Ana Marie Frazier is afraid to sleep. The orderliness of her life is often disrupted by the dark tempest of her dreams. Desperate, she’s tried it all: healthy living, sleeping pills, hypnotism, and now a cutting-edge sleep study. Instead of obtaining rest, the chaos spills into reality.
One night is all Yoshi Nakamura has to convince Ana Marie that she’s a resident of the dream realm and possesses a unique gift of bringing dreams to life. An unknown enemy is equally determined to use Ana Marie’s gift for his own nefarious purposes, and Yoshi knows that if he fails in his quest, everyone will be living Ana Marie’s worst nightmares.
Hands shaking, Ana Marie dug in her purse for the keys to her car. Lord knew, she didn’t think she had it in her to drive home. Mr. D’Angelo had wanted to fire her, probably would have, too, if it hadn’t been for her mother, Loretta. If her boss had dismissed her over an honest mistake, Loretta, a local attorney with the reputation of a pit bull wearing lipstick, would have been all over the case. Ana Marie cringed, already imagining the lurid headlines. After her father’s murder, she’d had enough notoriety to last a lifetime.
How could she have made such a preposterous mistake?
How could she not have?
Two of the dreams she’d had in the night had come true. Well, maybe. Unless it was some crazy coincidence, but she didn’t believe in coincidences. She hadn’t even realized she was dreaming. It had all seemed so real.
The car beeped as it unlocked, and she paused with her hand on the door. An eerie sensation passed over her, the hair on the back of her neck tingled. She was being watched! Whipping around, she saw him. Yoshi. The man from her dreams . He stood on the sidewalk, his black eyes focused on her. She shivered. She could almost still feel the weight of Yoshi’s hands on her breasts. She focused on the feel of his mouth on hers, his taste, the ache of need lodged in her core. Unwanted, the vision of Yoshi pointing the gun at her intruded.
He took one step in her direction, and her sense of self-preservation kicked in. She blinked the sun out of her eyes and jerked the door open. Insides shaking, she threw herself into the seat, jammed the key in the ignition, and gunned the engine before throwing it into gear. As she drove away, she glanced over at the sidewalk. No one stood in the sun or in the shadows. She whirled her head. Where had he gone? A car horn blared as her little sedan drifted dangerously close to the other lane.
Getting into a wreck wasn’t going to help her figure this out. She needed to get somewhere, stop, take a deep breath, and pull together her scattered thoughts. There had to be a rational explanation for this.
Loretta, her mother, lived right up the street in a large sprawling Queen Anne styled mansion, but she definitely couldn’t go there. Her mother had never solved any of Ana Marie’s problems. In fact, most times she only added an additional layer of complication to any conflict. Besides, Ana Marie wanted to avoid all the probing questions her mom would be sure to ask about Dr. Fox, and even more important to avoid was any mention of his pretty assistant.
Although she hated to drive the fifteen miles to her apartment across the Ohio River in Indiana to then drive all the way back this evening to keep her appointment at Dr. Fox’s clinic, she didn’t have a choice. Keeping one eye on traffic and the other focused on her rearview mirror, she turned right and then made a quick left, cutting off a dark sedan making a legal left hand turn. The driver flipped her off as he drove around her. His brake lights flashed, and she had a momentary fear that he would stop in the middle of the lane to confront her. Then, his turning signal flashed on again, and he turned left into the parking lot of a downtown hotel. Belatedly, she realized the car she’d cut off had been a police sedan.
Shit. That had been a moving violation waiting to happen. Luckily for her, the officer must have had more important things to deal with.
Before she could breathe a sigh of relief, her cell phone chirped out a zippy tune, identifying the caller as her friend, Diane Kinnaerd. Ana Marie answered and immediately switched on the speakerphone. Mustn’t tempt fate twice. “Hello.”
“Did you hear?” As soon as Diane started speaking, Ana Marie cringed. What had she been thinking? Her friend worked for the local newspaper as a reporter and was probably calling to get the scoop about this morning’s incident, as one of the police officers had alluded to it.
“If you are calling about the robbery, it was a false alarm.”
“No, silly. I was calling to tell you I have my first real assignment. I’m investigating the Raggedy Ann Killer. Cool, huh?”
A cold chill passed over Ana Marie at the memory of her early morning dream.