A Christmas to Remember [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Kay Stockham
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Is he living someone else's life? He wakes up in a hospital unaware of how he got there or who he is. Memories tease him--haunting images that seem to come from someone else's life. But the biggest mystery of all is the woman who stuns him with news that's like a punch to his heart. The injured ex-Marine seems a world away from the seductive bad boy who left Marley Pierce pregnant at eighteen. In his place is a sensitive, caring stranger. But the small-town landscaper knows better than to trust Beau Buchanan again. Until Marley discovers his secret. Is it too late to turn the mistakes of the past into a second chance? Or is this a time for miracles?
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Superromance
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2007
10 Reader Ratings:
HE BATTLED HIS WAY through the bands of fog that tried to drag him back into the darkness. He wanted to wake up, wanted to move, but his body was uncooperative.
Pain registered in varying degrees. His leg, his shoulder. His head. God help him, his head. It pounded in sync with his heartbeat, every throb a stab into his retinas. He managed to drag the arm that didn't hurt up to grasp and pull at the thing covering his face.
The oxygen mask snapped back when he lost his grip and the bump against his lower lip sent new pain through him. This woke him more fully, gave him the push needed to open his eyes.
He blinked, focused. Saw dingy walls, more gray than white, and a mud-colored water stain the size of a fist on the ceiling tile. Someone had tried painting over it, but the stain had seeped through.
Next came the steady beep of a machine somewhere above his head, another ticking noise behind him on his right. Two seconds later he heard a click, and the band around his upper arm tightened just shy of squeezing it in two.
A hospital. But why?
He heard a nasally, rumbling noise and turned his head to find the source. An older man sat in a chair beside the bed, slumped forward on the blanket covering him and snoring loud enough to wake the dead.
He grimaced at the effort it took to slide his hand down to where the man lay, but before he reached the guy's arm, his fingers encountered something hard. Head throbbing, he grasped the item and dragged it up until he could see what it was. A picture?
The two men in the photo smiled. They had similar looks despite the differences in age. Both held hunting rifles and wore camouflage. Written across their chests in loopy, feminine handwriting was "Barry & Beau, Thanksgiving 2002."
Blinking, he took in the room again, noticing a mirror attached to the door closest to the bed. He stared at himself a long moment, then looked back at the photograph. Same face. A little older, a lot rougher in appearance with all the stitches and swelling and bandages, but definitely the same.
The man in the chair snuffled out a loud, throat-blasting snore. The guy choked, coughed and woke. He raised his head and rubbed his eyes and—midyawn—glanced up and froze. Eyes flaring, he shot to his feet, the chair hitting the wall. "You're awake. You're awake!"
Was he? He wasn't so sure. Everything felt…off. Dreamlike. His mind was stuffed with cotton and his face unfamiliar except for the fact it was on the photograph he still held.
What was going on?
"Don't move," the man ordered, grinning as he hurried toward the door. "Don't move," he repeated over his shoulder before yanking the door open to yell, "Doc? Doc! He's awake, come quick!"
Running footsteps thundered toward the room, growing louder as they grew close. A man in a white lab coat burst into the room.
"Glad to see you're back, soldier. My name is Major Abrams, and I'm your doctor. Let me check you over and then we'll get down to business."
Before he could find his voice, the physician pulled a minilight from his pocket and blinded him with it, ordering him to keep his eyes open despite the daggers of pain stabbing his brain. A couple of torturous seconds later, the doc straightened and wrote down some notes on his chart.
"What happened?" He sounded like a frog after a dry spell.
"What's the last thing you remember?"
He searched for an answer, but didn't find one.
"It's okay, take your time and wake up a bit. Are you seeing double?"
"How many fingers am I holding up?"
"Three. Where am I?"
"You're in Landshuhl Army Hospital." The doctor pointed to a whiteboard across the room. "What's written on the board over there?"
The pain in his head and the brightness of the lights left him squinting. "Your nurse today is Lt. Pauley."
"Very good." The doctor pulled out a stethoscope and pressed it to his chest. "What's my name again?"
He frowned. "Major Abrams."
"Good. And your lungs are clear, which is excellent. Now, back to the original question. Can you tell us what happened?"
He frowned, struggling, his thoughts too fast to catch, a speeding blur he couldn't focus on or stop. "I'm not sure."
"That's fine," the doctor murmured, continuing his exam. "After a head injury like yours, it's perfectly normal to be a little confused. Don't be alarmed. It would be unusual if you did remember details. That's why I'm grilling you with these questions."
"Do you know what happened?" He hated having to ask. Hated the nothingness where the answers should've been.
He stared at the older man who'd been sleeping beside his bed, then did his best to ignore the expression on the guy's face, the one that said whatever had landed him in the hospital hadn't been good.
"The details can wait," the doctor stated firmly, his gaze brooking no argument from the other man. "After we get some tests out of the way."
His heart rate increased, the beeps on the machine behind him sounding closer together. Awareness slid into his consciousness in place of his memories. Something was wrong, something big.
"Tell me what's going on." His gaze locked on the older man and refused to let him look away. "Who are you?"
Copyright © 2007 by Dorma Kay Stockham.