Remember Me

Remember Me

by Sharon Sala
Remember Me

Remember Me

by Sharon Sala

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Overview

A husband tries to help his wife recover her missing memories in a “spellbinding narrative” of romantic suspense from a New York Times–bestselling author (Publishers Weekly).
 
Clay and Frankie LeGrand are deliriously happy newlyweds until the day Frankie inexplicably disappears. The local police suspect Clay had something to do with it—but they can’t prove anything. Two years go by and then, as suddenly as she disappeared, Frankie is back in bed exactly where Clay last saw her, as though nothing ever happened.
 
There are sinister clues: a tattoo on Frankie’s neck, needle marks on her arm, and a powerful man who has been trying to control her since childhood. But though her memory is lost, the part of her that matters most—her will to survive—is not. Wherever she has been, she’s found her way back to Clay. But can they recover the sense of safety and security that was stolen from them?
 
“Veteran romance writer Sala lives up to her reputation with this well-crafted thriller.” —Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780795345159
Publisher: RosettaBooks
Publication date: 02/12/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 375
Sales rank: 115,637
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

About The Author
Sharon Sala is a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of Oklahoma RWA. She has 94 plus books in print, published in five different genres--Romance, Young Adult, Western, Fiction, and Women's Fiction. First published in 1991, she's an eight-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, four-time Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine, five-time winner of the National Reader's Choice Award, and five-time winner of the Colorado Romance Writer's Award of Excellence, as well as Bookseller's Best Award. In 2011 she was named RWA's recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Her books are New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher's Weekly bestsellers. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

"Francesca ... come here to me, baby."

Frankie LeGrand was beginning to worry about the darkening clouds, but as her husband's voice wrapped around her, her thoughts shifted. She pivoted, turning her back on the window at which she'd been standing, as well as the view of the storm about to hit their Denver home.

"I think it's going to rain," she said.

"I think I don't give a damn."

Frankie smiled. Clay LeGrand had been her husband for exactly a year and one day — all six feet four inches of him. On most days, he was a law unto himself. It would seem this day was one of those times — and it was part of why she loved him. Clay liked what he liked, and laughed when something struck him as funny, and didn't give a good goddamn what anyone else thought.

She gave him the once-over as he leaned against the doorway, her wifely instincts kicking in to make sure that when he left, he would be prepared for a wet day ahead.

He was ready for work. Blue jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, and, of course, a flannel-lined denim jacket and work boots. His hard hat would be in the truck. As foreman of his father's construction company, it was something he never left home without.

Thunder rumbled overhead, rattling the window behind her. Although the weather was not unusual for an October morning, she shivered suddenly, hugging herself in reflex. Before long it would be winter, and she hated the cold.

"Hey," Clay said. "If you need a hug, let me do that."

"Then hug," she said, and opened her arms.

When his arms wrapped around her, she closed her eyes, savoring the safety of his love. The fabric of his shirt was soft against her cheek as she inhaled slowly, cupping his backside as she pulled him closer.

"You smell good," she whispered.

His voice lowered to a growl. "Francesca ..."

"Clay, am I in trouble?"

He grinned. "Why?"

"Because the only time you growl at me is when you're angry."

He frowned. "I am never angry with you and you know it."

She arched an eyebrow. "Well ... maybe disturbed is a better word. And don't deny it, because I know you were disturbed when you caught the bag boy at the grocery store winking at me last week."

"Damn right," he growled, then scooped her into his arms, kissing her hard all the way to the bed.

"You're going to be late."

Ignoring her warning, he yanked her shirt over her head.

"Clay, what will your dad say?"

"Probably something like, 'Where the hell are my doughnuts?'"

Her laughter shattered about him, causing him to flinch. He loved her so much it scared him. She made him weak, and Clay LeGrand had never been a weak man.

As he wrapped her in his arms, she knew that she was blessed. Clay was diligent to a fault, but a few minutes late would put him in no danger of losing his job, especially if he showed up with a dozen of his dad's favorite chocolate-covered doughnuts.

She savored his kisses, feeling the warmth of his lips against her skin. When the tip of his tongue laved her nipple, she sighed and closed her eyes. For Frankie, Clay was her joy, her reason for living. Raised in an orphanage, she'd been alone in this world — until him. He wasn't just her husband, he was her everything. She cupped his face with her hands, momentarily stopping his excursion.

