40 Souls to Keepby Libby Drew
Seven years ago, Jase awoke with the mystical power to heal peopleand no memory of his past. The only clue to his identity is the number forty tattooed on his arm. Driven by a mission he doesn't understand, Jase follows his visions to those he's meant to save. He is convinced that the fortieth person he's drawn toa little girl named Macy Pearlis… See more details below
Seven years ago, Jase awoke with the mystical power to heal peopleand no memory of his past. The only clue to his identity is the number forty tattooed on his arm. Driven by a mission he doesn't understand, Jase follows his visions to those he's meant to save. He is convinced that the fortieth person he's drawn toa little girl named Macy Pearlis the key to finally learning the truth
Social worker Lucas Jacobson has made a promise to protect Macy, orphaned when her parents were brutally murdered. So when Jase shows up in Naples claiming he's there to heal the child, Lucas is wary, despite his attraction to the enigmatic stranger.
Then Macy is abducted, and Lucas has no choice but to trust in Jase. Scouring the city from its glitzy resorts to its seedy underbelly only deepens the mysteryand draws the two men closer. But Jase is certain of one thing: if Macy dies, a dark fate awaits them all.
- Carina Press
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He took his first breath and choked on the scent of burning leaves.
Visions flashed through his heada clock, a beating heart, green scales, a toothy smile. He recognized none of them. They merged into a flickering golden sphere, unmistakable even in its abstract imagerythe world on fire.
The flames winked out.
Alone in the dark, he sucked in his second breath.
A breeze kissed his skin, chilling him through. In the distance, children laughed. A woman screamed, "Get down from there!" and a man's deep voice called, "Hotdogs! Fresh hotdogs!"
He had no idea where he was. He had no idea who he was. That terrifying truth had him curling more tightly into a fetal position.
Bits of knowledge bloomed. Stray thoughts. Funny he could remember the way leaves smelled when they were set on fire. How the musk of decay filled the air until woodsy smoke overpowered it. He remembered that in parts of the world where the trees went dormant in winter, some people burned leaves and some people bagged them. He knew fall was the season after summer, and that winter came next, bringing snow and a filthy coating of gravel on the sidewalks. He recalled that road salt was hell on your car's paint and rotted the undercarriage if you didn't clean it regularly.
But he couldn't remember his name. He had no idea where he was or what day it was. Newborn and helpless, he couldn't even cry. The tears wouldn't come.
Open your eyes. Instead, he squeezed them shut. What would happen if nothing looked familiar?
A hard surface cradled him, and the wind reached up and under it, snaking through his clothes, making him shiver. A bench? Hard, narrow, slatted, and cold as hell. So open your eyes and look at it, coward.
No. He couldn't.
He flinched at the closeness of the voice and at its innocent loudness.
"You okay, mister?"
Open your eyes and talk to the kid. You are not okay. But the dark felt safe, and some base instinct told him to ignore the voice. Then he could curl up on his bench until he remembered his name and everything else that went with it.
I don't hide from my problems.
It was the first clue to who he was. The hell if he'd let anyone call him a coward. Even the demons in his own head.
Mindful of the light that wanted to spear through his cornea and into his brain, he cracked one eye open, widening it when the shape in front of him sidestepped to block the blinding sun.
As senses went, vision was the real bitch. There was no denying the reality of his situation now. To his best guess, he was in a park, sprawled across a listing wood bench. Overhead, tall oak trees, still stubbornly holding on to their curled brown leaves, failed to block the worst of the late-afternoon sun, which was slanting low over a duck pond thirty yards away. A boy stood in front of him, holding a sandy pail filled with acorns. Brown curls framed his round face and wide green eyes. "Are you okay?" he repeated.
He ignored the question and ducked his head, squinting at himself, then wished he hadn't. He didn't recognize the lanky frame curled up on the bench. Or the khaki pants, ripped out on the left knee. Or the green T-shirt and lightweight brown jacket. He commanded the legs to move, to stretch out and dangle over the end of the slats and onto the grass. They obeyed. That settled it, then. This body belonged to him, even if he didn't remember it.
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I love this story and how it played out. Anyone thinking about it should deff get it. You wont be sorry!
My Review: This book was so good. I wasn't sure what to expect going into it, but it far surpassed whatever those expectations were. What makes this book so good is the incredibly creative story line... so imaginative and even a little bit eerie that there could be people like Jase and his counterparts out there....and what they are is real live angels and "others" working to balance the world in different ways. Seven years ago, Jase woke up on a park bench with absolutely no recollection of how he got there or who he is. The only clues he has about anything is a tattoo'ed 40 on his arm and an indent on his ring finger with a tan line to match. He feels an inexplicable draw to certain people and soon realizes that's because they are about to die and he has the ability to save them. Along with this ability has come something else. Simply by saying something to someone, he can bend them to his will. This other ability allows him to function and do his job, but it's also a curse because no one can resist the allure of his voice....No. One. And it's not something that he can control...it just is, which sounds really cool on the surface, but the guy hasn't even been able to sleep with anyone over the years without it feeling like he's raping them. He knows they have no resistance to him. He would pull it back if he could. That's why it's such an amazing breath of fresh air when he meets Lucas...his voice doesn't affect Lucas in any way, shape, or form. Even better, Lucas likes him and is attracted to him. This is the first true, real connection Jase has had to another person in 7 years...that's HUGE to him. The problem is...Lucas is a social worker who's trying to protect Macy. Jase is trying to protect Macy too, but Lucas doesn't trust him. But then they both realize that someone else is out to get Macy so they have to team up to save this precious little girl. This is a book with a lot of twists and turns. The book starts out with Jase waking up seven years ago and what happened to him when he first wakes up. It's taken 7 years to do his 40 souls and throughout the book, you get to see some of those cases. This poor guy has NOT had an easy 7 years...at all... and your heart just aches for him. On the flip side of Lucas....he's a social worker with real skill and heart about what he does. You can see that he is definitely one of the good guys. And another unexpected character in the story is actually the town of Naples, FL. This book is NOT an ad for tourism. Whoa! The book presents an almost apocalyptical feel to this town that's been hit really hard by the economic and real estate down-turn. Really depressing and sad, especially for the people like Macy's family trying to survive there. In the middle of all this mystery, suspense, and upheaval is Jase and Lucas. They are literally running for their lives. Along with that are a lot of open-ended questions about when this 40th soul is saved.... what it means for Jase and his life. It's certainly not the perfect place for romance, but Jase and Lucas find it anyway. And I like how subtly that was woven into the story. This is a true romance.... it's not really sexual... circumstances keep that away. Instead it's a story about feelings and how they develop between these two men. It was really beautifully written. I liked it... a LOT! I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.