In the next few months, WHISTLER HOUSE PUBLISHING will be releasing Novel 2 in my TRILOGY OF TREASON. For my readers who have been waiting far too long to see this book, I am beginning a series of weekly excerpts to start you reading this story that is very close to my heart. Not only does it follow up to THE CONSUMMATE TRAITOR with a plot related to those original characters, it deals with a heartless drug scandal that has already affected too many lives, both military and civilian.
CHAPTER ONE continued ...
Slowly Kendra replaced the receiver. A growing pain thrummed between her temples. Inside she felt empty, sapped of all strength. She didn’t want to fight. She was tired of the confusion and the pointless running to keep up to herself. Her right hand caught a loose wisp of her thick blond hair between her first and second fingers and wound it into a tight curl before pulling her fingers free to let it spill down the side of her face. As her thoughts swirled, she twined the unruly tendril again, more tightly, before flipping it loose. It tickled her cheek as it bounced free. She brushed it back with impatience.
But, for her, giving in was not an option. Somewhere, within, a deeper source, a will held her up and kept her going, and now it prodded her to get answers. Considering the phone on the counter, she lifted the receiver once more and deliberately pressed the digits she knew by memory with the tip of her forefinger.
“Dr. Sheppard, please . . . It’s Kendra Warren.”
She tapped her right foot on the floor while she waited. It was a habit that released her suppressed frustration. She hated doctors, never visited one unless there was no other option. This time, however, something was happening to her she didn’t understand and couldn’t solve on her own. She had interviewed three psychiatrists on the pretense of interviewing them for a story before she found one who treated her like an equal rather than dirt under his egotistical shoe. Sheppard’s even-toned voice came on the phone. “Yes, Kendra.”
“Do you have my test results yet?”
“I do, and I would like to see ...”
“I don’t have time for an appointment,” she interrupted him. “I need to know what’s going on.”
He didn’t answer fast enough for her.
“NOW,” she insisted.
She heard him sigh.
“Your EEG shows an abnormality. There should be a continuous pattern of electrical activity, but every now and again, there’s a gap.”
“What do you mean a gap?”
“The brain wave on the graph zigzags, the same as in a lie detector test, but in your case, the signal stops and reconnects later on the moving page, meaning the needle has jumped off the graph during the interruption of electrical activity.”
“A brain tumor?” She nearly choked on the words.
“It could be caused by something as simple as sleep deprivation. You do go through many bouts of insomnia. Or it could be something like temporal lobe partial epilepsy.”
Epilepsy! Good grief! Not that. She pressed her forehead and grimaced with impatience. “Dr. Sheppard, I want answers, not more speculation. I want to know why I am having these memory lapses.”
“So do I, Kendra. That’s why we need to do more tests. I want to start with a functional MRI.”
“Why not a PET Scan? It also provides an image of brain activity.”
“You’ve done your homework.”
She could almost sense the doctor’s easy smile on the other end of the line. When she had pseudo-interviewed him, the self-deprecating twinkle in Sheppard’s brown eyes almost made her dismiss him – the man did not take himself seriously – but then she learned, as she quizzed him further, he did take a passionate interest in the study of the brain.
Dr. Sheppard went on. “With a PET Scan, we have to expose you to radioactive material. I don’t want to do that. An MRI is safe, painless and non-invasive, and it will also provide an anatomical view of your brain.”
“Then let’s do it.”
“Hold on. You need to keep in mind that your MRI may show nothing but a normal brain.”
“Whatever normal is.” What a useless word!
“And even if I flag you as ‘urgent’ to raise you up the waiting list, it will be at least a month before the lab can fit you in.”
She nodded before she remembered he couldn’t see her. “I don’t care. Do it. We have to do everything we can to figure out what’s going on inside my head.”