Eyes of a


He groaned, and opened his eyes, lowering their entwined hands. "Dear god," he muttered thickly. "Who are you? Or have I conjured you up from the depths of my soul?"

She took a deep, slow, steadying breath and tried to still her racing heart. "I must go."

"When can I see you again?" His eyes were staring into her soul again.

"No. Never...It's impossible." And she shook her head a little. "We can't."

"Nothing's impossible."

"I'm engaged to be married," she whispered, and the words that normally fell proudly from her lips tasted like ashes to her.

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"I can't think straight when I'm holding you," he murmured. "And I must think." His face was grim.

She sank onto the cool stonework alongside him, the tight dress riding up over her knee. "We'll be interrupted," she warned.

"We have to talk. You know that, don't you? If not here, then somewhere else," he said quietly.

"Yes. But if what you're going to say is that we must pretend last night never happened, then you can say it right here without complications."

David looked at her, and something deep within his eyes flared up. It ignited her soul, and made her heart jumped in a delicious back flip that left her breathless.

"Is that what you want me to say?" he asked.

She sobered quickly, the humor draining from her veins. "Don't."

"Don't?" He stood in front of her, his bulk blocking her view of all but him. The heavy satin wave of his hair gleamed in the subdued glow from the streetlight overhead, shadowing his eyes. "Don't what?"

She shook her head. "Don't play games with me, for a start. Don't get onto tricky subjects like that, either. Not now."

He studied her. "You're going to fight me every step of the way, aren't you?"

She didn't pretend not to understand. "It doesn't have to be a fight. All you have to do is stay out of my life. If you won't--"

"Or can't?" he suggested.

She sighed. "You know it will be a fight, then."

"How was your week, Anna? Was it anything like mine?"

"What was yours like?"

"Terrible," he said gravely. "I barely slept. I couldn't get you out of my mind."

She looked down at her glass. "I see," she murmured.

"And your week?" David repeated.

"Fine, thank you."


"This isn't easy for me, Anna. I've been wrestling with it all week. I can't sit back and allow you to ruin your life, and maybe Hugh's too."

"He will never regret marrying me," Anastasia said. It was a promise she had made herself some time ago, about the same time she had decided that Hugh was the ideal man to provide her with the life she wanted.

"No, probably not. But he will never understand you, either, and that will make him unhappy. Hugh's a good man, and he's not stupid. He will be able to sense that you're unfulfilled, and hate himself for not being adequate enough for you."

"And you would be?" she asked dryly.

He thrust himself to his feet, and strode a few feet away before turning and facing her. He pushed his hands into his trouser pockets, shoving the jacket fronts aside. "I know I can't let you walk out of my life again, without at least trying." The heavy lock of hair fell forward and he shoved it aside impatiently. "I'm thirty-three, Anna. Old enough to know that what happened between us last week was...a once in a lifetime thing. It doesn't happen to everybody. Some poor ignorant fools go through life not even knowing about the potential for...for passion. I let you go once, but you turned up in my life again. I can't ignore that providence."

"Don't turn away," he said, his tone reassuring. He picked up her hand. "Look at me."

Reluctantly, she turned back. His face was neutral, devoid of any feeling now. "One day you will come to me of your own free will. You will acknowledge that I am the only man with whom you can allow your nature free rein. You will know I am the only man who understands and accepts you as you really are. When that happens, I will know you trust me enough that I can relax my control." The muscles around his jaw flexed, and she saw him swallow. His eyes suddenly flared with fiery fervor. "Until then, until you have accepted the truth, every time you are in my arms, you will be lost, and I will stand guard and make sure that you are brought safely back to shore again."

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