that he would wake and see her standing there. She didn't want him to know it was her.
Her hand trembled.
She hadn't expected that.
There was a click from the gun as she eased off the safety and started putting pressure on the trigger.
The shot would be close.
She wouldn't miss his head. She drew in a steadying breath, but before she could exhale, Win charged snarling, growling, and pain ripped through her face.