At sixteen Derek loses his memory -- and his family -- in an accident. He's rescued by the reclusive Michael. Then he begins the long journey to discover his past.
In Denver, Derek finds a job, a place to live, and trouble when someone attempts to kidnap him. Members of the Company help him escape and later recruit him. Ending up in New Orleans, he's nineteen and working undercover when he's teamed with Brad, who teaches him the joys of sex. Heartbroken when he thinks Brad has found another man, Derek transfers to Denver.
At twenty-four, Derek is still with the Company when he remembers more about the accident, leading to shocking revelations about his father. Then Brad is sent to Denver on a job. Can Derek trust Brad's love again while working with him on the assignment?
Derek would never forget the last time he saw his parents, even though he couldn't remember their names -- no more than he could remember his own name, the one they'd given him.
His father was driving, his mother beside him, her hands clasped over her belly, as if to protect her unborn child. Derek was in the backseat, watching the road curve through the mountains, rocky heights on one side, a steep drop on the other. A sharp turn ahead, his father taking it carefully, a loud bang as he did -- swerving, tearing metal, the door springing open. Derek was flying.
Michael told him later he must have been thrown free from the wreck. He found him at the base of the cliff and thought he was dead at first "like whoever was else was in the car, though they didn't make it out. Then I felt the flutter of a pulse. So I brought you here."
'Here' was a small cabin deep in the forest. It was Michael's home. Had been forever, Michael told him when Derek finally woke up. That was a week after he'd found him, according to Michael.
Derek was around sixteen, give or take, or so Michael figured. Derek didn't know. He'd been battered and bruised, with a bad abrasion on the back of his head and one broken leg. Michael had set it in a splint made of roughhewn branches then took care of him until he regained consciousness
The man was old, at least in Derek's eyes -- maybe fifty, maybe more. He never said exactly. Gray-haired and scarred, with deep-set blue eyes and a kindly smile -- when he smiled -- which wasn't often. A recluse, he said he had lived the last twenty plus years on his own, deep in the mountains. "Got no use for people," he told Derek.
"What did they call you, boy?" Michael asked, soon after Derek finally awakened.
Derek frowned. He had no memories of anything except the moments before the crash. "I don't remember," he replied, scared and feeling terribly alone, even though Michael was right there beside the small bed.
"Humm. Then we'll have to come up with a name for you for now. I had a friend once, only real friend I ever had. His name was Derek. That suit you, boy?"
He nodded, and so he became Derek. No last name, just Derek.
When he asked, which he finally did -- although he didn't want to know, Michael said he had heard the sound of the crash while he was out hunting.
"Loud enough to wake the dead, so I went to investigate. Wasn't nothing left but a burned out hulk at the bottom of the cliff by the time I got there. That's when I found you, like I said. Hoped maybe whoever was in the car got thrown free, so I looked and there you were. I'm sorry, but your folks didn't make it."
Derek cried then, even though he'd been sure they were dead, and Michael had held him until he stopped. After that, they never talked about it again.
A month after Michael had found him, the splint was off Derek's leg and he could walk without the home-made crutch Michael had devised. However, he limped a bit since the break hadn't been set quite right.
"Now what do we do with you?" Michael asked late one evening after they'd eaten a meal of venison and home-grown vegetables.