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Authors: Meryl Sawyer

Tags: #Island/Beach, #Amnesia

Unforgettable (9 page)

BOOK: Unforgettable
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Cody turned the key in the ignition.
—a mental case. Say the word, and I’ll take her back to jail.”

Greg didn’t hesitate. “No way.”

Be careful. Lock up any weapons you have around. I don’t want another dead body on my hands.” Cody paused, suddenly aware of how callous he sounded. “Seriously, I’m worried about you. I know you still blame me for Jessica’s death. I can’t change the past. I made a mistake that I’ll never be able to make right. But I don’t want anything to happen to you.”



he emotion in Cody’s voice was still ringing in Greg’s ears as his brother drove away. Forgive Cody? Hell, no. Some wounds never healed; they just festered. The painful memory of the night he’d discovered his wife with his brother still brought a gut-wrenching stab of pain—if he allowed himself to think about it.

“Spaghetti okay?” Lucky asked when Greg walked into the kitchen a few minutes later.

“Sure,” he replied as he studied her. She was flitting around Jessica’s kitchen, seeming completely at home. He hadn’t forgiven Cody, but he’d be a fool not to heed his brother’s warning. Any jerk could see that this wasn’t a simple auto accident. A lot more was going on here, and Lucky was at the center of it

“What does Dodger eat?” she asked.

He noticed she hadn’t asked what Cody had wanted. “I’ll feed him.” Greg walked into the pantry and scooped four cups of kibble into Dodger’s bowl. The dog sat obediently at his side, waiting for the “eat” command. Greg snapped his fingers and pointed to the bowl. Dodger dove in.

“He’s incredibly well trained.” Lucky was standing in the doorway, surprising him. He hadn’t heard her walk up.

“He’s a great dog.” Greg gave Dodger a quick pat. “Let me show you the guest room.”

He walked through the kitchen and down the hall. Jessica had decorated the room with care, insisting her parents would visit often. Of course, they hadn’t. The only times he’d seen them had been at the wedding and at Jessica’s funeral.

On a raised dais was a platform bed swathed in expensive silk, which Jessica had insisted on calling caf
au lait even though anyone else would have called it tan. A black lacquer headboard shaped like a swan’s wings and black accents completed the decor, which Greg had found austere even for his taste.

“Oh, my.” Lucky put her hand on his arm.

He quickly pulled away. After that kiss the last thing he needed was for her to touch him. He refused to let Lucky get to him again.

“Here’s the closet.” He opened the door to the closet. There were plenty of hangers for the few clothes Lucky had bought.

He left her to put away her things while he sorted through his mail. Even when she returned to the kitchen to toss the spaghetti in the boiling water, he ignored her. Look too deeply into those green eyes, examine too closely those provocative curves, and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine her flat on her back with those sexy breasts offered to him, those slender legs locked around his hips, those hands touching him, guiding him into her.

Christ! How was he going to spend the night under the same roof with this woman? If he hadn’t kissed her, he wouldn’t have known how soft she felt or how hot she could get him.

He forced himself to sort through his mail, managing to steer his thoughts away from her.



sn’t it any good?

she asked when they sat down to dinner, and he barely touched his spaghetti.

“It’s great,” he answered truthfully. It was excellent spaghetti sauce. He had no idea how she’d managed it in such a short time. Jessica would have spent hours in the kitchen, using every pot, consulting some expensive cookbook, and coming up with only a mediocre sauce. But then, Jessica’s interest in cooking had never really gone beyond having every gourmet gadget available and an impressive cookbook collection.

“I’m just too tired to be hungry. I’m on mainland time, you know. To me it’s the middle of the night.”

“Go to bed. I’ll clean up and turn out the lights.”

“Okay.” Greg rose and gave Dodger the stay command. “I’ll leave Dodger with you. Let him out just before you go to bed. He’ll be fine until morning.”

Lucky smiled, obviously thrilled to have Dodger’s company, and Greg walked up the hall, confident that if Lucky ran away Dodger would come get him. He stripped down to his shorts and stretched out across the bed. The sliding door was open, bringing in the smell of the sea and the lulling sound of the surf on the rocky beach. Overhead the soft swish of the ceiling fan could be heard in the moonlit room.

He loved this place. Loved the wildness of the ocean surrounding th
e point. Loved the way th
e endless sea flowed into the horizon. Loved the way the wind and surf lashed the rocks, sculpting them little by little over eons. The timelessness of the sea and the shore awed him as much as its beauty. Here his troubles seemed unimportant—a mere blip in nature’s grand scheme.

The thoroughly domestic sound of pots and pans coming from the kitchen broke into his thoughts. Until now he’d never realized how quiet the house had been the past two years. When
Jessica died, the house went with her. But not tonight; now the house had new life. Lucky. He could hear the low murmur of her voice and knew she was talking to Dodger.

