When Time Stands Still bySara Furlong Burr
Publication date: June 15th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
It’s been nearly a decade since Elle Sloan last saw Luke Hutchins. Close to ten years since she broke up with him over a single phone call, providing him with little explanation. Since the end of their relationship, Elle has done everything she could do to move on, marrying, proceeding forward with her life, almost allowing herself to completely forget about Luke.
Out of nowhere, Elle receives a phone call from Luke’s mother. Luke has been in a horrific car accident and, a month later, has just awoken from a coma. However, instead of celebrating, his family is stunned to learn that Luke is suffering from amnesia and only remembers his life as it was before his breakup with Elle. Not wanting to tell Luke that he and Elle aren’t together anymore for fear it may compromise his recovery, Elle is asked by Luke’s family to come to the hospital to see him. Their hope is that she will slowly be able to jog his memory and cushion the blow.
Guilt-ridden over how their relationship ended, Elle readily agrees, finding herself transported back in time with Luke to the life they once shared and the future they could have had together.
Luke’s other hand reached for my face, hesitantly at first, until he mustered up enough courage to allow his fingertips to brush my cheek before opening his hand to hold the side of my face in his palm. His thumb rested on my cheekbone just below my eye. His hand was warm and comforting, like a blanket I wanted to drape over my body. Closing my eyes, I took in the sensation of his touch.
“May I kiss you, Elle?” he asked softly.
“Yes,” I answered him.
Heart racing, I stood, waiting in anticipation to feel his lips brush against mine, only to find myself somewhat disappointed when I felt them on my cheek, instead.
“No,” I said, opening my eyes. “You don’t need to ask permission to do that.” Rising up on the very tips of my toes, I reached for Luke’s face. “You ask for permission to do this.” Without hesitation, I took his lips in mine. Clearly stunned, Luke’s body stiffened at first before readily giving in. He wrapped his arm around my waist while still cupping my face with his hand, pulling my mouth back against his after I began to pull away. Like the rest of the night, it was a moment I wished wouldn’t end, and apparently neither did he, as neither one of us was too eager to break the bond forming between our bodies.
“Don’t make me get the hose, you two,” Mena called out from the balcony.
Luke’s and my lips parted slowly, but his grip around me remained unwavering. By this time, my toes were starting to grow numb from bearing my weight, and despite my best efforts to stay up, my feet planted themselves back down on the ground. The sudden loss in my height forced Luke to bend down, where he rested his forehead against my own. My heart remained beating faster than normal, but had slowed down exponentially from where it had been just a moment ago, though my breathing was nowhere close to being settled. Thankfully, neither was his.
“I trust you brought her back with her virtue still intact. She’s worth nothing to me if she’s not pure,” Mena said in her best East Coast mobster impersonation.
I let go of Luke long enough to present my middle finger to Mena. Luke laughed, as he lifted his forehead from mine and loosened his hold from around me.
“Now is that any way to treat your friend, who’s been up all night worried sick while you’ve been out besmirching your name around town?”
“Rest assured,” Luke began, “nothing went on to prompt said besmirching.”
“What? Is my friend not good enough for you? I fully expected her to come back defiled. You both ought to be ashamed of yourselves.”
“Goodnight, Mena. I’ll be up in a minute,” I called up to her, my cheeks beginning to burn.
“That’s right, and when you get up here, you’re going to have some explaining to do.” Mena wagged her finger at me, turned back around on her heels, and walked inside our room.
“This night just got shot to hell,” I muttered, much to Luke’s amusement.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, then?” he asked, more hopeful than expectant.
“You’ll see me tomorrow.” I squeezed his hand and walked up the sidewalk toward Mena and the spirited interrogation she would soon inflict upon me.
Sara “Furlong” Burr was born and raised in Michigan and currently still lives there with her husband, two daughters, a high-strung Lab, and three judgmental cats. When she’s not writing, Sara enjoys reading, camping, spending time with her family, and attempting to paint while consuming more amaretto sours than she cares to admit.