After a hit-and-run kills his grandmother, Lucas Morgan knows the truth behind the accident is locked in India Leone’s head. He’s determined to help her memory return or trip her up in a lie—depending on which side of the truth she’s on. She’s at the top of his suspect list, so he offers her a job at one of his luxury hotel properties to keep her close.
Interior designer India doesn’t remember how she ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time, or what happened in the accident that killed Lucas’s grandmother. The police say she isn’t responsible, but amnesia has left her with many questions.
She takes Lucas up on his job offer, thinking a new start will be good for her, not for a moment thinking she might fall for the man keeping secrets that could break her heart and endanger her life.
Each book in the Forevermore series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1: The Business Of Love
Book #2: Chasing Memories
About the Author
Anna James writes heartwarming contemporary stories with strong, confident heroes and heroines who conquer life’s trials and live happily ever after. She has been writing professionally since 2010, is a member of RWA (Romance Writers Of America), CTRWA (Connecticut Romance Writers of America), CORW (Charter Oak Romance Writers) and CRW-RWA Contemporary Romance Writers – Romance Writers of America. Publishing credits include five novels, six novellas and one short story.
Anna is married to a wonderful husband who spends countless hours picking up the slack around the house so she can pursue her dream of writing, and is the proud mother of five fabulous children, and a big, loveable rescue dog the entire family adores. Although she’s lived in several locations throughout her life she now calls Connecticut home. When not writing, she can be found spending time with family and friends.
Read an Excerpt
Lucas Morgan slowed his car as he traveled the still-slick roadway over the Golden Gate Bridge. Although the rain had subsided, the fog had rolled in, and driving conditions remained poor.
A quick glance at the dashboard clock indicated eight o'clock. Damn. Late again. He stabbed the call button on the steering wheel and spoke. "Call Evelyn Young."
The phone rang four times, then went to voice mail. "Hey Grams, it's Lucas. I'm running behind schedule. Sorry for the delay." And he was. Lucas hated being late for anything, but he especially hated keeping Grams waiting. Not that she minded. She didn't, but she deserved better from him. "Got tied up in a design review meeting on the Miami property. I should be at the restaurant in ten or fifteen minutes." He smiled and ended the call.
He looked forward to seeing her. It had been far too long since they last got together. With her busy schedule on top of renovating the Young real estate building, not to mention him flying off to Miami every other week to check on the renovation progress of the latest Acquati hotel, there'd been little time to see one another.
It still amazed him that at seventy-five, Evelyn reported to the office every day and had for the last twenty-five years.
"What the hell?" Oncoming headlights almost blinded him. Where the hell had they come from? It was almost as if they'd appeared out of nowhere. He cursed and swerved to avoid the car. "Idiot." Lucas steadied the wheel, then peered out the rearview mirror trying to get the license plate of the dark four-door sedan whizzing by. The crazy-ass driver would kill someone if they didn't slow down. Too late. The car disappeared from sight. He shook his head, took the next right — and slammed hard on the brakes to avoid colliding with something lying on the edge of the road.
Not something. Someone. An elderly woman with a crop of salt- and-pepper curls lay sprawled on the fringe of the embankment. What was she doing there? He jerked open the door and got out. Was she still alive?
Necks aren't supposed to bend at that angle. Heart pounding, stomach churning, Lucas raced over to her. As he got closer his brain registered the jagged scar running from elbow to wrist on her right arm.
Like Grams. She'd received the wound twenty-five years ago in a house fire that claimed her husband's life, as well as her daughter Mara, Lucas's mother, and her son Jack.
No. This woman wasn't Grams. It couldn't be. His grandmother was at the restaurant waiting for him to arrive.
She didn't answer the call. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. Please don't let it be Grams, please don't let it be Grams.
Lucas dropped to the ground and moved the arm splayed across her face. Oh God. Bile rose in his throat. "No, Grams. No."
He stabbed two shaking fingers to the crook in her neck, praying for a pulse. "Come on, Grams. Come on." He couldn't lose her. Wouldn't even consider the possibility. She was all he had left. Okay, there was his cousin, Amanda, and Aunt Susan. Hell, his father, Edward, too, but Grams ... He shuddered. She'd been the one person who'd always been there for him. Had raised him for most of his life. Who'd loved him.
