Authors: Carlene Rae Dater
Carlene Rae Dater
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright© 2010 Carlene Rae Dater
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
Cobblestone Press, LLC
For Dennis, always
Pain sizzled through his head; hot white and intense. A soft hiss of air tickled his nose from the cannula bringing oxygen to his lungs. A slight medicinal odor wafted around him. The surface beneath him was rubbery, and he was freezing.
Where was he? What had happened? He vaguely recalled walking down a dark street toward his car, and… He couldn’t remember anything more.
He opened his eyes a slit and slammed them shut. Intense white light pierced his brain. Nausea roiled in his gut.
“Don’t try to move. You’ve got a nasty bump on your head. You’re in the emergency room, and we’ll be taking you for a CAT scan in a few minutes. Now, can you tell me your name?”
A cool hand touched his forehead. An image flashed into his mind. She had a perfect, heart-shaped freckle nestled next to her left breast and loved oral sex. And she made the most amazingly sexy noises deep in her throat when she came. She was worried about, about…
“You’re not frigid. You just need the right lover.” The words rumbled out of his throat, low and gravelly. The woman yanked her hand off his head.
That was the last thing he remembered before darkness claimed him once more.
He had no idea how much time had passed. His head still felt like someone had driven a spike into it. A clicking rumbling sound engulfed him. He couldn’t move. His head was held rigid in a vice.
Once more, he pried his eyes open a fraction and saw nothing but a hard, porcelain surface. He moaned and tried to speak. His dry tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. He’d kill right now for a beer, water, anything liquid. That was the last thought he had before fading out again.
“Fractured skull, left parietal, pretty bad.”
“Do we know who he is yet? Has he said anything?”
“No. He’s been unconscious for seventy-two hours. He may never come out of it. All we can do at this point is wait and see.”
They had to be talking about him. Through intense pain, he pushed sound out of his dry mouth and moaned.
“Hey, fella, you ready to wake up? Can you tell us your name?”
With great effort, he cranked open his eyes. Two men stood by his bed, one wearing a white coat, the other in a blue uniform. He tried to speak, but nothing emerged.
“Thirsty, huh?” The doctor placed a straw in his mouth. He sucked greedily and felt cool water flow down his throat.
“What…what happened to me?” The words sounded unintelligible to him, but the doctor seemed to understand. “Someone bashed you on the head and took your wallet,” the doctor said. “The police found you lying unconscious in an alley in Old Town three days ago. You’re pretty banged up and have a skull fracture, but in time you should be good as new. Now, can you tell us you name?”
. Of course, he had a name. What was it? Who was he? Panic rose in his chest. He tried to sit up but found he couldn’t. Restraints anchored his head, arms, and legs. He felt pressure in the back of his left hand where an IV had been inserted.
“Whoa, take it easy.” The doctor touched his wrist. “Don’t worry about that now. It’s very common to have amnesia after a blow to the head. I’m Doctor Morton. I’ll be taking care of you while you’re with us.” The doctor patted his hand lightly.
When he felt the man’s touch, instead of water, he tasted scotch. “You have to stop drinking. It’s killing you.”
With a sharp intake of air, the doctor snatched back his hand.
“What did he say?” the cop asked.
“Nothing. Nothing, he’s rambling. We need to let him rest.” The doctor’s words were a bit shaky. “I’ll give him a sedative. You can come back and question him again in a few days, Officer.”
No more sleep. I have to wake up, find out who I am and why I’m getting these strange visions and thoughts.
He succumbed to darkness without speaking again.
He smelled something sweet and delicious, like flowers in a garden. Jasmine, that was it. His mouth was as dry as sand.
“Water?” He managed to open his eyes. The left one wouldn’t open all the way, giving him a cockeyed vision of his room.
A nurse stepped forward, holding a plastic cup with a straw. He noticed that she was very careful not to touch him. He couldn’t help but wonder why. He looked into her serious eyes and saw fear.
“How are you feeling, Mr. Wakefield? Any pain?”
The name didn’t sound familiar. He drank, and the water tasted like ambrosia. He felt some dribble down his chin, but the nurse made no move to wipe up the spill. After another drink, he said, “I have a headache, but it’s not too bad. How long have I been here?” Once more, he struggled to sit up. The restraints had been removed, but he was very weak.
“I’ll raise the head of the bed up for you.” The nurse pushed a button, and his body slowly rose.
“To answer your question, six days. You were brought into the emergency room by paramedics on Saturday. It’s Friday now. When you couldn’t identify yourself, the police put your picture in the paper, and someone came forward to identify you this morning.”
“Who?” His voice was still hoarse and thin.
The nurse held the straw for him to suck once more. She looked as nervous as a filly in the starting gate on Derby Day.
“A woman from a law firm called and identified you as Brian Wakefield. They sent flowers.” She motioned with her head toward a colorful bouquet sitting on a table near the wall. “The firm of Drexler, Wilson, Strauss, and Fine.”
“No, doesn’t sound familiar. Do I work there?”
“I believe they represent you somehow. The lady who called gave our receptionist all your health insurance information, a credit card number, and insisted we put you in a private room.”
He scanned the area as well as he could without turning his head. No wife? No family? No friends? He had a million questions he wanted to ask but somehow knew the nurse wouldn’t have the answers.
“Do you want me to crank your bed back down?” the nurse asked.
“No, but I’d like to be alone now.” Too many questions buzzed around in his head.
