To Know Her (Erotic Romance)

BOOK: To Know Her (Erotic Romance)
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Renee Burke

 

To
Know
Her
Dedication

 

To the many wonderful
authors who have written books to allow me an escape over the years.  To
my family for supporting my dream of becoming one of these escape artists.

Table of Contents

 

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter
Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter
Seven

Chapter
Eight

Chapter Nine

 

Chapter
One

 

Bright lights from the oncoming
car blinded her.  She watched it speed by, wondering, idly, whether it was
better to stop it or let it pass.  Hitching a ride had to be
dangerous.  On the other hand, the temperature was chilling her bare
arms. 

Brake lights lit the dark
blacktop and cast shadows over the roadside and into the woods.  She
crossed her arms in front of her chest, holding tight in an effort to warm
herself, as she watched the car back slowly toward her.  A Porsche. 
Well at least the ride would be luxurious. 

The driver’s door popped open,
and a man emerged.  He towered over the low slung car, dark and
dangerous.  When he circled the back to come closer, she stepped away,
slipping off the blacktop and into the low brush.  His hand shot out to
catch her around the waist, pulling her closer, uncaring of her
trepidation. 

“Trouble?”  He pulled her
forward where the road was flat until her feet were once again steady. 

She nodded, unable to find her
voice.  He studied her for a moment, gazing into her eyes before lifting
to her hair.  He brushed a finger over the smooth skin of her forehead,
and she watched his throat work as he swallowed.  The closeness was
unnerving. 

“I seem to be lost.”  Her
voice was small, mirroring her emotions. 

“You seem to be hurt.”  He
pulled the finger back from her forehead, and she could see the trace of blood
there. 

“Oh!” Her eyes widened in
surprise and her head tilted.  “I’m not sure how that happened.  I
can’t seem to remember... much.”  She pulled herself upright a bit and
stepped away, out of his embrace. 

His eyes narrowed as he watched
her arms lift again, wrapping around in a self-protective hug. 

“I don’t suppose you could give
me a lift?”

Without a word, he turned to
open the passenger door and gestured for her to sit. 

She held her breath as he
crossed in front of the car, looking like a giant against the darkness as he
crossed in front of each headlight.  He turned to look at her as he
settled in the seat. 

“So, what now?” 

She gave him a shy
glance.  “I’m not entirely sure.  I guess to a store.  Maybe a
gas station?”  She could call someone from there.  Except she was
completely blank on who. 

The muscles in his jaw
tensed.  “What exactly are you out to buy on a dark highway at night?”

His words seemed angry, but she
wasn’t sure why.  The thought upset her.

“I don’t know.”  She bit
her lip and looked out into the dark just beyond the glare of the headlights.
“I don’t remember why I’m here or who to call.”

His angry expression was wiped
away, and the tension around his eyes softened.  “What do you remember?”

She swallowed again and looked
into her lap.  She was holding a set of keys.  Had those been there
the whole time?  She shook her head, every thought more fuzzy and daunting
than the last.  “Nothing.  I don’t remember anything.”

He nodded before reaching over
to cover her hands with his own big warm one.  His gentle squeeze brought
her gaze back to his. 

“It will be okay.  I’ll
take you somewhere safe.”  He pulled the safety belt across her lap
brushing her breast with the back of his hand as it passed. 
Accidental?  She wasn’t sure.  She chose to say nothing.

The engine fired, and he
shifted into gear before making a U-turn and accelerating into the
darkness.  Her sigh seemed loud in the quiet car, as she considered her
situation.  Her head ached, and the blank slate of her mind was a
frightening place.

“You don’t remember your name?”

His words jolted her out of her
revelry. 

She crinkled her brow for a
moment, trying to dredge up the answer.  Her response, when it came, was
almost inaudible.  “No.”

His grip tightened momentarily
on the steering wheel before relaxing.  “We’ll need something to call you
then.  How about Sara?”  He watched her closely. 

She shrugged.  It was as
good as any other name.  “Alright.”

“I’m Derek Clayton.”

“Nice to meet you, Derek.”

A large house with a sprawling
lawn came into view.  He slowed and pulled into the drive.  They had
been driving only a short time, but she’d become relaxed in the seat.  The
realization that they weren’t going to a public place made her tense
again.  “Why are we here?”

“It’s late.  We’re not
close to a town, and they’ll be little open to offer help for you by the time
we get there.”  He pulled into the garage and stopped the car. 

She looked around, quickly taking
inventory of her surroundings.  Another space stood empty beside
her.  “You have a wife?”

“No wife.”

“Someone else lives here?”

“At the moment, only you. 
We’ll get your cut cleaned up and put some ice on the knot you have
growing.  Does it hurt?”

She nodded.  “A bit.”

He opened his door and was
around to escort her from the car before she had time to consider her
options.  He leaned across her, reaching down to unbuckle her safety belt,
brushing against her thigh before taking her hand to pull her from the
seat.  He seemed entirely comfortable with the contact.  She admitted
to herself that she didn’t feel afraid.  Was this the way victims felt
before realizing they’d trusted a serial killer?  At ease, relieved for
the company? 

