The Dream Doctor Mysteries Prequel
by J.J. DiBenedetto Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Sara Barnes has her life totally under control. All she has to worry about is college exams, Christmas shopping, applying to medical school--and what to do about the cute freshman who has a crush on her. And everything is going according to plan, until the night she starts dreaming other people's dreams.
It's bad enough that every night is a theater of her friends' and classmates' secret fantasies. Worse yet are the other dreams, the dark ones featuring a strange, terrifying man committing unspeakable crimes.
As the nightmares increase, Sara's life becomes a blur of waking and sleeping, of terror and urgency. Because if she was given this dream-sharing gift for a reason, it must be to stop the killer madman she's come to know all too well. But how can she stop him when she's just a student, and they're only dreams?
Dream Student is the thrilling prequel to the Dream Doctor Mysteries.
I glance at the front page, and then I look again. There’s a photo there. I grab the paper out of his hands, completely ignoring his protest, and I look closely at it.
I’ve seen her before.
No. It can’t be. It’s not possible. The girl in the picture looks exactly like the girl in my dreams. It’s not possible, except that I’m seeing it with my own eyes. I start reading the story. “Seventeen-year-old Amelia Morgan–high school senior–found murdered–body discovered on Old Tree Road…” No, no, no.
I read it again, and the words don’t change. Of course they don’t.
I just start wailing, shouting nonsense. I’m standing in the middle of the room screaming my head off. Ray comes out to me, puts his hand on my shoulder, starts to tell me to calm down and I push him away, shove the newspaper in his face. “It’s her! It’s her! It’s her, and she’s dead!”
She’s dead, she’s dead. She’s dead and I saw it and she’s dead and–and–that’s all I know. She’s dead and I saw it and it’s all real and–and what?
I don’t know, so I keep on screaming.
The Dream Doctor Mysteries Book 1
Between adjusting to life as a newlywed and trying to survive the first month of medical school, Sara Alderson has a lot on her plate. She definitely doesn’t need to start visiting other people’s dreams again. Unfortunately for her, it’s happening anyway.
Every night, she sees a different person and a different dream. But every dreamer has one thing in common: they all hate Dr. Morris, the least popular professor in the medical school, and they’re all dreaming about seeing him – or making him – dead.
Once again, Sara finds herself in the role of unwilling witness to a murder before it happens. But this time, there are too many suspects to count, and it doesn’t help matters that she hates Dr. Morris every bit as much as any of his would-be murderers do.
Sara is in an office, a very cluttered office. From the titles of the books scattered all about, it’s clear that it belongs to of one of her teachers, but which one? She searches around fruitlessly, until the door opens and in walks Dr. Morris. It’s his office, but not, she knows, his dream. Whose, then? The answer comes walking in right behind Dr. Morris – an older woman, an inch or two taller than Sara, her hair just beginning to gray, a frown on her face. Sara thinks she’s seen the woman in the halls – she is, Sara thinks, Dr. Morris’ secretary.
“I won’t be ignored, Abraham!” she shouts as she slams the door shut behind her. “Not after so many years, not after everything I’ve done for you!” Dr. Morris sits down in his chair, leans back, sighs deeply. “You’re being childish, Maureen. This is a delicate time, and I cannot allow any suggestion of impropriety if I am to be the next Dean.” The secretary – Maureen – does not sit. She glares at Dr. Morris, momentarily speechless. Then she picks up a crystal paperweight from his desk and hurls it at the wall, where it shatters instantly. “Really!” Dr. Morris stares at her with a combination of alarm and contempt.
“You liked that, Abraham? Then you’ll love this!” Maureen digs into her purse, pulls out a pistol. She aims it with shaking hands at Dr. Morris.
“Maureen, calm yourself!”
“Good luck becoming the Dean with a hole in your head!” Maureen shouts as she pulls the trigger…
I wake up with the sound of – was it a gunshot? – echoing in my head. What the hell are they getting up to next door? No – not next door. It was a dream, it was – of course, Dr. Morris again. I remember it all now.
