Genres: Contemporary Romance
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Her lips, the way she feels, how she moves against me. Her voice when she laughs, her eyes when she cries. Her soul connected to mine, for better or for worse, for all eternity.
I don't remember.
A blank face. Unrecognizable. The darkness and impenetrable fog, day after day after day. Who am I? And for that matter, who is she?
I can't remember.
Two sides to the same coin – one wants to remember, and the other wants to stay forgotten. Which side will win? Can he trust his heart to bring him back to her? Or will she stay lost in the fog forever?
I might never remember.
Warning: features adult themes
While recommending this book to a friend I told her it had all the “feels” we Romance lovers want in a book. Muscle Memory will make my Top Ten list of 2017, and I’m pretty confident it will be among the top three, that’s how much I loved it! Ms. Fantome’s writing is so poignant I felt genuine, sharp stabs of pain in my chest. It goes from past to present, back and forth, carrying us along this hauntingly beautiful story, making us feel every single thing. It’s a gift not many authors have, this eloquent way with words that we are so very fortunate to experience. This book had me crying (sobbing, really) at times out of sadness and joy. For the angst lovers, this book delivers! Luckily for us, it’s a true Romance, so don’t be afraid to dive in. You won’t be disappointed; the epilogue is a thing of beauty, deep-sigh worthy! While our stars go up to 5 I’m giving it 6 amazing stars.
What would you do if you were inadvertently given a second chance at a new life, a clean slate, so to speak? What if, in order to start all over again, you had your memory wiped away? Everyone you knew, everything you knew, all taken away, in a blink of an eye. No clue to who you were, where you came from, who loved you and who you loved. It would be terrifying, to wake up, having lost your memory and yourself.
John Doe, case number 438643, wakes up in Lenox Hill Hospital in New York asking a nurse if she could tell him who he is. He was transferred there from an Emergency room in Brooklyn, having fallen/pushed/jumped off a subway platform, the police were unsure how he was injured. So, when he finally woke up, he remembered nothing. Not only the details of how he was injured, but he couldn’t remember who he was, either. Name, age, date of birth, family…nothing. He has retrograde amnesia, caused by brain trauma, due to his accident.
“You could’ve died. You were waiting for the L at Bedford Avenue when you fell of the platform, went down almost four feet straight onto your head. Cracked your skull open on the tracks and broke your arm. You’re lucky a train wasn’t coming, either. Caused quite a problem, shut down the lines for a couple hours.”
“You were probably high. You’re almost lucky in a way, I bet you didn’t feel a thing.”
“I don’t get it. How can I not remember doing drugs? Shouldn’t I be jonesing or something?”
“You were unconscious for over two weeks, honey. You detoxed while you were out, which trust me, makes you one of the lucky ones.”
So Jon Doherty (he decides he wants that name instead of John Doe) must have been homeless from what he can tell of the picture of him when he was admitted. It seems he was a drug addict, with dreadlocks and tattoos. He wished he knew what his tattoos meant to him, especially the one written in Latin, that a doctor tells him means “In Love We Trust”.
With no wallet or ID, the police check his prints and find no criminal past that could identify him. Well, that’s both good and bad. After news coverage, on TV and print, no one comes forward to help identify him. Seems no one is looking for him or seems to know him. Seeing his reflection in the mirror, he looks nothing like when he was brought in. After the news coverage he was set up a with a donation fund so he has money to start a new life. His social worker, Mrs. Sloan, has assured him she’ll help him once he’s released from the hospital. His doctor gives him some advice he takes to heart.
“Then think of this as a fresh start, Jon, The man they brought into me three weeks ago had looked like a train wreck. But the man sitting in front of me right now, he seems pretty smart. Do something with this, make sure not to go down the same path.”
Although he can’t remember anything about it, Jon had a past life and someone he shared it with. Someone who knew and loved him when he was Jayson “Jay” Fairbanks. Someone he trusted and told every single thing about his life to. Someone he thought was his entire world at one time.
“And my heart and my soul and my everything”
Delaney Carter had good intentions of going to beauty school in New York having moved there from Connecticut. After seeing Jay one night she runs after him, hoping to score drugs, and he turns her life upside down.
“I want to know everything about you.
And what about the love of your life? You didn’t answer that question—I want to hear all about her.”
“She’s a crazy girl from Connecticut who seems like the girl next door, but fucks like the bad girl from the other side of the tracks. Just looking at her turns me inside out and I swear, I’m going to fucking marry her someday.”
“And when you finally ask her, she will definitely fucking say yes.”
Or maybe Del is the one that turns his life upside down. It’s hard to tell, their attraction is so explosive and intense. With Jay dealing drugs and both of them consuming, it’s hard to keep a steady job. Or a place to stay.
“I’m sorry. You’re right. I should trust us.”
“In love we trust, remember?”
“I remember.” I remember everything about you.”
“Don’t ever leave me.”
“Never. I will never leave you.”
But this was all in the past….
Once Sloany, as Jon calls Mrs. Sloan, finds a half-way house for him to live in she finds a part time job at a community center. When his supervisor, Katherine “Kitty” Beaumont, shows an interest in Jon and takes him under her wing, all he can do is go along.
Every now and then, Jon has a flash of something that he refers to as a muscle memory. Not quite clear enough, a familiarity. The smell of cigarette smoke. Words or a certain term will give him a strange feeling in the center of his chest.
Delaney was his past and Jay had promised her a future together. Too bad he couldn’t remember his promise to her. Kitty was his present, but something, or a feeling, was holding Jon back.
This story slayed me! When Jon crashes into his past, the heartbreak I felt for everyone involved was just so incredibly painful. All he knows of Delany is that they were homeless and did drugs together. He had no idea who or what she meant to him. She had his past and he needed to know more in order to move on. But somethings were too sacred to Del, and Jay, to tell Jon about.
Who loves more, the one who selfishly refuses to let go of a loved one, despite knowing the hurt they’re causing others? Or the one who selflessly lets a loved one go no matter how painful it might be? Would you stay in someone’s life, no matter how hurtful it was to see them with someone else, as long as they were happy? Would you be capable of cruelly saying words to someone, words meant to cause excruciating pain? To the point they’d wish they’d died, knowing the words were a lie?
“I’m glad I forgot us”
There were moments I felt such rage I wanted to scream or strike someone, anyone! And others that made me cry tears of joy, sorrow and even laughter. Like I mentioned above, all the FEELS!
As a side note: Ms. Fantome has one of my favorite songs listed on the playlist. It’s a song that is so hauntingly beautiful and fits this story so well, sung by a certain Bahamian songstress. I’ll think of this story every time I hear that song. No, that’s not true. I’ll think of this story, just because it buried itself in my heart, and I love it so much!