Finding no heartbeat, he yanked his hand away, then tried again.
Still nothing. He shuddered. Leaning down, he placed an ear to her mouth and nose.
No breaths. No pulse.
The shaking spread throughout like wildfire until his whole body convulsed.
He pulled his cell phone from its holder, dialed 911 and reported the accident. Then he gathered his grandmother's body in his arms and wept.
Evelyn, his beloved grandmother, dead. He'd never see her smiling face again, or taste one of her home-cooked meals or hear her pester him to stop his womanizing ways, settle down and give her some great-grandchildren to spoil. He'd never wrap her in his arms and give her a big bear hug again.
A loud creak pulled him from his misery. Laying Evelyn down on the ground, he took off his jacket and covered her as best he could, then moved toward the sound.
He hadn't seen the Cadillac CTS, Grams's car, sitting partway down the embankment when he'd arrived. His only focus had been saving her.
Another screech, and then a groan. A human groan. What the hell? Someone's down there. And they were still alive. He ran back to his car and grabbed a flashlight from the glove box. Lucas made his way down to the vehicle, careful not to slip on the slick rocks and earth under his feet. Holy shit. What the hell had happened to cause the massive amount of damage to the CTS? The rear had been smashed in, the two tires on the driver's side had gone flat and the front, left corner had crumpled all the way to the door, and that was what he could see from this vantage point. Was there even more?
A noise sounded again from inside the automobile. He forgot about the damage and continued edging his way down the muddy hill.
The vehicle balanced precariously on the edge of a boulder jutting up from the ground. A still form slumped against the driver's seat. Shit. One wrong move could send the car tumbling down into the ravine below.
"Hey there, can you hear me?"
A soft whimper. He moved closer.
Twisted metal moaned and inched forward. The acrid stench of gasoline filled the air. Lucas froze. Damn it, how the hell was he going to rescue whoever was stuck inside?
When he reached the car, Lucas tried to ease the door open, not wanting to disturb the shaky balance of the CTS. It stuck. He tugged harder. The door sprang free, but the sudden movement made the car rock and slide forward. The woman inside screamed. He yanked her from the vehicle.
For one moment her eyes locked with his, then they fell back against the side of the hill together. The car tumbled end over end as it careened down the hill, smashing on the rocks below. The explosion rocked the ground and flames leapt high in the sky.
"Come on, India. Wake up."
The soft melodic voice came from far away, as if she were at one end of a long tunnel and the voice at the other. No, more like she was underwater, floating in a gently rippling sea of peaceful tranquility, and someone called to her from shore.
India ignored the summons. She didn't want to wake up. Not yet. She only wanted to lie here in this ... Well, she wasn't sure what this was, but she didn't want to leave the calm serenity or harmonious quiet just yet.
Softness, smooth as silk, caressed her face and neck. A pleasing, caring touch.
"It's time to wake up, baby," the voice repeated, more insistent this time.
Female. The lyrical, euphonious sound definitely belonged to a woman and seemed familiar. Soothing.
"Come on, sweetheart. Open your eyes. You can do it."
Another voice. This one a deep, baritone rumble. Masculine, comforting, yet urgent and demanding at the same time.
Her eyes fluttered open. A woman with long blonde hair swam into view. "Mom?"
"Oh, thank God." Tears gathered in Margret Miller's eyes. She gripped India's hands in hers and squeezed.
"Why are you crying?"
Margret wiped the moisture away with the back of her hand. "I'm relieved. You're finally awake. You've been drifting in and out of consciousness for almost forty-eight hours."
In and out of consciousness? What was she talking about?
"You gave us quite a scare."
"Dad? What are you and Mom doing here?" And where, exactly is here? She peered around. Tiny room, white walls. Machines beeped and hummed. "Why am I in a hospital?" Margret frowned. "You don't know?"
India had no idea. Her heart started to hammer and a heavy weight settled in her chest. She started to shake. Dear God, it was happening again. No. It couldn't be. She wasn't a traumatized sixteen-year-old anymore. She was a grown woman.
Okay, something had happened, and the something required a trip to the hospital, and yes, she couldn't remember the exact event, but she would. She absolutely would. No doubt about it. She only needed a minute to shake off this fuzziness inside her head. Sucking in a deep breath, she let it out slowly. Her heart rate slowed and the tightness eased. Good. She concentrated. Her head pounded. Nothing came to mind. Damn, damn, damn. "No. I can't recall." The shaking started again. Stop it right now, she ordered, and with a concerted effort, stilled her hands.