This time it was his secretary. He’s having an affair with her – I don’t see how else to interpret “I won’t be ignored.” I think it’s safe to assume that Dr. Morris isn’t the type to have a pet rabbit, so I guess she just decided to escalate straight to murder. That’s officially four different people who’ve dreamed of killing him now. I wonder if he has the slightest idea just how many people hate him?
Yes, I think he probably does. And no, I don’t think it bothers him one bit.
The Dream Doctor Mysteries Book 2
Dr. Sara Alderson can deal with eighty-hour workweeks as a resident at Children’s Hospital. Dealing with crises in the Emergency Room or the OR is second nature to her. But now she faces a challenge that all of her training and experience hasn’t prepared her for: Lizzie, her four-year-old daughter, has inherited her ability to see other people’s dreams.
After Lizzie befriends a young boy on a trip to Washington, DC, and then wakes up in a panic that night because of a “bad funny dream,” Sara knows exactly what it means: her daughter is visiting the boy’s dreams. Complicating matters is the fact that the boy’s father is a Congressman, and he’s dreaming about a “scary man in a big black car” threatening his Daddy.
Unraveling a case of political corruption and blackmail would be hard enough for Sara under the best of circumstances. But when she has to view everything through the eyes of a toddler, it may be an impossible task.
She’s about to continue when someone else walks into Lizzie’s room. Sara turns, but she knows before she does who she’ll see, and she knows - even though she’s never experienced this side of it before – exactly what’s going on.
Her daughter stands in the doorway, looking at Sara and another version of herself as well. Sara doesn’t say anything; she doesn’t want to scare Lizzie. Lizzie looks at herself briefly, but the image of herself seems to hold no interest. She focuses on Sara, concentrating all her three-year-old attention span on her mother.
“You’re so big, Mommy!”
Where’s Lizzie? She was standing in the doorway. She was – oh, my God.
She was seeing – she was inside – she saw me dreaming. She’s got it just like I do.
I jump out of bed and I have to hold myself back from running into her room in a panic. I don’t want to frighten her. She can’t possibly realize what just happened. She can’t know what it means. I take several deep breaths, collect myself as best I can, and then I walk slowly, calmly, into her room.
She’s sitting up on her bed. She fixes her gaze on me, just like she did in the dream, concentrating on me with all her might. “Mommy, I had a funny dream.”
“I know you did, honey. Can you tell me about it?” I sit next to her, also just like the dream.
“You were big. Really big. You sat like now, on the bed. You were really big.”
I hug her, kiss her forehead. “That is a funny dream. But I’m not big, not for real. It was just a dream.” I can’t even imagine how I’m going to explain what happened to her. I’m concentrating on keeping my voice calm and level and soothing, and that takes all my effort.
The Dream Doctor Mysteries Book 3
Dr. Sara Alderson didn’t think she had a problem in the world, when she walked into the office for her first day as a partner in her own medical practice. And then the police showed up and arrested her for a crime she couldn’t possibly have committed. Twenty four hours later, after a horrifying day and night in jail, Sara comes home a different – and completely broken – woman.
Clearing her name is her first challenge, but that’s nothing compared to the task of rebuilding her shattered psyche. And the only way she can do that is with the help of the supernatural dreams, the same dreams that have nearly cost Sara her sanity – and almost got her killed – in the past.
“Dad, don’t say it. You don’t have to.”
“Yes, I do, Sara. I know in my heart it wasn’t an accident. And I also know it happened – he did it because whatever happened in those two days, it ate away at him until – until there wasn’t anything left inside.”
Does he think that I’m like Uncle Albert? Is that why he’s telling me all this?
He grabs my arms, turns me to face him. “If I had kept at him, made him talk about it, maybe he could have worked through everything. Maybe getting it out would have helped him keep hold of himself. Maybe he wouldn’t have,” his voice finally breaks, “Sara, I don’t want to lose you the way I lost my brother. I failed – everyone failed him. I’m not going to fail you, too.”