Once again desire surged through him, making him furious with himself. But that didn’t make it go away. What was wrong with him? It wasn’t as if he couldn’t get laid. All he had to do was hang around one of the hotel bars and pick up a woman. Tourists were quick to hop in the sack. Best of all they soon went home.

Having Lucky here was different. Since Jessica’s death he’d never brought a woman home. Casual sex in hotel rooms protected him from the complications of a relationship. Now he’d gone over the edge without even realizing that he wasn’t just bringing Lucky home. He’d brought her into his life.

Suddenly, he recalled the serious expression on Cody’s face as he’d talked about Lucky. Psychopaths could be charming even sexy, he reminded himself. But for the life of him, he couldn’t envision Lucky as dangerous.

As a precaution he slipped out of bed and took the car keys from his pants pocket, and hid them under the mattress. Then he flopped down on the bed again. Rolling over, Greg tried to forget about Lucky and to concentrate on the mess he’d find at work after being away from the institute for a week. Someone had brought in a wounded shark even though they weren’t equipped to treat it.

The institute studied humpback whales and monk seals— period. There wasn’t enough money for those projects, but you couldn’t explain that to the volunteers who made up the majority of the center’s staff. They loved the sea and every creature in it. Greg had learned a long time ago that you couldn’t save them all.

Sometimes it was all you could do to save yourself.

His thoughts drifted and he closed his eyes, listening to the surf and the muffled sound of Lucky’s voice. He saw himself with Cody on one of the rain forest trails. They were hunting the wild pigs that roamed the area. How long ago had that
been? He couldn’t quite remember. A long time ago. Before Jessica had died.

A child’s sobbing harrowed the silence, startling him. Greg bolted upright, with a neck-wrenching jolt, realizing he must have fallen asleep. The air was heavy as a blanket in the dark room. The ceiling fan had conked out again. The house was still; the luminous dial on the clock read 2:14. He’d been asleep for hours.

Obviously, he hadn’t heard a child’s cry. It must have been the fan squeaking to a halt. Still, the haunting memory left him shaken. It seemed so real, the way dreams often did.

He stroked the midnight stubble along his jaw, then slowly sank back down on the pillow again, closing his eyes and telling himself to go back to sleep. His bedroom door creaked and he squinted across the moonlit room. He’d left the door ajar, so Dodger could summon him if Lucky left. The door inched open and he waited, half expecting a tall figure to loom in the shadows. Instead, Dodger trotted in, and Greg jumped to his feet. The dog’s appearance could mean only one thing: Lucky was gone!







reg stormed down the hall, Dodger beside him, cursing Lucky for skipping out on him. The guest room door was open. In the moonlight Greg could see the platform bed had been slept in, the top sheet pulled from its moorings as if Lucky had been extremely restless. An open book lay on the nightstand, but there was no sign of her.

“Christ!” Greg couldn’t remember the last time he had been this pissed.
I wouldn’
t do anything to hurt you.
What a crock! She’d lied to him, disarming him with that wounded-doe expression.

He flicked on the light switch. Nothing. Great! The power was out again. Or Lucky had tripped a breaker.

“Why ’n hell would she do that?” he muttered as he hurried back to his room. Why would she want the house dark? He scrambled into shorts without bothering with a shirt or shoes. It took him a minute to find the car keys hidden under the mattress.

“Come on, Dodger. She couldn’t have gotten far.”

He was halfway across the house before he realized Dodger
wasn’t with him. The last time he’d seen him had been in the guest room. He called again, louder this time, “Dodger. Dodger.”

But Dodger didn’t respond. Greg slipped into the kitchen, alert for any sound or motion. His sixth sense had kicked in, telling him Lucky might still be in the house. He crossed the small room and opened the knife drawer. Moonlight from the window illuminated the gleaming blades. The largest knife was missing from its slot.

“Aw, shit! What’s she up to?”

Cody’s words came back to him:
—a mental case. I don’t want another dead body on my hands.

Find her, get the knife away from her, then take her back to jail. From now on he would mind his own business, Greg promised himself. He would return to work and forget about the past. And Lucky. To hell with the whole damn mess.

Greg crossed the living room, the moonlight sufficient to assure him that Lucky wasn’t hiding there. And there was no sign of Dodger, either. He didn’t know what Lucky was up to, but when he found her he wasn’t falling for any of her lines. She could just rot in jail for all he cared.

The house had never been so quiet. The only noise was the ever-present rush of the surf on the rocky beach. Then a plaintive whine cut through the stillness.

Dodger! What had she done to him? He barged into the room, primed to disable Lucky with a flying tackle but wary of the knife. Halfway across the threshold, he spotted Dodger. What in hell was he doing?

