Holiday Amnesia

By: Lynette Eason

With no memory, who can she trust?

A deadly Christmas in Wrangler’s Corner

Robin Hardy survived an explosion in her university lab—but her memories are gone. With danger lurking behind every Christmas tree, she needs shelter from the attackers she can’t identify. She’ll trust fellow professor Toby Potter to safely hide her away. But when his secrets come between them, the truth could mean the difference between life and death this holiday season.





“Who are you?”

“Look at me.”

She did. Familiarity flashed, but no name came with it. “Who are you?”

He blanched. “I’m Toby, Robin. Toby Potter.”

“I...I’m scared. Why am I scared?” Tremors shook her, and Toby’s look of concern deepened.

“Someone tried to kill you,” he said.

She blinked. “Who?”

“I don’t know. I was hoping you could tell me.”

Robin raised a hand to her head. “I...can’t think. Everything’s a jumble. Why can’t I remember? You’re acting like I should know you. But I don’t!” Panic clawed at her.

His warm hands gripped hers. “It’s okay. Sh...” He pulled her to him and for some reason she let him. She needed to believe him. “Give it some time, and it’ll all come back to you. But for now, let’s head to the hospital. You ready?”

“I’m ready.” Ready for what, she wasn’t exactly sure, but Toby seemed to know what he was doing. And for now, that was going to have to be enough.




ONE


Dr. Robin Hardy looked up from her microscope and frowned when the voices reached her over the Christmas music she had playing softly through the one earbud she wore. She never wore two when working just in case someone needed her attention. A habit she’d developed after being scared out of her skin by coworkers tapping her on the shoulder.

Some people played only music. She liked the radio app and the commentary that came with it. And she’d hoped the cheery tunes and upbeat voices would lighten the heaviness in her heart.

So far it hadn’t worked.

A part-time professor at the Middle Tennessee State University, she spent the majority of her time teaching virology research to eager young minds.

The rest of the time—too much time, some might say—she worked in the lab along with several other scientists. None of whom were on the schedule to be here tonight. She’d come because she’d craved something to take her mind off the fact that she’d been betrayed by someone she’d considered a good friend. With the potential to be something more.

Hurt feelings and righteous anger didn’t promote restful nights. So, she worked. And fumed. And vowed never to trust another charming, good-looking, smooth-talking male again.

Toby Potter, with his dancing eyes, finger-magnet five o’clock shadow and perpetually mussed caramel-colored hair, had used her. The rat. Pretending he cared when the whole time he was just getting close to her so he could get close to her research and have firsthand knowledge of what was going on in the lab. And while she just wanted to be mad, tears once again blurred her vision.

Stop thinking about him.

Easier said than done. It was hard to turn off the hurt. She blinked and sniffed—and tried to focus. The voices grew louder. Unable to hear more than the fact someone else was in the lab, she supposed a couple of fellow scientists had decided to put in a few more hours just like her.

But they probably weren’t using work to distract them—to keep their minds off of people better just forgotten. Unfortunately, work wasn’t doing anything to help her forget.

She studied the specimen, trying to see it through her tears. And finally gave up. She’d thought Toby was different, that his interest in her work was because he was interested in her. Boy, was she a lousy judge of character.

Heated words snapped her head around. “What in the world?” she muttered.

Curious, she removed the slide from the scope and returned it to its secure slot in the box next to her. She slipped off the gloves and tossed them into the hazardous waste bin. Most of the lights had been turned off and she usually liked it that way, but right now, they held a foreboding that crept over her. The farther she walked from her workstation, the darker it got, the blackness like a glove closing around her.

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