How far would you go to find a child that never existed?
Elizabeth Walker awakens in a mental institution, the aftermath of a nightmare in her veins. All she can think of is saving a little boy—her son. But the orderlies who rush in and jab her with needles assure her she has no son. So does her mother, who demands her doctors keep her calm and prevent her from these troubling delusions. But Elizabeth’s nightmares are so real, and her arms still feel the memory of holding her son. And her instincts tell her to trust no one. Her child is gone. Her memories are gone. Everything is just…gone.
Ex-military medic David Kerrigan will never stop blaming himself for the childhood tragedy that took his younger sister’s life. Working on assignment at the facility, he’s drawn to Elizabeth, and he’s not sure that everything about her case is on the up and up. David knows full well he can’t change the past, but what if he can save this one person? And maybe helping Elizabeth might just save them both…
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
If memories were liquids, then Elizabeth Walker’s would be blood. Not warm, life-giving, tissue-bathing blood, but cold, coagulated, dried up, and stepped-over-on-the-sidewalk blood.
Memories weren’t liquids.
They were more like fireflies blinking in the dark, daring to be caught, disappearing a moment before they could be reached. And the only liquid left in Elizabeth’s body was a few unshed tears. They hardly ever fell now. Even they seemed to be drying up on her.
Nightmare or not, she would claw her way through any level of consciousness to save the boy. The last ounce of breath she drew from her lungs burst out as a scream, leaving her choking and gasping for air.
The sense of urgency to save him, to do something, burned frustrated holes through the bottoms of her feet—feet that did not touch pavement no matter how fast she moved.
She had to do something. But what?
She calculated the likelihood of reaching him and came up short. He was far. No way could she reach him in time. Yet waiting, doing nothing, wasn’t an option either. Protective instinct propelled her legs forward, and damn the odds.
“Somebody. Help.” She pushed herself from the dream.
She dug her fingers into her mattress, discharging a crush of bleach into her hyperventilated nostrils.
A drowning sensation filled her lungs. She clenched her chest muscles. She gasped, struggling for oxygen.
A door slamming against a wall made her sit bolt upright. Two bulky men in blue scrubs burst into the room.
I must admit, it's been a very long time since a book grabbed me, held me prisoner, and had me emotionally invested on the first page. Gone by Barb Han did just that. I was incensed at the way Elizabeth was treated, and almost comically frustrated by the universal refusal she met when she asked anyone but David Kerrigan for help.
Barb Han's writing is gripping, and beautifully executed. There were a few times when I just had to re-read a sentence because it was so perfect, or poignant. Elizabeth is so genuine, and so determined! It's so enjoyable to read female characters that listen to and trust their intuition. Marry that with a mother's infinite drive to protect her child no matter the cost, and you have a strong, kickass woman who pulls herself out of the drug-induced fog she's been forced to endure and fights back.
David Kerrigan is just lovely. I know that sounds trite, but bear with me. He's a gorgeous male, a bit tormented, a medic recently out of the military, and trying to figure out where he fits. Or even if he fits anywhere. With everything stacked against him in the situation regarding helping Elizabeth, he does what just about any of us could do, but the difference? He takes responsibility for it! Even when he really didn't have any sane choice, he still accepts it was his choice, and he makes up for it.
June Walker. Holy moly. Talk about guano loco! She was written just as wonderfully as all the others, but what I really would have wanted to know was what she had that gave her so much power over people. Without giving any spoilers, I want to know what was it about her? Particularly regarding one character, who had every bit as much influence and resources as June did, if not more, why did June instill such fear? And Elizabeth's doctor, Dr. Madrigano. Why was June allowed to call all the shots to the point of Madrigano risking her career? What was it about June Walker that she could do this?
I must admit, if you're easily frustrated, you might find yourself dying to flip ahead and find out what happens. But I admit, I'm one of those that flips to the last chapter in a mystery. I will definitely be reading this one again, if only to enjoy the experience of reading it! The first time around, I was so into this book that I was reading as fast as I could to find out what happens next. Ms. Han definitely does tension and suspense well! And I don't handle it so well, lol.
Five stars, and a must-read!
About the Author
Barb Han lives in North Texas with her husband, has three beautiful children, a spunky Golden Retriever/Standard Poodle mix, and too many books to count.
When she's not writing, researching, or otherwise getting lost in a story, she volunteers at her children's school, is in the kitchen 'creating' dinner, or can be found on or around a basketball court.
Writing contemporary romance and romantic suspense has been a dream come true for Barb--something she's wanted to do for as long as she can remember. She left her corporate job, at her husband's urging, and has been happily playing with imaginary friends ever since.
Learn more about her latest releases at http://www.barbhan.com and don't forget to say hi. She loves hearing from readers.
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