Title: The Fourth Victim Sara’s Story
Author: Beverley Bateman
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women and on the track of a serial killer.
Mac is been responsible for training women in special ops techniques, so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara, sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?
The office said he’d had a heart attack. Was he alive? Did she want him to be? What if her husband had to stay home for a few weeks to recuperate? Palms sweating, Sara’s breath came in short, shallow bursts at the thought.
The taxi jerked to a stop in front of the hospital emergency entrance.
Sara fumbled through her purse and counted out her meager number of dollar bills. Gordon didn’t allow her to have a credit card and he only allowed her to have a small amount of cash. She didn’t have enough money to pay the taxi.
“I’m so sorry. I left home without any cash. I...I ... Would you take a check?” Tears spilled over and trickled down her flushed cheeks.
The driver spun around. A short stubby finger waved at the sign over the rearview mirror. “Look lady, it says right there - No Checks.”
“I know, I know. I’m sorry. My husband has had a heart attack and I ... I don’t know what to do.” Sara ran her fingers through her hair and scrunched the tight bun at her neck.
The driver shook his head. “Aw, shit. Go ahead, lady. Write the check.”
Sara pulled the single crumpled check Gordon allowed her carry for emergencies out of her purse. When she touched the check a vision of Gordon floated in front of her.
She froze and rapidly blinked her eyes. She only saw the ghosts of dead people. Gordon didn’t believe her and forbid her to ever mention it.
Could he really be dead?
“Gordon?” she whispered.
“Lady, are you writing that check or not?”
“Yes, sorry.” Sara scribbled her signature on the bottom of the check. “Please, fill it in, and give yourself a generous tip. Thank you, thank you so much.” She clutched her worn purse to her chest, slid out of the cab, and scurried through the emergency room doors.
What if he was dead? She didn’t have any money. Gordon did all the finances and never shared anything with her. How would she manage?
Twenty years ago, she could have handled it. Could she do it again? But he couldn’t be dead. Gordon would never allow that to happen.
His face flitted in front of her, fixed in an angry glare.
He had to be dead or she wouldn’t be seeing him. He didn’t want to be dead. He didn’t want her to be free. If he thought she could see him he’d be furious.
Sara shuffled toward the reception desk. She glanced over her shoulder, searching for some sign of Gordon, listening for his voice, waiting for him to yell at her. She couldn’t believe he was really dead, even though she had seen him. She clung to the edge of the transition counter, her head down, chewed on her lower lip and waited to be noticed.
Finally a brusque voice snapped, “Can I help you?”
Sara looked up to see a heavy set, older woman in a loose blue top. The woman’s thick dark brows met in a v in the middle of her forehead.
“I’m sorry, I ...I’m looking for my husband. His office phoned to say he’d been brought here.” Sara shrunk into her body.
“Name?” the woman commanded.
“Gordon, Gordon Peters.” Sara stared at her worn black oxfords, then at the scuffed, gray linoleum with the red, blue and yellow lines that led to different areas. Maybe she shouldn’t have come. Maybe she should have waited for Gordon to call and tell her whether she should be here or not. But if he was dead, she would have to make her own decisions. Her pulse raced. Her head pounded. For the last nineteen years she had never made a decision. Gordon made all of them for her.
“When was he admitted?” The woman reminded Sara of a sergeant major.
“I’m not sure, less than an hour ago. They told me to meet him here. Maybe he’s been discharged already?” She chewed her thumbnail. If Gordon had been discharged, he’d be furious at her for spending all that money on a taxi. But she’d seen his ghost.
Tension twisted her stomach into knots. The pain caused her to clutch her purse tightly against her abdomen. She needed to get home and start dinner. She’d have to take a bus. Did she have enough money? She opened her purse.
The woman moved to a second pile of folders and pulled one out. “You’re his wife?”
Sara nodded. “Yes. Can I see him?”
A sob slipped out. If she didn’t find see him soon, he’d be furious. He’d think she was too stupid to even find him in a hospital and he’d be right.
His ghost floated in front of her. This time confusion mixed with his anger.
“Have a seat, Mrs. Peters. I’ll have the doctor speak to you.” The sergeant major’s voice softened. She indicated a chair near the desk.
“No, please, I need to see him right away. He’ll be upset if I’m late.”
The woman rounded the desk and laid her hand on Sara’s shoulder. She squeezed gently for a second. “It’ll be okay, honey. You just sit down for a minute. The doctor will be right out.”
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If money were no object and there wasn’t a pandemic circling the world, where would you go for a Spring Break vacation and why?
Paris. I love the city, the architecture, the wine and the food. In spring the flowers and trees are in blossom. Can’t think of a more beautiful place to be in the spring.
What’s your favorite thing about Spring and why?
It signifies winter is over. The crocus’, daffodil and tulips are in bloom. The lilacs and hyacinth are blossoming, and the fragrance fills the air. Even the scent of freshly turned dirt is wonderful. The sun begins to feel warm and people move outside into gardens and parks. People smile more. It’s like a beautiful start to the new year.
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Beverley Bateman is a Canadian author now living in Medicine Hat, Alberta, with her husband and Shiba Inu dog. She’s exchanged the Okanagan vineyards and orchards for ranches. Winters she’s a snowbird. She writes the latest romantic suspense in both places. She enjoys reading, watercolor painting and the Native American flute.
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