“I’m not – Dad, I’m…” Does he really think I could ever – that I’m so far gone? That my one night in jail compares with what happened to his brother? To getting shot and seeing friends killed right in front of him?
“I know that more happened to you than we saw in the courtroom,” he’s gripping my arms tightly. “And I know that if you don’t talk about it, it’s going to – you will end up like Albert. We’re not meant to carry things like that around inside us. Nobody can do that, not for long.”
“What do you want from me?” I’m fighting to keep my voice level.
“Talk about it. You don’t have to tell me or your mother. But you’ve got a brother. And a best friend who might as well be blood family. And your husband. You know how I feel about him. If I could have picked out someone for you, I wouldn’t have dared to ask for someone half the man Brian is. You have all these people in your life who love you. You have to talk to someone, and you have to tell it all. And I’m going to keep on you until you do. I love you too much to lose you.”
He really does think I’m that far gone. And the truth is, I’m afraid he’s right.
Waking Dream The Dream Doctor Mysteries Book 4
After nearly a decade of visiting other people’s dreams, Sara Alderson thought she had made peace with her supernatural gift. Until one night, while watching her husband dream, she saw someone else watching him, too: a mysterious woman in a red dress.
The woman in red keeps appearing in the dreams of Sara’s husband and his co-workers. Sara doesn’t know if this mystery woman is trying to steal her husband, drive him mad or something even worse. All she does know is that now she has something she never imagined: a nemesis. And the only thing more dangerous than a nemesis who shares her ability to step into other people’s dreams, is one who knows far more about that ability and how to control it than Sara does.
…This isn’t right. Mom and Dad think that Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery are home. They have no idea that Belinda and her brother Vince are home alone, and they definitely have no idea that Vince is throwing a party. I don’t know why I’m even here. I don’t want to be at a party with a bunch of juniors and seniors I don’t even know. We’re sitting in Belinda’s kitchen, just her and me. “So how big is this party supposed to be?” Belinda shrugs her shoulders. “You know Vince. It could be a hundred people.” A hundred? Now I really don’t want to be here! But I don’t want to leave Belinda all alone. She’s my best – my only close friend at school. I can’t ditch out on her. Here comes her brother now, with one of his friends, a short, stocky guy I think I’ve seen in the corridors at school. They’re each carrying two cases of beer – I wonder which one of them has a fake ID, or maybe they got somebody to buy it for them? They set the beer down on the kitchen table right in front of us, and open one of the cases. “Here you go, ladies,” Vince says, handing Belinda and me each a can. I don’t want – I’ve never even had beer before! But everyone else is opening theirs and toasting each other. I – I don’t have to, but Belinda’s my friend, right? I open mine, salute them and take a sip. I barely swallow it down without spitting it out; how does anybody drink this stuff? Belinda doesn’t like it much more than I do, but she forces her beer down, and I follow suit while the boys laugh at us.
