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Excerpt From 'I'll Walk Alone'

Zan blinked, opened her eyes, and closed them again. What happened? she asked herself. She wondered why she was sitting in the chair, why even though she was wearing the bathrobe, she felt so chilled, why her whole body ached.

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Her hands were numb. She rubbed them together, trying to get feeling back into her fingers. Her feet were asleep. She moved them in a circular motion, almost unaware of what she was doing.

She opened her eyes again. Matthew's picture was directly in her vision. She could tell that the bulb in the lamp next to it was still on, even though dim, cloud-filled light was filtering through the partially drawn shade.

Why didn't I go to bed last night? she asked herself as she tried to get past the dull throbbing in her head.

Then she remembered.

They think I took Matthew from the stroller. But that's impossible. That's crazy. Why would I do that? What would I have done with him?

"What would I have done with you?" she moaned, as she stared at Matthew's picture. "Can anyone seriously believe I could harm you, my own child?"

Zan sprang to her feet, then in quick strides crossed the room to grab Matthew's picture and hug it against her body. "Why do they think that?" The question was now a whisper. "How could those pictures be of me? I was with Nina Aldrich. I spent that afternoon in the new town house she bought. I can prove it. Of course I can prove it.

"I know I didn't take Matthew out of his stroller," she said aloud.

From I'll Walk Alone, copyright © 2011 by Mary Higgins Clark, published by Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York, 10020. Used by permission of the publisher. Read an interview with Mary Higgins Clark.