Why I wrote the book:
An editor talked about doing a medical-based boxed set. She asked if I’d be interested. I said yes and thought about doing a hospital mystery – disease, murder, etc. Then I thought about cloning and the possibilities for illegal cloning. I started to research it and found the subject fascinating, both the pros and cons. We didn’t end up doing the box set.
Nurse Evie Dalton succumbs to greed and a chance to work with sexy Dr. Adam Marsden. She accepts a position at an isolated hospital with an onsite animal farm, screams in the night, and mysterious limos arriving in the dark. People disappear and turn up dead. There’s no way to leave and no communication outside the town. Dr. Adam Marsden left his past behind. Now he has it all; a great job, money, and a chance to buy his own hospital. But he hadn’t counted on Evie Dalton. Because of him, she’s at risk and might be the next victim.
On the way to the shower she heard a car. She detoured to the window, opened the curtains slightly and watched two limos pull up beside the hospital. Nine or ten people got out and disappeared into the back wing. They appeared to be both men and women. Most of them carried small black bags. The limos backed up, turned around and left.
Now what would all those people be doing going into the hospital? They didn’t look like patients. What else could they be? They were obviously going to be there for a while since their transportation had left.
They’d gone into the back wing; one of the wings Evie hadn’t been shown.
Evie let the curtain close. She frowned, chewed her lower lip, and tried to figure out what they might be doing. Her mind was a total blank. She shrugged and gave up. Maybe she could ask Adam. He might know.
In the shower she let the hot water pulsate against her skin and turned so the water hit directly at the base of her neck. It might help to wash away some of the stress. She’d talk to Adam tonight. He’d have some answers. She could trust him. He’d give her a logical explanation and make her feel better.
She glanced out the window again. This time an ambulance slipped quietly through the dusky night. It slid up to a large door down from where the other group of people had entered. Evie couldn’t resist. She stood to one side so she wasn’t reflected in the light and let the curtains almost close together so she wouldn’t be noticed. She watched the ambulance attendants open the back door and remove a stretcher. They carried it inside. By the shape, it appeared to be a body under the covers. She couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman or even if it was dead or alive.
Things got more curious. Evie was sure there was probably a good explanation, but what kind of surgery would they be doing on someone brought in by ambulance out here? To the best of her knowledge, they didn’t have staff working in the operating rooms at night. Warren said he worked nights. She should go down and ask him what a group of people and a body did at night.
Evie turned away from the window. A scream pierced the air. A chill ran down her spine. She stopped and listened. It wasn’t repeated. She wasn’t even sure if it was human. It might have been an animal. Maybe a wild animal.
What was really going on here? She felt like she should do something, but what? She didn’t know what it was or even where it came from. She couldn’t phone anyone. There really wasn’t much she could do.
A residual chill still claimed her body as she buttoned her blouse. Her mind tried to figure out what was going on at the hospital. She’d ask Warren about it next time they talked. Right now, she had to hurry so she’d be ready for Adam.
It wasn’t just her over active imagination. That scream had been for real. Something unusual was going on and they didn’t want people to know about it.
* * *
On the other side of the hospital another black limousine eased to a stop in front of a side exit door. The hospital door opened and Grethe Byrne stepped out, reflected in the yellow light. She allowed the door to close behind her. The light was extinguished. She stood in the darkness. She’d been waiting for the limo to arrive but didn’t want to call attention to it.
The driver unwound himself from the front seat, stood up and adjusted his cap. Then he strode around the front of the car across the headlights and along the side toward the back. Reaching the door, he opened it and stepped back.
A slender woman, maybe in her mid-thirties, wearing a simple, but very expensive designer black suit and hat, stepped out and tripped up the stairs in her four inch heels. Diamonds flashed on her wrist and her ears.
The driver closed the back door.
When she reached the top step she turned toward the driver. “Charles, check with my husband in about a week. I should be ready by then.”
“Yes ma’am.” He nodded, slid back behind the wheel, and turned the key. The engine purred quietly as it slid down the driveway. The taillights disappeared into the night.
Grethe Byrne watched the car fade away.
“You have what we want?” the woman asked.
“Of course, that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?” Nurse Byrne snapped.
“No. I mean exactly. Do you have exactly what we ordered? White blonde hair, sky blue eyes, IQ of at least 130?”
“Yes. Don’t worry. It will be exactly what you ordered. Did you bring the balance of your payment? In cash and small bills?”
“Yes of course. I’ve kept my part of the arrangement. You had better keep yours.” This time it was the woman’s turn to snap.
“We stand on our reputation. We deliver what we promise. We’ve had no complaints so far.” Nurse Byrne punched in the code to unlock the door. Light flooded the area again as they entered the hospital. Nurse Byrne whisked the woman down the corridor and toward the back rooms.
“Your room is through here. I’m sure you’ll be very comfortable during your stay with us. I have the papers for you to sign.”
“What papers? I should have my lawyer here to review any papers before I sign them.
Nurse Byrne fixed her with an icy stare. “I really don’t think you want your lawyer or anyone else to know what you’re doing, do you? You know what the consequences might be.”
Beverley Bateman is a Canadian author who writes romantic suspense and medical thrillers. She’s the author of several books who loves traveling, good wine and a mystery. She also enjoys watercolor painting, glass fusion and tai chi. She lives with her husband and two Shiba Inu dogs in southern Alberta.