Page 48 of What Lies Beneath

Her eyes widened, her mouth falling open at once. He knew. Somehow he’d managed to piece it all together before she did. “I just remembered—”

“No way. Don’t you even try to feed me some half-ass cover story about how you’ve just suddenly regained your memory because I’ve caught you.”

“Caught me?” Adrienne’s heart sank in her chest. She’d been worried enough that he’d be disappointed to find out she wasn’t Cynthia but had hoped he’d understand the mistake. That perhaps their feelings for one another would overcome the reality of who she really was. But her hopes had been quickly dashed by the heated tone of his accusations. Apparently he was angry. And he somehow believed she’d faked everything for nefarious reasons.

“What a sweet stroke of luck it must’ve been for you. A failed business, no friends, no family, no money. Get on a plane and wake up a millionaire heiress with a new face making you the center of attention.”

Adrienne climbed to her feet, tears she didn’t want gathering in her eyes. “No,” she insisted. “It isn’t like that. I had no idea—”

“And to think I believed you’d uncovered a hidden talent, like some prodigy of the fashion world. Was it your plan all along to show your work to Darlene? Were you just using Cynthia’s connections to further your career?”

“Why would I do that?” she asked. “It wouldn’t be my career. It would be Cynthia’s. This whole life was Cynthia’s, and I knew I never fit into it. But everyone kept telling me this was who I was and that eventually I would remember.”

“It’s hard to remember a life you never lived.”

The angry edge of Will’s voice sent the tears spilling down her cheeks. She couldn’t fight them anymore. “How did you find out?”

“You never should’ve seduced me, Adrienne. Dr. Takashi didn’t work on anything but your face. It was a big risk to take off all your clothes and hope you looked the same from head to toe.”

Adrienne flinched as her ego took the hit. Of course she never would’ve done that if she’d known the truth. Cynthia was perfect and thin and elegant. She was none of those things, and naked, it would be even more obvious. But she had to ask. “What was it about me that convinced you I wasn’t her?”

“Cynthia had a rose tattoo. You don’t.”

Tattoo? That explained the odd look on his face as she walked to the bathroom last night. The way he’d stared intently at her rear end like the secrets of the universe were etched there. He was looking for a tattoo she didn’t have. Their prior encounter had been dark, but that night the lights had been on while they made love and when she’d gotten out of bed. He’d known in that moment and she’d been stupid enough to turn around and tell him she loved him not twenty minutes later.

“Of course I don’t. I’m afraid of needles. I would never have the nerve to get a tattoo.”

“But you have the nerve to take advantage of a family that should be grieving the loss of their daughter?”

How could he think she would do that? Hadn’t he learned anything about her in the past few weeks? “I didn’t know. I swear I didn’t know. Not until just now. In the closet I found a shirt—”

“The closet!” Will sneered, refusing to let her finish a complete thought. He obviously didn’t care to hear anything she had to say in her defense. “I should’ve known the very first day you came home. Didn’t know your own mother, but you knew when you’d landed the couture clothing jackpot. I bet you couldn’t wait to see if you and Cynthia wore the same size.”

“No,” she insisted. “It was all real. Everything I said or did. I gave my heart to you, Will. I never would’ve done that if this was all a lie. I would never deliberately hurt you like she did.”

A mottled red spread across Will’s face, his nostrils flaring to indicate she’d said the wrong thing. “Don’t you dare turn this on Cynthia. She may not have been perfect, but she never pretended to be anything she wasn’t.”

“Except in love with you.” Adrienne couldn’t help but shoot the sharp barb back at him in anger. “She probably never cared half as much for you as I do. She was in love with a broke artist from the Bronx. She was only using you as a cover so all her society friends wouldn’t know she’d stoop that low.”

Will shook his head slowly, the anger seeming to finish running its course, leaving him disillusioned and sad. “I never thought the woman I’d come to know the past few weeks would stoop this low either.”