"Clay?"

He raised himself up on one an elbow. "What, sweetheart?"

"When I was standing at the window ..."

He gazed down at her, wondering how something as simple as black hair and brown eyes could be so enchanting in one woman's face.

"What about the window?" he muttered.

"You started to say something to me. What were you going to say?"

"That you looked sexy as hell in my shirt." Then his eyes darkened as he looked at her there beneath him, hair tousled, sleepy-eyed and naked. "But you look even better in nothing."

She arched toward his touch as he stroked the length of her body. His eyes glittered as she grabbed his hand, stilling its journey.

"What?" he growled.

"Take off your clothes and make love to me now, before I die from pure want."

He grinned. That was a request he could easily fill.

Minutes passed. Outside, the storm made good on the promise of rain. Now and then, a hard gust of wind would shatter the rhythm of the raindrops against the windows, but nothing could stop the rhythm of the lovers as they rode out a storm of their own.

* * *

The day dragged from one hour to the next. Even though most of the construction on the site was being done indoors, the rain still hampered deliveries. It was too wet to haul Sheetrock, and too wet to finish the roof on the north end of the complex. Clay's dad had gone home at noon, leaving only a skeleton crew, with Clay in charge. By four o'clock, Clay called a halt and sent them home, as well. The delay wasn't crucial. They were several weeks ahead of schedule as it was, and going home early would be good. Maybe he and Frankie would order in a pizza. If the temperature kept dropping, they might even build a fire in the fireplace. Frankie would like that. She hated the cold.

Clay's mind was spinning as he stopped off at the supermarket. He made a dash for the door, splashing through the puddles as he ran, then stopped at a pay phone just inside to see if there was anything she needed in the way of groceries before he went home.

Shivering slightly from the chill, he dropped the coins into the slots, then counted the rings, each time expecting Frankie to pick up. She didn't. He hung up, absently pocketing the coins that the phone had returned as he started toward the back of the store. She was probably taking a shower. You couldn't hear the phone if the shower was running. A few minutes later, he headed back to his truck, a half gallon of Rocky Road ice cream richer than he'd been before he'd gone inside.

It was forty-five minutes after four when Clay pulled into the driveway and parked. The rain was coming down in sheets, almost obliterating his view of their little house. In fact, as he began to gather his things, it almost looked as if there was a wall between him and home. He shuddered, wondering where the thought had come from. Normally, he wasn't the fanciful type. He tucked the sack of ice cream beneath his jacket as he got out of the truck, then made a run for the house. The childish feeling of trying to outrun the rain had him laughing at himself as he loped in the front door.

"Frankie ... I'm home!" he shouted, still laughing as he shrugged off his jacket and took off his boots. "Hey, honey! It's me! I brought you a surprise!"

He picked up the ice cream and started toward the kitchen, expecting her to step out of a room — any room — at any minute. Halfway across the living room, he stopped and turned around, looking back the way he'd just come. The hair rose on the back of his neck as the quiet of the house suddenly wrapped itself around him.

The front door.

It hadn't been locked.

He turned slowly, suddenly aware of the silence. He heard nothing familiar. Not a radio. Not a TV. Not even the sound of running water. Only the downpour on the roof. He clutched the ice cream a little tighter.

"Frankie ... Francesca ... Are you home?"

No one answered.

As he stood, the cold of the ice cream began soaking through his clothes. He looked down, as if surprised to find that he still held it, and started toward the kitchen.

A clap of thunder rocked the house as he stepped across the threshold, rattling cups in the cupboard across the room. He jumped as if he'd been shot.

"Damn," he muttered, and then headed for the refrigerator. Halfway across the kitchen floor, he stopped again, but not because of the storm. It was the broken coffee cup and the puddle of coffee in which it was lying that brought him up short. Spilling coffee wasn't a big deal. But spilling it and leaving it was. Panic hit, knotting his belly and shortening his breath, until he caught himself gasping for air.

He pivoted sharply and started running, shouting Frankie's name as he went.

Back through the living room.

Down the hall.

Into their bedroom.

