Read Lost Memories (Honky Tonk Hearts) Online

Authors: Sherri Thomas

Tags: #Contemporary

Lost Memories (Honky Tonk Hearts)

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Praise for Sherri Thomas

Dedication

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Thank you for purchasing this publication of The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Lost Memories

by

Sherri Thomas

Honky Tonk Hearts

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Lost Memories

COPYRIGHT © 2013 by Sherri Thomas

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Cover Art by
Tamra Westberry

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First Yellow Rose Edition, 2013

Digital ISBN 978-1-61217-743-4

Honky Tonk Hearts

Published in the United States of America

Praise for Sherri Thomas

“I love a good cowboy story, and I love a good author. When I get the two together, it’s even better! I loved Sherri Thomas’ work and her skills are superb. She really captured me instantly, drew me into the heart of the story and had me hanging on every word until the very last page.”

~Reviews by Molly

~*~

“If you love cowboys and are a sucker for romances, then you will want to add Sherri Thomas’ book to your reading list.”

~Matilda, Coffee Time Romance & More

~*~

“I’ll definitely be looking for more from Ms. Thomas!”

~Mandy, Night Owl Reviews

~*~

“A great short story and the first I’ve read by this author. However, it won’t be my last. Well done, Ms. Thomas.”

~Bec, The Romance Studio

Dedication

This is for my husband.

I couldn't ask for a better best friend.

Thank you for all the wonderful memories

and many more to come.

Prologue

“Good morning, Darcy.” Dr. Sheffield entered the room with a smile on his lips. He crossed to the foot of the bed and picked up the chart. “How are you feeling?”

Darcy Brooks gave a short laugh. “You mean besides the fact the only reason I even know my name is because it’s on the driver’s license found in my purse?” Bitterness lined her tone, but she didn’t care.

“I see anger has set in.”

She slapped the mattress and glanced at the back of her cut up hands. The puckered, red marks sparked her temper even more. “It’s damn frustrating.” Waking up in a strange Texas hospital over a week ago wasn’t her idea of luck.

“I know this has been quite an ordeal for you, but you’re doing wonderful.” He flipped through the chart. “Any memories surfacing?” Hazel eyes narrowed beneath bushy gray brows as he moved to her side.

“A few, but they’re fuzzy,” she lied. Her memory wasn’t any closer to returning today than the day the eighteen-wheeler smashed into her car. One major bump on the head and bang—everything had vanished. Her mind a clean slate. Ten whole days later and she still remembered
nothing
.

“Don’t rush it.” The doctor patted her shoulder. “These things take time.”

Time, ha
. She spent too many hours in this infirmary, and with not one visitor other than hospital staff to check on her injuries.

Dr. Sheffield hooked the file back on the foot of the bed before returning to extract a small penlight out of his white lab coat pocket. He ran the beam past her pupils. “The good news is other than a few minor cuts and bruises, your physical health is good and your vitals are stable. Even your CAT scan and MRI came back normal.” He straightened and put his penlight away, then folded his hands in front of his flat stomach. “However, I am concerned about letting you go home.”

“Why?” Darcy frowned and shook her head; the motion set off a headache. She clasped her hands tight in her lap to keep from rubbing the pain away and winced as the sores on her tender skin stung under the pressure. Small cuts from the glass of the windshield also marred her arms, neck, and face. Her leg sported the worst of the markings with an angry, red, seven-inch slash running horizontally across the inside of her left thigh.

“I don’t like the idea of you going home to an empty house. I think it’d be best to move you to the rehabilitation building for a couple of weeks.”

No!
Desperation clawed at her throat and white walls glared in her sights as her vision swam. The pull on her heart, the desire to find out the details of her life proved too hard to ignore. If she didn’t find another soul to shed light on her existence, she’d be at the mercy of strangers forever. On the other hand, if she talked the doctors into letting her leave, what waited for her outside the sterile walls? She hadn’t the slightest idea of where she came from. No recollection of family—
if
one existed. Did she have a husband? Children? A mother or father?

For heaven’s sake, it’s not as if I dropped out of the sky.

“I think I’d be fine.” Squaring her shoulders and raising her chin, she hoped her voice didn’t reveal the fear.

“I’m sorry.” He shook his balding head. “I’m not comfortable with you being alone. At least not for the time being.”

She put her head back on the pillow and shut her eyes. Any sliver of optimism she held teetered close to the edge.

“It’s our only option at this point. Unless someone comes forward within the next twenty-four hours, we’re going to need to move you.”

He pulled the bandage off her forehead with a quick tug. She sucked in a deep breath to ward off the sting of the tape.

The doctor inspected the wound at her hairline. “Now, have you talked with social services regarding your medical bills? They can help you apply for assistance.”

“Yes, but without knowing my background, it’s going to take a lot of work. For now I’ve agreed to make payments once I find a job.” The world moved at a turbulent speed, running over anyone who paused in the process.

“I don’t want you going out to find employment the day you’re discharged. Nevertheless, it is good to get your ducks in a row.” He patted her shoulder again. “You rest now. I’ll send the nurse in to change the bandage on your leg and head.” The door clicked behind him, leaving her alone to the deafening silence.

