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Series: Lost & Found #1
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Fiction, Second Chance
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She can forgive, but can she forget?
Some days, Everly still thinks she sees him. In the food court at the mall, or in a car speeding past as the light changes. It only lasts a second, but when it happens, she slips back to a time when she was ruled-and nearly ruined-by August Kincaid. And it doesn't matter that she's moved on, that she's about to marry another man. In those moments the only thing she can do to regain control is take a deep breath and remind herself that August can't hurt her-because he's in a coma. Except that he's not anymore.
August is awake. With no memories, he sets out to solve the mystery of his lost life. He unearths a photograph of a beautiful redhead named Everly and knows instinctively that she's the key. But when he finds her, the August she describes is more monster than man.
Tortured by the thought of having hurt her, August wants only to become the man Everly deserves. As the new August emerges, Everly glimpses the person she first fell in love with. But can she trust that this August is real? When the final secret of their shared past is revealed, one of them will make a choice that changes their future forever . . .
ARC provided by Author/Publisher for honest review.
J.L. Berg, where have you been all my life? Seriously! How have I not already read every single book you’ve written? Shame on me.
Forgetting August is my first, but definitely not my last book by J.L. Berg. I don’t even know what to say right now. From the first page to the last I was completely, totally sucked into the story. It was nearly impossible to pull myself away from the book to be a responsible adult. Even when I did put the book down, I thought about Everly and August.
Every angst ridden page, every heartache and heartbreak, the vast amount of love poured into the story — I was completely captivated. I felt every single emotion that was etched in the pages. The characters pain was my own, their joy, their anger, and the undeniable truth of loving when love should be impossible.
Ryan and Everly are in love, a quiet, safe love. The kind that feels like coming home. Everly is full of chaotic emotion. She’s unable to rationalize and feel things in a healthy way — running is the answer to all confrontation. Fear and sadness play a huge role for her, but the simple life she has with Ryan dispels a lot of that turmoil. I love, love Ryan. When I was reading about him, how Everly saw him, how he treated her, I was like sign-sealed-delivered, this man is the man for her.
“Well, I guess we all had issues that lingered. Some had visible flaws they could see in the mirror, touch with their hands…measure on a scale. Others, like me, had memories that woke us from sleep and haunted our waking hours, making normal, well — different.”
Oh, Everly. The secrets, so many secrets. And when you think you’ve gotten them all, there is another bigger one. I felt really bad for Everly, she had a really rough go of things. Growing up in the system, having to fend for herself when she aged out, then falling in love with someone that eventually became a monster. I so wanted her to have good things. To heal from her past and find a way to move forward. She had a lot of strength, but failed to see it for herself.
“You are mine, Everly,” he whispered. “Mine and mine alone. I own every part of you, every inch of your body…every breath in your lungs. You. Belong. To. Me.”
Berg did an amazing job with August, putting life to the fact that he had amnesia and making me really feel the frustration and difficulty. Simple things like having him try different flavors of ice cream and watching various kinds of movies to figure out what he likes or dislikes. Giving him the strength to realize he has to start from scratch, even though it was overwhelming. Having him find a way to move forward instead of dwell on all the things he’d lost. I wanted to hate August. Lord did I ever want to hate him, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even find it in me to dislike the guy. Despite the past, when he woke up from that coma and had no idea who he was or what he had done — I just wanted Everly to forgive him and get the happily ever after with him. To fall in love with him all over again. (insert sigh here)
“Maybe sometimes love isn’t pure. Maybe sometimes it’s toxic — so toxic it consumes a person until they would do anything to have it. Like a drug.”
Forgetting August is a beautifully tragic tale of lost love and the sacrifices made to survive the loss. I fell in love between the pages of this book — twice — and didn’t fall out of love once. A Mommy’s a Book Whore must read! Five Stars for storyline and Four Wet Panties for smut.
“Loving someone was easy. Life was the chaotic mess in between.”
Book Whore Says What? With J.L. Berg
Tell us something about you that we can’t find in your author bio:
I love coffee, even though I’m allergic to caffeine. I pretty much hate shoes, unless they’re Uggs or flip-flops and I’m obsessed with minions.
Top three things you must have while writing:
Coffee, a blanket and scrivener! (It’s a word processor especially made for writers)
How do you balance your personal life and your writing?
I write full time, so it is a bit easier. I tend to write Monday-Friday only, and I try to take a break when my youngest gets off the bus to help with homework. All of that kind of falls apart when I’m up against a deadline, but usually it works out well and I’m able to focus on family and stay on task with my writing. What tends to throw a kink in everything is my obsession with social media. I always want my readers to know how much I value them, so when I see that a message or email comes through on my phone, it’s hard for me not to stop everything and respond right away. I’ve learned that not everything needs to be handled within seconds, and readers do also have lives and families of their own, but it is something I battle with.
What is the first romance book you ever read?
Oh gosh, I think it was The Ring by Danielle Steel. I remember staying up late several nights in a row to watch a mini-series or made for TV movie they’d done based on the book and I was hooked. I read the book immediately after. I am a huge history nerd and the book was set in World War 2, so right away, I was a goner. I can’t remember how old I was, but probably far too young to be reading Danielle Steel!
What are your favorite and least favorite romance themes? (Shay loves enemies to lovers & Miranda isn’t a fan of the ‘unexpected’ baby.)
