Abbey Shore is a struggling architectural student. She "flips" houses to pay for school. Her current renovation project is her dream house, the one she plans to keep. She officially meets Dr. Shane Maddox when she goes to the ER for stitches. Until then, he was just the cute guy she saw every morning on the El, and ran into at a coffee shop. Abbey's attracted to him, but she has never had the nerve to introduce herself. He seems interested in her, too. He flirts with her in the ER, walks her home the next morning, and asks if she'd like to meet for coffee that night. Abbey happily accepts. However, just when she's about to leave the house to meet him, Abbey decides to investigate the noise coming from behind the wall in her living room. She unearths a strange object and ends up 100 years in the future, though she doesn't know that at first.
Abbey is understandably confused. There are strange men in her house trying to kill her and nothing looks familiar -- shops are boarded up, streets are deserted. After escaping from the men, she's "rescued" by another group of strangers who think she's a "tick". When she finally meets Shane, he insists that it's the future and everything's her fault. He's bitter, angry, and ready to kill her. Only when Shane sees her re-opened wound, the one he himself stitched up, does he come to the realization that she might be telling the truth; that she is not in league with the local tick queen and that she is not a tick herself. For her part, Abbey still isn't convinced she's in the future, based on Shane's assertions alone. After all, Shane looks the same as he did that morning. He explains that he was "turned" by one of the ancient and original ticks. Shane is now one of them -- a life-sucking immortal; a creature that inspired the vampire myths (except they don't suck blood or have fangs).
Shane has fought his tick nature by holding to the promise he made to himself a long time ago and to his oath as a doctor. The humans trust him and he uses his medical knowledge to help them as best as he can. His behavior confuses Abbey. One minute he's bitter, blaming her for what happened -- after all, had she shown up, he wouldn't have gotten tired of waiting and left, meeting his fate in an alley -- the next, Abbey is talking to the guy she flirted with while being stitched up in the ER, the man she's lusted for every morning on the train.
Because the time portal is in her house -- which is tick central -- Abbey is temporarily stuck. She has no choice but try to fit in, even when her presence is endangering the small community of survivors. She begins to form friendships and be accepted. Abbey also begins to fall in love with the Shane of this time. But it's ultimately doomed. It's getting harder for Shane to remain in control, and he and Abbey begin to learn the mysteries of the time-twister, and why Lucinda was so interested in both of them. The only chance they have for a future together is for Abbey to return to the past and stop Lucinda -- which means going on a suicide mission into enemy territory.
Comment: There is a lot of action in this book. Ever seen an episode of Buffy, especially one with a lot of slayage? Speaking of the vampire slayer, the author is a fan of Joss Whedon and there are several references to him or his shows. There are other pop culture references, from Grey's Anatomy to The Princess Bride. I really loved this book and I'm going to check out more from the Shomi line. Colby Hodge is the alter ego of Cindy Holby, so this isn't the first book I've read by the author, but I hope she writes more Shomi books. Without a doubt, this one will be on my list of favorites for the year.
Start: 28 August 2008
Finished: 2 September 2008
Disclaimer: I purchased this book.