Robert turned abruptly and grabbed Leigha’s arms tightly, his face a mask of anguish and long-suffering as he searched her eyes and heart.
“But you said that you hated me! You said that you would never forgive me! I was afraid that you would feel all this again when you remembered what had happened, so I ran! Leigha,” he spoke quietly now as he dropped his arms from her in defeat and let his gaze fall to the floor, his large shoulders shaking with the emotions that raged within him, “I have always loved you more than life itself, and I could not bear it if you hated me now!”
He slowly lifted his eyes to hers and drank deeply of her emerald pools with the crystal blue glaze of his own. He trembled as he stood and tenderly enfolded her in his warm embrace.
“Everything in my life has changed, I have changed. I want nothing that I valued before now, I need nothing, save for you, my little one!” his voice came softly, intense in timbre, and a small sob escaped as he pressed his lips against her ear. His next words sent her heart soaring ever higher, and her fingers clutched him tighter to her still as he spoke in a hoarse whisper, “‘Tis true that I wanted vengeance once, but that quickly changed. I wish only to hold you and to have you with me always as I have never wanted anyone or anything before in my life!”
Turk’s eyes narrowed and his face darkened as the weight of having almost lost Leigha to that dark shadow fell heavily upon his heart. Averting his eyes from hers, ashamed that she might see his tears, he pulled her close against him and rested his chin upon the silky softness of her head. Standing like that for several moments, he tilted her tear-streaked face up to his and searched the green depths of her eyes for her reaction to what he dreaded telling her next.
“Now that you have your freedom, my lovely Leigha, I promise to take you wherever you wish to go once I have finished my business in Constantinople. I would rather keep you forever by my side selfishly as I now realize my father did my mother, but I know that your spirit belongs with those of your own lands. Just as I could never give up my way of life, neither could I force you to change yours.”
The tears he had been holding back until now splashed forth, tears long held behind his iron mask, unleashed by the gentle touch of the woman before him.
“Leigha, I . . . I have never spoken these words before, but I love you so very much!”
Who does Leigha give her heart and soul to?
From “Dagon’s Blood” by Virginia Lee, Kindle Edition