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Forget Me Not    by Marliss Melton order for
Forget Me Not
by Marliss Melton
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

When Helen Renault's SEAL husband Gabe is presumed dead after a mission gone bad, she pulls the tattered pieces of her life together. Helen comes to terms with her grief and with the fact that Gabe had always loved his career above all else. Vowing to put the past to rest along with her husband, and become a more independent woman, Helen finds a job she loves and believes she's making a difference, not only in own her life, but in her daughter's as well. Helen is fully prepared to face the future alone and with newfound self confidence until a late night telephone call turns her world upside down all over again.

Navy officials inform her that Gabe has escaped his North Korean captors and is recuperating in a nearby military hospital. Doctors assure her that Gabe's physical injuries will heal; it's the post traumatic amnesia that concerns them more. He remembers little or nothing about the last minutes of the mission, or the explosion that injured him. Neither does he remember being a husband and father. Gabe's doctors are optimistic, however. They assure Helen that once Gabe settles back into a familiar, stable and non-threatening lifestyle, his memories will eventually filter back.

Helen takes Gabe home, but makes it clear that they will not be husband and wife again. Once he's healthy, Helen intends to file for divorce. But as the days and weeks pass, she sees that Gabe has changed: the distant, secretive man he once was is no more. He is attentive and caring, and works hard to become a true father figure to their daughter. He also looks at Helen with a new longing that she finds harder and harder to resist. The longer he stays, the more she's convinced that she could fall in love with Gabe Renault all over again. But just as old hurts begin to heal, enemies re-surface, determined to ensure that Gabe never regains his memories of what really happened during his last mission.

Melton has done a commendable job in portraying a young woman who stepped into marriage with stars in her eyes only to discover that her husband is really a total stranger. His rejection leaves her battling a long list of insecurities, ones she works hard to overcome. Melton does an even better job in her portrayal of Gabe, a man whose ordeal has cast him adrift in a sea of uncertainty, wondering who he can trust. Fine secondary casting and a nifty bit of suspense are an added bonus, making Forget Me Not a compelling and nicely realized story. Marliss Melton also leaves enough lose ends dangling to guarantee a sequel or two.

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