The bed was unmade, just as it had been right before he left. He stared at it, remembering the passion of the morning, and trying to reconcile it with the panic he was feeling right now.

The shirt she'd been wearing was on the floor near the closet, as if she'd stood there and changed into something else. None of this was like Frankie. She was neat to the point of aggravation. He shook his head like a man who'd been blindsided and moved toward the bathroom. The smear of blood on the sink stopped his heart.

"Jesus," he whispered, and would have gone to the floor had he not backed into the wall instead. "Oh, Jesus, Jesus, please, no."

His legs were shaking as he walked back through the house. His fingers were so cold he could hardly feel them, and it took him a moment to realize he was still holding that damned half gallon of Rocky Road.

He started for the freezer when something — call it instinct, call it a foreboding — told him not to touch a thing other than the phone.

He set the ice cream down on the table, then reached for the cordless phone on the cabinet nearby. He kept telling himself that he was making a big deal out of nothing. That things like this didn't happen to people like them. It wasn't Frankie's day to work, but maybe someone had called in sick at the library. Maybe she'd just left in a hurry.

He punched in the numbers, then closed his eyes and took a slow, deep breath.

"Hello, Denver Public Library, Mary Albright speaking."

He pictured the middle-aged woman with her bright copper hair. "Mary, this is Clay. Is Frankie there?"

"Why, no, dear. She isn't scheduled to work until day after tomorrow."

His hopes slipped a notch. "Yeah, I know," he said. "I just thought ... well, that someone might have gotten sick."

"No, dear, I'm sorry. Is everything all right?"

He shuddered. "I don't know."

He hung up in her ear.

Focusing on the next set of numbers, he made the next call, taking comfort in the familiarity of his mother's voice.

"LeGrand residence."

"Hey, Mom, it's me, Clay. Frankie isn't there, by any chance, is she?"

Betty LeGrand frowned. She knew her son too well not to recognize the anxiety in his voice.

"No, she's not. In fact, I haven't talked to her since early yesterday morning."

"What about Dad?"

"Oh, I'm sure he hasn't, either," Betty said. "If he had, he would have —"

"Ask him."

"But Clay, I'm —"

"Dammit, Mom, ask him, okay?"

Betty's heart skipped a beat. "Sure, Clay. Just a minute."

He waited, praying, hoping, telling himself that this was nothing but a bad dream.

"Clay?"

"Yeah, Mom, I'm still here."

"He hasn't talked to her, either."

Clay's legs buckled. It was all he could do to stay upright.

"Okay, thanks, Mom."

"You're welcome," Betty said. "Is there anything we can do?"

"No ... at least, I don't think so. Oh, and, Mom ..."

"Yes?"

"I'm sorry I snapped."

"That's all right. Should we go looking for her? Do you think she had a breakdown in the truck or something?"

He closed his eyes. He had their only vehicle. "No. I had the truck. Look, I've got to go. I'll call you."

He disconnected once more, then hit the power button again, waiting patiently for the dial tone to come on in his ear. As soon as it began to hum, he made his last call.

"911, what is your emergency?"

"I think something has happened to my wife."

A slight shift in the tone of the woman's voice went unnoticed as Clay tried to stay calm.

"Is she there with you now, sir?"

"No. She's not. I just got home from work and found the front door unlocked. There's some stuff spilled and broken in the kitchen, and blood in the bathroom."

"Are you Clay LeGrand, at 1943 Denver Avenue?"

"Yes."

"Have you been injured, too, sir?"

"No," Clay muttered. "I told you ... I just got home."

"Yes, sir. I'm dispatching a unit."

"Okay, thanks," Clay said numbly, unable to believe he'd just made the call.

The 911 operator's voice rose a notch. "Sir, I need you to stay at the address until the officers arrive."

A chill of foreboding swept over him. Without Frankie, where the hell else would he go?

Three police units and a pair of detectives later, Clay was beginning to realize that they were disinclined to look further than him as to a reason for her disappearance. Not only did it make him angry, he was beginning to get scared. If they thought he was responsible, then they might quit looking for her. They had to find her. There was no life for him without her.

* * *

"So, Mr. LeGrand, you say the last time you saw your wife was around eight o'clock this morning?"

