National bestselling author Patricia MacDonald spins a tale of nerve-shattering suspense that leads readers down the dark, winding roads of a picture-perfect suburban town.
WHAT DID HE SEE?
WHAT DOES HE KNOW?
Eleven years ago, Anna Lange's life was shattered when her young son, Paul, disappeared -- though she never gave up hope that he might be alive. Now, her son has been returned. The joyful family reunion is short-lived, however, as the nervous, withdrawn Paul begins to behave strangely. Anna's husband and daughter grow fearful living in the same house with him. But Anna believes that Paul is still recovering from the extreme psychological trauma he experienced the night he disappeared -- though he claims he has no memory of that time.
Does he or doesn't he? Someone remembers -- and will stop at nothing to keep the truth a secret. Now Anna will have to contend with a nightmare from the past that will either tear her family apart, or destroy them together....
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November 06, 2003
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Excerpt from Stranger in the House by Patricia MacDonald
ELEVEN YEARS LATER
"How do you like your tea " Iris asked.
"It's great," said Anna. "Fresh mint. Is it from your garden "
The two women were sitting at one end of the plant-filled conservatory of the Stewarts' opulent home. The sun streamed in on them, and a breeze from the open doors riffled the leaves of the plants.
Iris nodded. "Henry brought it in this morning."
"I always mean to put some in my garden, and then I forget."
"I'll tell Henry to dig some up for you," Iris said eagerly.
"Would you That would be great."
Iris and Anna relaxed in their chairs, enjoying the sun and the breeze. Anna leaned over the glass table and picked up a pile of envelopes that were lying beside the bowl, addressed in Iris's careful hand. "What are you up to here " Anna asked.
A pained look crossed Iris's face. "Oh, we're giving a party. For the Hospital Guild. It's going to be rather a large affair, to raise money for the new cardiac wing."
Anna nodded. "I read about it in the paper. I didn't know the party was going to be here."
"Well, Edward is the chairman of the fund-raising committee, you know."
Anna nodded, noting that Iris was clenching her hands together in her lap. "You're good at organizing things," Anna reassured her. "It will be a great success."
Iris gave a small sigh. "I hope so," she said. "There's one for you in there." Iris pointed to the stack of envelopes.
Anna found the envelope addressed to the Langes and smiled. "Tracy, too "
"Older children." Iris shrugged. "That was my idea, I thought they'd pep things up."
"Great," said Anna. "When's the party going to be "
"A week from tomorrow. The thirtieth. I hope you're free. I'm a little late with the invitations."
"The thirtieth," said Anna softly, staring down into her glass of tea. "That's Paul's birthday." She looked up at Iris. "He'll be fifteen this year."
Iris's eyebrows rose slightly. For a moment she regarded her friend thoughtfully. "Is that so " she murmured. "Well...that's good. Where's Tom today "
"With Tracy. They're playing tennis. Is Edward home "
"Oh, no. He had a business lunch today. He just bought another company. The Wilcox Company, I think it's called. They have something to do with helicopter parts."
Anna stirred the ice in her glass and looked up under her eyelashes at Iris. You would never know to look at her, Anna thought, that her husband was a millionaire. Edward, whose company manufactured private aircraft, was always a model of correctness and elegance in his appearance, while Iris dressed simply and seemed to give only the minimum attention to her hair and makeup.
Nonetheless, they seemed to get along together, and Anna had always ascribed it to opposites attracting.
"Well, I've got to be getting back." She placed her empty glass down on the end table and got up.
"Anna, I meant to ask you. How's Tracy's job at the vet's working out "