Something to Remember

 

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Something to Remember

Her perfect Christmas is missing just one thing...

Skyscraper trees and gravel paths have replaced the city skyline view out Ava’s window. The quintessential inn she now calls home is serenely perfect and a fraction of the scale she’s used to renovating. The tiny timber town of Pine Grove, Oregon is filled with people who love her. It’s a picture perfect setting…but Ava doesn’t remember any of it.

When Ava wakes up in the hospital under the capable care of one strappingly good-looking doctor, Lane Hart, she waits for her fiancé, Ned—the last man she remembers being with—to whisk her back to the city. But her reality is nothing like what she remembers. The flannel-clad lumberjack doctor before her claims to be her fiancé, and insists the sparsely populated town of Pine Grove is home.

If you love a sweet, clean romance story with a twist of holiday magic then you’re sure to enjoy this latest installment of Meg Gray’s City Streets, Country Roads story collection. Grab this sweeter than apple-pie book and find out if Ava gets her perfect Christmas after all.

 

 

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Something to Remember Excerpt - Chapter One

 

Ava Ringwald’s left hand itched. Her mouth was dry like a bowl of cotton.

She was in bed. Sleeping. No, not sleeping. Awake, or trying to come awake.

Why wouldn’t her eyes open?

Her lips were dry. Water—she needed water.

Open eyes, she commanded, but nothing happened. .

Her hand still itched, but she couldn’t move. She couldn’t push through the sleepy fog.

Where was she?

Murmurs. She heard murmuring. That meant people, right?

Ava pushed and clawed, trying to rip through her confused and groggy haze. She wanted out of this sleep.

Inside, she kicked and screamed, but her body never moved.

A warm hand covered hers—the non-itchy one—calming her internal fight.

“Can you hear me?” said a garbled voice.

“Yes,” Ava wanted to call out, fighting again.

“I love you, Ava. I love you, sweetheart.” The voice floated from far away, almost underwater sounding. But real.Ava tried one more time to force her eyes open but the fight slipped out of her as warm lips pressed to her fingers.

Every muscle in her body went lax. . The thumb on her itchy hand moved, just a little—a twitch, really. She tucked it under her palm and ran it into a metal band. She checked again—yep, there was a ring on her left hand.

The ring had a thick band. Solid. And expensive. Yes, definitely expensive. It had to be. Why couldn’t she conjure the image? Was it the one with the gorgeous platinum band and huge square diamond she’d casually pointed out in the jeweler’s window on the way to the Christmas party? When… when… When, what? What happened? Something happened there, but she didn’t remember. ? She rubbed her thumb across the band of her ring again. Her ring!

Ned proposed. Finally.

She focused on the loving sensation radiating up her arm. Her hand warmed, the one wrapped in a tender touch. She was the person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. He picked her. Ned—perfectly gorgeous from top to bottom, like some Nordic god—picked her! What a power couple they would make.

“I love you too.” She knew the words wouldn’t reach his ears, but she heard the, she’d waited for since they began dating. And she had a ring, all undeniable proof of the love they shared.

And then, everything fell quiet.

***

Ava blinked at the man claiming to be her doctor as he handed her a cup of ice water with Central Valley Hospital stamped on the side. “So glad you pulled out of that coma. You had us all worried. Especially your fiancé.” The doctor looked down at his clipboard before jetting his eyes back to her. “Don’t worry, he’s on his way back here right now.”

The young doctor’s acne-pocked chin and shaggy haircut had Ava wondering if he was old enough to hold a high school diploma, let alone a medical degree. But she dismissed the thought because her fiancé was on his way, and she loved the sound of that.

She sipped the cool drink, letting it run over her dry, parched throat. Relief came for a moment before the scratchy burn returned. She took another drink and set the cup on her bedside table. Her gaze fell to the brilliant diamond on her left hand.

Ned had outdone himself there. So much more exquisite than the one she’d pointed out in the window. One great big oblong diamond framed inside a set of smaller ones. The petite diamonds continued along the band and as she rocked her hand back and forth, the overhead lights caught it from every angle, making it glitter.

“Poor guy,” the prepubescent doctor said as he came up to Ava, popped the stethoscope ends in his ears, and pressed the cold, round end against her chest. “I bet he’s pretty upset you woke up the second he left to go home for a shower.” He paused and listened to her heart.

Ava imagined Ned, his blond hair going into a rumpled mess and his shiny blue eyes full of worry as she lay here for… days? Weeks?

She was about to ask when the doctor folded his stethoscope around his neck. But then he pulled a light from his white coat pocket and leaned in uncomfortably close to peer into her pupils.

