Recovered Secrets

By: Jessica R. Patch

A blank memory. A new life.

But her borrowed time just ran out

Two years after Grace Thackery washed up on a small-town Mississippi riverbank, she has the first clue about the life she doesn’t remember: someone wants her dead. And while search-and-rescue director Hollis Montgomery’s determined to protect her, the secrets of her past are darker than they expected. Can the bond between Grace and Hollis survive her true identity...and an assassin?

“I’m a ninja!”

She frantically shook her head, disbelief washing over her again as the scenario replayed through her brain. She’d assaulted a man with a jack! Yes, he’d come at her first...but she hadn’t even hesitated. What had she done?

“Grace,” Hollis said in a calming but wary tone, his gaze giving the strength she needed. “I need you to breathe, honey.” He pushed a mass of wet hair from her face and tipped her chin up so he could look into her eyes.

His voice soothed her. His touch eased her knotted muscles as she followed his instructions. Slowly she gained her wits, until finally the hysteria passed and she could think rationally. “Hollis, two Latino men pulled up behind me on the highway. My tire blew. I’m pretty sure they set it up.” She told him what had happened next and how she’d single-handedly put them on the ground. She collapsed into his powerful arms.

Hollis held her tighter and she melded into him—a safe place. The safest place she’d been since she’d lost her memory...possibly ever. She peered into his dark eyes, searching for wisdom, answers...hope.


Grace Thackery was living on a borrowed name; she’d lost every single memory prior to the past year and a half since she’d awakened from a six-month coma. But as she breezed into the kitchen at the Muddy River Inn, inhaling the smell of cinnamon and yeasty dough, she had no doubt she’d loved cinnamon rolls. How could anyone not? She rubbed the round locket around her neck. At least she thought it was a locket, but it wouldn’t open—it was as locked as her memories. Had it been a gift from a family member, a friend...a boyfriend, fiancé or husband?

Tish LaMont looked up and grinned, her plump face colored pink from the oven heat; the lines around her lips and eyes showed she’d spent most of her life happy. She slid a pan of rolls onto the butcher block island and waved a pot holder over the steam. “If this rain doesn’t let up soon, we’ll float away. I can’t tell you the last time we had this much in Cottonwood. April showers are supposed to bring May flowers. Not more showers,” she drawled in a rich, Mississippi accent.

Grace snickered and helped herself to a cinnamon roll; the fresh hot glaze dripped onto her dessert plate. She’d lick that up last. It had been raining the past eight days straight. Gray and dismal. Something about it felt familiar, teetering on the edge of her fuzzy mind but unwilling to surface. “If I ever lose my memory again, there’s no way I’d forget these.”

Tish snorted and used her wrist to push away a strand of bobbed gray hair. According to Tish, women over fifty needed to let go and let God. And that meant allowing the silver to rule as a crown of glory and wisdom. Grace wasn’t sure what she meant, but it had to be something out of scripture. Tish was the godliest woman Grace had ever met—in the past year and a half, that is.

This woman had taken her under her wing, physically and spiritually, the day Hollister Montgomery—the man who’d rescued her—brought her to Tish. She’d given her a place to live, turning the garden shed into a small living quarter, and in return Grace helped Tish around the inn for a meager, but livable, salary. A man at Hollis’s church had given her a car. Once she got behind the wheel, the muscle memory had taken over. Weird thing about retrograde amnesia—she’d lost some words but not her procedural memory. She might not remember the name for a spoon, but she could drive a car or even ride a bike if she’d done it often in her past. Hollis insisted she take lessons and a driver’s test anyway. He’d worked with the sheriff to get her a temporary ID and license.

“You going to the facility today?” Tish asked, and pointed to her search-and-rescue raincoat.

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