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Lorana Hoopes

Lost Memories and New Beginnings

Lost Memories and New Beginnings

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An accident, a loss of memory, a past that could ruin her future!

She has no memory, no idea of who she is or how she landed in the hospital. The only thing she remembers is fear, but fear from what? Will her memory return in time to save her from danger?

Dr. Brody Cavanaugh thought he was done with love when his wife passed away. Now, a mysterious woman has appeared in his life, and something about her intrigues him. But when her past paints a different picture of her, will that tear him apart?

And what happens when the owner of the black Ford truck returns?

Find out in this gripping and emotional second book in The Men of Fire Beach romantic suspense series by USA Today best-selling author Lorana Hoopes. Just click above! 

First Chapter

At the sound of the angry voices, she clasped her hand over her mouth to keep from making a sound. She had to get out of here, but the men were still in the room. Was this why he had been so angry when she came back? What would they do if they found her?

She faintly heard the sliding glass door to the balcony patio open. Now was her shot, and it might be the only one she had. As quickly as she could, she pushed open the door. Don’t look at them. Just grab your purse and get out of here. But her eyes shifted to the left anyway. As if drawn by force. For a moment she froze. Long enough for the man on the patio to turn and catch sight of her. His face was shrouded in darkness, but she could feel the frosty hatred in his gaze. Her feet regained their ability to move, and she bolted out of the bedroom and down the stairs. 

A noise sounded behind her, but she didn’t know if it was the patio door or her overactive imagination playing tricks on her. She burst out the front door and raced down the driveway knowing the men were just behind her. Her breath and the sound of her heartbeat thundered in her head. Would she make it? Frantically, she pushed the unlock button on her key fob. She wanted to turn around, but she knew looking behind her would cost precious time. When she reached the car, she yanked the door open and slid into the seat. Her fingers trembled so badly that she nearly dropped the keys as she jammed them into the ignition. As they finally slid in, she chanced a glance at the front door.

He stood there in the shadows looking as if he belonged in the darkness. As if he owned it. She jerked the car into drive and sped out of the driveway certain that he would jump in a vehicle and follow her.

Fear and anger took turns controlling her body as she drove. Tears blurred her vision, and she blinked against the dam determined to hold them in. She would not cry. She did not cry. But what was she going to do now? It was supposed to have been a simple meeting, a chance to land a new publisher for her books after the last company dropped her. Instead it had turned into something else, something nefarious feeling, and she was a witness. A witness who was never supposed to be there.

She glanced in the mirror to see if he was following her, but only darkness stared back at her. He hadn’t seemed in a hurry as he stood in the front doorway, but now he knew what she drove. Would he hunt her down? Why hadn’t she done better homework on him?

Disgust filled her as she thought of how she had come crawling to him. How she was willing to do nearly anything to get him to promote her. How could she have gotten involved with a man like that? Well, almost involved. Her momma sure wouldn’t be proud. Heck, she wasn’t proud. She had no idea how she had wandered so far down the wrong path.

Maybe it had been the move to California or the first award. After all, she’d been a poor girl growing up with only her big imagination to keep her company. Especially after her father left them. Maybe it had been the first time she saw her name on a cover. When she’d first begun writing, she’d been young and idealistic. She’d wanted to write clean romances that people could read anywhere and not be ashamed, but the publishing world was competitive. New authors were writing books every day, and her work wasn’t selling the way it used to. Then, after her attempt to discredit Ava McDermott had backfired, her publisher had let her go. Now, she had a stack of bills that needed to be paid and no way to do it. That was why she had gone to him.

But he’d wanted more than her books. He’d lured her there with big promises and the right words that fed her ego, but he’d really just wanted to get her into his bed. That low down, dirty…. No, she would own this. She had reached out to him. She had been the one trying to further her career. She was the one who hadn’t done her homework completely. His personal life should have been in her research. Maybe then she would have known about whatever he had going on the side. Well, that wouldn’t happen again. She would just have to be more careful in the future - cross all the “t”s and dot all the “i”s. If there was a future.

