She searched for more. Answers she needed to questions that swarmed her every time she wakened. Her past lay like a great barren landscape before her. The answers dangled beyond her, taunting her and escaping before she could reach out and take hold.
She turned her head on the thin pillow, fully intending to slip back into the void of sleep when a firm hand grasped hers. Fear scurried up her spine until she remembered that she was safe and in a hospital. Still, she yanked her hand away as her chest rose and fell with her quick breaths.
“You must not go back to sleep, pedhaki mou. Not yet.”
The man’s voice slid across her skin, leaving warmth in its wake. Carefully, she turned to face this stranger—or was he? Was he someone she knew? Who knew her? Could he be the father of the child nestled below her heart?
Her hand automatically felt for her rounded belly as her gaze lighted on the man who’d spoken to her.
He was a dominating presence. Tall, lithe, dangerously intent as his amber eyes stared back at her. He wasn’t American. She nearly laughed at the absurdity of her thoughts. She should be demanding to know who he was and why he was here, and yet all she could muster was the knowledge that he wasn’t American?
“Our baby is fine,” he said as his gaze dropped to the hand she had cupped protectively over her abdomen.
She tensed as she realized that he was indeed staking a claim. Shouldn’t she know him? She reached for something, some semblance of recognition, but unease and fear were all she found.
“Who are you?” she finally managed to whisper.
Something flickered in those golden eyes, but he kept his expression neutral. Had she hurt him with the knowledge she didn’t know him? She tried to put herself in his position. Tried to imagine how she’d feel if the father of her baby suddenly couldn’t remember her.
He pulled a chair to the side of the bed and settled his large frame into it. He reached for her hand, and this time, despite her instinct to do so, she didn’t retract it.
“I am Chrysander Anetakis. Your fiancé.”
She searched his face for the truth of his words, but he looked back at her calmly, with no hint of emotion.
“I’m sorry,” she said and swallowed when her voice cracked. “I don’t remember….”
“I know. I’ve spoken to the doctor. What you remember isn’t important right now. What is important is that you rest and recover so that I can take you home.”
She licked her lips, panic threatening to overtake her. “Home?”
He nodded. “Yes, home.”
“Where is that?” She hated having to ask. Hated that she was lying here conversing with a complete stranger. Only apparently he wasn’t. He was someone she had been intimate with. Obviously in love with. They were engaged, and she was pregnant with his child. Shouldn’t that stir something inside her?
“You’re trying too hard, pedhaki mou,” he said softly. “I can see the strain on your face. You mustn’t rush things. The doctor said that it will all come back in time.”
She clutched his hand then looked down at their linked fingers. “Will it? What if it doesn’t?” Fear rose in her chest, tightening her throat uncomfortably. She struggled to breathe.
Chrysander reached out a hand to touch her face. “Calm yourself, Marley. Your distress does you and the baby no good.”
Hearing her name on his lips did odd things. It felt as though he was speaking of a stranger even though she did remember her name. But maybe in the madness of her memory loss, she’d been afraid that she’d gotten that part wrong, and that along with everything else, her name was a forgotten piece of her life.
“Can you tell me something about me? Anything?”
She was precariously close to begging, and tears knotted her throat and stung her eyes.
“There will be plenty of time for us to talk later,” Chrysander soothed. He stroked her forehead, pushing back her hair. “For now, rest. I’m making preparations to take you home.”
It was the second time he’d mentioned home, and she realized that he still hadn’t told her where that was.
“Where is home?” she asked again.
His lips thinned for just a moment, and then his expression eased. “Home for us has been here in the city. My business takes me away often, but we had an apartment together here. My plan is to take you to my island as soon as you are well enough to travel.”
Her brows furrowed as she sought to comprehend the oddity of his statement. It sounded so…impersonal. There was no emotion, no hint of joy, just a sterile recitation of fact.
As if sensing she was about to ask more questions, he bent over and pressed his lips to her forehead. “Rest, pedhaki mou. I have arrangements to make. The doctor says you can be released in a few days’ time if all goes well.”