Darcy threw the white covers back. Her raw body protested as she forced her legs across the floor to the window. She needed something to jog her memory before she went stark raving mad. When she first woke up, she’d been terrified, and later, when the nurse showed her the purse, she tore through it trying to find something,
anything
. But the bag contained nothing but makeup and her picture on a driver’s license.

A
new
driver’s license.

No credit cards. No pictures. No letters. Nada. According to the landlord of the apartment listed on her license, she’d moved to Amarillo, Texas, only a few weeks ago. And as far as he knew, she had yet to move her belongings here.

Then he asked if she’d be retaining the apartment for future use or if she’d be terminating her lease—not one word of concern for her well-being.

She rested the unmarked side of her forehead on the warm glass of the window. The sun shone high in the afternoon sky, and she squinted at the people coming in and out of the doors below. That’s what she wanted, to be free to come and go as she pleased.

Why did I move to Texas?
Did she have relatives in the area, a friend?

Darcy crossed back to her bed, her body trembling with the effort. Why did this happen to her? Was she a bad person and the Big Guy upstairs wanted to punish her? She sat back and closed her eyes. Nothing. And the hardest part was being at the mercy of strangers.

“Hi, Darcy,” a female voice said from the door. “You awake?”

“Yeah.” She opened her eyes and pushed herself up further on the bed before giving Jordan Reece a grim smile.

“You certainly don’t look happy.” The blonde nurse placed the materials she held in her hands on the bedside table.

“Just another day of not remembering who the hell I am,” she blurted out, then bit her lip.

Guilt ate at her for snapping. Over the past week and a half, the RN had become her friend, the one person she confided in. The nurturing woman had listened to Darcy rant and rave over her situation and showed nothing but compassion. She’d even taken time to stop by for nightly card games and shared her own problems with an ex-boyfriend.

“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to take this out on you.”

“Aw, hon. I’m sure it’ll come back to you.”

A glove-covered hand smoothed the hair back from her forehead.

“On the upside, this is healing nicely. I don’t think the scar will be too noticeable.”

Cold, medicated cream and a bandage applied to the area made her shudder.

“Now, let’s have a look at your leg.”

Darcy scooted down on the bed and moved the blankets out of the way.

“I see the night nurse applied more tape.” Jordan placed a hand on her thigh and pulled the first piece quick.

Hissing through her teeth at the sudden pain, Darcy glanced down to see if the adhesive ripped off her skin.

“I’m sorry. I know that hurt.” The caregiver pulled another strip. “That’s it. Take a deep breath. Almost done. One more to go.”

Stomach churning, she inhaled through her nose. She placed a hand across her belly in hopes of fighting off the nausea as the smells of disinfectants in the air contributed to her queasiness.

“There, all done.” The sterile dressing landed in the garbage pail. “Not too bad. Dr. Sheffield might remove the sutures in a day or two.”

Darcy stared at the stitches holding the gash on her leg together and grimaced. The dark pieces of thread were a sharp contrast to the pale, sensitive skin. According to the good doctor, a large piece of glass from the windshield had embedded itself into her skin, missing her femoral artery by mere inches.

Jordan poured a cup of water from the pitcher on the stand and held it out. “Here drink this.”

Taking the cup in her scabbed hand, she sipped the liquid, quenching her parched throat.

“Better?”

“Yes, thanks.”

“You bet.” The nurse placed the cup back on the table and applied a new dressing over the stitches, then drew the sheet over Darcy’s legs. “Now, why don’t you tell me what has you in such a rotten mood.”

“Don’t you have other patients to tend?”

“I have a few minutes.” Her friend pulled the chair closer and sat down. “Spill it.”

She sighed. “Dr. Sheffield isn’t comfortable sending me home alone. He wants to move me to the rehab unit.”

“Is that all?” The blue-eyed woman waved her hand through the air. “Geeze, rehab isn’t that bad.”

Jordan remained the one person Darcy figured might have understood.
Guess not
.

“I feel like I’m in a time warp. I want to go home, to get on with my life.” She gave a short spurt of laughter. “Whatever that may hold.”

“I know, but you have to do what the doctor says. He’s only looking to your best interest.”

“I’m serious.” She balled the sheets in her palm and bit back the tears as pain ripped through her fist. “I’ll go insane if I have to stay confined in this hospital much longer.”

“You’re in luck, then. The mental ward has a few empty beds.” She grinned wide.

Darcy glared and exhaled through her nose.

“Sorry. Bad joke.” Jordan got up, smoothed the front of her burgundy uniform and crossed to the window. “Hmm. I wonder.”

“What?”

“I’m thinking, give me a minute.” Her friend paced back and forth, tapping a finger to her lips before whipping back around. “You know, I’ve been looking for a roommate for the past month without any luck. Would you be interested in moving in with me for a while? I think Dr. Sheffield will agree, since you won’t be alone...and I am a nurse.”

Darcy’s spirits lifted, then plummeted. “What about rent? He doesn’t want me working yet.”

“I’m not worried about the money. I can afford the place myself. I only want a roommate because it’s too much house for one person, and I hate living alone.”

“I can’t freeload off you.”

“Nonsense.” A dismissive hand waved through the air.

“I mean it.” Flinging the sheets aside, she swung her legs to the side of the bed. “When I’m released for work, I’ll pay you back rent from the day I move in.”

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