The shower's jet of warm water couldn't dispel the growing cold spreading throughout Andrea's body. This man, this Will Struthers, was someone from her former life.
It was as if a missing puzzle piece had suddenly fit into place. His deep voice kindled a rush of feelings within her, shaking her to her very core.
The feelings swirling through her were neither good nor bad. Rather, she felt incredibly anxious.
Whatever her previous life had held, it couldn't compare with her present one. She didn't want to go back to being Andrea Last-Name-Unknown. More than anything, she needed to continue as Anakalia Lawai'a.
After turning off the shower faucet, she stepped out of the ball-and-claw-foot tub. She dried off and slipped into her terrycloth bathrobe. Next she wound a towel around her wet head. Her actions were done by rote. Her mind was a million miles away.
Or rather her thoughts were one floor below, in the kitchen with Nathan's handsome friend.
What if Will is my husband?
She shuddered. No. It's impossible. It can't be. It can't be. She used the phrase as a mantra to shut out these disturbing thoughts and images.
Andrea hurried into her bedroom. She pulled off the towel and started to comb out her hair. What was most important right now was to concentrate on what she needed to do. Not to think about that man, about her past. She had to help Mama Kalala cook. So she had to dress. She had to focus on the little things.
The doorknob to the connecting bedroom jiggled. Without thinking, she unlocked the door. On the other side of the threshold stood the man she was trying to forget.
Him. Will Struthers.
He eyed her from head to toe and blinked rapidly. His tanned face turned rosy red. "I-I beg your pardon. I didn't mean to intrude."
His embarrassment made her grin. Nothing erotic here. She was completely covered.
And just to make sure, she held the edges of her robe closed against her chest.
Andrea backed away from the paneled door so he could enter. "Not a problem, Will. I have three brothers. I'm used to sharing a bathroom."
None of what she said was really true, but he wouldn't know that.
She turned toward her bedroom. "Well, I'll let you have your privacy."
He tapped her on her shoulder. Even through the terrycloth, his touch seared her skin.
"Listen, I know this may sound odd, but I feel as if I know you from someplace."
Oh great. He felt it too, then. Her long dormant memory started to bubble as if getting ready to boil. Soon the dam would burst.
She did not want that to happen.
She turned back around, her bare feet squeaking on the parquet wood flooring. She played innocent. "Really? You don't look familiar to me. I rarely leave the Big Island. You said you work for ESP. Sometimes I visit Oahu to see my brother Tomas and his wife, Hi'ilani."
She believed him to be an outsider, though. He didn't have an island feel about him. Especially since he wore an expensive executive suit... in the bathroom.
And she absolutely itched to escape from his company.
He smoothed dark hair off his forehead and shook his head. His gaze never left her face. "No, that can't be it. I work for the firm, but out of Richmond. I only visited Oahu once before."
Richmond. As in Richmond, Virginia. That rang an unwanted bell.
She inched closer to her bedroom door. "I've got to get dressed and help with dinner."
A haunted look came into his dark brown or black eyes. "I was on Oahu seven years ago."
"Oh!" Seven years ago her new life began. This was no coincidence.
She shrugged as if his words were inconsequential. "That was a long time ago, wasn't it? Well, I'll see you downstairs."
He held out his left hand as if to prevent her from leaving. The gold gleam on his ring finger caught her eye.
Married, but not to her.
Thank goodness. Her wedding ring had been made of white gold.
Andrea made a very hasty retreat and took great pleasure in shutting--and locking--the connecting door.