Enticed by His Forgotten Lover(9)

By: Maya Banks

He was thirty-four years old, but from all accounts, he’d acted like a teenager faced with his first naked woman.

“She says we fell in love.”

He nearly groaned. Just saying the words made him feel utterly ridiculous.

The three other men stared at him as if he’d just announced he was taking a vow of celibacy. Though at the moment, it didn’t sound like a bad idea.

“She also claims the child she’s pregnant with is yours,” Devon pointed out. “That’s a lot of things she’s claiming.”

“Have you talked to your lawyer?” Ryan asked. “This entire situation makes me nervous. She could do a lot of damage to this deal if she goes public. If she spills her tale of you being a complete bastard, knocking her up and hauling ass before the ink on the contracts was dry, it’s not going to make any of us look good.”

“No, I damn well haven’t spoken to Mario yet,” Rafael muttered. “When have I had time? I’m calling him next.”

“So how long are you going to be gone on this soul-searching expedition?” Cam asked.

Rafael shoved his hands into his pockets and rocked back on his heels. “As long as it takes.”

Devon glanced down at his watch. “As much as I’d love to stick around and be amused by all this, I have an appointment.”

“Copeland?” Cam smirked.

Devon curled his lip in Cam’s direction.

“The old man still adamant that you marry his daughter if you want the merger?” Ryan asked.

Devon sighed. “Yeah. She’s…flighty, and Copeland seems to think I’d settle her.”

Rafael winced and shot his friend a look of sympathy.

Cam shrugged. “So tell him the deal’s off.”

“She’s not that bad. She’s just young and…exuberant. There are worse women to marry.”

“In other words, she’d drive a stick-in-the-mud like you crazy,” Ryan said with a grin.

Devon made a rude gesture as he headed toward the door.

Cam swiveled in Rafael’s chair and let his feet hit the floor with a thud. “I’m off, too. Make damn sure you give us a heads-up before you head off to find yourself, Rafe.”

Rafael grunted and claimed his chair as Cam followed behind Devon. Ryan still stood at the window and he turned to Rafael once they were alone.

“Hey, I’m sorry for the crack about Kelly,” Rafael said before Ryan could speak. “Have you been able to find her yet?”

Ryan shook his head. “No. But I will.”

Rafael didn’t understand Ryan’s determination to hunt down his ex-fiancée. The whole fiasco had taken place during the four weeks Rafael had lost, but Devon and Cam had told him that Kelly had slept with Ryan’s brother. Ryan had tossed her out and had seemingly moved on. Only now Ryan had hired an investigator to find her.

“You don’t remember Bryony?” Ryan asked. “Nothing at all?”

Rafael slapped a pen against the edge of his desk. “No. Nothing. It’s like looking at a stranger.”

“And you don’t think that’s odd?”

Rafael made a sound of exasperation. “Well, of course it’s odd. Everything about this situation is odd.”

Ryan leaned back against the window and studied Rafael. “You’d think if you’d fallen head-over-ass for this woman, spent every waking moment for four weeks with her and managed to knock her up in the process that there would at least be some serious déjà vu.”

Rafael tossed the pen down and spun in his chair until his foot caught on the trash can next to his desk. “I get where you’re going with this, Ryan, and I appreciate your concern. Something happened on that island. I don’t know what, but there is a gaping hole in my memory and she’s at the center. I’ve got to go back, if for no other reason than to disprove her story.”

“And if she’s telling the truth?” Ryan asked.

“Then I’ve got a hell of a lot of catching up to do,” Rafael muttered.

Bryony stood outside the high-rise office building and stared straight up. The sleek modern architecture glistened in the bright autumn sun. The sky provided a dramatic backdrop as the spire punched a hole in the vivid blue splash.

An orange leaf drifted lazily onto her face, brushing her nose before fluttering to the ground. It joined others on the sidewalk and skittered along the concrete until it was crunched beneath the feet of the many passersby.

She was jostled by someone shouldering past her and she heard a muttered “Tourist” as they hurried on by.

The city frightened and fascinated her in equal parts. Everyone was so busy here. No one stopped even for a moment. The city pulsed with people, cars, lights and noise. Constant noise.

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