“Hey, Belle, why don’t you put out some food?” She’s told me she hates being called Belle, but she’s not going to get her older brother to stop doing it anytime soon. I go to help Belinda set out several bowls of chips, and then she goes up to her room to change. That’s all I need – not only will I not know anybody, but I’m going to look like crap compared to everyone else. I thought my sweater was cute, but I’m sure Belinda will be back downstairs in five minutes with an outfit that puts me to shame. And I can’t even borrow anything from her – she’s only a couple of inches taller than me, but she’s at least three sizes bigger. Oh, well. As I watch her go up the stairs, I see something hanging from the ceiling at the foot of the staircase. Mistletoe. I start to wonder who hung it there when there’s a hand on my shoulder, and I turn to see Vince. He’s not much taller than Belinda, but he seems bigger somehow, or maybe that’s just my imagination. I can smell the beer on his breath; we’re only a few inches apart. He’s looking up at the mistletoe, too. He puts an arm around my waist and pulls me still closer. I let him; he is cute. And I’ve never had an older guy show the slightest interest in me before. Is this why he didn’t complain about Belinda inviting me? Does he have a – a thing for me? He’s leaning in towards me, coming closer. I tilt my head up to meet him, I close my eyes, and I feel his face just an inch from mine, then his lips are touching mine, and – I – God! I go limp, I don’t respond, but I don’t have to; his lips and his tongue are doing all the work – then from out of nowhere there’s a voice. Belinda’s voice, loud and shrill: “Jesus, Sara! Get your tongue out of my brother’s mouth!” And then I feel her hands on my shoulders, pulling me away from Vince. I don’t look at her; I run straight into the kitchen, grab my coat from the back of the chair, and I’m out the back door before anybody can say another word…
The Dream Doctor Mysteries Book 5
Dr. Sara Alderson is heading back to college for her ten-year class reunion. Her husband and two of her children are coming with her – and so are her supernatural dreams.
One of her old classmates is becoming more frantic with every passing night. Sara can’t see his face, but she can see everything else in his dreams, and he’s coming closer and closer to committing a desperate act to try and save his business. Sara’s the only one who can save him, and his family – if she can figure out who he is and what he’s planning in time.
“Janet, it can’t be that bad,” I say, in my most soothing voice. It doesn’t help one bit.
“Yes, it is! I’m – I don’t know what to do! I don’t know anything!”
I know she hasn’t had much of a love life, but this reaction is still bizarre. “Janet, I told you yesterday. You’re a doctor, you’ve handled everything life has thrown at you, and you’d be a great catch for any man. What’s the problem?”
She doesn’t answer for a while. She sits there, letting me hold her hands, staring at me with terrified eyes. Finally, she takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, opens them, and says, “He – he’s going to want me to come back to his apartment with him tonight. I know he is.” I knew that already. I still don’t understand her terror. “I – Sara, I – I haven’t – I – I’ve never – I…”
No. That’s not possible. She’s my age. She’s thirty-three years old. She can’t be saying what I think she’s saying. Even if it does explain her nerves, and the dreams, perfectly. “Janet?”
“Sara, I’m – I’m a – I’ve never…”
As much as it sounds impossible, it has to be true. And I should have realized it all along. I just – I guess it just never entered my mind that she could be, even though the truth was staring me in the face. And I can see why she feels like there isn’t anyone else she can tell. Back in medical school, I was her closest friend; I helped her get through her mother’s death. Who else would she ask?
I squeeze her hands tightly, and I try to soften my tone, to put every ounce of compassion and understanding into it that I can. Just like I would with my children. Like I did with Grace, last Christmas. “Janet, are you trying to tell me that you’re a virgin?”
She looks away from me sharply, casts her eyes down, but she doesn’t pull her hands out of my grasp. That’s a “yes.”
Something else hits me. This is exactly like Grace at Christmas. Janet wants – needs – answers from me. She needs “the talk.” Having it with my eleven-year-old daughter was difficult enough. I certainly never imagined I’d need to have it with one of my medical school classmates!
“Sara?” Her tone is almost pleading. “I – I know this is weird. But there’s nobody else I trust to talk to. And – I – I don’t know what to do.” She laughs suddenly, almost hysterically. “Of course I know what to do! I’m a doctor, it’s not like I don’t know how all the parts work! But…”
The Dream Doctor Mysteries Book 6
Dr. Sara Alderson thought she was securing her and her family’s future when she moved them to a small town in New York and took a job as Chief of Pediatrics at the local hospital. Unfortunately, things aren’t going quite according to plan. For one thing, she has enemies at work who resent her from the moment she sets foot in the hospital.
For another, she’s visiting the dreams of an old man who’s seeing nightly visions of a storm that will wipe out the entire town. He’s convinced that the visions are true – and as winter closes in, Sara is starting to think he might be right.