She wiped her finger across her cheek. A tear had escaped her eye and was trying to snake down her cheek, but she wasn’t going to let it succeed. Of course, what would smeared makeup matter if he went after her? Her makeup should be the least of her worries.

Suddenly headlights flared in her rear-view mirror. Bright and unforgiving, they blinded her, forcing her to throw up a hand. Oh no, had he pursued her after all? The lights grew closer and filled her mirror. Was he trying to run her off the road? Maybe it wasn’t him. Maybe it was just teenagers out for a joy ride, but they were driving awfully close to her - dangerous on city streets.

She slowed down to let the vehicle pass, but it didn’t. Instead, it matched her pace. These weren’t teenagers then. They would have driven past her. Maybe yelled or flipped her off, but they would have passed her. Her tears dried up as fear overtook her anger and self-pity. How was she going to get out of this now? She was unfamiliar with this area and had no idea how to outrun them.

She twisted in her seat to try and get a better view of the vehicle behind her, but it was too dark and they were too close. She glanced around for her phone to call 911 but it was on her passenger seat. Just out of reach. Wait! Where was her purse? Oh no, she had left it there. Her heart sank. Now they would know for sure who she was and where she lived.

The fear grew icy talons and clawed up her insides. Were they going to run her off the road and then shoot her? Suddenly, lights flashed to her right. She had just enough time to register a large dark truck approaching and then her head was thrown into the window with the impact.

[ Image: fire-305227_1280.jpeg ]

“Help! Is there a doctor in here?”

Dr. Brody Cavanaugh looked up from his sparkling water to the doorway to see what the commotion was. A man stood in the doorway wringing his hands. Frantic fear covered his face, and his eyes shifted from one face to another as he scanned the crowd.

“There was an accident. A woman’s been injured, but the guy who hit her took off. She looks bad though. Are any of you doctors?”

“I am.” Brody knew Hollywood thought this happened all the time, but he could honestly count on one hand the times someone had come running in calling for a doctor, and only one had happened since he’d been in Fire Beach. He caught fellow doctor Nick Pearson’s attention and pushed back from the table. His drink could wait. As could his dinner. He and Pearson fought their way through the throng of patrons and spilled out onto the street with the rest of the crowd following behind them.

The sun had set, but the streetlights illuminated the area, and down the street he could see the car – a red sports car – folded in a “C” shape. For one moment, time appeared to freeze as people assessed the situation. And then everything happened at once.

“Get the Jaws of Life,” one of the firemen ordered as he sprinted towards the car. Tall and muscular, Brody thought he was the one they called Bubba. Around Brody, firemen spread out. Some ran toward the firehouse a block away to get the truck and the ambulance, and others ran with the large fireman toward the car including Cassidy.

Brody had met Cassidy a few times at the hospital when she came in with paramedic Ivy Hopkins, but it was not until he had assessed her after her abduction a few months ago that the bond between the hospital, the fire department, and the police department had begun to grow. Even though he worked in the ICU now instead of the emergency department, he had been kept in the loop of events, such as tonight’s opening of her boyfriend’s, Detective Jordan Graves, restaurant, Fire Dreams. However, this was probably not the opening Cassidy and Jordan had planned on or hoped for.

The firetruck and ambulance roared in a moment later, and two more large men carried the bulky machinery over to the car. Brody approached and stood to the side watching as Bubba and one of the other firemen worked the Jaws of Life to cut away the driver’s door. The groaning sound of the metal snapping not only overpowered the roaring of the hydraulic tool but reminded him of nails on chalkboards, and he resisted the urge to place his hands on his ears. The red sports car was twisted in such an awkward shape that he feared the driver had been crushed in the crash.

Ivy Hopkins appeared beside him having hopped down from the ambulance. Her wide eyes were fixed on the scene. “Do you think she’ll make it?” Her slender fingers pulled on the ends of her blonde hair.

“I don’t know, but we’ll do everything we can.” Brody exchanged a glance with Nick. They both knew this driver needed a miracle.

“Her legs are pinned under the dashboard,” one of the men called out as the deafening sound of the hydraulic ceased momentarily. The sudden stillness was jarring. “We need the ram.”