He unlocked the door and
engaged the security alarm on a nearby keypad as they entered.  The lights
he flipped on illuminated a large room beyond the foyer.  Comfortable and
spacious.  Couches and chairs with fabric throws beckoned, but he held her
hand and pulled her toward the kitchen.

Without speaking, he quickly
retrieved a first aid kit and cold compress before leading her to a
chair.  He sat opposite her and opened the kit to find what he
needed. 

“I wonder how a woman gets to
this area, alone, at night, and loses her memory.”

She stopped her investigation
of the surrounding room.  “I have no idea.” 

“That’s what’s happened
then?  No memory?”

“I guess.  I know some
things.  This…”  She gestured between them and then toward the night
beyond a large bay window.  “…is unsafe.”

He doused a piece of gauze with
antiseptic from a brown bottle.  The smell made her nose wrinkle.
“Unsafe?”  His eyebrow lifted with his curious tone.

“Of course.  Because I
don’t know you.  You could be a woman’s worst nightmare.”

He winced at the words. 
“I suppose you’re right.  I promise you.  I won’t cause you
harm.”  He lifted the gauze to touch her injury.

“Ouch!”  She lurched back,
her hand jerking up to clutch at his arm, creating distance.

“Sorry, Sara.  The cut is
open and needs treatment before we bandage it.” 

Sara.  Okay.  She
waited just a moment before releasing his arm.  He dabbed her again with
the cotton, causing the wound to burn.  She gritted her teeth against the
irritation.

She watched as his lips moved
closer before parting so he could blow gently across the ache.  Maybe it
wasn’t the most sanitary move, but it brought him close enough to give her a
good view of his dark skin, stubble covering his jaw, and the strong neck that
dipped into a broad set of shoulders covered by an expensive dress shirt. 
She could smell his skin, masculine and sexy.

“Oh.”  The sound was just
a breath but he heard.  His lips quirked.  He leaned back to search
her expression.

“Better?”

Her only response was a
nod. 

He finished treating the cut
with ointment and a small bandage that kept her hair from touching it. 
Her hair.  She stroked the swash over her shoulder.  Dark blonde,
long, and thick.   

“How about something to drink
before settling in?”  He was already moving around the kitchen before she
answered.  He returned with a glass of lemonade.

She sipped a few drinks while
watching him put the first aid supplies away.  He returned with an
outstretched hand.  Two small pills, one white and one yellow, lay in his
palm. 

“Take these.”

“I couldn’t.”  She didn’t
make a move to obey.

“You can.  They’ll keep
you well.”

She lowered her eyes back to
the pills.  “What are they?”

“An antibiotic I had on hand
will help the cut, and a pain pill for your headache.”

Her eyes flew back to
his.  “How do you know I have a headache?”

He smiled gently.  “Don’t
you?”

She nodded. 

“There’s a tension.”  He
gestured with two outstretched fingers.  “Here, around your eyes.”

She took the pills from his
hand but didn’t immediately swallow them.  “Will I be staying here?”

“Let me show you some options.”

When she rose, he picked up her
glass and led her further through the living area.  A split stairway stood
before them.  When she stopped, unsure which one to take, his hand rested
on the small of her back before urging her up the stairs. 

“Is your room up here?”

“Yes, the last door on the
left, but there are several others also.”  He opened the first door and
showed her inside.  The bedroom was small and sparse.  She didn’t
make a move to enter.  It was a cold, stark room, and she disliked it
immediately.

He led her toward another room,
larger this time, with a private bath barely visible through a sliver in the
door.  She immediately relaxed as she looked around the space.

“This one it is.” 

“What?”

He smiled wryly.  “You
just seem more comfortable here, Sara.”  He handed her the glass and
nodded toward her closed palm.  “You should take those now before your
headache gets much worse.”

He watched her, waiting until
she finally lifted her hand and put the pills in her mouth.  She swallowed
the lemonade to wash them down before handing him the glass.

“Good enough.  You want
something to sleep in?”

She nodded.  “Please.”

His eyes held hers for a moment
before turning to leave the room.  He returned quickly with a large
t-shirt. 

“Thank you.”

He reached to touch her face
gently, pushing the curls back from her forehead.  “This might help with
the bump you’ve got.”  He held the compress she’d seen earlier, wrapped in
a thin cloth.  He gave it to her before stepping away.

“It’s late.  Get
comfortable before that pain pill kicks in.  I’ll see you in the morning.”

Sara watched him leave the
room, waiting a moment before trailing after him to close the door and lock
it.  She lifted the t-shirt to take a closer look and found a military
slogan stamped across the chest.  The fabric was soft and it smelled of
warm, sexy man.  Derek.  Memory or no memory, she could admit that to
herself.  She was with a stranger, a gorgeous stranger, who was taking
tender care of her.   There were lots of questions.  Everything
was a question from where she stood.  Tomorrow would be soon enough to run
down answers.   

She shed her clothes, noticing
several blood droplets on her shirt, before slipping on the borrowed t-shirt
and sliding between the cool cotton sheets.  She gingerly laid the
compress on her forehead for a few minutes before dropping it to the floor and
falling into a deep sleep.

BOOK: To Know Her (Erotic Romance)
7.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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