Sara is in an office, probably on the second floor judging by the view of the parking lot outside. Neither the office nor the view is familiar, but the man who’s occupying the office does stir memories. It’s definitely his dream; Sara is certain of that. And he’s definitely familiar to her. Sara recalls meeting him – or at least being introduced to him in passing – when she visited her new employer several weeks ago. No name comes to mind, however. I must have met the entire staff of the hospital, she mutters, shaking her head. And I’m no good with names anyway. Whoever he is, he appears to be in a good mood. Sara examines him more closely: he seems to be around her age, maybe a little older, but it’s hard to be sure. He’s not very tall, only two or three inches taller than she is. He wears a very unfashionable pair of glasses, and his white coat could use a wash. At the moment, he’s staring at his various diplomas, occasionally reaching up to adjust one slightly. After a few minutes and many tiny adjustments, he claps his hands together. “Perfect! Just perfect,” he says with a bright smile. Just then, there’s the screech of brakes, and Sara follows the man’s gaze out the window and down to the parking lot, where a sports car is turning, much too fast, into the lot. It’s red, and although she won’t swear to it, Sara thinks it might be a Porsche. She and the dreamer watch as the car blasts around a corner and comes to a stop right in front of the main entrance to the hospital. The driver’s door opens, and a high-heeled shoe emerges – three or maybe even four inches, Sara guesses. A leg that’s bare to the knee follows it out, and then the other leg. When the rest of the driver is visible, Sara gasps: it’s her. Not precisely her: even from this distance, Sara can tell that the woman down there is wearing more makeup than she’s ever had on in her life, and the woman’s suit is sharper than anything Sara’s ever worn. But other than that, Sara is looking at herself. She laughs at the image: it’s a perfect stereotype of what someone who gets all their ideas from TV shows would think a big-city doctor might look like. Showing up in an insanely expensive sports car, with a suit that probably cost $5,000 and shoes that belong on a model? There’s nothing else to do but laugh – except that the dreamer, whoever he is, actually sees Sara that way. Dream-Sara disappears from view – presumably into the hospital - and the man begins muttering. Sara listens closely, and it’s more cursing than muttering, and directed at her. Fear – and anger – spread across the man’s face. “She wasn’t going to come! Why is she here?” Sara hears the clackety-clack of heels approaching, and a moment later the door is thrown open with excessive force. Her dream-self stands there in the doorway, takes in the scene and turns her gaze onto the office’s occupant. “You! What’s your name? Banks?” Sara can’t help herself: she’s both horrified and fascinated by this vision of herself.
“Dr. Bates,” the man says, fighting to keep his voice level.
“Whatever,” the dream-Sara spits. “You’re in my office. Out! And take all your crap with you!” She heaves a deep sigh and then stalks past the dreamer – poor Dr. Bates – and up to his wall of carefully-hung diplomas. Then she reaches up and begins pulling them off the wall, tossing them carelessly behind her. “Things are going to change around her, Banks,” she says, not turning to look at him. “Things are going to change…” Sara continues to watch, unable to look away, as the dream-Sara trashes Dr. Bates’ office, berating him all the while. And as she watches, the meaning of this dream becomes crystal clear. Oh, my God, she thinks, shuddering, I’m not even starting the job for four months! How can I have an enemy already?
The Dream Doctor Mysteries Book 7
Thanks to her unique ability to step into other people's dreams, Dr. Sara Alderson has solved murders, unraveled conspiracies and saved lives. But when a crisis hits close to home, even her supernatural gift might not be enough to avert disaster.
On a family vacation to Paris, Sara's fifteen-year-old daughter Grace disappears without a trace. The only way to find her is through Sara's dreams. But her gift has taken an unwanted vacation, and without it, Sara has no idea how to rescue Grace. In a foreign city, with no clues, and her dreaming talent failing her for the first time, Sara must figure out another way to find Grace before it's too late.