One of my favorite themes and one I tend to do often in various ways is the idea of a redeeming hero. I love taking a broken man, and finding someone to breathe life into him again…whether it’s a long lost friend, lover or someone he never knew he needed. It’s the idea that love can heal anything, even the most damaged of souls that always touches my heart.
A theme I don’t like? Hmm…I don’t want to pigeon hole anyone, but I guess I’m not overly fond of super dark romance. It makes me squeamish!
Maybe it was something hardwired in my DNA—the same reason I wanted to save every kitten and stay dog that I saw wandering down the road or why I felt the need to give every spare dime I had to the old man on our street corner even though he reeked of alcohol.
Whatever it was, here we were—driving down the road towards the cliffs.
In a car with a man I loathed.
Ryan would kill me if he knew what I was doing. This definitely did not fit in with our status quo plan. It didn’t fit with any logical plan—at all. Yet, here I was, driving my psycho ex who had just been discharged from the hospital after waking up from a coma that no one ever thought he’d recover from.
And that’s when it hit me. He may never remember anything. Not a single kiss, a happy sigh or night spent in bed. The good, the bad—it was all gone.
Guilt hit me square in the gut as we drove, my fingers loosened slightly as I tried to relax and calm myself.
Status quo, I reminded myself.
Looking over at him, I tried to feel sorry for him. I tried to feel remorse.
But, all I saw was the man who locked me up.
And here are the days of our lives, folks.
Yeah, so much for simple and carefree. My life was totally fucked up.
My palms suddenly grew sweaty, as we turned down the block, closer towards the ocean. The salty air blew through the winter, reminding me of lazy evening long ago spent eating dinner out on the spacious patio, where the view seemed to go on for miles. I thought we’d raise our children in that house when he bought it.
I’d thought a lot of hopeless things back then.
Turning into the driveway that was no longer mine, I put the car in park, not bothering to kill the engine.
“Well, here you are,” I said, averting his gaze. I couldn’t look at him. Not here. Not with the flood of memories that were threatening to assail me.
“Thanks,” he answered, moving towards the door. He paused briefly as if he had something more he wanted to say, but decided against it and stepped out. The door shut and I felt air rush back into the small compact space.
I took one huge gulp of air, then another—willing myself not to cry.
August Kincaid would not make me cry.
He was awake, but he would not rule my life.
Not ever again.
Looking up, my eyes settled on the glove compartment—the place where I hid the key to my past. The key to this place.
What had been a mere duty I carried on in his absence now felt dirty and shameless.
It was my last physical connection to him…to this place. I needed to get rid of it. Now.
I ripped open the glove compartment, pulling out manuals and registrations for years back. Wow, I needed to clean this thing out.
Finally, I found it, in the very back where I had shoved it last time I’d visited—when he’d first awoken. Feeling resolved and settled, I jumped out of the car and stomped towards the front door, intent on my decision.
He answered before I had the chance to pound on the door.
It was a little disappointing—I had some pent up frustration to let out.
“Sorry, I was watching from the window. I wanted to make sure you got out of the driveway safely. It’s a bit steep,” he said lamely.
I rolled my eyes and let out a frustrated sigh. “You forget I used to live here.”
“Right,” he answered, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. Stepping back, he motioned for me to enter, which I hadn’t planned on. Hell, it was the last thing I wanted, but before I had the chance to decline, he was gone—disappearing around the corner towards the living room.
“What the—“ I huffed, as I quickly followed him. Had he forgotten manners during his two year slumber as well?
“Listen, I’m not here to hang out. Believe me—that’s the last thing I want to do with you. I just wanted to drop off my key.”
As I rounded the corner to catch up with him, I nearly gasped. What use to be a warm, beautiful room was now covered in dusty boxes, old papers and god knows what else.
“Your key?” he asked, turning around, his eyes searching the piles as if he were looking for something specific.
What exactly, I wasn’t sure.
“What is this?” I asked.
“Oh, um—everything I could find in the attic. I brought it all down, hoping I could make sense of…well anything.”
I stepped forward, picking a sheet of paper from the top of a stack. It was an old term paper from his days at Stanford. I held back the smile that wanted to break through, remembering what a brainiac he used to be.
He wasn’t that August anymore. He wasn’t anything anymore.
And I needed to get out of this situation.
“Well, I wish you good luck with that,” I said politely, placing the key on the stack of papers.
“This was my key to the house. I had it while you were—absent, just in case, but now that you are back, well—there’s obviously no need. So I’m returning it to you. Also, if you could remove me as your power of attorney, now that you’re able—I would appreciate it.”
His eyes met mine—those intense hazel eyes I’d fallen in love with at the tender age of eighteen, when life was easy and monsters were things of legend.
“Good luck August,” I said softly, before he had the chance to respond.
Turned out monsters come in all shapes and sizes—and right now, I needed to remember that.
After a stunning cliffhanger ending in Forgetting August, USA Today bestselling author J.L. Berg delivers the happily ever after that fans have been waiting for in the sequel, REMEMBERING EVERLY.
He’s forgotten his past, but it hasn’t forgotten him. After losing two years of his life trapped in a coma, August Kincaid will do anything to win back the love of his life. But his past threatens to destroy his second chance at happiness, it’s Everly who is in danger of paying for his crimes.