A soldier's memories are more dangerous than anything he's encountered in the line of duty
"Killed in action" a year ago, US Army captain Ian Rayford shocks everyone when he stumbles half-dead onto his family's Texas ranch. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Ian can barely remember his relatives. His former fiancée, a psychologist specializing in PTSD, arrives to help Ian recover. But not everyone wants her to unearth the dangerous secrets he's carrying.
Now engaged to another man, Dr. Andrea Warrington fights her feelings for Ian even as she helps him remember how much they once loved each other. Yet the closer Ian gets to his past, the more someone else has to ensure the treacherous truth stays buried.
This was an excellent book, packed with both physical and mental action. It started with Ian, who had been reported dead, walking his way toward his family's ranch. He is half-dead and barely has any memories of his family or anything else. He is also suffering from extreme PTSD, including flashbacks that send him right back to being tortured. Within a few weeks he's disgusted with the "shrinks" who have tried to help him and refuses to see another one.
At this point his family contacts a local center that deals with returning vets and their issues. They send out a psychologist to work with him, but it isn't just any psychologist. Andrea was once engaged to Ian, before she broke things off with him. She found out he had been lying to her about his unexplained absences, something that pushed one of her own issues. Her father had lied to her and her mother, leaving them behind when it was discovered that he had two other wives and families. She has moved on, and is now engaged to another man. She is not happy about her assignment, but her boss (and fiance) orders her to do it, claiming that her history with Ian may make it easier for him to open up with her.
Andrea tries to keep a professional distance with Ian, but he refuses to give up on their relationship. She wants to help him, but she's determined not to let her emotions get involved. Being around her does start to break some of his memories loose, but when they become the target of several attacks, he starts to worry that whatever he's forgotten has brought trouble to her.
I liked Ian and ached for him with the pain he was experiencing. The descriptions of his episodes were so vivid that I felt as though I was right there. He was also afraid that he might have given up sensitive information while being tortured, and that kind of guilt has added to the stress he is under. As more of his memory returns, he feels that he is getting closer to the truth of why someone wants him dead, if he can just stay alive long enough to remember it all. During all of it, he continues to try to show Andrea that they belong together.
During the story we see more of Andrea's fiance. He stands in the way of Ian getting Andrea back. He also seems to be unusually interested in hearing about Ian's progress. Is it professional interest, or does he have a more personal reason? Why is he determined that Andrea be the one to work with Ian, even though he knows of their prior relationship? And why does the sheriff seem to have it in for Ian and his brother Zach? His attitude doesn't seem right for a man who is supposed to uphold the law. Ian's family is happy to have him home, and desperately worried about him and his suffering. I loved their support of him, but does Zach's wife Jessie, and her investigative journalism have anything to do with the attacks? The final confrontation is intense, and has several interesting twists and turns before it is all over.