Dream on A novel

Angie Hockman

Book - 2022

"The author of the "absolutely sparkling debut" (Entertainment Weekly) Shipped returns with a fresh romantic comedy following a law student who wakes up from a car accident with memories of a boyfriend she's never met, only to run into him in a flower shop a year later. But when she finds herself having feelings for her dream man's brother--the owner of said flower shop--things start to get a lot more complicated"--

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Romance fiction
New York : Gallery Books 2022.
Main Author
Angie Hockman (author)
First Gallery Books trade paperback edition
Physical Description
342 pages ; 21 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Hockman (Shipped) puts a wonderfully original spin on amnesia romance in her delightful sophomore rom-com. Aspiring lawyer Cass Walker falls asleep at the wheel after her bar exam and wakes up in the hospital six days later asking for her boyfriend, Devin Bloom. This question baffles her friends and family, who've never heard the name and know Cass to be single. Cass struggles to reconcile herself to the idea that the man she can picture so clearly is a figment of her imagination--until, one year later, she stops into Cleveland flower shop Blooms & Baubles for a bouquet and comes face-to-face with the man in her mind's eye. It's Devin Szymanski, brother of the shop's owner, Perry, and, though he has no idea who Cass is, he agrees to help her solve the mystery of their connection. Cass is sure it must be fate--but fate, and Cass's surprising feelings for Perry, may disagree. Hockman makes the explanation for Cass's memories feel eminently plausible. The endearing cast will capture readers' hearts, and the clever, twisty plot keeps the pages flying. This is a first-rate romp. (July)

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Review by Library Journal Review

Cassidy Walker wakes up from a coma wondering where the man she's been dating for the last several months is, until she finds out that there is no evidence that Devin or their relationship ever existed. Dealing with these additional memories after recovering from her accident becomes a "struggle," according to her mom, as she tries to move on with her life, including moving into an apartment with her best friend and getting a second chance at her dream law job as a summer associate. Yet all of that changes when she stops to get a celebratory bouquet after her first day, and suddenly Devin does exist, right there in a random flower shop in Cleveland with his flirty florist brother. Devin Szymanski is just recovering from a serious and dramatic relationship. Although he is skeptical of Cass's story at first, he decides to take a chance on fate to see if he's really her dream man. Little does either of them know what fate actually has in store for them. VERDICT Fans of Hockman's debut novel, Shipped, will be excited to enjoy another delightful rom-com. Hand to those who appreciate a slow burn and the sweetest surprises for their heroines. Cassidy is a smart, independent, and strong woman who will have readers rooting for her happy ending and hanging on for the gratifying twist late in the book that shows that dreams and fate are not always as straightforward as they appear.--Morgan Lockard