The nurse placed the water cup on the bed table in front of him before she left. With great effort, he raised his left hand and reached for it. Slowly, ever so slowly, he brought the straw to his lips and sipped. It felt good to be able to do something for himself. He put the cup down and noticed the same nurse hovering in the doorway.
“Can I get you anything else, Mr. Wakefield?”
He really looked at the woman for the first time. Butterfly clips on each side of her head barely contained her flaming red. She had the most amazing green eyes the color of malachite, and her face was sprinkled with freckles.
Something about the freckles sparked an image in his mind. A heart-shaped freckle, but it wasn’t on her face. His gaze traveled lazily down her body, but he couldn’t tell much about her figure under the baggy blue scrubs. When he looked at her face again, she was blushing the color of ripe persimmons.
“Yes. A mirror. I want to see if my face is familiar.”
“Certainly.” She walked over to a closet, opened it, and pulled a hand mirror out of the drawer. With quick, nervous steps, she moved closer to the bed and handed it to him.
The mug looking back at him had fading bruises in a variety of colors from blue to yellow.
One eye was still swollen, and there were eight neat stitches over his thick, black left eyebrow. Stubble of jet hair covered his lower face, while ice-blue eyes stared back at him. Full lips were set in a firm no-nonsense line, the lower one scabbed over from where it had been split.
Nothing. He could swear he’d never seen this man before in his life.
“I have to go,” the nurse said. “There’s a button by your right hand to control the bed, and a call button. Push it if you need anything.”
“Thank you.” He kept staring at the stranger in the mirror.
She turned, hesitated, then turned back. Her face was pale as alabaster, and she had licked her lips raw.
“Please tell me. How did you know about…my…problem?”
He set the mirror on the lap tray, licked his lips, and looked at her with those ice-blue eyes. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” His dark eyebrows met in a crinkle of confusion.
Robin Guyer couldn’t help herself. She’d thought of nothing but the handsome stranger since he landed in the ER six days ago. The instant she’d touched him, he told her the one thing she longed to hear.
She wasn’t frigid, but how could he possibly know that? Could he be one of the people with a head injury who…no, that wasn’t possible, was it? She put the thought out of her head.
She had tried everything to have an orgasm with a series of men, but so far, at age twenty-six, it still hadn’t happened. She had about given up trying, but the idea of never reaching that pinnacle with a man left her profoundly depressed. Oh, she knew, technically, she wasn’t frigid. She could bring herself to orgasm, but that wasn’t nearly as satisfying as having a man inside of her, giving her the passion she craved. She simply couldn’t let a man see her naked, and it stopped her every time.
“In the ER, when you came in, I touched your forehead and you told me…” What if he didn’t remember? “…something about myself that no one else in the world knows.”
Head nurse Mattie Salas grabbed Robin’s arm. “There you are. I’ve been looking all over for you. I need your help.” She pulled Robin along the hallway. “He’s a handsome devil, that’s for sure, but you girls have to stop standing in the hallway ogling at him. Now, please take vitals on the gallbladder in 227.” The older woman shook her head in disgust and hurried away toward the main nurses’ station.
With a sigh, Robin went about her duties and tried to get Brian Wakefield out of her mind. It wasn’t easy.
She’d been working in the ER when the EMTs brought the man, bloody, battered, and unconscious, to the hospital. She had been in charge of cutting his clothing off, and when the last of his fancy designer briefs fell away, she’d gasped. The nurse on the other side of the gurney wiping blood from the man’s face looked up.
“Holy mackerel. Is that thing real?”
Everyone in the ER stopped and stared. A mat of thick black hair covered the patient’s chest, trailing all the way down to his pelvis. There, nestled in a triangle of jet curls, lay the most astonishing penis Robin had ever seen. With as big as it was while flaccid, she couldn’t imagine what it would be like erect. Warmth engulfed her most sensitive regions, and it took an effort to pull her gaze away. She looked at his swollen face and licked her lips. Even unconscious with blood all over his head, he was gorgeous.
“Ladies, please. We’re trying to save a man’s life here, not assess the goodies.” Doctor Morton shook his head and went about his business. Robin had to stifle a giggle when she saw the doc give the man’s torso a covert glance. That equipment would make any man feel inferior. Then, later, when she’d touched the patient’s forehead, he had made that amazing pronouncement. Thank goodness no one else heard him. She’d been so shocked, she’d jumped back. When Doctor Morton asked her what happened, she told him the man had moved unexpectedly and startled her.
Since then, every time Robin was on duty, she made it a point to check on the mysterious man to see if he had awakened. She had to find out if he was the one who could finally make her happy in bed.
Well, he would be in her care for a while, and she was determined to get to know him better. There was something so appealing about the man, so helpless. She couldn’t help but be drawn to him.
Her chores finished, Robin cruised by Wakefield’s room once more. Damn, he had company. An older, gray-haired gentleman sat in a chair by the bed, a black alligator skin briefcase resting on the floor beside him. Robin took the chart out of its slot and pretended to read while she eavesdropped.
“We found your Astin Martin in a parking lot near where you were attacked. I had it towed to your garage—no damage on it, so that’s good. Now, is there anything else you need, my boy?”
“No, I just want to remember my life and get out of here.”
“Take your time, Brian. Take your time. Call me if you need anything.” Robin heard the scrape of a chair, so she slipped the chart back in its holder and hurried away so the man wouldn’t see her. She wouldn’t have a chance to talk to Brian Wakefield for the next two days. She was off work. With dragging steps, she went to grab her purse and check out.