Excerpt: The Wedding Night
Purchase Today: The Wedding Night
He was her husband… But she didn’t remember him.
“Tell me, Sebastian. If we truly loved each other, how could I forget you?” she asked, bringing into the open the issue that had been bothering her most of all. “How is that possible?”
He turned sharply, the light fading from his eyes, the gray becoming as hard and obdurate as tempered steel. “Perhaps,” he stated with cold finality, “you never loved me. Perhaps you found me easy to forget. Whatever the reason, we will get to the truth, you can count on it.”
She fought to speak past the thickness blocking her throat. “And how will we do that?”
“By going home, of course.”
Home. The word should have brought a sense of reassurance. It didn’t. “Home? Where is that?”
“In the Caribbean. To be precise, it’s a small island called Rochefort… Strong Rock.”
“Rochefort,” she repeated, testing the name. “It’s not familiar.” But then, what was? “When do we leave?”
“Tomorrow. Though the doctors haven’t found anything wrong with you, at least nothing definitive, they advise against flying. So, we’ll go by boat. It shouldn’t take more than a week…” He shrugged, the movement pulling his shirt taut across his broad chest, sculpting it to the iron-hard muscles beneath. “Four days if weather conditions favor us. That should give you plenty of time to rest and soak up some sun. Who knows. Perhaps by the time you arrive, your memory will have returned.”
She gazed at him warily. “And if it has?”
He smiled, though the cool, remote curve of his mouth offered little, if any, reassurance. “Then your homecoming will be extra-special.”
Why did that sound so much like a threat? With an urgency born of a sudden, inexplicable apprehension, she scrambled for an alternative. “Can’t… can’t we stay here?”
“At the clinic? You’re joking.”
She suspected he deliberately misunderstood. “In Florida,” she clarified tightly. “At least for a while. Perhaps once I’ve regained my memory we can return home. Do we have family here, anyone who might prompt a memory?”
But he was already shaking his head. “It was one of the things we had in common. Neither of us has any family still living.”
“There’s no point in remaining in Florida,” he cut her off. “The doctors advised that the best chance you have of regaining your memory is at home, surrounded by familiar people and places. And that’s where I’m taking you.” He paused for the space of a heartbeat, before adding with gentle emphasis, “I’m taking you, willing or not.”
She caught her breath, a sudden image flashing into her mind—the strange hallucination she’d had while in the hospital. Sebastian stood on the deck of a ship, his feet planted wide, the wind lifting the unruly mane of thick black curls. He held his cutlass half raised, as though ready for action. But it was his expression she remembered most clearly—reckless, passionate, daring… willing to meet any challenge, or overcome any obstacle.
She knew an odd sense of helplessness. Like that buccaneer of old, he’d swept into her life and planned to steal her away. She had no rights, no choice. She was his booty, his plunder, and he intended to take what he wanted.
She drew herself up, searching for the courage she’d decided must be part of her character. “You’re taking me, willing or not?” she repeated. “I think you’ve been living in the Caribbean too long. That sounds like the threat of a pirate.”
To her surprise, he grinned, his teeth a flash of white in a bronzed face. And in that instant, he might have been the sea wolf she’d imagined. It disconcerted her, made the resemblance between reality and dreams all the stronger, and all the more difficult to differentiate between. Which was the real man… and which the fantasy?
“A pirate?” he repeated, his dark eyebrow winging upward. “You’ve given yourself away with that one, my love.”
She stiffened. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, you’re right. I am a pirate…” His smile faded. “As you damned well know.”