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A young woman discovers unexpected love in this contemporary romance. Jam-packed with drama from the very beginning, Hockman's second novel follows 26-year-old recent law school graduate Cassidy Walker after she has a car accident and wakes up from a six-day coma. She's devastated that her boyfriend, Devin, isn't at the hospital, and she's frantic to find him. But Cass' mother and her best friend are confused by her urgent ramblings about her three-month-long relationship with Devin. The memories of a grand romance Cass has carried from her coma are fake--she's never had a boyfriend named Devin. Hockman's story unfurls as Cass struggles with the emotional aftermath of her car accident, adjusting to her new job at the prestigious Smith & Boone law firm, and her desire to find the man of her literal dreams. A year later, she does just that, meeting Devin Bloom and his brother, Perry, face to face at their flower shop when she stops in for a bouquet. This chance encounter sparks the beginning of a relationship that feels like fate. It's far from perfect, though, as Hockman soon shows, and Cass and Devin seem to take turns acting immaturely. Still, Cass is sure to earn readers' affections with her wit, charm, and passionate disposition. The book can be predictable at times, but the pleasingly imperfect characters more than make up for that, and Hockman's bright, witty language ties everything together. A romantic comedy with a satisfying twist of fate. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Prologue PROLOGUE "Care for breakfast?" Devin's deep voice caresses my body, rumbling through the dark like the intoxicating purr of an engine. I blink open my eyes and stretch my arms above my head until my knuckles brush the smooth headboard. Devin's smiling at me from beside the bed, dressed in the same fitted jeans and navy polo from last night. Soft morning light creeps through the hotel room's translucent curtains, casting his normally coal-brown hair in a mahogany glow. "Are you referring to food or yourself?" I say. Curling onto my side to face him, I pull the crisp white sheet up to my chest. The mattress dips as he sits next to me, dark eyes twinkling. "Take your pick." Brushing a lock of hair from my face, he presses his lips against mine in a lingering kiss. My chest expands, filling with joy until I'm sure it will crack. After years of putting love on the back burner to focus on school and career, I can't believe I've finally found someone. We've only been together a few months--three, I think--but this is the real deal. I can sense our soul-deep connection in my marrow. I have that overwhelming you-complete-me feeling I'd only hoped I'd find with someone someday. And guess what? He feels the same way about me. How in the world did I get so lucky? Devin graces me with a heart-melting smile. "I brought your favorite." He reaches behind him, and from out of nowhere proffers a piece of strawberry-covered cheesecake on a gleaming white plate. I grin as he hands it to me. "Dessert for breakfast? How decadent." I take a bite, and immediately wrinkle my nose. The taste is off. Rather than creamy, tart deliciousness, something stale and plasticky fills my mouth. I take another bite, just to be sure, and somehow manage to shove the fork down my throat. Pain sears my esophagus and the urge to gag overwhelms me. A burst of dazzling light fills the room, blurring Devin's edges like watercolors. My heart beats faster. Something's not right. Gripping the sheet, I tug it to my chin as I shrink against the pillows. Above me, the ceiling recedes into an endlessly blue sky. And it's filled with flying kittens . Tiny, feathered wings flap as they dip here and there, playing oversized violins like furry, fluffy cherubs. One of them, a tabby with green-golden eyes, winks at me as he draws his bow across the strings, causing a shower of effervescent sparks to rain down on Devin and me. Welp... guess I'm dreaming. At least Devin's in my dream too, which means it's a Very Good Dream. I realize now that my body feels like it's floating in the ocean; I'm in that twilight space between awake and asleep--aware that this is a dream, but still not quite conscious. This hotel room, the cheesecake: they're from the weekend trip to the lake that Devin surprised me with last month. Maybe if I don't think too hard about waking up, I'll stay asleep. Maybe I can make the dream change... call up another favorite memory... A thick blanket of clouds passes overhead, but the sky is as bright as ever and I squint. A pair of strong arms snakes beneath me, lifting me against a firm, familiar chest. Devin... " Cassidy ..." A faint voice echoes from far away, no louder than a reverberation from a church bell. It's easy to ignore, so I do. The dream shifts. I'm no longer lying in bed, but standing in the center of a dimly lit restaurant, clothed in a knee-length burgundy silk dress. Devin's wearing a white button-down with a red scarf, and we're dancing--just like on our first date. Soft music curls around us. I'm vaguely aware that people are staring, but I don't care. I cling to Devin so tightly my body melds with his and our souls tangle together. We're complete. " Cass, come back to us ," a distant voice echoes, louder this time. "Time to go." Devin's deep voice rumbles in his chest. I sigh into his neck and grasp him tighter. "I want to stay here with you." Gently disentangling himself from me, he steps back until he's an arm's length away. I smooth my dress over my stomach. Rather than lush, soft fabric, my gown is oddly thin and scratchy. I frown. A truck beeps somewhere in the distance, a steady, rhythmic sound. Devin takes my hand, but his palm is no longer rough. It's small and smooth, and long nails prick my skin. "Cass..." he whispers, his form blurring. " Cass... can... hear me? " says a higher-pitched voice. The dream turns fuzzy. No, not yet . I don't want to wake up. But Devin's form swirls and dissolves like smoke. I surface to consciousness like a creature emerging from the deep. I'm vaguely aware that I'm lying in a bed that's not mine, and something's beeping. An alarm clock? I open my eyes. A fluorescent light blinds me and I blink sluggishly. My eyelids are heavier than dumbbells. Someone squeezes my hand so hard it aches, and the blurry but familiar form of my best friend fills my vision. Her blond hair is pinned in a messy bun, her face a mask of concern. "Brie?" My voice is a raspy whisper and I