“He’s been by your side since he brought you in.” Another image of Ned flashed in her brain, in which he carried her draped over his arms like the hero of a regency romance novel. His blustery white shirt undone, showing off the rigid terrain of his exquisitely sculpted chest, Ava unconscious in his arms. Him yelling for help as he feared for her life. Oh, how romantic. What a story that would make for their next party.

The young doctor tucked the light away in his coat and sat in a chair. “But you’re in good hands with Doctor Hart. He never feared you wouldn’t survive the accident.”

“Accident?” Ava zeroed in on the doctor’s face, hidden behind his shaggy locks. “I was in an accident?”

“Well yeah,” the child-doctor said, looking up from his papers. “When you were run over.”

“Run over. I was run over?” Ava gasped for air. Broken arms, legs, bruises. She patted her hands down her body and found everything intact. How long had she lain here broken and healing? How long had Ned been by her side nursing her back to health? How had he managed that kind of time off?

“You don’t remember—” the words of the young doctor were cut off as the door swung wide open and a man stepped inside.

Hello Mr. Biceps.

A tall, broad shouldered man in a blue and black flannel shirt strode into the room. His shirtsleeves, rolled to the elbow showed the depth of muscle in his forearms, leaving nothing to Ava’s imagination about what lay beneath the rest of the flannel.

Ava sat up straighter and pulled her fingers through her hair. She must have looked a sight.

The thought slipped away as her eyes narrowed on the bouquet clutched in his hand. Roses—red roses—her favorite.

Her eyes moved from the flowers to the face of the rugged-looking man, his one-too-many undone buttons sending hottie-messages right to her brain.

Who is this

She might be spoken for by her Nordic beauty, but she could still admire and appreciate the fine attributes of another man. For a second at least, right?

“Hello, Ava.” His deep voice brought a flush to her cheeks, like a silly adolescent.

He knew her name? What was this, some singing telegram striptease thing? Had Blair arranged this wake-up call? That had to be it. Blair was the only person who would think to send a lumberjack Chippendale to her hospital room the moment she awoke. Nobody else knew of her secret lumberjack crush.

Ava let out a laugh. She couldn’t wait to tell her best friend what a shock her heart had suffered.

“Hello, Dr. Hart,” the young doctor said to the man crossing the room with his eyes locked on Ava.

Doctor? This fine specimen of man was her doctor? Ava pulled the bed sheet up, suddenly embarrassed by her initial heart palpitations.

“She woke up ten minutes after you left.” The youngling doctor fidgeted and pushed his hands into his pockets, but Dr. Hart paid him no attention.

“Hello, Doctor.” Her voice was a whisper, her mouth having gone dry again.

Dr. Hart sat on the edge of the bed, eyes still intent on her. Ava glanced at the door, waiting for Ned and his gorgeous face to rush through and save her from the intensity of the blue eyes looking down on her.

Dr. Hart leaned away and set the roses on her bedside table. Musky cologne breezed through the air as he sat back. “How are you feeling, sweetheart?” He took her hand and brushed his thumb across the back of it.

She blinked at him. Didn’t the good doctor realize he was taking his bedside manner to a whole new level, one that bordered on sexual harassment? Ava’s eyes shot to the pimple-faced doctor, but he wasn’t raising an eyebrow.

“We were just discussing the accident,” the young doctor said. “She doesn’t seem to remember it.”

“That’s not uncommon.” Dr. Hart squeezed her fingers.

Ava stiffened and flinched, trying to pry her hand loose.

“What’s the last thing you remember?” Dr. Hart asked, a dispirited twinkle coming to his eye. He loosened his grip, and Ava whisked her hand away. She pulled the sheets higher. The look in the doctor’s eyes was beyond concerned. A tremor of fear shimmied down her spine.

“I remember looking at engagement rings. In the window at Finnegan’s.” She glanced at the beautiful ring, its glitz far and above more dazzling than the ones she’d seen that night. Where did Ned get it? Why didn’t she remember him proposing? Again, she looked at the door.

Dr. Hart stood. “Where’s your ophthalmoscope?” The younger doctor produced a small shining light. The hot flannel-clad doctor put his hands, all business like, on her forehead, keeping her lids open. That musky scent eased in close to her nose. It smelled good, calming.

He pulled back and handed the light to the other doctor.

Something was wrong. The way Dr. Hart looked at her now, pained and unsure, scared her.

“When will my fiancé be here?” She looked to the door again.

No one answered. She turned back to the doctors.

“I’m right here, Ava,” Dr. Hart said. “I’m right in front of you.”

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