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!”