Hannah Kline Mystery Series Book 7

Meet Dr. Andrea Marcus. She’s a psychiatrist, Dr. Hannah Kline’s closest friend, and she has a problem. She’s just accepted a new patient, and she’s taken an instant dislike to him. Blake Harris is narcissistic, arrogant and controlling. He’s in therapy under protest, because his recurrent nightmares are interfering with his sleep and his job as the CEO of a pharmaceutical start-up company. Blake is also sexually obsessed with his new therapist.

The more Andrea learns about her patient, the more convinced she is that his nightmares are hiding a horrific crime, and the deeper she probes his psychopathology, the more frightened she becomes. When Andrea disappears, it will be up to Hannah and her new husband, LAPD detective Daniel Ross, to find her before the unthinkable happens.

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Murder is a Nightmare

Dr. Andrea Marcus finished her workout, flushed, sweaty and satisfied. She’d needed the exercise. It helped to deal with the increasing stress of her practice. Everything had been fine until she accepted a new psychiatric patient into her Friday noon slot. For the past several weeks her anxiety and fear had been escalating. Thankfully, her office was closed until after the New Year, so she didn’t have to think about him.

In the plush locker room, she retrieved her gym bag, took a warm shower, sprayed her body with a jasmine-scented cologne, and applied lotion to her arms and legs. She dressed in jeans and a new white T shirt, tied her sneakers, and brushed out her long hair. She had made brunch reservations for herself, and her husband Jonathan, at their favorite Malibu restaurant.

Afterward, they were planning on a romantic afternoon at home, before picking up their daughter Molly from her play date. She took a last look in the mirror. She was ready for brunch and for an afternoon of great sex. Humming to herself, she retrieved her car keys and headed out to the parking lot.

There were fewer cars at this hour on a Sunday morning, but some jerk with a huge minivan had parked right next to her. She hated minivans.

Even when they parked between the lines, they took up so much space she could never open her car door all the way. It was a good thing she was thin.
Heading first to the passenger side door, she opened it, and tossed her gym bag and jacket onto the seat. She slammed the door shut and walked around to the driver’s side. As she reached for the handle, a muscular arm pulled her backwards and a gloved hand covered her mouth.

Remembering her self-defense classes, she began to bend forward and kick. Before she could swing her leg, she felt a sharp, painful stab in her upper arm. Her head began to spin, her legs felt weak. The man pulled her arms behind her, and she felt the cold metal of a pair of handcuffs immobilizing her hands. She screamed, but her shout came out as a croak.

The man picked her up, hefted her over his shoulder and carried her to the back of the minivan. As he laid her down, she caught a glimpse of a beard. She was feeling dizzy and disoriented; her vision began to blur. The man covered her with a blanket. She tried to say something, but before the sound emerged, the world went dark.

Excerpt from Murder is a Nightmare, by Paula Bernstein
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