What’s going on? I – I was sleeping, but there’s a sound. Banging, louder and louder. And yelling. It’s – oh, God. It’s the door. It’s Lizzie. She woke Brian up, too – he’s halfway to the door already.
Two steps later, with me right behind him, adjusting my pajamas as I go, he’s at the door. He opens it and Lizzie runs inside immediately. “Mom! Dad! It’s Grace! She’s gone!”
What? What did she say? Grace? Gone? That doesn’t make any sense. How could she be gone? They’re all in the room together, next door. Where would Grace go? How could she be gone and her siblings not notice it?
Brian’s as confused as I am. “Lizzie, what happened?”
“Grace! She’s gone! She even took her new boots with her!” Lizzie’s grabbing my hand, pulling me back towards the door. Her boots?
I feel my legs go out from under me suddenly and I have to grab onto the door to hold myself up. My head is spinning. I feel – I don’t even know – nauseous, for a start. It all hits me: I know exactly what happened. If she took her boots – if she snuck out of the room – there’s only one thing she could be doing.
“How long has she been gone?” I try to keep my voice level, but I don’t really succeed.
“I don’t know, Mom. She woke me up, just for a minute, and I thought she was going to the bathroom and I closed my eyes and I guess I fell right back asleep. I didn’t look at the clock. But then just now, I had to go, and she wasn’t in the bed. And I saw her boots were missing.” She blurts it all out without taking a breath, but she’s still managing to keep herself calmer than I am.
I glance at the clock: it’s 12:15 AM. We got back a little before eleven. Ben and Steffy were nearly asleep on their feet, and Lizzie wasn’t far behind them. So, say they actually got to sleep by a quarter after eleven. Grace must have been pretending to sleep, and then as soon as she thought all her siblings were out for good, she made her move. She probably waited at least fifteen minutes, and then after she disturbed Lizzie, she probably sat there in the bathroom for another fifteen minutes or so, just to be safe. So she probably left the room half an hour ago.
“Brian, go down to the lobby, see if there’s anyone there. Ask if they saw Grace. And then go outside, maybe she had second thoughts but she’s afraid to come back up.” I turn to Lizzie. “Did she take the room key?” She shrugs. Of course she didn’t look for that – she came to us immediately. Exactly what she should have done. “That’s OK, I’ll come and look in your room.” Brian’s already got his shoes on; a moment later he’s out the door and halfway to the elevator.
Lizzie and I go back to the kids’ room. The twins are still asleep; I can’t imagine how Lizzie didn’t wake them up. Even without turning the lights on, I can see the room key on the table in between the two beds.
Why didn’t she take it? How did she think she’d get back into the room without her siblings knowing, if she didn’t have the key?
There are only two answers. Either she just didn’t think at all, the same way she didn’t think about how she was going to get home from Coney Island with no money a couple of weeks ago. Or she doesn’t plan on coming back.
Fever Dream The Dream Doctor Mysteries Book 8
Dr. Sara Alderson isn’t used to her patients dying for no reason. When a young boy succumbs to a mysterious illness that defies all her efforts to treat it, she refuses to accept defeat.
After two months of questions, Sara has attracted the attention of powerful people who don’t want their secrets uncovered, and will go to any lengths to make sure they stay hidden.
Now, time is running out for Sara to unravel the mystery before anyone else falls victim to the illness. And before her career, her family and her freedom are taken from her by enemies she doesn’t even know she has.
This shouldn’t be happening. I don’t understand it. I haven’t had a patient like this in years – not since my first months of residency. Connie Marchetti brought her son to me three days ago because he couldn’t shake a cold, and now I’m fighting to keep him alive.
And I’m losing.
Two days ago, I sent out a full panel of blood tests, including several things that I would never normally check on an eight-year-old boy. He must have some sort of auto-immune disorder, but he’s been my patient for three years, and there’s never been the slightest sign of it. And, anyway, boys are far less prone to most auto-immune diseases than girls are. There was never any reason to suspect it.
