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When famous crime writer, Reece Cameron, discovers a strange young woman collapsed on the doorstep of his isolated Yorkshire mansion, he fears for her life. As he nurses Charlotte Hunter back to health, a drama deeper than his own fiction emerges when he learns that the traumatised girl has no memory of her past and her behaviour further intensifies the mystery.
Charlotte wakes up without a memory and without a trace of where she came from. She has no choice but to trust in the velvet brown eyes of her rescuer, Reece Cameron. With Reece’s help, Charlotte discovers a passion she never knew she had but with it comes her past. As love starts to bind the unlikely pair, they have no idea of the stark tragedy that will overtake them when Charlotte regains her memory.
“I will not die here!”
Her thin fingers grasped the gate’s huge railings as she stared feverishly through the flurries of snow at the forbidding house.
“I can make it,” she whispered, pushing open the heavy gate. With weakening strength and balancing a growing fear, she summoned the last of her energy to crawl within reach of the heavily studded door. She kicked weakly at the unyielding wood until the black velvet of unconsciousness wrapped her in peace.
* * * *
“Where am I?” She hardly recognised her own rasping voice as she regained consciousness and tried to focus on the weird luxury of her surroundings.
This is no hospital. She took in the rich green drapes of the bed canopy and the elegance of the matching silk bedspread. Pain shot through her chest when she attempted to move. Falling back into the soft pillows, she tried to remember.
Her eyes widened when she turned her head and stared at the man sleeping in a chair by the bed. She blinked, thinking she had imagined him, but when she looked again he was still there. She studied his lean body slumped in the chair, his head tilted to one side. Thick, black hair fell over his collar and unruly locks lay on his forehead. His skin was olive and his features angular with a classically straight nose. There were deep shadows beneath his eyes and he smiled slightly in his sleep, his bottom lip curling upwards.
Moving again, she was overcome with a spasm of coughing. The pain in her lungs was excruciating and her eyes filled with sudden tears.
“It’s okay. Here, drink this—you must be very thirsty.” The man lifted her shoulders and held a glass of water to her mouth. She drank greedily, feeling the liquid cool her burning throat as he lowered her to the pillow. He smiled a warm, open smile which reached the corners of his eyes.
“Where am I?” she repeated.
“In my house. I’m Reece Cameron and I discovered you on my doorstep yesterday. You are ill. You’ve been delirious but you’ll be all right.” He patted her arm reassuringly. “Can you tell me your name?”
The girl was silent for some moments. Then as the realisation dawned, a growing horror overcame her. She shifted in the bed and her hands clutched his arm in a vice-like grip. “I can’t remember.”
“That’s not surprising. You’ve been having some frightening nightmares, so you’ve probably had a nasty experience. But you’re safe now.”
“But, I can’t remember...my name. I can’t remember anything!”
Reece moved to put his arms around her but, in a panic, she fought like a wild bird. “No! No—don’t touch me—don’t!” she cried, frantically struggling. The coughing began again and she was sure she was going to die as pain after pain seared through her chest. Reece gave her some bitter tasting liquid. His face was intent as his steady eyes stared into hers.
“No one is going to hurt you. You have pneumonia and are probably suffering from shock.”
“But you just don’t forget your name. I’m being punished. Something terrible has happened…I know it has!”
“Shh, relax. I found a piece of paper in your jeans’ pocket with a name scribbled on it. Do you think you could be Charlotte Hunter?”
“I don’t know. It sounds familiar,” she said hopefully.
“Well, for now, how about if I call you Charlotte, or perhaps Charlie is friendlier.” A gentle smile formed on Reece’s face.
She nodded, unconsciously shrinking from his closeness. He is kind, but I’m helpless. He can do anything he wants to me. Anything! She shuddered uncontrollably.
He briefly touched her cheek. “Try and get some more sleep.” She closed her eyes and wondered about this stranger who had rescued her from the snow. She assumed he must be a doctor and felt comforted as she drifted into a dreamless sleep.
* * * *
"After finding a young woman badly injured, Reese Cameron takes her into his home and cares for her. When she wakes, she has no memory, but her scant ID indicates she may be named Charlotte Hunter, or Charlie, as he calls her. As the days pass, the two begin to fall in love under the shadow of the memory of his late wife and the possibility that she might belong to someone else. Yet, the truth of the latter is something neither would ever have guessed.
The story here is almost gothic in nature; Reese will remind you of Mr.
Rochester or Maxim deWinter, at times. He often comes across as cruel, but does manage to redeem himself. Charlotte blends elements of the Brontes with the modernity found in Andrew Greeley, making for an unusual, yet interesting, tale." -- Amanda Kilgore, Independent Reviewer
"Charlotte is well written and emotionally satisfying. I enjoyed watching Reece and Charlie go back and forth, their emotions and growing attraction impacting the way they solve the mystery of who she is and why she's come to his doorstep. At times I felt Reece was harsher than I would have liked but his personality was appropriate considering his past. Charlotte is a classic damsel in distress, and he came to her rescue without reservation. And that is the way I can recommend this book-without reservation. Charlotte is a great story, one that kept me totally entertained from start to finish. It is dark and dramatic, but very romantic. Christina Carlisle tells a good tale, one that doesn't disappoint." - Rating: 4 ½ out of 5, Reviewed by Amy, Gottawritenetwork.com
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 192
Paper Weight (lb): 8.2
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