Everyone is a murderer, given the right reason.
Dr. Bennet Barinson, a respected psychiatrist in his early forties, calls Laura Massey to warn her that her life is in danger. Her husband Walter, Barinson’s patient, suspects Laura of infidelity and plans to kill her and her lover. Barinson's warning grows into a secret affair from which he struggles to escape. Set in a mental health clinic, A WARNING is the story of Barinson's conflicts, culminating in a fateful conclusion.
“I really wish I could help you," Barinson said. “I know you're in a difficult position. But Walter is my patient; my primary commitment must be to him. Now that the Tarasoff warning requirement has been met, I really shouldn't see you again. But I think it would be a good idea for you to see another staff member here at the clinic."
"The emotional support would be helpful. Your therapist would be in close contact with me--we'd work together.”
She was hesitant. Barinson added, "I can arrange the referral now."
"I'd rather see you," she said.
"I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
"I understand what you're saying but I don't want to see someone else. I can talk to you; you know my situation. I feel you're caring."
Now he realized who she was. Laura. The girl who sat in front of him in elementary school. The girl with the fresh bath aroma. The pretty girl who ignored him.
There was no indication that she recognized him. He concluded that he’d been quickly forgotten, lost among a myriad of childhood faces. And if perchance a memory lingered, it would be hidden by his prematurely white hair. With a twinge of pain, he saw how she too had changed. The porcelain features had coarsened and the old charm was gone. Yet feeling a moment of excitement, he could see himself saying: "I know you--don't you remember?" He immediately dismissed the impulse, determined to keep his recognition of her a secret; why complicate his relationship with Walter Massey even further?
She looked at him, waiting. "You need someone of your own,” he said quickly, “an advocate, someone who can focus on you. Sometimes it makes sense to see husband and wife together, or a whole family, but in this case there would be complications--conflicting loyalties. I have to think of Walter first, and that may not be the best for you."
"You couldn't tell me to leave him," she said abruptly.
"Well...that's a good example. Yes."
"Please," she said. "I don't care about complications. I don't want to see anyone else. Couldn't I just call you if I need to? See you just in an emergency?"
He tried, but couldn’t say no. "All right. Calls on an emergency basis only."
- Word Count: 61,500
- Author: Bernard Brachya Cohen
- Heat Level: 3
- ISBN: 978-1-61937-214-6
- Cover Artist: Kelly Shorten
- Editor: Jenn Greenleaf