Title: PRICE OF REFUGE
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Word Count: 80,000
Either Kelsey Brooks is being stalked by a dead man, or she’s completely lost her mind.
She should be happy. She has an adoring husband, a beautiful home, and two healthy children with a third on the way. But she also has a few nagging doubts about her marriage, coupled with crippling anxiety attacks and a slight case of OCD. And then there's the fact that she's never told her husband that she used to be engaged, and that she was responsible for the death of her former fiancée.
When she sees a ghost from her past at her son's bus stop, she realizes her mistakes are not going to stay buried. Someone is determined to make her face the pain she’d rather forget. Someone no one else believes exists. When her best friend is murdered,and Kelsey accused of the crime and locked up in a psychiatric facility, she realizes the only person she can rely on is herself. She alone will have to confront the cold-blooded killer who ruined her life twelve years ago. So what if she might be crazy? Sometimes that’s what it takes to stop a madman.
PRICE OF REFUGE will appeal to fans of Gillian Flynn and Harlan Coben. I am a member of Sisters in Crime. My short stories have appeared in various journals such as Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, Big Pulp, and Recess Magazine. I was recently awarded the top prize for prose poetry in the Binnacle Eighth Annual Ultra-Short Competition for my short story, "Puddings," which was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
It seemed crazy, nearly drowning myself in order to stop feeling like I was going to die, but water had always been the only thing that stopped the panic. I waited until my lungs burned, then lifted my head, took a deep gulp of air, and sank back down into my warm cocoon. I stayed under as long as I could, the contour of the tub cradling my body, keeping me bubble-wrapped and buffered from the distorted sounds of the outside world - the bickering of the kids, the inane early-morning television chatter.
My husband’s scream.
I sat up, coughing and spitting and sucking oxygen through my veil of sopping hair.
I peeled wet curls from my eyelids as I tried to analyze Spencer’s tone. I’m not good at much, but in this one area I’m an expert. Water sloshed over the side of the tub as I strained forward to listen. It was probably just the usual morning chaos of getting the kids ready. No need to assume anything terrible had happened. Spencer wouldn’t let them stick forks in the toaster or turn on the stove.
“Kelsey!” Louder now, and with a hint of panic – an emotion with which I was all too familiar.
It was time to get out. I braced myself with both arms and heaved my pregnant, beached-whale body onto the rug, bumping the vanity and knocking over various tubes and jars of creams and perfume. Only my bottle of Escape stayed upright, mocking me.