Title: Persistence of Memory
Author: J.M. Snyder
RELEASED TODAY! APRIL 15th FROM AMBER HEAT PRESS
Five years ago Joah was culled ~ kidnapped by the government to be
trained as a soldier. In the process, they erased his memory,
destroying his past, his dreams, everything but his name. Armed with
that alone, Joah escapes from the facility in search of someone to
help him recall the man he used to be.
That person is Tobin, Joah’s husband, who never gave up hope of
finding him again. He refuses to believe that the strength of his
love alone won’t be enough to bring back Joah’s memories of their
shared lives, and he’s determined to bring back the man beneath the
soldier, the man he knows has to love him.
But an alarm in the chip blocking Joah’s memories was triggered at
his escape, and if it isn’t removed soon, it will shriek his life
away. Removing it won’t bring back his past, and may destroy the
present that Tobin has tried so hard to build between them. How can
the love they once shared possibly survive?
In the excerpt below, Joah has escaped from the facility but was
wounded and didn’t get far before fatigue overtook him. When he
wakes in an unfamiliar bed, he finds two men arguing over him …
I awake to voices arguing low in the next room. I hear them over the
screech in my head, which has eased up a little. Maybe I’ve already
grow used to its constant presence. I keep my eyes closed and listen
to the new voices, the real ones, because I know they’re talking
about me. “It’s not him,” the first says. A man, probably around my
own age. Why does he sound so familiar?
“How can you say that?” I know that one — it belongs to the man I
saw in the fields, the one who knew my name. “Ashe, it’s him. How
can you not see –“
“See what?” Ashe asks. “That he’s a soldier now? He was culled,
Tobin. Culled. One doesn’t just recover from that. They took him
apart and put the pieces together again into something new. It may
look like Joah, talk like him, act like him … but it’s not him.
It’s not the same man you swore forever to at your handfasting.
Can’t you see that? Or don’t you want to see it?”
Tobin. The name drifts through my mind like stray notes to a tune I
heard once but can’t place. When he speaks, I hear barely restrained
rage and energy mingled together in his voice, and I know he’s
thrilled to see me. I can almost feel his excitement zipping through
the rooms of the house like a bothersome mosquito, never settling in
one place for long. “It’s him,” he says, his voice growing louder as
he comes into my room. I keep my eyes shut; I don’t let them know
I’m awake. Lowering his voice, he adds, “It might take some time,
Ashe, but he’ll remember who I am. Who we are. I’ll help him
Ashe sighs, a lusty, exasperated sound. “They erased his memories,”
he tries to explain, but this Tobin is stubborn, thinking he can
help me remember who I am when the chip is still stuck into my
brain. If only it were that easy, I want to tell him. “You can’t
just kiss them back. Your love can’t make everything right.”
“Why not?” Tobin kneels by my bed, and I fight the urge to laugh at
him, to let them know I’m listening to their every word. Because you
just can’t, I want to say, as I feel his hand slip into mine. His
grip is strong and comforting, and for a moment I almost believe he
might do it, he might be able to bring back who I was before. I can
feel determination curled in his fingers — he seems strong enough
and stubborn enough to stop the sun in its tracks if he sets his
mind to it. So maybe he can help me remember who I used to be.
He raises my hand and kisses my knuckles, his lips soft against my
skin. I feel his fingers trace the tattoo on the inside of my wrist,
his touch light and feathery. Did I used to love this man? The way
he touches me is so intimate, so familiar. Has he loved me all these
years I’ve been locked away, knowing I was forced to forget him? And
does he honestly think after all that I’ve been through, I can
remember how to love him once again?
APRIL 15th FROM AMBER HEAT PRESS ~
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