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“You took off with my unborn child!”
When a man in a city restaurant flings the accusation at Rachel Hudson, the stable little world she has created shatters.
For two long years Rachel existed without a past. Though she knows why she ran that night, the identity of the man who assaulted her is buried deep within her. Could it be the man glowering down on her?
Claiming to be her husband, Struan Cassidy whisks her home to his mansion overlooking the picturesque Hauraki Gulf. Despite Rachel’s unease, there is one good reason to stay.
Though she lives with crippling fear that her attacker will return, Rachel vows that no one will cause her to desert her family ever again. Nor will she step aside for Struan’s mistress.
But can Rachel overcome her fear and give Struan what he wants most?
Can Rachel Hudson become Rachel Cassidy again?
“You didn’t expect me to remain a child after what happened to me, did you?” Rachel accused, breaking the silence. She shuffled up to lean against the headboard, a posture more suitable to a serious discussion than flat on one’s back. Then it whacked her square in her senses—what she’d said and she held her breath, heaving a sigh of relief finally when Struan misunderstood.
“Losing our baby, you mean?” Struan’s voice was ragged, fighting to erase images of the night of her desertion. He stabbed his fingers through his hair, ruffling it further so that it aired in a mussed up fashion, feeling as it would after a long night of love. Fat chance of that. “But it doesn’t explain your refusal to make love. You used to like it. Love it,” he amended, his tone smug. “Sweet Rachel, docile kitty-cat by day, ferocious tiger by night.” His tone mocked, hoping to prod her into some of that wanton aggressiveness now.
“You’re crude! Just like that night in the restaurant!” Her body was afire, the touchpaper his thumb as he stroked her toes. She shivered as sensations torched by his thumb soared. Why couldn’t her mind surrender and let her body feel?
“Speaking of that night, did your boss ever make love to you?”
Shocked, Rachel went to yank her foot away but he held on tight. “I’m not asking whom you bedded while I was away. So don’t expect it of me!”
“Fair enough,” he grunted.
Though he sounded as if he meant not one word of it.
And it wasn’t the answer she wanted.
“Besides,” she bit out scathingly, “I remember telling you that Alan and I had a professional relationship.”
“Ah, yes. That’s what you told me.”
“I don’t tell lies.”
“You don’t tell the truth, either.”
Now his finger joined his thumb, circling her ankle, caressing, intimate.
“Are you afraid to have another baby?” His voice purred, anger drained, taking pleasure from the feel of her skin even as she languished in the pleasure of his. “You needn’t be. Together we’d cope. You can have all the help you need. A nanny. Whatever you want.” He endeavored to catch her gaze, but her head twisted away. “I want another child, Rachel.”
Only their labored breathing encroached on their thoughts.
Again, Struan took the first step. “May I hold your hand?” Which was an odd question since he was doing rather more than holding her hand just moments ago.
“Okay,” she offered, drawing a long breath. His teeth flashed ghost-white. “But only if you wipe that stupid grin off your face!”
“Yes, ma’am.” He laughed, reaching out, and as always, their fingers intertwined. “Tell me about your time in Dunedin. You’ve been very close about it.”
His hand was warm, nice. ‘Nice’—as opposed to the feelings those same fingers had aroused earlier.
“Do you miss Dunedin?” Struan held his breath, hoping she didn’t.
She seemed to ponder this for awhile.
“The city, yes. It’s beautiful. Less cosmopolitan than Auckland of course, and,” she said dreamily, transporting her mind back, “the architecture is richer.” The moon disappeared, wrapping them in darkness. Rachel took the chance to whisper. “I know that sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, but I am glad to be home.”
Struan nodded. Whatever alarmed her about sex, it wasn’t because she lacked affection for him. And there was no doubting the intensity of her love for Justin. She would never leave their son again. Then a bitter taste barreled through him. Who was he kidding? His own mother had walked out on him. At thirteen he’d felt secure in his mother’s love, but she managed to shatter his illusions; that wrought more damage to his psyche than a bullet would to glass. He shook off his blackcoated thoughts. He needed to tread carefully. Struan desired another child but, for now, he’d back off.
As Rachel extolled the virtues of the South Island city, Struan mulled over his bitter disappointment at Rachel’s about-face on the dinner party.
“It was very well written story with very life-like characters. The story elaborates on the feelings and struggles of assaulted women. Each time somebody touches her, Rachel often tenses up and pulls back. Her struggle is described in detail as she tries to love a husband of whom she has no memory. However, the story did drag in certain places. The many times that Rachel "almost" remembers her assailant leaves the readers in suspense. Many times throughout the story I wanted to "push" Rachel to identify her attacker. But overall, this is a very sweet story that reminds readers of second chances and the power of love.” - The Long And Short of It Reviews
“Rachel's world is turned upside down when a strange man accosts her in a restaurant, talking about her taking away his unborn child. She is befuddled, but that's nothing new; she has no memory of her life before the last two years. Thus, she is able to accept the trut that this stranger, Struan, is her husband and willingly goes home with him to begin to reclaim her life. Yet, it's an uphill challenge all the way as she discovers she does not always like her former self and she now has a rival to fight for her husband's love. Yet, one truth remains hidden that could shatter the tentative happiness before her.
This story begins on a compelling note and keeps you hooked throughout. Though the ending is a little rushed, weakening it slightly, it is nonetheless powerful. Ms. Otto has successfully used the standard amnesia story and given it a fresh life.” – Amanda Killgore, Independent Reviewer
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 256
Paper Weight (lb): 11.0
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