Those of you knowledgeable about head trauma and amnesia, turn away now. This is definitely not a book for anyone who finds they can’t suspend their disbelief about plots where a character takes a blow to the head and subsequently suffers from amnesia (but no other brain damage or dysfunctions) – a cliché which was discussed at length in an ATBF column from last year. Cliché or no, I admit to having a fondness for this well-worn romance plot, and was able to move past it – sort of. The characters were likable, sympathetic people, and aside from the amnesia, the plot was basically good, and quite suspenseful at times.
Annie O’Toole is your basic CEO-at-27 type, except that she inherited her exclusive and very confidential vacation resort when her parents died, but is still responsible for much of its success. She works 18 hour days, and loves it. But still, she remembers the handsome business owner named Sam McKade who passed through her life 2 months before, leaving behind memories of laughter and incredible sex, and taking her heart with him. Annie is stunned when her “business owner” actually turns out to be a Navy SEAL and appears on live-coverage TV, saving a school bus in Washington, DC. When he nearly losing his life in the process, Annie is frantic. She’s the only one who recognizes him, even though the entire nation is glued to the TV. She contacts DC, gets the okay from the powers that be, and arrangements are made. Sam will be staying at her resort, under 100% security and total secrecy, and she will be using her skills as a physiotherapist to get his body back in working order. They can only hope that his mind follows suit.
Sam McKade wakes up in a hospital bed and knows only that something is wrong. He can’t remember his past, but a feeling of danger torments him constantly. He knows his name and rank only because the hospital and naval staff have told him. The rest is up to him. And maybe to the intensely familiar therapist he’s been sent to work with. One way or another, he has to remember – before it’s too late.
There was a lot about this story that worked. Sam and Annie had a great deal of chemistry, and her heartache over working with the man who stole her heart, and now can’t even remember her was palpable. The auxiliary characters were terrific as well, especially Annie’s sister Taylor, a wild child who’s sick of being “the irresponsible one,” and Sam’s colleague Ishmael “Izzy” Teague, who makes computer geekdom sexy. In addition, the suspense was high, and interesting, although it perhaps could have been even more intense.
What didn’t work about this book involves Sam. He has no memory, although he knows he must remember something important. He strains to recall his work, and Annie, and. . .nothing else. He seemingly has no worries about family, or any life whatsoever outside his work and his relationship with Annie, with the exception of some brief bits regarding his college football days. This hardly seems logical, and the reader is left feeling as if there’s a big chunk missing from this guy. And of course, there’s the whole amnesia deal itself. The text makes it fairly clear that it was caused by physical (rather than emotional) trauma, which makes it entirely unlikely that no brain damage or dysfunction would simultaneously occur. Of course, that wpi;d hardly be sexy, but it would be more realistic.
But, as I said, I have a soft spot for this particularly unlikely plot device, and was able to overlook it in determining my grade. If unbelievable amnesia plots set your teeth on edge, this may fall well lower than a B- for you. But if you can get past that, it’s worth a shot. It worked well enough to make me want to read more of Ms. Skye’s books.