A riveting story of love, betrayal and redemption. Powerfully written.
--Fran Rizer, author of the Callie Parrish Mystery Series

Chapter 1


You were a regal rose,

One by one, your petals spiraled to the floor.

I collected and pressed them to my chest.

Grief closed in like stifling smoke.


From Jack's Journal


Mom's eyes were so bright before the cancer devoured her brain.

He handled the old black-and-white photograph with care, caressing her smile with his finger before placing it in the suitcase.

Every day he had rushed from school to the hospital for a hopeful word. Though he was only sixteen, no one had to spell out the bad news. Terrified by her emaciated face, he felt helpless against her pain. What cancer left, chemotherapy finished. Curse the chemo!

Never again. He promised himself that no demon would ever threaten his sanity by forcing him to watch while someone he loved wasted away.

But recently, the clarity in Claire's silvery-green eyes had dimmed, her words were less precise, and unusual behaviors had left him befuddled. The disparity had jarred open a door in his heart that he had closed and locked many years before. Could it be he was facing the monster again?