Memories of another life, and the garden where it all began, keep Amalie Jarvis awake at night.
A columnist for a popular magazine, she attends a function in Palm Beach at the famous Breakers Hotel, only to cross paths with graphic designer Ian Gardner—who appears to hold the key to her visions. The more time they spend together, the more Amalie realizes how much she wants to be with him. And how much she fears admitting that she loves him.
Ian can’t remember the past, but he is drawn to Amalie with an intense passion he’s never felt before.
Many moons ago, they met in a garden. Different names, different faces—but their souls were still the same. Unable to resist her, Ian falls deeply in love. He remains by her side as she battles severe facial pain, not knowing what it is or if it could kill her. Frightened for her, he swears his adoration without ever speaking the words.
But their devotion has dangers, and they’re about to be faced by hazards neither of them could have foreseen…
“Amalie, is it getting worse?” Jean repeated, tucking her clipboard against her chest.
“I’ll hurry the doctor along then. I’ll be right back.”
The minutes passed as though they were hours. Finally, the doctor arrived and introduced himself. He was a middle-aged man with glasses and graying hair, and he greeted Amalie with a warm smile.
“Jean says you’re not feeling too well, so we’ll hurry this along as best we can.”
Remembering previous episodes, Amalie looked him squarely in the eye and croaked, “It’s getting worse. If it gets really bad, I might have a panic attack.” Ian didn’t know that about her, but she’d had them when she was younger. When the pain hit in high school, she’d been unable to breathe, and she’d sobbed and gasped, certain she was dying, until the worst of the pain had passed.
The doctor nodded as though he’d heard this before. “Okay. We’ll go as quick as we can.”
Each image taken of the inside of her mouth was more awkward than the last. Amalie had to open her mouth wide, which made the shocks lancing through her face worsen, and Jean inserted some kind of device into her mouth. The shape of it made her very uncomfortable. When it was in place, she had to bite down on it, after which Jean would press a button and the picture would be taken. A series of images appeared on a screen to the right, Amalie’s teeth from various angles. Although she was not a dentist, she saw nothing odd about them.
She wasn’t sure how much time had passed or how many x-rays they’d taken before she began to fall apart. They’d turned off the television at her request, but the light in the room was so blaring it was playing havoc on her senses.
As Jean prepared the device again, Amalie cringed when another pain in her face made her stomach churn. She was clutching the arms of the chair, digging her nails in, her chest heaving. She could feel her eyes begin to water. She breathed out her mouth; breathing through her nose only caused more pain.
She glanced up and saw Jean set the tool down.
“How are you doing?”
Amalie forced words out between her quivering lips. “Not good. It’s bad, very bad.” Unable to handle it anymore, she groaned and curled up, rocking to the side.
This was when she drifted away. She was no longer herself. Darkness fell over her, and she knew that anything she said or did, or how she reacted, was not anything Amalie would have done. Amalie was no longer there. Only the pain presided over her body. It was the only real thing inside her. She became the pain.
Somewhere out of the darkness, Jean asked her if she wanted the light turned off. Amalie heard her own voice emerge as a weak mumble, and within seconds the light was out. A moment later, she squinted through the shadows and saw a white lab coat. The voice of Doctor Horowitz encouraged her to go to the hospital, and asked if there was anyone they could call. She was in no condition to drive.
The pain slammed against her cheek, like a chisel being driven straight into her bone.
“Do you have any family here?”
The question was innocent enough, but as the stabbing continued from the inside, Amalie thought of her mother, then her father, then her distant relatives in Maine, and her cousins, aunts, and uncles scattered across the country. Somehow she managed to say no. The memories would fade later, but she did drag her cell phone out of her pocket and hand it to the doctor, telling him to call the one man who would help her, who had promised to be there for her whenever she needed him, the man who made her feel safe.
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