Clay took a deep breath, willing himself to a calm he didn't feel. The smell of wet clothing and warm bodies was beginning to turn his stomach, and the thought of Frankie somewhere out in this storm was making him crazy. He didn't know where she was, but wherever she'd gone, he knew it was not of her own free will.

"No, that's not what I said, and you know it. I told you, I didn't leave the house until almost nine."

Detective Avery Dawson glanced at his notebook. "Oh, yes, that's right." Then he looked back at Clay. "But you did say that you normally report to work at eight o'clock."

Clay suddenly snapped. "That's right," he said, and stood up, moving until he was face-to-face with the heavyset detective.

"Look, you son of a bitch. I'll repeat this one more time, and then I'm not going to say it again. I love my wife. Last night was our first wedding anniversary. We spent it in bed. I was late for work because I took her back to bed this morning." Then his voice broke, but his composure did not shatter. "When I left, she was wearing my shirt ... and a smile. Do you get my drift?"

One of the assisting officers chuckled beneath his breath. Avery Dawson glared at him, then returned his attention to Clay.

"Yes, Mr. LeGrand. I get your drift. But asking these questions is the only way I can get the answers I need. Do you get mine?"

Clay was so angry he was shaking. "The message I'm getting from you is that you think I'm responsible for Frankie's disappearance, which is real convenient for you. If you decide to pin this on me, your job is over. But that won't find my wife." Then he doubled his fists and slammed them on the table between them. "Don't you understand? Hell yes, I'm mad, and I'm scared to death. If you blame me, you'll quit looking for her."

Dawson's mind was racing. LeGrand was aggressive. Most times it took several interviews with a spouse before they would get this defensive. Adrenaline surged. He was certain they were on the right track with this man.

"You have quite a temper, LeGrand."

Clay's voice was suddenly thick with tears. "I have quite a wife. I want her back."

At that moment, a crack began to form in Avery Dawson's opinion. There was always the possibility that the man was telling the truth. But damn it, the story was too pat. LeGrand had to know something he wasn't telling. No woman just up and disappeared without someone seeing something. His eyes narrowed thoughtfully. The man was either one hell of an actor, or ... he could be telling the truth.

The moment he accepted that fact, the thought crossed Dawson's mind that it was time to think about retiring. There'd been a time in his life when he had not been so jaded about the crimes he investigated. He had to admit that when he'd arrived on the scene, his first instinct had been to suspect the husband. Even after an hour of questioning, his opinion hadn't changed — until now. He'd been looking for reasons to blame LeGrand, rather than looking for clues. Disgusted with himself, and for the job that had hardened him to this degree, Dawson flipped his notebook shut and slipped his pen in his pocket.

"I suppose that's all for now," he said. "We'll be in touch."

Clay threw up his hands in disgust and then reached for the phone and phone book.

"What are you doing?" Dawson asked.

"I'm going to hire a private investigator. I want my wife back."

"If she's been kidnapped, as you seem to believe, you should wait until someone asks for ransom. Getting private security involved in this could screw everything up for your wife."

Clay snorted beneath his breath. "There's not going to be a request for ransom."

Dawson eyes widened. Why would the man know that, unless ...

"How do you know that?" he asked.

Clay leaned forward. "You still don't get it, do you? My take-home pay is less than two thousand dollars a month. My wife works part-time at the library. My parents aren't wealthy, and Frankie is an orphan. We don't even own this house. What are they going to ask for? The keys to my eight-year-old truck?"

A flush spread up Dawson's neck. The man was making him feel like a fool. He didn't like the feeling.

"I don't suppose you have any life insurance on your wife?"

At that moment Clay could willingly have decked him. He gritted his teeth, making himself focus on the question instead of the man who'd asked it.

"Actually, the only life insurance in this family is on me. If I die, Frankie would get a half-million dollars. If she dies, I get a broken heart. Now, if you people are through, I've got some calls to make."

Without waiting for permission, Clay grabbed the phone and stalked out of the room. A couple of the uniformed officers standing nearby gave Dawson a curious look. Dawson glared back.

"Has my partner come back?" he snapped.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Remember Me"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Sharon Sala.
Excerpted by permission of RosettaBooks.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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