He couldn’t explain why he suddenly wanted to be close to her. He couldn’t rationalize it, but he had to accept the reality of it. That was half the battle. A man couldn’t fight something until he acknowledged its existence. So, okay. Fine. He now found something about her appealing. Quite a few things, in fact. Heaven help him. But he would not give in to this insanity or be suckered into her little games. Despite the way his body reacted every time they came close enough for him to inhale her scent, in spite of his eyes being drawn to her full, enticing lips and the delicate features of her face, he would bide his time, keep those lunatic feelings to himself until she was fully healed, at which time she would be escorted out the door. And all this would be nothing but a bizarre memory.
He wouldn’t ask her to leave, certainly not until she’d fully recovered, even at the cost of his sanity. But he damn sure wouldn’t lay himself open to becoming involved with Victoria. His face was already hitting the front page of the tabloids, the kind that exploited the secrets of the rich and famous. Headlines like Does Her Husband Know About the Other Men? or Who’s Been Sleeping in Victoria’s Bed—Lately? were a dime a dozen. Victoria had sworn she was dating only one man. She had been making an earnest attempt to keep their affair under wraps. Perhaps the tabloids were pulling from old photos. Though it was hard, maybe he should give her the benefit of the doubt.
She kept an apartment in North Dallas. He didn’t know the location but imagined it would be easy enough to find. If returning to familiar surroundings would help her memory, they would definitely make a trip there. Add it to the top of the list. She’d never stayed in this house more than it was necessary to keep up appearances. She’d never shared his bed. There had never been anything about her that had tempted him to want to get closer. Until the damn accident. The sooner she regained her memory and signed those divorce papers, the better.
Pushing the work aside, Wade grabbed the phone, dialing his attorney’s private line before settling back in the black leather chair.
“Wade.” The voice on the other end held surprise. “What’s going on?”
“I think we may have a problem.”
An hour later, Wade hung up. He’d been right. There was no way a document signed by a person with confirmed amnesia would hold up in court. He had no choice but to wait it out and hope her mind righted itself quickly. Hell, that was a scary thought. At least she wouldn’t be going out in public anytime soon, so his main worry was leashed for the time being.
Wade booted the computer and waited for his mail server to appear. He might as well try and get something done. When her memory returned, he intended to be waiting, documents in hand.
* * *
Victoria tossed and turned and plumped her pillow, and still sleep refused to return. The clock on the nightstand said 2:40 a.m., some twenty minutes later than the last time she’d looked. She sat up, knowing she wouldn’t be going back to sleep anytime soon. More than likely it was due to the strange surroundings—even though they shouldn’t be strange to her.
Throwing back the covers, she swung her feet over the edge of the mattress and stood up. Opening the French doors leading onto the terrace, she stepped out into the warm night air. She immediately heard the sound of water spilling over rocks. Soft, diffused light filtered through the trees and highlighted a water feature. Leaning over the railing, she spotted the huge waterfall and a rock-lined stream that wound through trees and out of sight. What castle would be complete without a waterfall? And what had Wade done with the moat?
The soft floral scent of roses mixed with lavender reached her on the light evening breeze. She would have to go down and explore in the daylight. But she didn’t see any chairs or other places to sit in the manicured garden below. Wade needed to get a bench so they or their visitors could sit outside and enjoy the beauty.
A fast knock on the door to her suite pulled her attention away from the calming scene. She headed back inside and was halfway across the bedroom when the door opened. Wade stood in the doorway, his dark hair tousled as though he’d been running his hand through it. He wore sweats and a baggy top that revealed signs of moisture, as if he’d been working out. His mouth was drawn into a tight line, underscoring the fatigue that showed in his eyes. Behind him, two of his security staff stood poised and ready for anything that might go wrong.
Upon seeing her, Wade visibly relaxed.
“Were you just outside?”
“Yes. I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I stepped out onto the terrace.” She frowned. “Was I not supposed to?”
“No, it’s fine,” Wade assured her, rubbing the back of his neck. “All the outside doors and windows have silent alarms that are activated overnight. In future, please call security and let them know your intent so they don’t see it as a break-in. Just hit pound six on the landline phone.”
“Oh...okay.” She glanced past Wade’s broad shoulders at the two men. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know or, if I knew, I didn’t remember.”
They smiled and nodded. “That’s not a problem, ma’am.”
When her gaze returned to Wade, that look of surprise was back on his face.
“You seem to be feeling better,” Wade pointed out as the two security men left.
So do you, she thought. At least as far as his attitude went. “I am. I just wish my mind would catch up with the rest of me.”
“I’m confident it will in time.”
“I was looking at your garden.” She pointed toward the French doors. “Below the balcony? It’s beautiful. The sound of the water falling over the rocks is so relaxing. But I didn’t see a bench or any place to sit.”
Wade readjusted his stance. “A bench? No one ever goes back to that area.”
“Maybe it’s because there’s no place for them to sit.”
He looked dumbfounded. “I suppose that’s possible.”
She shrugged. “Why have the flowers and the waterfall if no one ever sees them?”
He stared at her like he’d never seen her before. As though she was an apparition and he didn’t quite know what to do about it.
“Yes. I...see your point.”
But he was frowning.
The character lines framing his mouth were tantalizing. She’d bet he had an awesome smile—so far, she’d caught only slight glimpses of it. She would love to run her hands over those indentations and kiss his full lips. He would be a great kisser. She didn’t know if it was a memory or female intuition, but she knew it all the way to her core. A vortex of heat suddenly surrounded her, making her breath shallow and her heart rate speed up considerably.
“Well, um, I’m sorry I triggered the alarm. I’ll do my best to remember to call the next time.” She needed him to leave so she could turn on a fan.
“Not a problem.” For countless seconds he stood in the same place, just watching her, as if his feet wouldn’t obey his command to leave. Then his brain must have repaired the connection, because he blinked, shook his head slightly and turned toward the door. “Have a good evening.”
“Wow,” Victoria muttered to the empty room when he was gone. She had no idea where she’d found him, but at the moment, despite his earlier anger, she was very glad she had. He still didn’t act like a husband in love with his wife. Maybe it was a case of him not knowing what he should or shouldn’t do regarding her injuries. Surely, as they became reacquainted, that would change.
* * *
The morning light sifted into the room through the sheers drawn across the floor-to-ceiling