Publication date: May 4th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance
What if the whole world knows who you are, but you wake up to find you have forgotten everything since high school?
When Caleb wakes up in a glamorous LA clinic, he is a changed man. His once-scrawny body is toned, his now-white teeth gleam, and everyone looks at him in adoration. Caleb shouldn’t even be in the US–he’s English, and has never traveled farther than London.
Somehow Caleb transformed from an eighteen-year old, sexually questioning, reclusive high school student who spent his free time composing and practicing music in his parents’ shabby council flat to become a world famous rock star with adoring fans and his own mansion overlooking the Pacific.
Caleb bravely tries to fit into his new life as he recovers from his amnesia. But who is the handsome assistant publicity manager who visits him in the hospital? Why does everyone think Caleb is straight? What has Caleb forgotten? And will he ever remember?
There is a perfectly good reason why:
1.) I can’t move my body.
2.) I smell a strange lemony scent.
3.) I am lying on soft sheets, on an even softer bed, and am wearing a long shirt I do not recognize.
Unfortunately, I can’t think of that perfectly good reason.
A monitor beeps next to me, a noisy rhythmic sound that every part of me—the part that wants to play my music, the part that practices in my parents’ too-small basement—hates. The sound blares in my ears, and I miss the nothingness, the silence that surely I have just awoken from.
Perfume hits my nostrils. It’s too sweet, as if somebody has bathed in bubble gum and roses. It reminds me of the girls at school, and I turn my head away.
“Oh my God!” a high-pitched voice squeals in my ear in an American accent. “He’s awake!”
Shouldn’t I be awake?
“You’re awake, Caleb! You did it!” the voice says, this time louder and more screeching. I’m being unfair. There’s a joyousness there, and I want to capture it with music. I want to smile. I am smiling. If only everyone praised me with the same enthusiasm. I mean, I haven’t even opened my eyes yet.
Why can’t I open my eyes?
A shiver runs through me, and I scrunch my eyes together. I struggle to part my lids as if I’ve forgotten how to do it.
“Caleb.” A deep baritone voice pulls me into the world, conjuring images of smoky bars, suited men, and luscious sounds. I’m reminded of the men I gaze at with the sound turned low on the classic movie channel, when even my parents would complain about me strumming my guitar. Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn.
These men speak with authority and are glamorous in a way no real people are, in a way no people in Wolverhampton, England, population tiny, can be. But it’s easy to be glamorous when prancing about on the small screen.
I open my eyes.
And he’s gorgeous. Espresso-brown hair sweeps over his olive-skinned face in short, curly waves, and stubble shadows his face, covering broad cheekbones and a square chin. He’s wearing khakis and a deep green sweater that matches his eyes. His eyes flicker back and forth, but relief soon flutters across his face. I want to run my fingers through his hair and pull him closer to me.
“You’re okay,” he breathes, and I nod.
He leans closer to me, and I smell something tropical and woodsy all mixed together. He has an accent as well, though it’s not an American one I’m hearing, but something more Spanish. His words are melodious, and he speaks slowly, gently to me.
I don’t want to ponder that a man I’ve never met before is so concerned to see me. I’m going to enjoy the moment.
“They told me you had awakened, but you were so quiet, and . . .” His eyes mist over, and I want to fall into them, count the flecks of gold that dance among shards of emerald. His brow wrinkles, and he tilts his head.
“I’m fine,” I say.
He smiles, and he appears boyish, though I imagine he is in his early twenties. He smooths his sweater, and I want to tell him it isn’t necessary. He’s already perfect. “I came to get you.”
My breath quickens, and trickles of sweat bead my palms. His confidence sweeps me away, and I ponder a world where his meaning could be that of my dreams. I swallow hard. “Where do you want to take me?”
I curse that my voice croaks, all moisture vanishing in his presence, but in the next moment, I am rejoicing that it has. I want to praise the heavens and don a gospel robe, clapping my hands in a way that isn’t the least bit elegant but is every bit musical. He presses an ice chip against my lips, his gaze tender, his fingers warm as they touch my cheeks, and the ice gloriously cold as it melts into my mouth.
Pop music fills the room. I wouldn’t have expected the doctor to like this sort of music, certainly not enough to play it to a patient. The sound is typical boy band: harmonious, uplifting, contemporary—and completely distant from my tastes.
The band starts to dance. They swing their hips, and their legs move in perfect rhythm. The men have tousled hair and wear black jeans and casual t-shirts, as if to emphasize their masculinity despite the fact they are dancing.
The camera pans to a filled stadium, zooming in on pre-teen girls, university-aged women, and their mothers. The faces in the audience are expressive, passionate; whatever my opinion on the music is, this band is adored.
“Recognize anything?” The doctor’s eyes gleam, and his fingers tap against the expansive desk in rhythm to the music. For the first time, he seems animated and content.
I scrunch my fists, tired of questions. Perhaps this band is famous, perhaps their music is played in every mall, but that doesn’t mean I know who they are.
And I don’t care.
“You think some mediocre music will trigger my memory of the last five years?” I bite my lip, and heat flames over my cheeks. I know better than to criticize someone’s taste in music. “I’m sorry—I’m tired.”
The doctor’s voice is serious. “This is your band, Caleb.”
“Nonsense.” I fold my arms against my chest. This music is nothing like the music I used to write and practice.
“You’re famous. A household name.” He grins. “You’re the thoughtful, British one. Ezra Williams is the primary songwriter and vocalist, but you write some songs too. Maybe I should have put on one of your songs.
“I . . . But how?” I sputter and turn my head away.
I’m just from the Midlands. I’ve never been farther away than London, and that was only once. I’ve never even been to Wales, and regular trains go there. And now I’m living in California? Among Hollywood royalty?
I’ve never even performed in front of my school. How am I supposed to believe I’m performing in front of a whole stadium? That I do this regularly? To music I don’t even like? And people don’t mind? Pay to see it? Even—enjoy it?
“I don’t dance.” I’ve never danced. This can’t be me.
“Look, here you are.” The doctor points at one of the figures.
His skin is tanned, his body muscular, and his hair artfully tousled in a way I’ve never attempted. He’s in the back, but yes, he’s definitely dancing.
It can’t be me.
Yet it’s my voice. It certainly sounds like my voice, but that can’t be me, sashaying up there with four other guys.
I can’t be in a boy band.
I open my mouth to protest, but I’ve protested all day. The doctor freezes the frame, and I peer at the computer, leaning over the desk. The person looks somewhat like me. If I had blond highlights and was more handsome. Much more handsome. This man is well-groomed and doesn’t need glasses. Though for that matter, no glasses are on my nose now. I lift my hand to where they should be.
“Laser surgery,” Dr. Selatcher says as my hand brushes against the bridge of my nose.
She wrote her first historical romance at age eight and gave it to her grandmother for her birthday. It had illustrations and involved a lot of fainting and a main character named Loretta. She’s glad that her readers now are not subjected to her artwork.
She sometimes wonders if the naked men in her books might be an inadvertent consequence of attending a women’s college for four years.