Release Day Reviews: Burying Water: K.A. Tucker

Burying Water
K.A. Tucker
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Expected October 7, 2014

The top-selling, beloved indie author of Ten Tiny Breaths returns with a new romance about a young woman who loses her memory—and the man who knows that the only way to protect her is to stay away.

Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

This can’t be real . . . This can’t be real . . . This can’t be real . . . 

The words cycle round and round in my mind like the wheels on my speeding ’Cuda as its ass-end slips and slides over the gravel and ice. This car is hard to handle on the best of days, built front-heavy and overloaded with horsepower. I’m going to put myself into one of these damn trees if I don’t slow down.

I jam my foot against the gas pedal. 

I can’t slow down now. 

Not until I know that Boone was wrong about what he claims to have overheard. His Russian is mediocre at best. I’ll giveanything for him to be wrong about this.

My gut clenches as my car skids around another turn, the cone shape of Black Butte looming like a monstrous shadow ahead of me in the pre-dawn light. The snowy tire tracks framed by my headlights might not even be the right ones, but they’re wide like Viktor’s Hummer and they’re sure as hell the only ones down this old, deserted logging road. No one comes out here in January.

The line of trees marking the dead end comes up on me before I expect it. I slam on my brakes, sending my car sliding sideways toward the old totem pole. It’s still sliding when I cut the rumbling engine, throw open the door, and jump out, fumbling with my flashlight. It takes three hard presses with my shaking hands to get the light to hold. 

I begin searching the ground. The mess of tread marks tells me that someone pulled a U-turn. The footprints tell me that more than one person got out. And when I see the half-finished cigarette butt with that weird alphabet on the filter, I know Boone wasn’t wrong.

“Alex!” My echo answers once . . . twice . . . before the vast wilderness swallows up my desperate cry. With frantic passes of my flashlight, my knuckles white against its body, I search the area until I spot the sets of footprints that lead off the old, narrow road and into the trees.

Frigid fingers curl around my heart. 

Darting back to my car, I snatch the old red-and-blue plaid wool blanket that she loves so much from the backseat. Ice-cold snow packs into the sides of my sneakers as I chase the trail past the line of trees and into the barren field ahead, my blood rushing through my ears the only sound I process.

The only sign of life.

Raw fear numbs my senses, the Pacific Northwest winter numbs my body, but I push forward because if . . .

The beam of light passes over a still form lying facedown in the snow. I’d recognize that pink coat and platinum-blond hair of hers anywhere; the sparkly blue dress that she hates so much looks like a heap of sapphires against a white canvas.

My heart freezes. 

“Alex.” It’s barely a whisper. I’m unable to produce more, my lungs giving up on me. I run, stumbling through the foot of snow until I’m on my knees and crawling forward to close the distance. A distance of no more than ten feet and yet one that seems like miles.

There’s no mistaking the spray of crimson freckling the snow around her head. Or that most of her long hair is now dark and matted. Or that her silver stockings are torn and stained red, and a pool of blood has formed where her dress barely covers her thighs. Plenty of footprints mark the ground around her. He must have been here for a while.

I know that there are rules to follow, steps to make sure that I don’t cause her further harm. But I ignore them because the sinking feeling in my stomach tells me I can’t possibly hurt her more than he already has. I nestle her head with one hand while I slide the other under her shoulder. I roll her over.

Cold shock knocks the wind out of me. 

I’ve never seen anybody look like this.

I scoop her limp body into my arms, cradling the once beautiful face that I’ve seen in every light—rage to ecstasy and the full gamut in between—yet is now unrecognizable. Placing two blood-coated fingers over her throat, I wait. Nothing.

A light pinch against her lifeless wrist. Nothing.

Maybe a pulse does exist but it’s hidden, masked by my own racing one.

Then again, by the look of her, likely not.

One . . . two . . . three . . . plump, serene snowflakes begin floating down from the unseen sky above. Soon, they will converge and cover the tracks, the blood. The evidence.Mother Nature’s own blanket to hide the unsightly blemish in her yard.

“I’m so sorry.” I don’t try to restrain the hot tears as they roll down my cheeks to land on her mangled lips—lips I had stolen plenty of kisses from, back when I was too stupid to realize how dangerous that really was. This is my fault. She had warned me. If I had just listened, had stayed away from her, had not told her how I felt . . . 

. . . had not fallen wildly in love with her.

I lean down to steal a kiss even now, the coppery taste of her blood mixing with my salty tears. “I’m so damn sorry. I should never have even looked your way,” I manage to get out around my sobs, tucking the blanket she loved to curl up in over her. 

An almost inaudible gasp slips out. A slight breeze against my mouth more than anything else.

My lungs freeze, my eyes glued to her, afraid to hope. “Alex?” Is it possible?

A moment later, a second gasp—a wet, rattling sound—escapes.

She’s not dead.

Not yet, anyway.

A young woman with no memory.
A young man with a questionable past may hold all of the answers.
But is it too dangerous to reveal?
Will his attempts to protect her now just hurt her worse in the long run?

We are hit from the beginning with a devastating horrific scene. Then to an injured woman waking up in a hospital with no memory at all. Her surgeon Meredith and her husband Gabe who  also happens to be the town sheriff take a special interest in this Jane Doe and their family becomes her only real lifeline. And their son Jesse, is also part of the puzzle. 

