Back Cover Blurb:
It was supposed to be a quiet dinner party with her colleagues. Not the scene of a murder.
But the murder of a stranger on her front lawn is only the first in a string of events that have Dr. Shannon Frasier’s life teetering on the edge of chaos: She’s unable to make the deeper commitment her boyfriend deserves. Her sister shows up at Shannon’s home needing a place to stay, but with no promise she’ll stay sober. And her father is diagnosed with cancer.
Then Shannon’s life stops teetering, and plunges into the abyss. Because the person behind the guttural voice on the phone wants to know what the stranger said before he died. And he won’t stop until Shannon gives him the information wants—even if she doesn’t have it.
He’s coming for her. She’s not sure the police on the case can be trusted. And her only hope of escape—for herself, and for those she loves—is to overcome her buried past.
…Dr. Shannon Frasier turned on the porch light and opened her front door. Warm July air rushed in, but nothing caught Shannon’s eye. The porch was empty. No cars moved in the street outside her house. Then she saw it on the lawn—a crumpled mass, like a pile of old clothes. She jumped, startled, when the clothes moved, and she could discern a hand clawing at the dirt. A faint cry, like that of a wounded animal, reached her ears.
“Someone’s out there, and they’re hurt,” Shannon said to Lee, who’d edged up behind her.
The man lay sprawled facedown on the lawn. Lee reached him first, with Shannon right behind. The faint light spilling from the open door was enough to show a dark stain in the center of the victim’s back, spreading rapidly outward. Shannon felt her heart race as she was seized by déjà vu.
She touched the man’s neck. “He’s got a pulse—faint and thready, though.”
“Call 911,” Lee yelled over his shoulder. Mark, now standing in the doorway, disappeared into the house.
Lee and Shannon exchanged looks. Help was unlikely to get here in time. The man had been shot three times in the back and was bleeding out fast, probably from injury to a major vessel. The two doctors knelt at his side, powerless to intervene. Without equipment, there was nothing they could do, and they both knew it. Shannon’s stomach knotted at her helplessness. She began to sweat. Her heart threatened to jump out of her chest.
The man stirred. His eyes fell on Shannon, and she almost felt as though there was recognition there. He mumbled something before a gush of blood issued from his mouth. The man sighed, seemed to sink into himself like a balloon deflating, and lay totally still.
Shannon bowed her head and felt defeat wash over her. She’d lost one more fight with death, a fight she’d been forced to wage with no weapons. Once more, a gun had taken a life while she was forced to watch helplessly. Memories came rushing back like a flood.
“Police and EMTs are on the way,” Mark called from the doorway.
Lee rose and shook his head. “Too late.” He edged around the body until he was next to Shannon. “Get into the house. I’ll stay out here until they arrive.”
Shannon nodded and rose slowly. As she moved toward the lighted doorway where Mark waited, she clenched her fists and felt the stickiness of the blood clotting there. The racing pulse and sweating palms were already subsiding, but she knew they’d be back. They always came back.
She brushed by Mark and walked purposefully to the downstairs half bath. Carefully, like a robot moving in slow motion, she turned on the taps. Then she started to scrub the blood from her hands. In the mirror over the sink, her blonde hair was perfectly in place. Her makeup was understated and unspoiled. Her blue eyes displayed not a touch of red. There was no evidence of the turmoil within her. But it was there.
She was still at the sink when Mark spoke from behind her. “The police are here. They’re interviewing Lee now and want to talk with you after that.”
Shannon nodded but kept her hands under the running water. It was several more minutes before she reached down to turn off the faucets. As she dried her hands, a line ran through her head—not one from the Bible, although she wished she could remember an appropriate verse. No, this one was from Shakespeare.
Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.
Richard L Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and author of “medical suspense with heart.” His novels have been a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel, finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award, and winner of the Selah Award. His most recent novel, just released, is Critical Condition.
Readers, you may purchase my friend, Doc Mabry’s book at:
Or have your local library order it in for you!
Richard L. Mabry is giving away a copy of Critical Condition The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.