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Pass Protection

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NFL star Greg Sinclair has always been head over heels for his wife.

Too bad she doesn’t remember him or the danger she’s in.

Good thing he would die for her.

When Olivia Sinclair wakes up in a hospital bed, she doesn’t remember anything. Not even who she is. When a good-looking man insists he’s her husband, she has no choice but to believe him. But when her mother tells her she’s in danger and warns her to be careful who she trusts, she has to deny her attraction to the man taking care of her.

NFL Wide Receiver Greg Sinclair has always been head over heels for his wife, so when she gets in an accident and has no idea who he is, he can’t help but be hurt. But when Olivia’s life is threatened, Greg has to put aside his feelings and do everything within his power to protect her.

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Chapter 1

The moment she woke she knew something was seriously wrong. Glancing around the room where she lay, she recognized that she was in a hospital. But why? What had happened? Her mind was fuzzy, her world uncertain, and when she wasn’t even sure who she was, panic set in.

A tall, attractive man who she guessed was in his late twenties approached her bed, his eyes shiny with relief. The look on his face gave her a sense of calm. But only for a moment. Who was this stranger reaching for her?

As he drew near, she recoiled. 

He stopped, his eyebrows tugging together. “Olivia?”

Was that her name? It felt familiar, but she couldn’t be sure. 

The sincere look of concern in his eyes made her want to agree, to nod, to pretend that she knew he was talking about her. Still, she couldn’t quite get there. Not when everything felt so uncertain, so…unknown.

When she didn’t reply, he stayed near the foot of the bed. “How are you feeling?”

Blankets over her lower body kept her from seeing what damage she had to her legs, but her right ankle ached, and her head pounded in time with her heartbeat. She reached up and felt a small bandage on her head. A head injury. That was bad, right?

What had happened? She was in the hospital, so obviously she was hurt or sick. Had she been in some kind of accident? Had she been attacked? Not knowing scared her more than the fact that she was laid up in a hospital bed.

Not wanting to think about how much she didn’t know, she focused on her pounding head, but that only made her grimace.

“Do you want morphine?” the man asked, his forehead creased.

Morphine? Would that knock her out or just take the edge off? She wanted the pain to vanish, but she also wanted her wits about her. Especially with this stranger hovering around her. Maybe she should ask him to leave. But what if he had answers? 

“I…” she began, but her voice was scratchy. Swiveling her head to find some water, when it was just out of reach, she closed her eyes in frustration.

The man was by her side in two long strides. “Here.” He held the straw to her lips. “Just sips.”

She complied without argument, and when she’d had enough she leaned away from the straw. The man stepped back, taking the glass away. Lifting her gaze to his face, when his grey eyes met hers with an unflinching stare, a stare that said I know you well, she felt unsettled. How could he know her when she had no clue who he was?

Wanting to focus anywhere but his eyes—eyes that seemed to see into her very soul—she turned her attention to the rest of him. 

He was tall—over six feet. And he was built. Powerful biceps were visible in his short-sleeved t-shirt, and the way the fabric lay against his stomach hinted at six-pack abs. His dark hair was cut short and his strong jaw was covered by a perfectly trimmed beard. But those eyes… Something about them drew her in. 

He was attractive, no doubt about that. But that didn’t help. She still had no idea who he was.

“Who… are you?”

He took a step back, his brows knitting together. “I’m Greg.” A muscle worked in his jaw. “Your husband.”

Husband? She was married? To him? Why didn’t she recognize him? 

This all felt wrong.

Narrowing her eyes, she studied him, looking for any sign of deceit.

Was he telling the truth? But why would he lie?

When she didn’t reply he sent her a long pained look before turning toward the window.

* * *

Trees swayed outside the hospital window in the light summer breeze. It was June in Sacramento. A perfect day for a hike or a picnic or some other fun activity. Had it just been a week ago that Greg had taken Olivia to Lake Tahoe? How was it possible that their lives had changed—had tilted—so dramatically overnight?

He thought back to the phone call he’d received the afternoon before telling him that his wife had been in a car accident, that she’d been rushed to the hospital, that she was unconscious. He’d dropped everything and raced to her side. He hadn’t left since.

He turned back to the hospital bed. Olivia looked so small, so vulnerable. It had always been important to her to have her hair and make-up perfect, but now? Her lovely face was bruised and her hair… Her beautiful blonde hair was a mess—tangled and unkempt with a bandage covering the space where the stitches had been sewn in. He would offer to brush out those tangles except for the way she was looking at him. Like he was a stranger.

“Don’t you know who I am?” he asked.

The bewildered look in her eyes said it all. She had no idea who he was. Devastated, he held back a frown.

“What happened?” she asked, clearly avoiding his question. “Why am I here?”

Swallowing over the knot in his throat, Greg exhaled through his nose but kept his distance. The way she’d recoiled when he’d approached her bedside earlier had shaken him. How could she not know who he was?

Putting aside his hurt feelings, he focused on her and what she needed, on what she’d asked. “You were in a car accident.”

