Kathleen Valentine was born and grew up in the Allegheny Highlands of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in The Arts and worked for over twenty years in the art/marketing departments of high-tech corporations. Since 2003 she has run her own design business, Valentine-Design.com. She is the author of “Fry Bacon. Add Onions”, a cookbook/memoir of growing up Pennsylvania Dutch, as well as 4 novels, several novelettes and short story collections, and knitting instruction books. She has been listed as an Amazon Top 100 Author in Horror. Her novellas, “The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic” and “Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter” were Amazon Top Ten Best Sellers in Horror and Ghost Stories for over 25 weeks.
Her blog at KathleenValentine.com has been read by thousands of readers since its beginning in July 2005. She currently lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, America’s oldest seaport, and is writing every day.
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She dreamed about him again. Even after all these years, Audrey dreamed about Raven more than she could bear. She both loved the dreams when she was lost in them, and hated them when she awoke and remembered that they were just dreams. On this night she dreamed they were on the beach below the cliff where the beach roses grew. A narrow strip of sand divided the rocks from the surf, and the day was one of those lovely end-of-summer days. He was all over her, devouring her even before they reached the beach. They stripped each other naked without breaking their kisses. In days, he would be going back to school—that fancy school in Boston—and she would be alone for the winter without him.
She was on top of him, head thrown back, wild with wanting him, the waves exploding against the jetty, and the gulls screeching. Her toes dug hard into the sand, trying to stay on him as he heaved up against her, thrusting so deep she thought she would split in two. She screamed and he laughed, his head burrowing back in the sand, the incoming tide lapping at their thighs and hips. She screamed again, louder, out of sheer joy. Her scream was answered by another, but it was not Raven’s. They both looked up.
Damn, she thought, that stupid sister of his. Why couldn’t she leave them alone?
He pushed Audrey off himself, leaped up and ran, graceful and sleek as the dancer he was, his sun-bronzed body lustrous in the late afternoon light.
“Let her go,” Audrey screamed, but he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, hear her.
“Rachel,” he called, “wait, Rachel!”
“Forget her,” she screamed, and bolted upright, breaking the dream.
Moonlight bathed the sheet that covered her, and she could hear the gulls squawking, and the steady putter of the first fishing boats headed out of the harbor into the morning. She buried her face in her hands and wept.
She wrapped a robe around herself, unhooked the window’s iron latch, pushed it open, and leaned into the cool air to dry her tears. She both wanted the dreams to stop and to go back to sleep, and find a way to slip into them forever. Out of the corner of her eye she caught the movement of a small red light below her. Syd Jupiter stood on the terrace, smoking a cigarette in the dark. It was the one bad habit he brought with him from prison. She should have known he’d be standing there smoking—he always was at night. He seemed to never sleep.
Good, she thought. Good that he can’t sleep, the murdering bastard. He’s up to something. That’s why he has that woman from the museum coming to look at all this crazy art. He’s going to find out what it’s worth. He has no business being here, she thought. The house should have been Raven’s. Hers and Raven’s. But he’d destroyed any hope of that. He wouldn’t get away with it, she thought, not while she had breath in her body he wouldn’t.
She turned back into the room and began her day.