Her mother glanced over at her father, concern etching her piercing blue eyes.
"David, go and get the doctor, please. He said he wanted to see India when she came to."
Her father hurried out into the hall and disappeared.
India tried to shift her position, but every muscle in her body hurt. She groaned. Why did it feel as if she'd been hit by a Mac truck?
Margret laid a hand on her arm and squeezed. "Try not to move." Her eyes widened. Don't move? Why the hell not? What had happened?
A woman in her early twenties, with long, wavy brown hair stepped into the cramped room and smiled. "Good afternoon, Ms. Leone. I'm Leigh, your nurse. How are you feeling?"
Just ducky! Dear Lord, did she have to be so cheerful? "I have a splitting headache, and my whole body hurts."
Leigh nodded. "Not surprising considering the ordeal you've just been through."
India blew out a harsh breath. Not going to panic. Not going to panic. She glanced over at her mother then back at the nurse. "What ordeal? Seriously, what happened and how did I end up here?"
Margret cleared her throat. "You've been in a car accident." India stared, nonplussed. "A car accident?"
"The day before yesterday. During the storm."
Storm? She stiffened. India hated storms — had since childhood. They gave her the heebie-jeebies.
"Take it easy, dear," Margret soothed.
She started to sweat. How could she take it easy when she had no idea what was going on? "What storm? What accident?" Why couldn't she remember?
"Hello, Ms. Leone. I'm Doctor Johnson."
A tall, middle-aged man dressed in a white lab coat ambled in. Her father followed.
"Her vitals are good, Dr. Johnson." Leigh handed him the clipboard she'd used to record India's stats.
Doctor Johnson nodded, glanced down at the information the nurse had provided, then lifted his eyes to India and offered a congenial smile.
"I'll be back to check on you later, Ms. Leone. In the meantime, just press this button," she pointed to the long white wire with a white cylindrical tube attached and a button on the end, "if you need anything."
India gave a brief nod. "Thank you, Leigh."
The nurse left and India turned her attention to the physician. "What's going on, doctor? My mother tells me I've been in an accident, but I don't remember anything of the kind."
Doctor Johnson frowned. "You don't remember anything?"
India wanted to scream. Hadn't she just indicated as much? What part of "I don't remember" didn't he understand? "No, nothing."
"Minor amnesia isn't uncommon with a head injury," the doctor said.
Her father sighed. "The police believe you hit your head during the accident."
She touched tense fingers to the right side, where it hurt the most, and found a bandage. Explains the pounding, and why her mother had told her to stay still.
"You have a mild concussion." Doctor Johnson thumbed through the pages attached to the clipboard again, then peered up at her. "Let's see what you do remember, shall we? Now, what is your name?"
"And how old are you?"
"I'm twenty-six. And my birthday is on July tenth, in case you're going to ask that next."
Doctor Johnson smiled. "You're doing great. Now, do you recognize these people?"
He pointed to her mother and father. "Yes. Margret Miller and David Leone. They're my parents."
"Good. Now what day is it?"
The family had gotten together at Leone Estates on Saturday to celebrate her brother Dante and Sofia's engagement. The accident must have occurred right after the visit. She'd been in the hospital for two days so, "May sixteenth," she answered.
The doctor drew in a sharp, audible breath and cast a worried glance at her parents. That can't be good. "It's not May sixteenth?"
Margret shook her head. "No, honey. It's not."
"Then what day is it?" India asked.
"July twentieth," Doctor Johnson said.
Lucas stood in the library in his grandmother's spacious Victorian- Italianate home and stared out the window while the detective on the other end of the line droned on. Cars zipped by on the street below, and the iconic Fisherman's Wharf sign stood proud in the distance. Down the hall, the last of their guests gathered in Grams's parlor to pay their respects.
God. A part of him still couldn't believe she was gone. Countless times over the last week he'd found himself picking up the phone to give her a call. And then he'd remember finding her lying on the edge of the road.
"We're continuing our investigation." Detective Harte's dry, almost whiney voice at the other end of the phone drew Lucas from his morose thoughts. "So far, there's nothing to indicate foul play." No. He didn't believe it for a minute. "What about the woman who'd been driving the car? She has a drug problem. The media reported she'd been high on cocaine when she crashed Grams's car."