Her forehead furrowed. “A car accident?”

“Yeah.”

“What happened?”

“I don’t know. I wasn’t there.” Remembering the terror he’d felt when he’d heard the words that his wife had been in an accident, Greg paused a moment. “They… that is, the police… they said your car was in a ditch.” He paused again. “There were no witnesses. At least none that have come forward.”

The story of Sacramento Vipers’ wide receiver Greg Sinclair’s wife being in a serious car accident was all over the news. If anyone had seen anything, surely they would have come forward. Although what did it matter? Knowing exactly how she’d crashed wouldn’t change the outcome, wouldn’t fix her broken ankle or her concussion. Wouldn’t erase the bruises that dotted her face or ease the aches she must be feeling.

“You called me… Olivia.” Her forehead creased. “Is that my name?”

She didn’t even know her own name? He needed to talk to the doctors. But first he needed to answer her question. No reason for her to see how alarmed he was.

Forcing himself to keep a neutral expression, he nodded. “Yeah. Olivia Sinclair.”

He watched her face, seeing her roll the name around in her mind. Should he tell her more? Tell her how they’d met, how they’d fallen in love? Would that jog her memory?

Kind of desperate for her to recognize him—to know him—he said, “We’ve been married for two years. We got married—”

She shook her head so violently that he clamped his mouth shut.

“No. I’m not… I’m not married.” She practically glared at him. “I don’t know you.”

Pain sliced through him, sharp and deep. It was as if someone was taking an ice pick and slamming it through his heart over and over. It was worse than when he’d discovered… No. He wasn’t going to think about that right now. He couldn’t handle that much pain all at once. This was bad enough all on its own.

“I’m your husband.” His voice was barely audible. He wasn’t sure she’d even heard him.

She was staring at her hands in her lap, her fists opening and closing, the look on her face telling him what she hadn’t said in words.

He was not welcome.

* * *

He was lying to her. She knew it. There was no way she would marry a man she wasn’t crazy in love with, and if she was crazy in love with him there was no way she would forget him. Therefore, this man couldn’t be her husband. Could. Not.

She heard him mutter something that sounded like, I’m your husband, but she didn’t acknowledge it.

With a quick glance at him she could see the hurt in the way he stood—shoulders hunched, grimace on his face, eyes shifting away from her and toward the window.

She couldn’t worry about his feelings. Not when her mind was racing with panic at not being able to remember… well, much of anything.

“I want to talk to the doctor.” She looked at the man—Greg—then looked toward the door before swiveling her gaze back to Greg. “You need to leave.” 

That pained look again.

Sudden empathy flooded her and she added in a soft voice, “Please.”

His mouth was pinched, but he nodded before turning and walking out of the room.

Shoulders sagging in relief to be alone with her speeding thoughts, she was gratified when only a few minutes later a man she assumed was the doctor walked into the room.

“How are you feeling, Olivia?” the man said.

Two people had called her Olivia. The more she thought about it, the more right it felt. Yes, that was her name. Her first name. Greg had said her last name was Sinclair. That definitely did not feel right, which made her doubt him all the more. Still, she was grateful to have the mystery of her first name definitively solved. She turned her focus to the doctor. “Not great, Dr…” She let the word trail off in question.

He smiled. “Dr. Richmond. Thomas Richmond.” He held out his hand and Olivia shook it. “You’ve been through some trauma.”

She’d figured as much, but she was glad to talk to someone who didn’t have any emotions tied to her. “What injuries do I have?”

“You hit your head. On a rock, according to the paramedics. That caused a concussion. You needed five stitches.”

“On a rock? I thought I was in a car accident.”

“Evidently, you managed to climb out of the car and part way up the ditch where you must have slipped and hit your head.”

“Oh.” This was all so strange, so disturbingly strange, not to remember something so traumatic happening.

“You also broke your ankle,” Doctor Richmond said. “Your fibula. We’re not sure if that was during the accident or when you slipped afterwards.” He paused. “Your husband said you’re having trouble remembering things.”

Her husband? Could he actually be her husband? Why would the doctor lie about that? But how could she have a husband? She wasn’t even dating anyone.

“Can you tell me what year it is?” Dr. Richmond asked.

She made a guess and the doctor frowned.

“Is that wrong?” she asked.

Smiling tightly, he said, “About five years off.”

Wait. Did that mean she’d lost the last five years?

“How about your date of birth?”

Thinking hard, she told him the date she recalled.

He smiled. “That’s right.”

Feeling like a student who had aced a test, she smiled. But then her smile immediately dimmed. “I’m…I’m twenty-three, right?” Even as she said it she knew that was wrong. At least based on what the actual year was.

He shook his head. “No. You’re twenty-eight.”

So she had lost five years. How was that possible?

With a reassuring smile, Dr. Richmond said, “I’d like to do some tests. See what we can see.”

What good would tests do? Would they bring back her memory? “Can you fix this? My memory?”

He was quiet, then, “With time there’s a very good chance that it will return.”

That was something at least and she held on to that sliver of hope with both hands.

* * *

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