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  1. THE VISITOR excerpt
    Inspired by the movie "Starman," I played the 'what if' game? What if the starman hadn't been the benign being Jeff Bridges played? What if he'd come here with a mission, lacked a moral code and was as single-minded and goal oriented as The Terminator? Thus was born THE VISITOR.

    She pulled a shuddering breath in through her yet open lips, a cooling trail across a heated path. She didn't want to lose the lingering heat of Eric's lips heavy upon hers. She didn't want to let go of the tingling memory of his tongue slowly sweeping the interior of her mouth. But he'd pulled away.

    Slowly, reluctantly, Rebecca's eyelids lifted. His pale eyes came into focus, sharp now...and wary. These were not the eyes of the man who'd just kissed her like only a lover could. These were the eyes of the man who'd choked her.

    Her elbow jerked, striking the peanut butter jar on the table. The protruding knife rattled against the empty glass. She steadied the jar with an unsteady hand when every nerve ending in her body screamed for her to run.

    But, from Eric, her husband, the love of her life?

    ...Who had choked her unconscious.

    No. The air had just been knocked out of her. She'd blacked out from lack of oxygen. That's all. Right?

    But Eric would never have slammed her against an appliance, a wall, or anything.

    Though the Eric she had known hadn't experienced a plane crash. He hadn't experienced near death. He hadn't wandered the countryside for months, not knowing who he was.

    ...Not remembering how to eat or dress himself.

    What kind of amnesia caused that much damage? It was as if he had no human frame of reference.

    She blinked at the man who looked so much like her Eric, yet...

    She gave her head a shake. She didn't want to revisit the questions his odd behavior raised...this man who acted so unlike the Eric she had known.

    Stranger, nagged the doubt pushing its way through her hope.

    She took a step back from him. The cold blue eyes followed her. Not Eric's eyes. A stranger's eyes.

    He curled his fingers against the surface of the table, fingers that had stroked the inside of her thigh--that had closed the air off from her...

    Reflexively, she touched her throat.

    What if she so badly wanted Eric back, she saw in a stranger only how alike he was to her husband rather than how different? It would explain his oddities--like how he'd been able to choke her unconscious, how he could look at her with eyes the color and shape of Eric's but cold as Eric's never had been. It would explain the apprehension dancing up and down her spine--the danger pulsing through her veins...and her sudden need to escape.

    "We're out of peanut butter," she forced out around the bubble of air lodged in her throat, around the lump of fear threatening to choke he Eric never would have. "I'll go to the grocery store and get more."

    She wheeled for the back door.


    She didn't stop. Maybe if she pretended she didn't hear him, she could escape.

    "What is grocery store?" he asked in his oddly cadenced voice.

    "A place where you buy food," she answered, snatching the car keys off the rack by the door and turning the doorknob.

    "Food. Fuel," he said.

    "Yeah, fuel," she said.

    "Where is grocery store?"

    She went still and closed her eyes, willing him to let her leave. "In town. In Copper Ridge."

    "I will go with you."

    She heard the skid of chair legs and jerked the door open, saying as she stepped out onto the porch, "No need for you to interrupt your reading. Stay here. I won't be long."

    She pulled the door shut behind her. Beneath the soles of her sneakers the porch steps creaked and the gravel in the driveway crunched. She flung open the garage doors and stepped into the dankness of the stone out-building.

    She shivered from the coolness and from the sense of foreboding making the hairs at the nape of her neck prickle. Reaching for the door handle of the canvas-capped Jeep, she glanced at the rear of the narrow garage.

    Had she expected to see him there, framed in that yawing opening and backlit by the bright afternoon beyond the dark stones? Hope or fear?

    Fear of course.

    She opened the canvas door with its plasticized window and stepped over the red metal running board onto the rubber-matted floorboards of the Jeep. The chilly vinyl seat cover sent another shiver up her spine.

    She turned the key in the ignition. The cold engine, slow to turn over, cranked twice before firing. She jammed the stick shift jutting from the floorboards into reverse, her feet working the clutch and gas pedals.

    She saw him then, framed in the rear view mirror, a silhouette in the doorway beyond the Jeep's blurry, plastic back window. Her right foot jumped from the gas pedal to the brake. Her left slipped off the clutch. The vehicle bucked and the engine coughed and quit.

    Hands white-knuckled on the steering wheel, she stared at the mirrored figure shaped like her husband. Was she in danger?

    Barbara Raffin (Dame Jade)
    The Visitor (ISBN 13: 9781587495311): buy from, or order through your local book store
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About braffin

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About braffin
I love writing everything from contemporary gothic to contemporary romps.
Reading just about anything and training dogs
Black Ribbon Affair by Casey Clifford
Just Finished Reading:
Mistletoe Rules by Stacey Joy Netzel


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