Identity: Unknown [Tall, Dark, and Dangerous Series Book 8] [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Suzanne Brockmann
eBook Category: Romance/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Description: What he remembered: His clothing size.... What he didn't remember: Everything else Navy SEAL Mitchell Shaw woke up one morning with no clue as to who he was.And the items hidden in his possession were no help--an address, along with a .22 caliber side arm. The address led him to the Lazy 8 Ranch--and its beautiful manager, Becca Keyes, who made him believe he might have a future. Even if he wasn't sure about his past. The gun was another story altogether...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Published: 2007
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2007
This eBook is part of the following series:
36 Reader Ratings:
"Hey, hey, hey there, Mission Man! How ya doin', baby? Rise and shine! That's my man—open those eyes. It's definitely the a.m. and in the a.m. here at the First Church Shelter, we go from horizontal to vertical."
Pain. His entire world had turned into a trinity of pain, bright lights and an incredibly persistent voice. He tried to turn away, tried to burrow down into the hard mattress of the cot, but hands shook him—gently at first, then harder.
"Yo, Mish. I know it's early, man, but we've got to get these beds cleaned up and put away. We're serving up a nice warm breakfast along with an A.A. meeting in just a few minutes. Why don't you give it a try? Sit and listen, even if your stomach can't handle the chow."
A.A. Alcoholics Anonymous. Could it possibly be a hangover that was making him feel as if he'd been hit by a tank? He tried to identify the sour taste in his mouth but couldn't. It was only bitter. He opened his eyes again, and again his head felt split in two. But this time he clenched his teeth, forcing his eyes to focus on a smiling, cheerful, weather-beaten African-American face.
"I knew you could do it, Mish." The voice belonged to the face. "How you doin', man? Remember me? Remember your good friend Jarell? That's right, I tucked you into this bed last night. Come on, let's get you up and headed toward the men's room. You could use a serious washing up, my man."
"Where am I?" His own voice was low, rough and oddly unfamiliar to his ears.
"The First Church Homeless Shelter, on First Avenue."
The pain was relentless, but now it was mixed with confusion as he slowly, achingly sat up. "First Avenue…?"
"Hmm," the man named Jarell made a face. "Looks like you had yourself a bigger binge than I thought. You're in Wyatt City, friend. In New Mexico. Ring any bells?"
He started to shake his head, but the hellish pain intensified. He held himself very still instead, supporting his forehead with his hands. "No." He spoke very softly, hoping Jarell would do the same. "How did I get here?"
"A couple of Good Sams brought you in last night." Jarell hadn't gotten the hint, and continued as loud as ever. "Said they found you taking a little nap with your nose in a puddle, a few blocks over in the alley. I checked your pockets for your wallet, but it was gone. Seems you'd already been rolled. I'm surprised they didn't take those pretty cowboy boots of yours. From the looks of things, though, they did take the time to kick you while you were down."
He brought his hand to the side of his head. His hair was filthy, and it felt crusty, as if it were caked with blood and muck.
"Come on and wash up, Mission Man. We'll get you back on track. Today's a brand-new day, and here at the shelter, the past does not equal the future. From here on in, you can start your life anew. Whatever's come before can just be swept away." Jarell laughed, a rich, joyful sound. "Hey, you've been here more than six hours, Mish. You can get your six-hour chip. You know that saying, One Day at a Time? Well, here on First Avenue, we say one hour at a time."
He let Jarell help him to his feet. The world spun, and he closed his eyes for a moment.
"You got those feet working yet, Mish? That's my man. One foot in front of the other. Bathroom's dead ahead. Can you make it on your own?"
"Yes." He wasn't sure that he could, but he would have said nearly anything to get away from Jarell's too-loud, too-cheerful, too-friendly voice. Right now the only friend he wanted near him was the blessed, healing silence of unconsciousness.
"You come on out after you get cleaned up," the old man called after him. "I'll help you get some food for both your belly and your soul."
He left Jarell's echoing laughter behind and pushed the men's-room door open with a shaking hand. All of the sinks were occupied, so he leaned against the cool tile of the wall, waiting for a turn to wash.
The large room was filled with men, but none of them spoke. They moved quietly, gingerly, apologetically, careful not to meet anyone's eyes. They were careful not to trespass into one another's personal space even with a glance.
He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He was just another one of them—disheveled and unkempt, hair uncombed, clothes ragged and dirty. He had the bonus of a darkening patch of blood on his dirt-stained T-shirt, the bright red turning as dingy as the rest of him as it dried.
A sink opened up, and he moved toward it, picking up a bar of plain white soap to scrub the grime from his hands and upper arms before he tackled his face. What he truly needed was a shower. Or a hosing down. His head still throbbed, and he moved it carefully, leaning toward the mirror, trying to catch a look at the gash above his right ear.
The wound was mostly covered by his dark shaggy hair and…
He froze, staring at the face in front of him. He turned his head to the right and then to the left. The face in the mirror moved when he moved. It definitely belonged to him.
But it was the face of a stranger.
It was a lean face, with high cheekbones. It had a strong chin that badly needed a shave, except for a barren spot marked by a jagged white scar. A thin-lipped mouth cut a grim line, and two feverish-looking eyes that weren't quite brown and weren't quite green stared back at him. Tiny squint lines surrounded the edges of those eyes, as if this face had spent a good share of its time in the hot sun.
Copyright © 1999 by Suzanne Brockmann.