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.
I don’t know how I got here.
I don’t know where here is.
Who is this woman hovering over me?
“Please page Dr. Alwood immediately,” she calls to someone unseen. Turning back to look at me, it takes her a long moment before she manages a white-toothed smile. Even in my groggy state, there’s no missing the pity in it. Her chest lifts with a deep breath and then she shifts her attention to the clear-fluid bags hanging on a rack next to me. “Glad to finally see your eyes open,” she murmurs. “They’re a really pretty russet color.” The hem of her lilac uniform grazes the cast around my hand.
I take inventory of the room—the pale beige walls, the stiff chairs, the pastel-blue curtain. The machines. It finally clicks.
I’m in a hospital.
“How—” I stall over the question as that first word scratches against my throat.
“You were intubated to help you breathe. That hoarseness will go away soon, I promise.”
I needed help breathing?
“You’re on heavy doses of morphine, so you may feel a little disoriented right now. That’s normal. Here.” A cool hand slips under my neck as she fluffs up my pillow.
“Where am I?” I croak out, just now noticing that bandages are dividing my face in two at the nose.
“You’re at St. Charles in Bend, Oregon, with the very best doctors that we have. It looks like you’re going to pull through.” Again, another smile. Another sympathetic stare. She’s a pretty, young woman, her long, light brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, her eyes a mesmerizing leafy green.
Not mesmerizing enough to divert me from her words. Pull through what exactly?
She prattles on about the hospital, the town, the unusually brisk winter weather. I struggle to follow along, too busy grappling with my memory, trying to answer the litany of questions swirling inside my mind. Nothing comes, though. I’m drawing a complete blank.
Like she said, it must be the morphine.
A creak pulls my gaze to the far corner of the room, where a tall, lanky woman in a white coat covering a pink floral shirt has just entered. With quick, long strides she rounds my bed, drawing the curtain behind her as she approaches. “Hello.”
I’m guessing this is the doctor who the nurse had paged. I watch as she fishes out a clip from her pocket and pins back a loose strand of apricot-colored hair. Snapping on a pair of surgical gloves, she then pulls a small flashlight from her pocket. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m not sure yet.” My voice is rough but at least audible. “Are you my doctor? Doctor . . .” I read the name on the badge affixed to her coat. “Alwood?”
Green eyes rimmed with dark circles search mine for a long moment. “Yes, I operated on you. My name is Dr. Meredith Alwood.”
I have to say that I was very excited to be selected for this tour and to read this book. I’m a HUGE fan of K.A. Tucker’s Ten Tiny Breath’s series and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a new set of characters. Once again she knocked it out of the park with the twists and turns, characters you fall in love with instantly and a plot that is never predictable!
As this book opens we have a girl Jane Doe, she’s been viciously attacked and left for dead. But she’s alive the only problem is she doesn’t know who she is. As we move through the story Jane decides to change her name to Water. Yes sounds unusual but the reason behind it is simply beautiful! I loved the way she came up with this name. Water is taken in by people she doesn’t know and shown a kindness that she needs in so many ways.
Jesse is haunted by the memories of the past, while Water is trying to start a new life. The problem is that he is suffering. He knows her past and he feels the need to keep his distance and protect her in every way possible. He doesn’t want her to regain her memories for fear that the danger of her past will come back with a vengeance. I felt so badly for Jesse and his struggle, it was clear from the beginning that he was never going to give up on her. He was warm and gentle and so loving, until he was forced to change course. I absolutely adored his character.
The side characters in this book are just as amazing as Water and Jesse. Jesse’s mom, dad and sister and even the crotchety old neighbor will warm your heart. Their acceptance and ability to let Water into their lives when they have no idea who she was, showed a compassion that most people don’t exhibit in real life. They opened their homes and their hearts to help this girl that seems to have no past, an uncertain present and an undetermined future.
K.A. Tucker’s stories have that ability to suck you in and keep you up all hours reading and flipping the pages furiously. Her words grip you and send you on emotional highs and lows like no other. I thought it was brilliant that Jane’s POV was present day but that Jesse’s was past, even when it frustrated me because I needed answers faster! This book hit me just as hard at Ten Tiny Breaths and I couldn’t recommend it more highly! I give this one 5 stars! If your looking for a read that will send you on an emotional roller coaster with lots of tears, love and compassion this book is for you!
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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.