Lillian Brannon wakes up on Valentine’s Day in an exact replica of her bedroom but the only item that she believes is authentic is her dog, Laude. She is held captive in her kidnapper’s basement apartment, summoned upstairs once a week for a chaste dinner. But will his kindness last, and more importantly, why isn’t anyone looking for her? Lillian’s story is interwoven with that of Nathan, a NYPD officer, who is intrigued by Lillian’s disappearance- how can a young woman be gone for two weeks before a Missing Person Report is filed? Local police believe Lillian has voluntarily abandoned a life she didn’t like. Lillian’s best friend convinces Nathan the authorities are wrong. With no jurisdiction, no resources, and no witnesses, he is compelled by the pictures of Lillian with her sweet smile and sparkling green eyes to obsessively take up the case. Armed with Lillian’s keys and personal information, he spends hours, then days in her home trying to find clues that will lead him to her.
Targeted Age Group:: 16+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was working a job I didn't like. During my commute, I wondered–What would happen if I didn't show up? What would happen if I didn't have family nearby? Would they do anything? Then it morphed into Lily and how long could she be gone for before someone took action? Who took her? And why?
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
It's a conglomerate of traits I've seen in people, words I've heard people say, actions I've observed, and the motivations I have surmised lay beneath these traits, words and actions.
Saturday February 14, 2009
I woke with a terrible headache. The pounding reminded me of the night Annie and I discovered the potency and, the next morning, the after effects of martinis. The smile that thought brought to my face quickly faded when the throbbing intensified.
I feared opening my eyes. Not sure if that would make my head hurt worse and scared what I would see. I tried to recall my evening. I didn’t remember going to bed. Truth was, I didn’t remember coming home.
No. I remembered getting on the elevator. And, arguing on the phone with Annie, before getting on the elevator. And hanging up on Annie as I got on the elevator. But that was it. No getting into my apartment; no getting into my bed. I was trying to remember more when I remembered the most important thing, Laude.
I gradually opened my eyes and there she was. Sitting right next to me, staring at me. Her ears, which usually stood straight up, were down. Her head was down, too. Not exactly cowering but not the usual morning, happy to see you posture of my puppy. It was a bit disconcerting to see those two dark eyes fixed on me, never mind not knowing how long they had been staring at me.
It was strange she hadn’t asked to go out yet. On weekday mornings, the alarm went off so early that neither of us were awake. On weekend mornings, I usually awoke to a paw tapping my arm and little yips if her initial attempts did not get me up.
I rolled over slowly, hoping slow movements would not increase the pain in my head, to see what time it was. The clock glowed ‘9:30’, much later than our usual six in the morning wake up.
Something seemed off but I couldn’t tell what it was. I quickly surveyed the room. Nightstand, dresser, pictures, everything looked fine. Except the shade was down; no wonder I had slept so late. The ocean sounded strong today, too. The waves, a block away, crashed on the shore louder than usual. Remembering the weather forecast, it must be from the impending storm.
“Time to go, Laude,” I said. But she didn’t move. I rolled out of bed and my feet felt the cushion of the carpet. Especially on cold mornings like this, I was glad Aunt Florence had chosen carpet instead of hardwood floors in the bedroom. The carpet felt even cushier this morning.
I looked down at my pajamas. They were my least favorite set, blue flannel, buttoned down the front and long sleeved. I always felt too warm to sleep in them. I didn’t feel warm now though. I thought I had put the pajamas in the laundry earlier in the week but they looked clean, and even pressed—I didn’t even own an iron. Annie would attest to that.
“It’s potty time, Laude.” She just sat there on the bed, staring at me.
“You feeling alright? Don’t worry, the vet appointment will be just fine. If we leave now we can just make it.” She couldn’t possibly know she had a veterinarian appointment today. She may have become my constant companion over the past eight months but she was still a dog with a limited vocabulary, despite the amount I spoke to her.
I decided I would get dressed and even brush my hair. “Never know if there’ll be a cute vet, right Laude?” I’d been listening to Annie too much. I smiled at the thought. I had to call her. Hopefully she wasn’t too mad about me hanging up on her. I was surprised she hadn’t called me yet. I looked around the room and couldn’t locate my cell phone.
I walked over to the window to raise the shade to let in the sun and to look at the ocean. But, the ocean wasn’t there.
A R Kennedy is a native Long Islander who has lived throughout the country. Her favorite T-shirt says "I work hard so my dog can have a better life'.
She has written seven books in the Nathan Miccoli Mystery Series and one romantic suspense/legal thriller novel, Saving Ferris. If you love dogs, you'll love Saving Ferris! (And if you love dogs, you'll find an adorable miniature schnauzer in the Nathan Miccoli Mystery series).
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