tried to kill her had in fact done her a huge favor.

“Come on, Mrs. Walker-Sullivan,” Merrick said, pulling her toward the doorway. “I feel the distinct need to make love to you for the next forty-eight hours straight.”

“Only forty-eight?” she teased.

“To start with,” Cade said. “After that? Who knows. We have all the time in the world, and I plan to make love to you for the next forty-eight years.”

C H A P T E R     F O R T Y - O N E

ELLE WOKE SPRAWLED OVER CADE’S body, her legs tangled with Merrick’s in the huge king-size bed in the posh resort where Merrick had booked their honeymoon.

Two whole weeks on the beach. A private beach where they wouldn’t be disturbed by the outside world. A veritable paradise where their every whim would be catered to.

They could make love, they could never dress if they wanted. They could play in the ocean or swim in the private pool assigned to their villa.

But the outside world had crept in via her dreams.

Even now as the fog surrounding her mind began to lift, she was left with a heavy ache in her chest that threatened to suffocate her.

Bits and pieces came back. More vivid than in the past. They lingered where before they’d always faded as soon as she’d awakened.

An image flashed. A man. A strong, hard man with piercing eyes. Even as she thought of him, her breathing sped up, and she wasn’t sure if it was fear or something quite different that made her react.

She shivered despite the fact she was sandwiched by two warm, male bodies.

She should be glowing in the aftermath of the tender lovemaking the two men had bestowed on her. They’d kissed and touched and caressed her for hours. Driving her to the brink of insanity with mindless pleasure. Only then had they let her achieve the ultimate satisfaction, and afterward, she’d lain in their arms, listening as they whispered their love for her.

And now, a shadow had intruded, and she hated it. Hated it for evaporating her earlier euphoria.

Knowing there was no way she was going back to sleep and wanting time to sort through the dream while it was still fresh in her mind, she carefully extricated herself from Cade’s hold.

He muttered a protest, and she whispered, “Bathroom.”

He let her go, and she slid down the length of the bed, careful not to disturb Merrick as she got up from the bed. She did go into the bathroom, but only to get one of the fluffy robes she’d thrown over the hook on the back of the bathroom door.

Cinching the belt tightly around her, she padded out of the bedroom and through the sitting area to the French doors leading onto a veranda overlooking the ocean.

As she slid open the doors, the sea breeze ruffled her hair and teased her nose. She inhaled deeply as she stepped outside, and instantly, the song of the ocean danced over her ears.

Overhead, the full moon shone brightly, surrounded by a crystal clear sky and a million stars that twinkled like fairy dust. The light from the moon reflected off the water and lit up the entire horizon like a splash of silver.

Taking a deep breath, she curled her fingers around the edge of the railing that circled the veranda, and she leaned forward, absorbing the serenity around her. She needed it because her thoughts were in turmoil.

Alabama. The ocean. Warm, sultry summer nights. Her feet in the sand. Warm Gulf water foaming around her ankles. And a warmer than usual October night where her life had been irrevocably changed.

She squeezed her eyes shut, wanting to still the images, the memories, but for once, they wouldn’t stop coming. Random. Impossible to sort out. So fast and senseless that it left her head spinning.

Eden, Alabama.

A coastal town.

Maybe being here in Fiji with Merrick and Cade had prompted her to remember the place where…

She shook her head because she couldn’t be certain it was where she’d lived at all. But she knew she had history there. She could feel it. She could remember vaguely. The name felt right. If she concentrated hard, she could conjure up images of the ocean and feel the hot sun beating down on her shoulders.

It was where she’d been betrayed.


She turned to see Cade and Merrick stepping onto the veranda, the moon illuminating the area so she could easily see the concern on their faces.

“Is something wrong, baby?” Merrick asked.

The two men stopped on either side of her, both reaching to touch her in some way, whether it was to reassure her or them. She wasn’t certain which.

She took a deep breath. “I’m remembering,” she said in a soft voice.

Cade tensed. “What do you remember?”

She turned back to stare over the ocean, her hands curling tightly around the rail once more.

“Eden, Alabama.”

There was a long pause.

“Is that where you lived?” Merrick asked, finally breaking the silence.

She lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “It’s where I was raped.”

Cade slid his hand over her shoulder to her nape, and he squeezed comfortingly.

“There’s something there,” she said baldly. “Something familiar. I can almost see places. It’s so strange. They dance like images in my mind, but they’re just out of reach. I can’t touch them, but they’re there, and it’s so frustrating.”

Merrick put his hand over hers, his warmth bleeding into her cold fingers.

Then she looked up at him, their gazes meeting.

“I need to go back,” she said quietly. “I have to face my past and find out what happened to me. Who I am.”

“There is no way in hell you’re going alone,” Cade said in a menacing voice.

Startled, she swung her gaze to him. “I hadn’t even considered it.”

“Good,” Merrick said gruffly. “I don’t like the idea of you going back at all, but I understand why you have to. I don’t have to like it, though.”

She slid her arm around his waist and then reached for Cade. They pushed in close until she was surrounded by them. Their touch. Their heat. Their love.

It emanated from them in a tangible wave that she could sense with every breath.

“No matter what my past is, you’re my future,” she said, her jaw firming with resolve.

She didn’t want them to have doubts even for a minute.

“Damn straight,” Cade growled.

Merrick’s hold on her tightened, and he pressed his lips to her temple. “We’re keeping you, baby. Always.”

Some of the tension that had knotted her insides loosened and relinquished its stubborn hold. When she’d awakened, she’d been terrified. Afraid of what the future would hold. Afraid that somehow her past would threaten her present with the two men she called husband.

Now, standing between them, their quiet vows echoing in her ears, a perfect companion to the rush of the distant waves, peace enveloped her.

Her past couldn’t hurt her. It couldn’t control her. She’d survived whatever horrific thing had happened to her. Her future was with these two wonderful, amazing men, and no matter what, she’d never look back with regret.

“We have all the time in the world,” she said. “No hurry. First I intend to have the best honeymoon a girl could ever ask for. And then we’re going to go home and finish settling into our new house and celebrate Merrick’s

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