There is now, though. I’m fighting to save him, but his own body is fighting against me. I haven’t been able to get his temperature below a hundred and one, I haven’t been able to get his breathing anywhere close to normal and he hasn’t eaten solid food in close to a week.
“Damnit, Michael, I didn’t save you three years ago just so you could die on me now!” Yelling at him isn’t going to help, but I don’t know what else I can do at this point, except to admit defeat and send him to a bigger hospital. Someplace with more resources to, hopefully, figure out what’s going on with him and treat it in time.
Three years ago, Michael Marchetti and his sister Celia were trapped in a basement during that awful winter storm. I went into Celia’s dream and figured out where they were, so that they could be rescued before they froze to death. But dreams aren’t going to help now. The answer, if there is one, is in his bloodwork, or, far more likely, in the mind of another doctor who can see whatever it is I’m missing.
I don’t want to do it. But the patient has to come first. I stand over Michael’s bed for a couple of minutes, watching him sleep, seeing his troubled breathing and his almost complete lack of color. I really don’t have a choice.
I leave the room, and the person I want to see is passing right by me in the hallway. “Shelly, can you get hold of Connie Marchetti? I need her to come back in right away.” Either Connie or her husband have been here pretty much non-stop since Michael was admitted, but she had a meeting at school with his teacher this afternoon. And her husband David works at the Indian Point nuclear power plant, twenty minutes south of here. He had a safety drill today, and obviously he couldn’t get out of that. But I need to speak to at least one of them in person, and right away. “I want to send Michael to Mount Sinai.” It’s the best children’s hospital in New York; there’s nowhere better to try and figure out what’s wrong with him.
My head nurse stares at me. “Are you serious?” I hold her stare, which is all the answer she needs. “You think it’s that bad?”
“I don’t know.” He could recover by dinnertime tonight. He might be home tomorrow, trying to sneak a peek into the closet and see what Christmas presents are waiting for him. I’ve had it happen before – patients suddenly turning the corner, all on their own. But “could” and “might” aren’t good enough. I can’t bet his life on them. “I’m afraid it might be.”
The Dream Doctor Mysteries Book 9
It ought to be a joyful time for Dr. Sara Alderson. Her daughter, Lizzie, is about to graduate college, and marry her longtime boyfriend. But the family’s happiness is shattered when a drunk driver seriously injures her teenage son in a hit-and-run accident.
Now, instead of planning her daughter’s wedding, Sara must fight to save her son’s life. And when she discovers who the drunk driver was – someone she thought was a colleague and a friend – she has to fight her desire for revenge. Because Sara knows she has the power to visit the driver’s dreams, and in those dreams, she holds the power of life and death.
The patient is still alive. And I don’t think he has spinal damage. But that’s the extent of the good news. He’s still unconscious, which is a mercy for him, but I can’t evaluate him for any neurological issues until he’s awake. He’s got three broken ribs. His left tibia is broken, too – shattered is probably a better word. And his left knee is a mess. He’s going to need surgery to repair it, if that’s even possible, considering how bad it is. Oh, and he’s got at least three broken bones in his right arm as well. That’s almost trivial in comparison to everything else. The leg and arm have been immobilized, even though the odds are that the patient won’t be awake to try and move them any time soon.
I have to force myself to think of him as “the patient” rather than my son. I’ve seen enough accident victims, from my very first night as a volunteer EMT, to medical school, right up until today, that I know the procedures for assessment and treatment by heart. That helps keep my mind off who the patient is. If I let that discipline slip, I’ll be useless to him.
The patient has another problem. He’s still hemorrhaging. I’ve already done an ultrasound, and Amanda agreed with me that it’s almost certainly damage to his spleen. I think – I know – we’re going to have to operate. If Marsha Pierce weren’t on her way, I would have started already.
And here she is, with Shelly Gianetti right behind her. Shelly gasps at the sight of the patient. Marsha puts an arm around me and asks for a rundown. I give it to her, and when I’m done, she lets me go and examines the patient herself.