Jane Doe has a complicated history leading up to her attack and that is slowly revealed through Jesse's point of view in the past. He tells us of her past as Alexandria. While her present is told in her point of view as Jane Doe and eventually her newly chosen name, Water, as she struggles to figure out what to do now that she is a clean slate. Their shared past is slowly revealed. We see their lives cross. We see how they ended up. And the in between is gradually filled in throughout the story. 

We basically  see this couple fall in love in two different worlds and circumstances and a connection that can't seem to really be broken despite secrets and a need for protection. 

I really loved Jesse. He was a good guy that made some bad choices during his life time. But he also was protective, caring, and wanted what was best for her all along. He struggled with guilt, loss and pain and was unsure of how much he was helping and hurting the situation. But he would do what he had to do in order to try to keep her safe.

And Water was a resilient woman who had a good heart and cared for those around her. And even in her previous life as Alexandria where she had little control, she was a gentle, loving woman. She struggles with her memory loss, but has no idea that it might be safer not to remember. I wished we got to see more with Water and Jesse's relationship in the present and later. And maybe Jesse's point of view in the present towards the end as well.  

I enjoyed most of the side characters. Jesse's parents Gabe and Meredith, his twin sister Amber, his friend Boone and their cantankerous neighbor Ginny Fitzgerald. She was a force to be reckoned with and was a very important part of the story. They all touched Water's life and helped her to start over when she had nothing. And all cared about her enough to want to protect her and keep her safe and happy. They were likable, well developed, and added depth to the story. The villians were easy to hate and added significant tension and fear. But I did think one of their stories might have been resolved just a bit too easily for me. 

This book had a complicated plot with converging details and alternated past and present in dual points of view. It  was a slowly unraveling story with mystery, suspense, pain, and betrayal with a forbidden love story woven in.  It had secrets, surprises, and  twists. This young woman was basically reborn and had to struggle to find her a new life and eventually face the ghosts of her old one. But "the truth is like that water: it doesn't matter how hard you try to bury it; it'll always find some way back to the surface. It's resilient."

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

The mind, it can be a deceitful thing. But it is no match for the heart.

Memory loss is such a curious concept for someone who has never battled with it. When she wakes up in the hospital, Jane Doe, as she’s referred to, has no memory of her past. She knows how to do things that would otherwise take learning, but she has no memory of her personal history, even her name but especially not how she came to be found beaten and near death in a field. 

“He said the truth is like that water: it doesn’t matter how hard you try to buy it; it’ll always find some way back to the surface.”

Jesse Welles, the son of the local sheriff, has a reputation for trouble. Part of his reputation is earned, part is small town gossip and rumor. He is also the narrator of the past. His memories are the only complete details of the past shared in the story, and the story he paints is one of deep love and deep fear. But underneath his own love and fear runs a protective streak pointed at Alex. Though he can’t seem to stay away from her, he also worries about her and wants to do anything and everything he can to get and keep her safe.

Jane Doe/Water was an interesting character in that all her early characterization happened through the eyes of another. In her present day scenes, I felt her frustration in remembering nothing, but it was hard to get a feeling for her as a person until she was released from the hospital and starts re-living a life. Pinpointing her true nature was also challenging in the past because she spent so much time wearing a mask. There were moments of clarity when her personality shone through, but they were hidden behind the public mask she wore and rarely shared.

As she struggles to remember anything while also trying to pick up her life, the people who support her became near and dear to me. Her quirky boss, Dakota, with her penchant for sharing gossip without judgement regularly put a smile on my face with her prescience and understanding. And then there is Ginny. The cantankerous neighbor to the Welles family, she is the one who offers an empty garage apartment for Jane to settle in and help out around her ranch. But Ginny also needed Jane’s presence (whether she will admit it or not), as the older woman has been a recluse, refusing to leave her land for the last 10 years and refusing permission for anyone except Meredith Welles to help her out. 

This was a slow burner. While I didn’t find as much reading time as usual while I was working through this, I was constantly thinking about Jane Doe/Water/Alex and the series of events that might have led up to her as she appears at the beginning of the book. The beginning was a little slow to pick up, but that may have just been my inability to connect to Jane/Water before she began building a life outside the hospital. I wished that more of Jesse’s point of view was available in the present day, though the consistent format was a strong method for telling this story. It was more that I wondered how he felt watching Water so close yet so far away. And as I was writing this review, it also occured to me that I would have loved to have a little bit more of their future, of what happened after all the truth came out. 

As a new series, there are a lot of characters to meet and backstories hinted at. I can see future books focusing on Jesse’s roommate Boone, or his sister Amber, as well as several other townspeople from Sisters that are introduced and help Water find her feet again. The setting alone would cause me to pick up another book in the series, as I love the Pacific NW. Beyond that though, these characters have stories to tell and I can’t wait to hear them.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

K.A. Tucker: 

Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.    

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  1. When I read suspense I want a really good twist in the plot, something I would never see coming. That and a lot of romance.

  2. Sounds like a great book. I would love to win a copy.

  3. Suspense reads are probably my most favorite genre. If the author has the ability to pull me into the story so well that I forget it is fictional, then they have done an amazing job. Thanks for the giveaway.


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