"Not true, Mr. Morgan. The toxicology reports for Ms. Leone came back negative. She wasn't under the influence of any drugs or alcohol the night the accident occurred, and it's highly unlikely she'd been driving your grandmother's car."
Bullshit. "I pulled her from the driver's seat." "Yes, but we have a statement from one of your grandmother's employees who saw her get into the car that evening. Ms. Young had been at the wheel. Now, I can't say they didn't switch at some point in time, but it's doubtful."
A witness saw Grams behind the wheel that night? What the hell? The press had reported a witness confirmed India had been driving. "Who?"
"Which employee gave you the statement?" Lucas asked.
"Let me sift through my notes."
A brief pause followed, then the detective spoke. "Audrey Soto."
Grams's receptionist. She'd been a trusted employee for years, and wouldn't have lied. If Audrey had seen Grams at the wheel it must be true. Once again the media had made a mistake. Not surprising given what they'd said about him over the years, but if Grams had been driving, then how the hell had India Leone wound up in the driver's seat? None of it made any sense.
"I'll get in touch when we have more information."
"Thank you, Detective Harte."
Lucas disconnected the call and placed the phone back in its holder, then strode to the bar at the far end of the room and poured a generous glass of Glenlivit. He needed it after today.
Aunt Susan was hysterical during the service this morning. No surprise there. She had a tendency to be a bit of a drama queen at times. Amanda arrived late to the church. Her plane had been delayed due to the weather.
And his father ... Lucas's hand shook as he tipped the glass to his lips and took a healthy swallow. Seeing him again, after all these years ... To say he'd been shocked would be an understatement. More like getting sucker punched in the gut. It left him dazed and confused, and angry as hell. No. He wouldn't think about it. Couldn't. At least Edward hadn't come here after the service. A small mercy he could be thankful for.
Lucas paced over to the settee sitting in front of the massive stone fireplace. He lowered himself down on the plush, red velvet cushion and brought the glass to his lips once again. How many times over the years had he sat in this very spot with Grams at his side, him sipping a glass of scotch as he did now, and her, a goblet of Pinot Noir? They'd talk for hours, about everything under the sun. He missed those conversations. If only he'd found time to see her over the last few months. Instead, he'd let work stand in his way. Now ...
The image of her broken body lying on the side of the road stormed into his mind. He shuddered. Now, it was too late. Never again would he see her smiling face, hear her bold, hearty laugh, or feel the warmth and security of her hugs. His gut twisted.
"Lucas?" a feminine voice called.
Grams? He jerked his head toward the sound. A tall, slim woman with wide blue eyes and a mass of wild blonde curls stood in the open doorway. Not Grams. Shit. He needed to get a grip, and fast. But Lord, Amanda sounded so much like his grandmother, and for a minute he'd believed it to be her. Idiot, idiot, idiot. "Yes?"
"I wanted to make sure you're okay before Mother and I head out."
Excerpted from "Chasing Memories"
Copyright © 2016 Anna James.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Lucas’ grandmother was the light of his life. So, when he comes upon an accident and sees her lifeless body on the ground, he is completely devastated. He hears someone crying and finds his grandmother’s car hanging over an embankment with someone else in the driver’s seat. He pulls the woman free and the car goes crashing over the edge! The mysterious driver, India, does not remember anything from a few weeks before the accident. Things begin to unravel and Lucas and India find that they have a past history, together. Lucas wants to find out why and how India was involved in his grandmother’s death, but he is falling in love with her while discovering things aren’t as simple and clear cut as he had hoped. I enjoyed the suspense and mystery surrounding this story. No way did I suspect who did it or why! But, that was about the only thing I enjoyed out of this entire book. Lucas was deceitful and cunning. He lied about who he was to India and then wanted her to forgive him for it. He tricked her into being hired as the company’s interior decorator to find out more information about her. How can he be angry at anything she withheld from him? As for India, she was an ok character, but her use of the phrase “not going there” every time she had a thought got annoying. I understand she had amnesia and things came back to her, but ugh. Enough was enough. Overall, it was an enjoyable story, but the characters lacked enough good qualities to make me not care. *Copy provided for review.