“I think you’re right.” I know I am. I wish I wasn’t. “The only question is, do we do the procedure here, or transport him to a level one trauma center?”
I already thought about that. It would take fifteen or twenty minutes to get an ambulance here, and then an hour drive to St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, which is the closest trauma center to us. “I don’t know if we have that much time.” I’ve already wasted twenty minutes waiting for her as it is. “We have to do it now.”
I give her a moment to object. I think, if she really did believe I was wrong, that she would. Even though the patient is my son. Especially because he’s my son. But she doesn’t object. “Let’s scrub in.”
Stories From the Dream Doctor Mysteries
The novels don’t tell the whole story!
Readers of the Dream Doctor Mysteries know that Sara and her family have a very busy life outside the pages of the ten Dream Doctor Mysteries, and here’s your chance to peek into it.
Twelve stories are included in this collection, and you’ll discover what happened on Sara’s final Spring Break of college; Lizzie’s first day of school; Betty and Howard’s first trip out of the country; and much more!
J.J. DiBenedetto is author of the Dream Series and the Jane Barnaby Adventures and lives in Arlington, Virginia with the love of his life and a white cat who rules the roost.
His passions are photography, travel, the opera, the New York Giants, and of course writing.
Mr. DiBenedetto is devoted to writing books with a sense of mysticism to entertain and perhaps invite his readers to suspend belief in a way they might never have.
Since he was very young , he has always been intrigued with the supernatural and things that can't be explained rationally.
By always asking way too many questions, it piqued his interest to the point of setting his writing off and running when he grew up! All the curiosity building up all those years were finally getting put into words to captivate readers. And it hasn't ended. His main goal is to share all the stories he has inside, putting pen to paper. And that's how the Dream Series was born.
What’s in a Name? The Fun of Choosing Book Titles
I’ve always been very hit or miss with titles for the stories I’ve written. Either I know the title immediately, or it’s like pulling teeth to come up with something I feel good about, even after the whole book is written.
The Dream Doctor Mysteries fall squarely into the latter category. As I wrote the original first draft of what would become DREAM STUDENT, I had a placeholder title of “Dreamchasers” which I really didn’t like, but it seemed to sort of fit the story I was telling.
It wasn’t until I not only had a complete book, but I’d started work on the sequel (I still have the original Word file of that, titled “Dreamchasers 2”) that I finally came up with Dream Student, which I still didn’t love, but at least it sounded a little better than Dreamchasers, and it was thematically appropriate (Sara’s a college student in that book, and she’s also learning about her supernatural ability to step into other people’s dreams).
Once I had that, and I realized this could be a longer series, I had the idea that each title would follow the same formula, and there are enough short phrases using “dream” that I could work with it. So the second book (which is now the first book of the series, while DREAM STUDENT is now a prequel) became DREAM DOCTOR. Sara is in medical school, training to become a doctor, so it fit.
I was about 2/3 of the way through that book when it occurred to me what would happen at the very end of that book, after the climax of the main plot, and how it could set up the next book. Sara, who was now married, would find out she was pregnant, and that logically led to the title of DREAM CHILD for the following book. And at the same time, it hit me that the final book of the series – however many books in the future that might be – had to be called DREAM WEDDING, and it would have to feature Sara’s daughter getting married (each book skips ahead in time – the ten books of the series cover 25 years in Sara’s life).
There were a couple of other obvious titles that I knew would come up somewhere in the series – DREAM REUNION (book five, in which Sara attends her ten year college reunion), and DREAM VACATION (which kept getting pushed back and ended up becoming book seven).
The overall series title went through some revisions, too. It started out as simply “the Dream Series” which really doesn’t tell you anything. So I finally went ahead and retitled and relaunched it last summer, to what it is now – the Dream Doctor Mysteries.
So there you have it – all the fun and excitement of coming up with a suitable book title!
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!