Molly tries to distract herself from her fears and anxieties by a shopping spree, in this excerpt from An Accidental Life.

Molly walked quickly through Sierra Vista Mall, a purposeful and almost intensely focused expression on her face.  She was meeting Chase later at the theatre, but first she had serious shopping to do.  She felt a little guilty, shopping alone like this.  Weren’t women supposed to shop in packs?  Not the way she shopped, Molly knew.  She was as hell-bent on her mission as any compulsive gambler, food addict, or even drug addict.  The only difference:  her fix could be wrapped up in pretty packages at the end of her spree!

Even knowing the dangerously compulsive nature of these little ventures did nothing to dissuade her from the task.  She had no choice in the matter.  It was all about the feelings she would have in the pursuit of each new trinket and then, in the end, it was about the sensual pleasure she enjoyed as she stroked each new object, placing it almost lovingly in its chosen spot.  In the beginning she had mainly shopped for clothes.  But lately she had been just as zealous in her pursuit of objects of art for her home.

She knew that this sudden nesting urge had some connection to her own feelings of insecurity, of being unsafe, even in her home.  Even with the private detective on the case, she seldom rested.  She was still always looking over her shoulder, wondering when the stalker would make his next appearance.  There had been nothing further, nothing since the roses and the phone calls.  His silence almost frightened her as much as the actions he had taken.  Was he planning something really monstrous?  Something requiring a great deal of thought?

Peter Garrison, the detective, had found nothing conclusive in his quest.  Tim Mathews had no criminal record.  He was apparently a law-abiding citizen.  In fact, according to everything Peter had learned, he was employed as an accountant for a local firm.  There was no evidence of any connection between him and any of the events that had occurred.  “That’s not surprising,” Peter had insisted.  “We always knew that whoever is doing this has been able to successfully elude the law at every turn.  This doesn’t mean that the stalker is Tim Mathews, but we can’t rule him out, either.”

Exhausted from her emotional frenzy and worry and from the physical pace of her latest shopping adventure, Molly plodded slowly to her car, loading up the trunk.  Some of the items she had purchased today were too large and would have to be delivered in the next day or two.  She climbed into the front seat of the car, after first diligently checking the inside, and pushed the automatic door lock button immediately.  As she started the engine, heading toward the other end of the mall where the theatre was situated, she tried to make her mind go blank.  Like it was when she was shopping.  But she was unsuccessful.  Maybe the movie would help.  But underneath was that nagging fear that always followed her shopping sprees.  What was she going to do about her diminishing bank balance?  Could she count on her father’s little bank deposits indefinitely?  She knew it wasn’t realistic to do so and that she really needed to start living on her salary.   Tomorrow, she told herself.  I’ll think about it tomorrow.



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