Seventeen-year-old Adam Rhodes—orphan, world-famous guitarist and perpetual screw-up—has been in a downward spiral ever since rock star Sunshine, the love of his life, died. Then a knock on the door brings Dr. Trixie Elloran, lead scientist at The Sunshine Project, into his life with a proposition that just might save him from himself. Using breakthrough cloning and memory-implantation techniques, scientists at The Sunshine Project want to resurrect Sunshine, and they need Adam’s intimate memories of his life with her to do so.
Now he and Sunshine will have a second chance at happiness. But as the memory retrieval process forces Adam to relive his life with Sunshine and the devastating path that brought them both to fame, he must confront not only the circumstances of her death but also his growing relationship with the mysterious Genevieve, daughter of The Sunshine Project’s founder, a girl with a heartbreaking past of her own and a secret that could change everything. And as the process sweeps Adam and Sunshine ever closer to reliving the tragedy that destroyed them, Adam must decide how far he’ll go to save her, even as he risks losing her forever and destroying what’s left of himself along the way.
The process starts, a tug low in my belly, like I’m made of string and someone’s trying to unravel me. White light flashes behind my eyes, and suddenly I’m engulfed by blowing sand. It bites at my cheeks, blinds me. Beyond the sand, there are only shadows.
“Dial it down,” a woman’s voice commands, and then softer, “Sorry. Bear with us a second, Adam. This happens sometimes.”
Squeezing my eyes shut doesn’t help because no matter how real the sand feels, it’s in my mind, nothing more than a memory. I grit my teeth and curl my hands around the arms of the chair I know I’m sitting in.
“I said: ‘dial it down!’”
Sweat runs into my eyes, and I let go of the chair long enough to wipe my forehead.
“Great,” she says finally, “There.”
The blowing sand disappears. I let out my breath as the sandstorm settles into a grainy image, and then sharpens into a memory so clear that I’m in two places at once. I’m in a white-walled room with Dr. E and her technician and a shitload of equipment that hums and beeps and flashes, but I’m also at Smitty’s Point with Marybeth--way before she became Sunshine--on a day long gone.
We’re walking through a concrete underpass that smells like piss and stale beer and rotting fish. The memory is so vivid I can read the graffiti on the walls--Rita is a WHORE; Cindy Luvs Chris, Jaden was here--and hear the echo of our footsteps and Marybeth humming under her breath.