The dog was standing, pointing like a retriever at the closed door to the closet. Lucky must be hiding in there, but why hadn’t Dodger barked? That, not whining, was the signal. Unless Dodger sensed danger and this was his way of warning him.

He motioned for Dodger to move back, and the dog retreated to the doorway. Greg quickly assessed his options, confident that the survival training he’d had with S and R was enough
to overpower one slight blonde, even if she was armed with a butcher’s knife. When she lunged out of the closet with the deadly knife, he would restrain her with a hammerlock.

He flattened himself against the wall and grabbed the lever handle. The door flew open. Greg waited and waited, every muscle tense. A rivulet of sweat trickled down between his bare shoulder blades. He edged forward a fraction of an inch.

The moonlight hit Lucky’s toes, spotlighting the ugly pink polish. Greg jerked back. Then the odd angle of her foot registered. He peeked around the co
er again.

Lucky was asleep on the closet floor, curled into a fetal position, her head resting on a pillow. From under the white linen the blade of the knife caught a moonbeam. There was just enough light to see the glistening tear tracks on her cheeks and wet lashes.

It slowly dawned on him that the noise that had awakened him had been Lucky crying. He remembered what the people had said about Lucky sleeping under the cot in jail and realized she wasn’t trying to get the jump on him. She’d deliberately taken a pillow and gone to sleep in the closet.

He hated to admit it, but his brother was right. Lucky must know more than she was telling. Why else would she be hiding with a knife for protection?

Lucky stirred, stretching slender, bare legs across the closet floor, the nightgown she wore shifting to the tops of her thighs. She’d washed her hair and had pulled it off her face in a French braid that was still damp. She whimpered, a disturbing sound that reminded him of the cry that had awakened him.

He sank to his knees and touched her cheek. “Lucky, wake up.”

Her lashes fluttered open, and she gazed back at him. She looked disoriented and half wild, the way she had that night in the tent. He kept the knife in sight, not knowing what to expect.

“Greg,” she whispered, the threat of tears in her voice. “You found me.”

Had she been hiding from him? The idea was so astonishing that he concentrated on her and took his eye off the knife.

“I didn’t want you to see me like this.” She sat upright, the nightgown clinging to her full breasts. “I didn’t want you to think I’m crazy.”

He didn’t think it. Hell, he was
that she was a world-class loony tune. But there was also something about her that called to him. She seemed lost, alone, yet she had a sensuality that was very appealing. His reaction to her disturbed him, making him angry with himself and irritable.

“What are you doing in the closet?” Greg asked, more sharply than he’d intended.

“I can’t explain…
exactly. When I fall asleep, I hear a child crying.”

“There’s no child within miles of here.”

“I know.” There was somet
hing wounded and imploring in
her eyes. “It’s in my head. And I get this scary feeling that something terrible—really terrible—is going to happen to me.” Aw, hell, he didn’t know what to say. She was hearing voices but not realizing that she was actually making those sounds
What was wrong with her? How could he help her?

I had this irresistible urge to get under the bed the way I did in jail, but of course I couldn’t get under there”—she pointed to the platform bed. “I don’t dare sleep unless I’m hiding.”

Jesus! This was just too friggin’ weird.

“It doesn’t make any sense, does it, Greg?”

Of course it didn’t, but he kept hearing a keening cry that sounded like a child’s terrified sob. A cry for help. A cry Lucky thought was only in her head.

“Try to understand,” she pleaded, her anguish evident. Her slender fingers tugged at the hem of her nightgown.

I have to sleep. I’m so exhausted, I’m punchy. I haven’t been able to sleep since I left the hospital, and they stopped giving me medication to help me sleep. Shut the closet door and let me stay here. I’ll be all right. I promise.”

What in hell could he say? He couldn’t leave her on the closet floor. He didn’t have a choice. Greg rose and pulled her to her feet. “Get in bed. I’ll sit with you until you fall asleep.”

“Please, I don’t want to bother you.”

He put his arm around her and guided her to the bed. “It’s okay. Dodger and I will watch over you. Just get some sleep.” He made himself look the other way while Lucky lay down and pulled the sheet up over her breasts. Sitting beside her, his shoulders propped up against the headboard, he stretched his legs out on the bed and clicked his fingers for Dodger. The dog came up beside them and gave Lucky a quick lick on the hand.

“I’m safe,” Lucky said to the dog. “There’s no reason to hide.”

“We won’t let anything happen to you,” Greg assured her. Gazing out the window, he waited for her to fall asleep. The guest room faced Haleakala, and in the full moon the towering volcano was a specter against the starry sky. A wedge of bats flew by the window, creating a riffling ghost of a shadow below them as they left the refuge of their treetop homes to forage. Normally, Mother Nature at work soothed him, assuring him the world was still in balance.

