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The Perfect Victim
by Pamela Foster
When friend Anne "buys" the new deputy for loan officer Mary Brock at the local charity
auction, neither she nor Mary know what has been brought into their lives.
At a little over six feet, slim, with wavy blond hair, Billy Joe Wilkins is enough to
make most women dream of snuggling on the beach, the ocean's waves crashing rhythmically.
Mary discovers — to her delirious delight — that Billy's lovemaking more than
fulfills the promise of the dream. But when his demands begin to include Mary's complete
domination, physically and emotionally, it all begins to seem more like a nightmare she
But Mary is trapped by her own feelings, reeling between what she knows she should
do and what Billy says she must do. She becomes obsessed with escape.
And what about her son? What about Michael? He's being caught in the middle of her emotional
tug-of-war. Will he become a victim too?
Can Mary find the courage to take control of the situation?
Praise for The Perfect Victim
Foster has the gift of painting a scene so remarkably vivid that it's as though the reader has
stepped through Alice's looking glass and can see, feel, smell and even taste the world she's
created. She offers up characters who are just as vividly present as they reveal their hearts
and souls with no reservations. She has one of the most unique writing voices.
~ Lori Ericson, author of The Lovely County
I'm organizing endless paperwork, when my phone rings.
It's been over a week since I heard his voice. Still haven't decided if our last phone conversation
was Billy giving me an ultimatum or if he was being sensitive to my need, as a single mother, to go
slow. Did he back off because he cares for me or did he merely play out more line in order to set the hook.
"Just called to see how you were doing and to make sure we're still on for this weekend," he says.
Why do I never know where I stand with this man? It's not him. It's me. I second guess, analyze
and meditate on every damn word that falls out of his mouth. Anne's right, I behave like a virgin
on prom night. Plus, I hate having these conversations at work. Personal calls are strictly
forbidden and, while no one can prove it, the general consensus is that all calls are recorded.
"Um, yeah. Your place on Friday night after I drop Michael off at his dad's. Right?"
"Sure. That'd be good. The kid all taken care of, you and I can spend some quality time together."
Here I go again. The kid all taken care of. Was that sarcasm edged in anger or did he just
acknowledge that I have a son and his needs are a higher priority than my wants or Billy's
desires? And, if this is so freaking hard for me to decipher, why on earth don't I just end
the relationship before it goes any further?
"So, um, how's Christopher?" I sort frantically through this stupid miasma of emotions that
swamp me each and every time I talk to this man.
My heart knocks in my chest. Mouth dry. Palms suddenly, instantly clammy.
"Your son. Christopher."
"Oh. My kid. Sure. I'm sorry. I never call him by his full name. Chris. That's what
I've always called him. Confused me there for a minute. Chris is good. I talked to him
this week. A couple times. He's pretty excited about coming out to see me next month."
"So, Billy, listen. I've been meaning to ask you. My neighbors? The students with the
loud music? Did you say anything to them the night you stopped by with the . . . the gift?
'Cause they moved out and the manager said they left with over a month's rent prepaid."
"Did they now? Gee, that's good for you. And for me, when I come over. I mean, when
the kid's at his dad's. Don't want to push in where I'm not wanted."
"So? Did you talk to them that night?"
"My job is to serve and protect. I take that oath seriously. Especially where you're concerned.
That's why it's important you don't keep secrets from me. I need to know everything about you,
baby. That tender spot behind your ear you like me to lick, the—"
"Billy! I gotta go. I'm at work here and personal calls are not really even allowed."
I hang up before he can go any further. Sit, shaking just a little while my breathing returns to
normal. Arousal or fear? Does everyone have this much trouble sorting out those two emotions?
Pamela Foster grew up in the redwoods of northern California where her family has raised all
manner of mischief for eight generations. She's lived on the banks of the Mauna Loa on the Big
Island of Hawaii, on the edge of the Mexican Caribbean, in the prickly-sticklies of the Arizona
high desert, and on the tropical coast of Panama. She now lives in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas
with her husband and his retired PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) service dog.
When she's not writing-or teaching writing workshops-Foster volunteers her time to raise public
awareness of PTSD and its effects, speaking at Veteran's Centers and civic groups and facilitating
the Northwest Arkansas chapter of INTERACT, a support group for families of veterans.
Other books by Pamela Foster
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