There was a sudden, violent shrieking of wood and nails being ripped from above. More crashing, more ripping, and then, in a mist of smoke, a hazy light appeared. Then she saw Gideon’s face above, the bandana pulled over his mouth, his eyes red-streaked from smoke. He said nothing, just continued to rip at the boards. Next thing Melody knew, he was reaching down for her, folding her into his arms and lifting her into a cauldron of smoke and flames.
“Close your eyes,” Gideon said. “We have to go out the balcony.”
Melody Moon has returned to her rural roots with fame and riches in hopes of finding Gideon, the young man with the ghastly birthmark on his face. His memory has haunted her for twenty years, yet no one knows what happened to him. After purchasing Catalpa Hall, their childhood sanctuary, Melody makes a strange discovery: carved in the wood below the old stage in the hall is her name, Gideon’s name, and the current year.
Melody and Gideon were once known as the “Double Uglies,” dubbed as such by Melody’s reprehensible older brother, Dean. The cruel nickname later earned Melody fame as an author of children’s books, but only Gideon knows the nickname had actually precipitated dreadfully more—it precipitated her brother’s drowning long ago. It’s a loss that’s tormented Gideon, turning him into the recluse he’s become.
What exactly did happen at the secluded pond behind Catalpa Hall when Melody and Gideon were so young and just trying to get by in the backwoods culture…and who else may have witnessed it? Someone with sinister motives is involved, and is desperately attempting to tear the now reunited Gideon and Melody apart. Gideon’s love for the enchanting young woman he’d been forced to abandon two decades ago may force him to leave her again, for he feels certain Melody could never understand the truth. At least, his perception of the truth.