Not tonight.

Tonight his whole world was off-kilter. He didn’t know what in hell to do about it. Greg waited, hoping that with the light of dawn would come an answer. Lucky was breathing evenly now, and he expelled a sigh of relief. A few minutes passed before he allowed his eyes to close.

Shaking awakened him, and for a moment he couldn’t imagine where he was. Then it all came back with startling clarity. The closet. The knife. Lucky was beside him, trembling violently. He slid down next to her and scooted close, until the hard wall of his chest touched the curve of her back. “Lucky, I’m here. You’re all right.”

A soft whimper escaped her lips. Her hands were clutching the sheet now, twisting it convulsively. He cradled her in his
arms and manacled both her wrists with one hand. “Lucky.” Again he tried to awaken her. “I’m here with you.”

He repeated the calming words until she relaxed. Her head stopped thrashing and her body softened, melding against his. She released her death grip on the sheet, and he let go of her wrists. Although her body was still, her heartbeat thudded, strong and heavy, against him.

Lucky turned her head to face him. Until that moment he hadn’t realized he had moved onto the pillow beside her. “Oh, Greg, I’m so frightened.”

He moved back, deliberately putting more distance between them, aware of his body once again reacting to hers. “What are you afraid of?”


don’t know exactly. I was having some sort of dream. It seemed real. You know how dreams are. I was hiding in a closet and someone was coming to get me.”


“I don’t know

really, I don’t.” She moved slightly, the fullness of her breast pressing against his arm. “Where’s the knife?”

“In the closet.”

“I’d feel better if I had it.”

“You don’t need it,” he responded, wondering what she was hiding from. “You’re safe.”

She snuggled closer, telling him without speaking that she was afraid. The warmth of her body crept through his, the clean smell of shampoo filling his nostrils. Her head was light against his shoulder, her hair damp. Her lips were dangerously close. A kissable mouth—most definitely a kissable mouth.

For the love of God, get up, get out of here.

Her hand began to move, skimming across his bare chest in lazy circles, teasing his taut muscles. A fraction of an inch at a time, the tips of her fingers furrowed through the dense hair on his chest, and he automatically tightened his groin muscles. Every increased tempo of his pulse reminded him that her hands were on him, prowling with agonizing slowness across his
heated skin. Her body was flush with his, so close that he could feel the rapid thump of her heart where her breasts were pillowed against him.

Swear to God, she had him upside down and backward. He didn’t know what to make of her. He reminded himself that she was probably a slut—possibly worse. Another woman very much like her had ruined his life. But his body just didn’t give a damn.

“Lucky,” he said, his voice a shade shy of a whisper, and she looked up. In the moonlight her eyes were almost black, with only a thin hoop of green, but it was a very luminous green. Unbelievably sexy.

She made the first move, touching her lips to his with a measure of shyness that surprised him. He nudged into the moist chamber of her mouth as he pulled her closer, his tongue mimicking what his body longed to do. There was no artistry to the kiss. Hell, no. It was hot and hard and totally carnal.

The dark undertow of desire surged through him. In an instant he had her exactly where he’d pictured her so many times that he’d lost count. Flat on her back. Like liquid heat his body spread over hers, his leg coming up to cover hers, his sex nestling into the cleft between her thighs. He changed the angle of his head, slanting it to one side so he could thrust his tongue deeper as he languidly moved his hips against hers.

Man, oh, man she felt so good that he thought he was going to lose it like a horny kid in the backseat of a Chevy. Had he ever been this aroused? No, he silently conceded, striving to maintain control. He pulled back, sucked in a stabilizing breath and was astonished by the reverent expression on her face. If he didn’t know better, he would have thought she was in love with him.

“Don’t stop,” she whispered.

“The thought hadn’t crossed my mind.”

With those words unbridled passion took over, urging him to rip away the silly little bow holding the top of her gown together. Her breasts spilled free, the nipples large and taut and
thrusting up at him, beckoning him. He shoved the fabric aside, then cradled the fullness in his hands, fondling those pert nipples with the rough pad of his thumb.

“Oh, Greg, I had no idea—”

He buried his face between her soft breasts and inhaled the delicate scent of soap and woman. Angling his head to one side he blazed a trail of moist kisses until he found a tight nipple. Between his lips it felt like a small rosebud and he sucked on it until she arched up against him, offering him even more.

Her hands were on his back now, her short nails digging in, which only aroused him to a frenzy. He ground his hips against her, his erection, thick and achingly hard until she moaned, scratching his back in frantic pleasure. He shifted his head and took care of the other breast, aware that he wasn’t going to last much longer. His burgeoning erection was pressing against his zipper, screaming for relief.

BOOK: Unforgettable
8.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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