“You know very well that I am no longer the captain of anything because of you!” he growled fiercely, his grip tightening painfully on her shoulders. “I had my lieutenant send a report of my death to England when I left my post to come after you, and as far as anyone knows, except my friends, I am dead!”
His words bit deeply into Leigha’s heart, making her recoil in fear and anguish. Trying vainly to free herself from his hold, she only succeeded in enraging him further.
“You will never escape me again!” He lashed out at her, his eyes leveling coldly into hers, holding the green, shimmering pools with the iciness of his own. “I have given up my whole life, everything I am and have ever known for you, and I’ll not see that wasted!”
Leigha could not help but listen to him as his intense words seared truthfully into her numbed mind, making her realize that he had lost as much as she. His pain and torment was clearly evident on his face as they stood staring at each other in silence, causing Leigha’s heart to melt once again for him. Simon noticed the softening in her eyes and the easing of her tension beneath his touch. Gently wiping her tears from her face, his need for her love surfaced sharply, replacing his dark anger. Pulling her close against his broad chest, he stroked her fine spun hair to soothe her and murmured a soft apology against her ear. Nodding her head in acceptance, Leigha instinctively wrapped her arms around him and snuggled her face into his warm neck. They stood locked together for several moments as she agonized over her confusion, unable to admit to herself the depths of her true feelings for him yet unwilling to step away from the danger of his embrace.
Their separate world was shattered abruptly by the sounds of the men moving about on the beach, clearing Leigha’s mind of the haze of emotions Simon had stirred within her. She quickly barricaded her heart against him as she realized his treachery. He had left everything of his own free will, a choice he had not allowed her by cruelly taking her from all she knew. Her mind reeled as she struggled free of his embrace, stumbling as she backed away from him in anger.
“You have taken everything away from me!” she screamed into his startled face. “Now you try to take my heart as well! I will never, never allow that! I love Robert, do you hear me? Robert, not you, never you! I am married to him, and someday, I will find a way to escape you and return to him!” she yelled hysterically, ignoring his pained expression as she tried to back farther away from him. “I don’t care what you do, you will never change the way I feel with your tricks!”
Her efforts to get away from him were in vain as her foot caught on a piece of driftwood, and she tripped, falling in an ungraceful heap upon the sand. She quickly stopped her tears and gasped with shock when Simon came to stand over her with a glare, his face a dark sinister mask, hiding the pain he felt from her rejection and his anger at himself for his outburst. The steel glint of his eyes lanced through her, causing her heart to clutch in terror, and she cringed away from him as a frightened child, burying her face in her hands, her outrage replaced by the fear that she had pushed him too far. She braced her body against the attack she was sure would come, tensing her muscles and shaking with fear of the pain she thought he would inflict upon her for her boldness and sharp tongue. Several moments passed before Leigha could gather enough courage to remove her hands from over her face and look up. She was surprised to see that Simon had left and was now standing with Adam down by the shoreline.