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Halcyon by C.L. Donley - Book Tour + Giveaway

By 7:00 AM , , , ,

by C.L. Donley 
Genre: Contemporary Romance 

The Halcyon program has only grown in respect and mystique over their now fifteen years of matchmaking. When I went through it six years ago, they were still boasting 100% success of all the participants. Single, usually hopeless, candidates leave the program as part of a couple. The foolproof methods Halcyon uses to guarantee a soulmate comes from a blend of technology, biology, psychology, and, of course, sex. Naturally, with its high price tag, extensive, invasive testing, and painstaking process, only serious participants make it through, and everyone found success. Until us. 


I’m awake. In a strange room I don’t recognize. I’m waiting for something to attack me. Something black and oozing from the wall. I hold my breath. Someone walks past the window and my heart leaps from my chest. But nothing happens. I want to say that it’s normal, but normal feels like it was only a dream. It feels inconsequential. And the dreams are what I’ve considered real for what seems like an eternity. Unbearably frightening. But colorful. With only the illusion of separateness.
Another person walks by without incident. A landline phone rings. I want to feel relief but I’m afraid to hope. Maybe I only see them but they don’t see me.
I need to test it out but I’m terrified. Don’t say anything don’t say anything don’t say anything…
At first, nothing happens. Then, a quiet-looking woman in scrubs.
Is this a hospital?
“Sir, do you know where you are?”
“Do you know your name?”
“Your whole name, Cliff.”
“Cliff Novak.”
“Your parent’s names?”
“Nadia and Cliff Sr. Am I in the hospital?”
“Yes. What year is it?”
“…I don’t know.”
“Try to guess.”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“…There was an accident. You’ve been in a coma awhile. In and out of consciousness for a few days. What’s the last thing you remember?”
“I was… in a hell.”
“You were in hell?”
“In one of them, yes.”
“Okay,” she patiently replies, “Do you remember having an accident?”
“What kind of accident.”
“A… bus accident.”
I search my memory. The last woman I was with. She kicked me out. A conversation with a cop. On the side of the highway. Shit, that must’ve not been a dream.
“Is everyone okay?” I ask.
“Sorry, is who okay?”
“Was anyone else hurt?”
“…No, everyone else is fine.”
“What about the cop?”
“Which cop?”
“There was a cop. That talked to me.”
“Officer Rainier? He’s been visiting since you were airlifted here.”
I gulp. Damn, I should remember an accident bad enough to warrant a helicopter flight to the hospital.
“Am I… is anything broken?”
“Mr. Novak, just about everything is broken. Or was. Your surgeries went well, but it will take time to rehabilitate.”
“I want to see.”
The nurse takes a diplomatic breath and musters her most authoritative tone.
“There’s no way I’m having this conversation again. Get some rest now, Mr. Novak. We’ll brief you fully tomorrow.”
I get the sense that I should do what she says, which is easy because I’m exhausted. I’m afraid because I might wake up again to a fresh place. My sleep is dreamless, or maybe I am still awake, but the conversation outside my door bleeds into my consciousness and forces images to emerge, images that are probably a re-creation of the room that I’m in. A long window with a set of blinds. Twinkling moonlight that’s too bright to be from the moon. My bed on a hilltop.
“Any change?” I hear a male voice.
“Well, he didn’t try to yank out his catheter with his one good arm today. Also, he knows what year it is. And mentioned the cop.”
“Should be any day now, then. Did you get a hold of the parents?”
“I did. They were pretty shocked, said that they haven’t heard from him in over a year.”
“Are they coming here?”
“They were in Granada last I heard. Had to cut their vacation short.”
“Long as the check clears.”
“Also, he’s having nightmares. Clonidine?”
“Ask me again tomorrow.”
Maybe it’s the next day. Days feel more like scenes. It’s been a few scenes since the nurse told me to lie down. Another nurse came and told me there was an accident. I asked if everyone was okay and she said: “You’ll see.” Then my parents were here. They talk about me like I’m not here, like they usually do. They’re talking about a thing called Halcyon, which my brain knows. I was on my way there. It was something good and something bad. Sex and boot camp. Disneyland and college.
My parents are gone and another person enters the scene. I don’t recognize him, but he’s a cop. And a cop is one of the last things I remember. He must be that cop.
“How ya feel, Hank?” he says. He calls me Hank, which isn’t my name, I know that for sure. Nice guy. Interested in me for some reason, like we did something together. We didn’t just meet and become friends, I know that. He’s not like anyone who I would ever befriend or vice versa. A nurse comes and takes me and bathes me since I can’t do anything. I hope I can get out of here soon but I’m not sure why yet.
“We recommend moving your son back to Napierville where his rehabilitation will be much more cost-effective for both of you. I’ve contacted Dr. Krueger out of Lawrence Medical. A colleague of mine. He’ll be expecting you.”
My parents are back again in their recurring roles. I woke up yesterday knowing where I was, and why I was there. And the cop. But not much else. Meanwhile, a nurse has my right leg in her arms.
“How long until he regains his memory, Doctor?”
“His long term memory appears to be intact and his short term memory shows signs of recovery. He’s missing what happened the night of the accident. The officer maintains that it was a suicide attempt.”
“Impossible. My son would never do anything like that.”
“Didn’t I tell you? Didn’t I say this would happen if you cut him off?” my mother scolds dramatically.
“Cliff still doesn’t have a memory of that night and honestly it would be a lot to expect of him.”
“He didn’t come home after leaving Halcyon. We couldn’t even get his discharge information from them. They wouldn’t give us anything. Now, he doesn’t even remember ever being there?”
Shit, that wasn’t a dream either. I was there? I feel anxious when I think about it, like it’s about to happen. I’m about to be taken there and left alone.
“My suspicion is that whatever happened there is related to his accident.”
“My son did not try to kill himself,” my dad says, like he’s in a movie. I don’t remember if I did or not, but I probably did, based on the context of my charmed life, that which I do remember. And the strength of my father’s telltale denial. I do remember my fiancee… dropping out of college… that I remember quite well. That was real. I was hurt, but I was getting over it. I wouldn’t have tried to kill myself over her. Not all at once. It didn’t do anything but solidify my bad opinion of women. How do I remember that and not Halcyon?
“Be that as it may, if the two incidents are linked, it may contribute to his inability to retrieve that information.”
“Who’s going to put my son back together?”

“We’ll do our best. We can nurse his body back to health. But ultimately the rest is up to him.”

C.L. Donley is a future New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of multicultural and interracial romance, who believes romance novels that are impossible to put down are the only kind that should exist! Armed with a B.A. in English and M.A. in Writing, she is new to the romance game, having written her first novel, Amara's Calling, after discovering the romance genre in September 2017. Donley writes in a style she calls "romantic realism" that is sophisticated yet simple, grounded yet unaplogetically escapist, and character-driven rather than plot-driven. This style creates a unique, modern reading experience ideal for book club discussions, personal epiphanies, satisfying re-reads, and the occasional spiraling reviewer! Love it or hate it, fans and critics alike can't deny her talent, and always find themselves coming back for more! 

She loves hearing from readers and discussing her favorite parts of her own books, so feel free to indulge her. 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

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