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 neighbour, 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.
Hello everyone! I loved the Ten Tiny Breaths series, so I had to read this one too, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Tucker writes beautiful love stories with that bit of complications that make you want to protect the characters from this cruel world. This books alternates POVs, between the two protagonists, Jesse and Alex, the former tells the story of how they first met, the latter tells the story in the present.
“I’m so sorry.” I don’t try to restrain the hot tears as they roll down my cheeks to land on her mangled lips-lips I had stolen plenty of kisses from, back when I was too stupid to realize how dangerous that really was. This is mu fault. She had warned me. If I had just listened, had stayed away from her, had not told her how I felt…
…had not fallen wildly in love with her.
The story starts in the present, we have Jesse finding Alex’s body. He’s sure she’s dead, there’s so much blood. He puts her in his car, scared to death, not knowing what to do, and then she gasps. We don’t know what happened, we only know Jesse is in love with her. Alex wakes up in a hospital bed, and she’s lost her memory, she doesn’t even know her name, so she goes as Jane Doe for a while, and then as Water. She was raped, beaten, she now has a scar permanently on her face, and she was pregnant but she lost the baby. Her doctor, Meredith Alwood, and her husband, Sheriff Gabe Welles, find a place for her to stay, with their neighbour Ginny Fitzgerald. So she starts fresh, in her new life, watching her neighbours’ son…
She stands across from me in front of the engine. “So…so how long do you think it’ll take you to finish this car?” “Not sure. Depends on how many distractions I have.” Like right now, I’d rather be looking at her than playing with this engine. And I love nothing more than playing with engines.
Jesse meets Alex on a street, her expensive car is stalled and she’s waiting there under the rain, so he stops and help her, they haven’t even seen each others’ faces but he knows she was crying and she talks with him about not being happy and wishing for a new start. When he’s done with her car, she kisses him and then she’s gone. They meet again under very different circumstances. Jesse’s best friend, Luke Boone, drags him to a club, when they meet these business men among whom is Viktor Petrova, a russian man, who’s very intimidating and definitely scary. Then Alex arrives, she’s Viktor’s wife, and is evident how she’s mistreated and abused, he even slaps her right there in front of everyone for, really, no reason at all. Jesse is speechless and wants nothing more than help her getting away from this life. Viktor hires Jesse to work on his car at his place, offering Jesse the car of his dream as payment. Working in Viktor’s garage gives Jesse and Alex an excuse to see each other, though.
I chuckle at her sudden shyness and her clumsiness. She’s cute when she’s awkward. “It’s fine. They’re car parts, not china.” Her bottom lips slips between her teeth and then she bursts out laughing. It’s an infectious sound and it lights up her entire face. I’m pretty sure she’s laughing at herself. I hope so. Beacuse I love a girl who can do that.
Alex married Viktor when she was only 18, he was handsome, a gentleman, and her mom, having spent all her life working hard to keep going every month, pushed her into his arms. Once they were married things got ugly. Now, in those moments she can steal with Jesse, she gets to be herself, a girl who wants to become a nurse, who likes to laugh to be young and dreams about real love. Jesse knows this is a very bad idea but he can’t help himself. He wants to be with her to make her feel good, to take her away from that monster.
“Do you like it?” “I love it.” And I love the way her tongue curls around that word. The way her eyes flicker to mine in her reflection when she says it. The way she’s watching me in the mirror now.
In the present, Water (Alex) sets herself into her new life, she find a jobs and lives with Ginny, a unique woman, who never leaves her house and doesn’t let men come close. But Water starts to break the walls Ginny had so carefully built around herself. It was really interesting to see the two of them interact, Alex doesn’t remember her demons, Ginny can’t let go of them. Water gets closer to Jesse as time pass, he seems to know what she needs, what she’s scared of, and they immediatly hit it off.
Something tells me Jesse is the kind of guy that I can always count on. My gut must be telling me that I had someone just like him in my previous life. Someone I trusted.
Why doesn’t Jesse tell her the truth? Why is no one looking for her? Going back and forth in time, I was pretty sure of what happened since the beginning, but knowing that didn’t bother me, there were lots of details I couldn’t figure out and that was enough; I was hooked from the first line and couldn’t put the book down till the very end. Water was a great heroine, and Jesse was amazing, he made mistakes, he’s not perfect but his flaws made him a lot more interesting. They’re relationship developed slowly, both times, and that’s something I really love in books.
The mind, it can be a deceitful thing, but it is no match for the heart.
In the end this was a beautifully written book, with a great and real love story, and interesting characters, even the side characters were amazing. So I highly recommend it!