The top-selling, beloved indie author of Ten Tiny Breaths returns with a new romance about a young woman who loses her memory—and the man who knows that the only way to protect her is to stay away.
Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past.
Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?
Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.
The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.
This book just hit me hard. I didn’t see it coming and I wasn’t expecting it. But it left a huge mark on my heart, It was a powerful story. It was a touching story and It was an amazing five star read!
She had everything that money could buy. All of the things that she didn’t have growing up were suddenly handed to her in this new life. Except the one thing she truly needed to survive, love. She was married young to a pretty scary guy. He adored her as long as she didn’t screw up. But when the ultimate screw up happened, there was no way she would be able to protect herself or survive and now she has no idea who she is or what happened or if anyone is looking for her at all. She has no memory of any of it.
Jesse knew her before, he fell in love with her. She was it for him. But she was also married to a man who didn’t appreciate her and care for her the way he should have. Jesse really loved and adored her. He knew they would be amazing together, and they were. But he had to figure out how to get her out of the situation she was in. She was strong and brave and he knew that they could do this. But then the unthinkable happens and Jesse is frantic.
When she wakes up in that hospital room, she has no idea who she is or where she came from. She has no idea if she has any family or even if she has anyone. But what she does have is an amazing doctor, a fabulous nurse and a new friend in her hospital roommate, Ginny. When Ginny takes in this girl after she is release from the hospital, she forms a new kind of bond with her. Ginny doesn’t leave the property, ever. But it seems there is something about this girl and Ginny wants to look after and protect her. Water has found a new home and a new place to be herself, even if she has no idea who that is.
As memories begin to come back, Jesse and Water are getting closer to what they once shared, even though she doesn’t remember any of it. She knows deep down that he will protect her. She is not afraid of him. But what happens when she remembers everything? What happens when she remembers the events that led up to this stay at this amazing ranch? Will she still feel the same about Jesse or will everything change?
As I said at the beginning, I thought this was a powerful read and a touching one. Learning to live again is always a hard thing to do, but doing it and not remembering how you lived before has to be a crazy adjustment. Not to mention that how you lived before might have been the hardest thing you would ever have to live through. I was moved by Water’s struggle and desperation to figure out who she was. But even more, I hurt for Jesse. He risked so much to help her but he risked so much falling for her to begin with.
This book was told in the past and present. So to get to the answers, you had to understand the past. If this was all told from Water’s perspective it would have been impossible to get to the present. But when we get Jesse’s perspective of the past, it moves and shifts the stories. I am always nervous opening a story that has to much past mixed in, but I didn’t struggle through this at all, and maybe it was the change of perspectives, but it worked and it worked well.
I fell in love with this story and there is definitely a re-read in my future!
“Do you have far to go? These aren’t meant for long distances.”
“About ten miles.”
“Good. I can stay behind you until you get off the highway, if that makes you feel better,” I offer, wiping my wet, dirty hands against my jeans. “I’m headed that way anyway.”
“That’s very kind of you.” She doesn’t make a move to leave, though. She just stands there, her face hidden by the darkness and that giant umbrella.
And then I hear the stifled sob.
Ah, shit. I don’t know what to do with a rich girl crying on the side of the road. Or crying girls in general. I’ve made plenty of them do it, unintentionally, and felt bad about it after. But other than saying, “I’m sorry,” I’m at a loss. I hesitate before asking, “Is everything okay? I mean, do you have someone you can call? You can use my phone if you want. I’ll grab it from the car.”
“No, I don’t have anyone.”
A long, lingering silence hangs over us.
“Well . . .” I really just want to get home and catch The Late Show, but I didn’t get soaked so I could leave her standing out here.
“Are you happy?” Her question cuts through the quiet night like a rude interruption.
“Uh . . .” What? I shift nervously on my feet.
“In your life. Are you happy? Or do you ever wish you could just start over?”
I frown into the darkness. “Right now I wish I wasn’t freezing my ass off in the rain,” I admit. What the hell else do I say to that? I wasn’t ready for deep, thought-provoking questions. I generally avoid those, and God knows the idiots I hang out with don’t toss them around. Is this chick out of her mind?
She steps in closer, lifting her umbrella to shield me, granting me part of my wish. “I mean, if you could just start over fresh . . . free yourself from all the bad decisions you’ve made . . . would you do it?”
Obviously this woman’s shitty day started long before the flat tire. “Sounds like you have some regrets,” I finally offer. It’s not really an answer to her question but, honestly, I don’t know how to respond to that.
“Yeah. I think I do.” It’s so soft, I barely hear her over the rain hitting asphalt and the low rumble of her idling engine. I startle as cool fingers suddenly slide over my cheek, my nose, my jaw—covered in fresh stubble—until they find my mouth, where they rest in a strangely intimate way. I feel like she’s testing me. What’s going on in this woman’s head right now?
Though I can’t stop the steady climb of my heartbeat, I don’t move a single muscle, more curious than anything. Very slowly, the shadow in front of me shifts closer and closer, until her mouth is hovering over mine and her breathing is shaky.
And then she kisses me.
Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader, and currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.