Stranger In His Bed. Lauren Canan

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Название Stranger In His Bed
Автор произведения Lauren Canan
Жанр Современные любовные романы
Издательство Современные любовные романы
Год выпуска 0
isbn 9781474076746

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the fluffy white robe. She found both a comb and a brush, plus a new toothbrush and some toothpaste in one of the drawers. Standing in front of the large mirror, she combed the tangles from her long dark hair.

      As she looked at her reflection, a feeling of unease passed through her. Something was off. It was probably just the bruises and cut lip. She turned her face to the side. Maybe some swelling remained. “Stop it!” she muttered to her reflection. She had enough to worry about without adding to it.

      “Are you all right, Mrs. Masters?” Roe called from the bedroom.

      Excellent question. Placing the comb back in the drawer, Victoria headed to the bedroom. With the succulent smell of the food being wheeled into the room, she let the internal quandary go for now.

      As good as the food looked and tasted, she did little more than sample a couple of the dishes. Her appetite had disappeared along with any positive hopes that coming here—coming home—would rekindle her memory. So far, all it had served to do was add more unknowns to the growing list. She felt tired and melancholy. Her husband’s earlier reaction to her inquiry about the name stirred apprehension. Everything she thought she would find here was still missing. In fact, she had an overwhelming sensation that she didn’t belong here. In this house. She couldn’t explain it, but the feeling was strong.

      After the food cart had been removed, she found a clean nightgown, pulled back the covers and sat down on the bed. She really should call her mother. Even though she didn’t remember her.

      Finding the number written on a sticky note, she placed the call.

      “Hello?” a woman answered.

      “Hi, Mom. Mother.” What did she call her? “It’s me, Victoria.” There was an obvious pause on the other end.

      “Oh, my dear. You don’t sound at all like yourself. Are you still in the hospital?”

      “No. No, I’m at home.”

      Another pause. “Are you telling me that man dumped you off at his house and left? That might be a cause of action for abandonment or mental distress. You really should speak with Burt as soon as possible.”

      What was she talking about? “Uh...Wade has been with me the entire time. He’s still here.”

      “Oh. Well, we will just have to think of something else. Sooner or later Wade Masters will screw up and he’ll pay for it dearly, if you get my drift. If you can find a private moment, it wouldn’t hurt to call Burt anyway. Maybe he can think of another angle.”

      An angle? For what? “Who’s Burt?”

      “Why, your attorney. How could you not remember him? Do you really have amnesia? Wade said you couldn’t remember anything. You’re making me nervous, Victoria. You need to get over this memory thing before you say or do something that Wade will use to boot you out the door. Call Burt’s office. He needs the information on the driver who hit you, his insurance and such. Look, sweetheart, I really must go. We’ll talk again soon.”

      “Uh...okay.” And before Victoria could make sense of any part of the conversation, the line went dead. How odd. Not once had her mother inquired as to how she was feeling. And all that about calling an attorney. What was that? She had no info about the accident and had assumed Wade would take care of it.

      She hung up and eased into bed. It felt good to lie down. The silk sheets were amazing, the mattress and pillows so soft, especially compared to the bed at the hospital. Her vision again fell on the painting above the mantel. What was it about the painting that called to her? Surely Wade would know. But was it somehow related to what had caused his hostile reaction earlier?

      She still had the dull throbbing in her head, though it wasn’t bad enough to get up and take one of the pills Dr. Meadows had prescribed. She didn’t know if it was caused by the accident, being in this strange unwelcoming monstrosity of a house, or Wade’s show of anger and the anxiety she’d felt at his reaction. But neither the bath nor putting some food in her stomach had eased the pain totally. Maybe when she woke up everything would be back to normal.

      Whatever normal was.


      Wadding another piece of printer paper into a tight ball, Wade tossed it against the far wall with the idea of bouncing it into the trash can below. There were significantly more small white balls on the floor than in the basket. He didn’t care.

      She could bloody well remember the name of one of her lovers but not her husband? That was a hell of a thing to admit. His irrational irritation continued to mount as he sat at his desk, trying to drum up sufficient enthusiasm to concentrate on the work in front of him.

      Of course, she wasn’t really his wife in the biblical sense. And considering their history, he really shouldn’t be surprised or affected either way. But she had drawn him in with the sweet, innocent act, then waylaid him when he wasn’t expecting it. One minute she seemed so Victoria. Those lilac-blue eyes—which had never seemed so blue—radiated such warmth, need and an almost childlike innocence. She’d silently implored him to help her. Then in the blink of an eye she was dredging up memories of some man. It was Victoria at her best. He snatched another sheet of paper from the printer tray. If ex-lovers were what it took to help her memory return, they definitely had a problem. He didn’t know all their names, and he didn’t care. But they were not going to visit her here. Just the thought of it had him again gritting his teeth. Another ball sailed through the air. Another miss.

      He ran a hand over his mouth, sat back in the chair and took a deep breath. This entire situation had begun as one of those Why didn’t I think of this before? ridiculously brilliant ideas. Or so it had seemed at the time. Victoria’s father had given her a taste of high society before he lost everything by making foolish moves in commodities trading. Even when she had been poor as a church mouse, she had continued to maintain the facade of wealth and privilege, which was exactly what Wade had needed: a beautiful woman who knew how to dress and function skillfully at social gatherings, and who epitomized a billionaire’s wife. In that regard, Victoria was exceptional. She could even do happy if he pressed her on it. What she couldn’t do was discretion. He’d soon discovered Victoria didn’t know the meaning of the word.

      Wade had long ago stopped longing for a wife, someone he could love, trust and raise a family with. Twice he’d fallen for a woman who had seemed so sincere, so earnest, only to learn it was all a ploy to gain money. After the last time, he’d called an end to it all. Bitter and discouraged, he refused to again put his heart on the chopping block.

      Now, because of the accident, it was as though Victoria had a complete change of personality. And apparently that change had a far-reaching effect, because he’d sure been snagged and reeled in. It seemed that, in the blink of an eye, she’d gone from a wife-in-name-only with a cardboard persona to a three-dimensional woman he found extremely hard to resist. He knew an illogical desire to be near her, to be with her and protect her. His mind raced to curb visions of him holding her close through the night. It was crazy. A mere three weeks ago, the last time he’d been in Dallas, he couldn’t stand the sight of her.

      How could he never have noticed how slender she was, how tiny her waist? How perfectly her breasts suited the other contours of her body? When she’d walked around her suite, her hips swayed enticingly, something he should have noted long ago. Had her lips always been so full and luscious? He’d never been physically attracted to her in the past. Yet the thought of her lying in his bed gave him insane ideas of forgetting all about the parameters of their previous relationship and making love to her with such wild abandon it would cause her to forget the names of her lovers and cry out his name instead. Such notions had never entered his mind in the almost five years he’d known her. Why now? Hell, maybe he was the one who needed to see a doctor. He crinkled another sheet of paper in his hand before it joined the others on the floor.

      He had to get a grip. Such thoughts were completely