Her gaze widened to take in the rest of this man’s face. The sharp angles and high cheekbones. The full, sensuous lips, drawn into a straight line, surrounded by a dark bearded shadow. His thick, tobacco-brown hair gleamed golden where the fluorescent lights touched it.
A second man in a white lab coat stepped into her field of vision on the opposite side of the bed.
“I’m Dr. Meadows, your neurologist.” He spoke softly, clearly. Something she was grateful for.
The glaring white lights overhead burned with the same intensity as the sun. The pounding in her head became more pronounced, almost overwhelming, throbbing in time with her heartbeat.
“You were involved in an automobile accident two days ago. You had some injuries. Most were minor, but you did sustain a fairly bad concussion.”
The doctor withdrew a pencil-sized flashlight from the pocket of his lab coat and pointed the light quickly into one eye, then the other. She couldn’t help flinching as the beam touched her eyes. He returned the light to his pocket and flipped open a chart. After sifting through an array of pastel-colored pages, he made a notation on one of them before closing the folder.
“Can you tell me your name?”
“I’m... My name is...” She drew a blank. How can I not know my own name? How is it possible? Confusion added to her pain. “I don’t know,” she whispered almost to herself. A feeling of panic slowly crept in.
“Do you know who that man is?” The doctor nodded toward the stranger.
Once again she took in his features, the solemn face that was so full of character, the deep jaw and those eyes, so mesmerizing. But nothing about him was at all familiar.
“No.” She slowly rolled her head against the pillow. “Should I?”
“I’m Wade,” the man said, his deep voice conveying strength. “Wade Masters. I’m your husband.”
Husband? She was married? The stunned disbelief must have shown in her eyes, because Wade Masters’s expression turned into a frown of serious contemplation, and his eyes snapped across to the doctor. No. That couldn’t be right. Could it? She raised a hand to her forehead. Frantically she searched her mind for any memory of a wedding. Of him. Of them. Of their life together.
“I don’t know you.” She heard the emotional quiver in her own voice. “I’m not married. How can you say that?”
Alarm set in, adding to the pounding in her head. This was all wrong. They had the wrong person. They thought she was someone else. She had to get up. She had to leave. She had to go home. Grabbing the railing at the side of the bed, she tried to pull herself into a sitting position. Hands immediately pushed her gently back down onto the pillow. “No. Please. I need to go home. I need to call...” Who? Who was she going to call? She couldn’t think. Her head hurt. Everything hurt, and she had no memory of the person she was or the life she had known.
She heard the doctor call for a nurse. “Try to relax, Mrs. Masters,” he said. “You’re going to be fine. Your home is waiting when you regain your strength. You took a pretty hard knock on the head. Try not to worry if you can’t remember people or names, including your own. With this type of injury, retrograde amnesia is not at all uncommon. I’m confident everything will come back to you in time.”
“When?” She felt a tear slip down the side of her face. “When will it come back?”
“Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing how any one individual will react. Occasionally a memory may come to you as a kind of flashback. Then you may start to remember everything all at once, or it may come back in small fragments, like random pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. It could return tomorrow or months from now.”
Months? No. She had to remember. There was something important she had to do. People were counting on her. She sensed a need to hurry. But the more she tried to recall the circumstances, the harder the hammer slammed into her head.
“Your tests have come back and everything is looking very good.” The neurologist continued flipping through forms in her chart. “The cerebral swelling is all but gone. Your heart sounds good. Blood pressure is within a normal range. If no other concerns surface, we can talk about sending you home tomorrow.” He looked from the chart directly to her.
A nurse bustled in. She injected medication into the intravenous tubing. “This should take effect in just a few minutes. I’ll be back to check on you, sweetie.” She nodded at the two men and left the room as quickly as she’d come in.
As I mentioned to your husband,” the doctor said, “there is a good chance being in familiar surroundings will stimulate the return of your memory.”
Her husband. She returned her gaze to the tall man with broad shoulders who stood to her left, watching her in silent consideration. He was dressed in a dark business suit, his blue-and-gold-striped tie loosened at the neck, the top button of his white dress shirt undone. Her gaze fell on his hands, which were resting on the metal bar of the bed. They looked strong and capable. A gold wedding band gleamed on the third finger of his left hand.
She swallowed back the fear that something was terribly wrong.
“We will get through this. You’re going to be okay.” The man leaned down, bringing his face closer to hers. His hand covered her own, and the warmth felt good. His voice was as deep and seductive as his eyes were mesmerizing. “If there is anything you need...”
“Please tell me who I am.”
“Your name is Victoria. Victoria Masters.”
The man stood up straight, appearing relaxed and self-assured, and slipped his hands into the pockets of his trousers. She realized her initial impression that he was attractive had been an understatement.
He was devastatingly attractive.
She could smell his rich, enticing cologne. His white shirt set off his tan skin. The sharp lines of his face and the straight, proud nose were indicative of good breeding. His hair with its slight wave hung just past his collar and shadowed his forehead. The golden intensity of his eyes and the lack of a smile on those full, sensuous lips brought it all together: Wade Masters was the personification of danger. Not dangerous like a criminal, but dangerous like a man who was capable of stirring a woman’s passion with little to no effort. And he knew it. It was part of that confidence he emitted.
And he was here to take her home.
With his gaze trained on her, she felt a heated blush rush up her neck and over her face. The barest hint of a smile touched his lips as though he knew what she was thinking. She looked away, swallowing hard.
The doctor interrupted her thoughts. “Right now, I don’t want you to worry about memory recall. Try to relax and give it some time.”
She felt the drug the nurse had given start to take effect and her eyelids grew heavy. She fought to keep them open, wanting to know more about the man who claimed to be her husband.
Dr. Meadows turned toward him. “I want to see her in two weeks. Have someone contact my office and set up an appointment. If she develops any dizziness, vomiting or severe headaches, bring her back to the ER immediately.” He looked at his patient. “Bed rest for a day, then you can move around, but go slowly. No hundred-meter hurdles for at least a week.” He winked at her, then smiled.
“Okay.” She couldn’t help but return his smile.
“You folks have a good day.” He handed Wade his card. “If you should have any questions, don’t hesitate to call.”
“Thank you, Dr. Meadows,” she said as the good doctor disappeared out the door and down the hall. Her gaze returned to the other man. She felt a wave of anxiety shimmy down her spine. She was alone with this person, this man who claimed to be her husband. She still didn’t recognize anything about him. There was nothing in his voice or the way he moved that