cough. "Oh my God, Cass! You're awake!" She squeezes my hand again. Behind her delicate, round gold glasses, her honey-brown eyes are as wide as hubcaps. "Where am I?" I ask. "In the hospital. You had an accident." My vision clears, and I realize that I am, in fact, lying in a hospital bed, wearing a thin patterned gown with a stiff white blanket pulled up to my waist. A heart monitor beeps steadily from the corner. Brie's here, but where's Devin? He must have stepped out. "Where--" "Hold on. Mel... Melanie!" she shouts over her shoulder. Rapid footsteps approach and my mother appears beside Brie. Dark circles ring her eyes, and her normally shiny hair is limp. She's only forty-two--she had me at seventeen--but she looks at least fifty today. My stomach tightens as she smooths a lock of damp hair from my forehead. "Cass, is that you? Can you hear me?" I clear my throat. "Yeah, Mom, I hear you. You're shouting." I attempt to scoot higher in bed, but pain blasts through every cell of my body and I wince. "Shhh, don't try to move. You were in a car accident, honey. You've been in a coma. We weren't sure if you..." Mom's chest heaves and a sob rips through her. Oh God, Mom never cries. Brie curls an arm around her shoulder while she struggles to regain her normally unflappable composure. Wait, a coma ? The heart rate monitor beeps faster. "How long was I--" "Out?" Brie finishes. Gnawing her lip, she takes a deep breath. "I don't know how to break it to you, but... the year is 2041, and the robots have taken over. I'm sorry. I hope you're ready for the apocalypse." Her lips twist in an obvious attempt to suppress a smile. I blink. Mom slaps Brie's arm. " Brielle Owens ." "What? The opportunity was too good to pass up. I couldn't help myself." Warmth fills my chest. Brie's always known how to make me smile. Mom shakes her head. "It's August 4. You've been out for six days." I glance around the hospital room, at the blue vinyl chair pulled out into a bed in the corner, the open bag sitting on top of the twisted sheet, the lunch tray of half-eaten food on the rolling table. It looks like Mom, or Brie, or both, have been staying with me. Maybe they've been taking turns with Devin to visit. "Hey, can you--" "Someone's up, I see." A rosy-faced nurse bustles into the room, and a swell of activity ensues. The nurse calls in a doctor, who examines me and asks what feels like a million questions. " Do you know your name? What year is it? Who's the president? " Half an hour later, a specialist arrives and introduces herself as Dr. Holloway, a neurologist. She studies my chart as the nurse inclines my bed. "I could use some caffeine," announces Brie. "Can I get you a coffee, Mel?" "Yes please. Two creams, one sugar. Thanks, Brie," says Mom. "You got it. I'll be right back." She flashes me a reassuring smile as she leaves the room. Adjusting her laptop, the doctor peers at me over her tortoiseshell glasses. "Tell me, Cass, what's the last thing you remember before waking up today?" "I--" I cough, and Mom hands me a paper cup of ice chips. I slurp one into my mouth. The chilled liquid feels good against my abraded throat. Apparently I was on a ventilator until two days ago, when I began demonstrating bouts of wakefulness--of which I remember nothing--but my throat still feels like someone shoved a red-hot poker down there. "I remember taking the bar exam." "Mmm-hmm. And what about after that?" the doctor asks. I think back. I recall the last day of the two-day, soul-sucking exam, how I felt elated and exhausted when I left the test center in Columbus, and then... "Nothing." She types for several long seconds before shutting the lid of the laptop. "The good news is it looks like there's no brain damage." Across the room, my mother slumps in relief. "Oh, thank God." "But she has a long road of recovery ahead. We were able to relieve the swelling on her brain with an emergency craniotomy, but it's possible she may experience lingering adverse effects." I automatically finger the thick bandage behind my ear. "What kind of adverse effects?" asks Mom. "Possible trouble with coordination, short-term memory loss. We won't know until we run further tests. And with two cracked ribs and a fractured tibia, I'm recommending she be moved to a rehabilitation center..." I close my eyes while the doctor explains my recovery plan. The back of my neck tingles, and a memory lumbers to the surface. "Wait," I say, opening my eyes. "I do remember something. Before driving home after the bar exam, I had dinner with Devin." Mom frowns at me. "Who's Devin, honey?" I blink. "You know, Devin Bloom. The guy I've been seeing." "You didn't tell me you were seeing someone." "I did, you've just been working too hard," I mumble. "So wait, he hasn't come to visit me?" Disappointment swells in my chest like a cresting wave. "No one's been here except me, your stepdad, and your brothers. They came by yesterday after you were moved out of the ICU. And Brie, of course. She jumped in the car and drove up as soon as she heard about your accident." Maybe the hospital only allowed family to visit? No, that couldn't be, because Brie's here and she's not family. Wait . Maybe Devin didn't even know I was in an accident. Panic constricts my lungs. I look around automatically for my phone, but it's not on the nightstand. "Where's my phone? I need to call Devin and tell him I'm okay. He must be worried sick." Mom frowns. "Your phone was destroyed in the accident." The door opens and Brie returns, holding two cups of coffee. She passes one to my mom and takes a sip from the other. "Brie, can I borrow your phone? I need to call Devin." She splutters. "Huh? Who now?" I let out an exasperated huff. What the hell is wrong with everyone? "Come on, Brie. Devin, my boyfriend. We talk every week, so I know I've told you all about him." At her blank stare, I continue. "We met at a bar in April, hit it off, and we've been dating ever since? He grew up in Cleveland and he helps run his family's business? You haven't met him yet, but I'm sure you've seen pictures. He's six two, dark brown hair, brown eyes. You know--Devin Bloom." Brie's cheeks pale as she slowly sets her coffee on the nightstand. The doctor looks between me, Brie, and my mother, opens her laptop, and begins typing. Dread slithers into the pit of my stomach, coalescing into a writhing ball. Brie stares at me with wide, confused eyes. "Who the hell is Devin Bloom?" Excerpted from Dream On by Angie Hockman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.