Two other firemen hurried forward with a different tool, and after a moment, the hydraulic sound filled the night again.

“Okay, we’ve got her free.”

That was their cue. The firemen stepped aside as he, Nick, and Ivy stepped up to the car. Brody tried not to focus on the metallic scent of blood in the air or the mangled mess that was the woman’s right leg as he surveyed the scene closer. The woman wore a red suit, designer from the looks of it, and red acrylic nails covered her fingertips. She was either a woman of means or one who took pride in her appearance. He leaned toward the former assumption based on the car she was driving. A Firebird wasn’t the cheapest car to own or insure.

Ivy checked for a pulse and performed a quick assessment of the woman before strapping on a neck collar. “She’s breathing, but her vitals are weak.” Her eyes locked with his and said more than her words did. She unfastened the seat belt and moved it away from the woman, taking extra care to pull it away from her right side which had taken the brunt of the force. Then she stepped back allowing him to snake his arms under the woman’s arms while Nick took the woman’s legs.

The woman’s face and hair were covered in blood, and Brody thought some of the cuts on her face might need stitches, but that was not his immediate concern. No, his immediate concern was her head. A large cut indicated she had hit her head against the window, and her lack of response pointed to a concussion if not a possible brain injury. Plus, there was the probability of internal bleeding.

Nick appeared to share his assessment as he glanced up with grave eyes as they placed the woman on the stretcher. “Her right foot is in bad shape too.”

“I’m going to call ahead and tell them what’s coming,” Ivy said as she caught a full glimpse of the woman.

Brody nodded as he and Nick helped the other paramedic load the gurney into the ambulance. Ivy returned and climbed in the back with Brody as the other paramedic and Nick climbed into the cab. Brody’s previous ER training kicked in, and he took a closer look at the woman’s feet as Ivy set up an IV. Her shoes were expensive looking red heels and though he knew she might be angry, her feet were already beginning to swell, and he couldn’t wiggle the shoes enough to get them off. “Do you have scissors in here?”

Ivy handed a pair back to him and he inserted them in the side, cutting away the shoes until he could remove them from her feet.

“Is she going to lose them?” Ivy asked.

“Probably not the left one. It might be broken or sprained, but the right? I don’t know, but it doesn’t look good.” The skin was still intact which was a good sign, but purple bruising was already starting to appear. It had been mangled badly in the crash and was twisted in an awkward angle. He just hoped that it had not been crushed. Crush injuries generally resulted in amputations, and though he knew they weren’t the end of the world, no doctor liked performing them especially on someone so young. If she didn’t lose it, she would probably need some reconstructive surgery on it.

The ambulance pulled to a stop, and the back doors opened. Nick and the other paramedic pulled the gurney down as Ivy and Brody climbed out after. Together they sprinted into the hospital. A wave of nostalgia hit him as the doors whooshed open.

“Female: mid-thirties, motor vehicle crash with jaws of life extrication, BP is ninety over palp, pulse is tachy and thready, O2 sats low nineties with fifteen liters on a nonrebreather. We secured I.V. access in route - sixteen gauge in the left AC,” Ivy rattled off as the doctors on shift swarmed in around them.

“She sustained a substantial head injury with loss of consciousness as well, and her legs and feet need to be addressed,” Brody added. “Particularly the right side. There might be crushing involved.”

“Thank you, Dr. Cavanaugh. We can take it from here,” Dr. Williams said brusquely.

Brody opened his mouth to protest but then closed it. This was no longer his domain, and she was a competent doctor. In fact, she had been the one who had taken his position when he moved. He trusted her, but Brody didn’t want to let her take the woman. He wanted to jump in and work on this woman himself, but he would get his chance. He’d be on shift in less than eight hours, and she would probably end up in the ICU. He could check on her then. If she made it through the night.

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Lorana Hoopes

Lorana Hoopes is a USA Today Best Selling Author and now an Award Winning Author as well. She's had two books earn a Page Turner Award Finalist badge and she recently won the Reader's Favorite Book Award for Romantic Suspense.