The texas renegade reurns(5)By: Charlene Sands
His voice gruff, he laced his fingers with hers and gave her hand a gentle shake. “Cara, I remember loving you.”
She melted a little, finally hearing the words she’d hoped to hear for so long. How many nights had she clasped her hands and lifted her head to heaven, praying that Alex would regain his memory? “I—I’m glad for you, Alex.”
“There are only two things that matter to me, Cara. And your love is one of them.”
She dropped her hand and distanced herself. He was too close. And he remembered. Oh, God. “You went to all this trouble to prove to me that your memory has returned?”
“Yes. I went to all this trouble. I wanted to remind you how much we loved each other.”
The corner of her mouth lifted out of sadness. “Once, I loved you.”
“Twice, I’ve loved you, Cara. Once, I loved you as Alex Santiago. Yes, that’s true. But when I was injured, you came to me in the hospital and tried so hard to help me. I began to fall in love all over again. When I returned to my home, a place I didn’t remember, you showed me what love is, what we’d had, and I fell in love with you again as Alex del Toro.”
“Alex, please,” she said. She didn’t want to rehash this. She didn’t want to remember the good times, the love. She especially didn’t want to remember the night she’d seduced him, trying her hardest to get him to remember her. She’d gone all out, using every single erotic move and gesture she knew turned him on, to turn on his memory. It hadn’t worked. Even after that night, Alex still hadn’t remembered her. “What do you want from me?”
“I brought you here hoping that you’d hear me out. Hoping that you’d listen to what I have to say. I want you to understand what happened. I want to apologize for everything I’ve done to cause you pain.”
Alarms clanged in her head. Did he really still love her? Or was his work for his father not through yet? Did he have more damage to do? How could he ask her to forgive him? She still bled from the pain and humiliation he’d caused. Anyone who picked up a newspaper or watched the nightly news knew of the scandal. The headlines might as well have read Cara Windsor—Idiot for Love. “I don’t know if I can accept your apology, Alex.”
The hopeful gleam in his eyes dimmed. He sighed and even that sound came out melodic. “Just listen to me before you decide. Will you have dinner with me?”
He nodded. “Here.”
Her eyes narrowed. “You promised to have me back in an hour.”
He didn’t hesitate. “I’ll honor that promise. I’ll take you back right now if you insist.”
Insist. Insist. But Cara’s darn mouth was stuck in neutral. Nothing came out.
“Please, Cara. I have things to say that I haven’t told another soul. You may not trust me, but I trust you. I need to explain everything to you.”
She deserved an explanation. And he had her curious now. What kind of excuses could make up for breaking her heart and destroying their love? “Send the musicians away. There’ll be no serenading and dancing tonight.”
His breath rushed out. “So, you’ll stay?”
“Only for dinner. I’ll hear you out and then you’ll take me back home.”
A beam of hope entered his eyes. He nodded. “I promise.”
A promise from Alex del Toro?
Maybe someone had some swampland in Florida to sell her, too.
* * *
Cara’s eyes closed as she took her first bite of shrimp scampi. The shrimp and the linguini were perfectly cooked. Garlic and olive oil made everything better. The evening was perfect, right down to the best pairing of wine to accompany the meal and the pink-gold blaze of light setting over the river.
Leave it to Alex to make it all so memorable...even the second time around. But there wouldn’t be any offering of engagement rings or talk of happily-ever-afters tonight.
“It’s delicious,” she said.
She waited for Alex to say something pertinent. He had explaining to do. But instead, his gaze flowed over her like warm honey, shifting from her hair to her mouth. Cara squirmed in her chair, aware of his eyes on her. If only she hadn’t agreed to come here with him.
Was he remembering the last time they’d made love? Was he remembering how she’d seduced him, practically in his sickbed, the day after he was released from hospital? Fools in love do stupid things. She’d actually thought getting naked with him in his home would rocket from his groin to his brain and he’d remember her.