Love Not a Rebel

Love Not a Rebel by Heather Graham

Book: Love Not a Rebel by Heather Graham Read Free Book Online
Authors: Heather Graham
far.
    “My love, please!” She gasped, capturing his straying fingers and bringing them to her lap. He still didn’t quite seem to hear her. Breathing heavily, he stared at her. He tried to lift his hand to touch her, but she held tight. “Robert—”
    “I have to have you!”
    “I love you, and our time will come. Robert—”
    “But I need you now. I need to feel your lips and I need to touch your flesh, I need to be with you. I am a man, my God, can’t you understand that!”
    “Oh, Robert, I long for you too, but we must wait. Surely you understand. My father …” No, it wasn’t her father, not really. It was her upbringing. She was Lord Sterling’s daughter, of Sterling Hall, and even if she was in love, and loved in turn, she had to wait. Until the words were spoken. Until they were joined before God.
    “Come to me, love. Feel my lips, my kiss.…”
    She was startled when he drew her back into his arms with an alarming force. They had teased and laughed a dozen times together, and it had never been like this. Her frown alone had stopped his ardor before, while now her harried fingers had no power at all against his touch.
    “Robert!” Leaping to her feet, she escaped him. He stood quickly, coming behind her, gently holding her shoulders. His voice was harsh when he spoke to her.
    “Amanda, come, we’ve played this game again and again. Surely you must feel it, you must ache and crave as I do, you long for consummation of this desire as deeply as I! And I would die for your touch, for your kiss, andstill you play the tease, and you taunt and torture me. We are not children any longer. I cannot stand it!”
    She swung around, heartfully sorry and somewhat alarmed. She didn’t want what he wanted, not desperately at all. Marriage was not the same for men as it was for women. She liked to be close, and she liked to be loved. The rest, she was certain, would have to come with time.
    “We cannot, Robert. Not until we are married.”
    “Married!”
    She knew the moment he repeated the word that Geneva had not lied to her. She need not feel guilty for a single thing she might have done to Robert, Lord Tarryton. Pain spilled through her. She wanted to fall to the ground, and she wanted to scream, and she very nearly wanted to die.
    “It’s true!” She gasped, backing away from him. “You’re to marry some duchess for her estates!”
    “Amanda—” He reached for her, his misery written clearly upon his face. “Amanda, I love you. I have no choice. It doesn’t have to make any difference between us.”
    “You have no choice!” she cried. “Oh, you dreadful, despicable, cowardly bastard! How dare you!” She slapped him as hard as she could across the face.
    He gasped, staring at her, his eyes narrowing. “I have no choice!”
    “Don’t you ever come near me again. Ever.”
    “I am no coward, milady. You wait until your father has chosen for you, lady, and then tell me how to fight what we are honor-bound to do!”
    “Honor bound! You say you have no choice,” Amanda retorted. “You say
no
, milord, and that is that! But you don’t wish to say no, do you? Ah, that’s right. You’ll be a duke. Well, so be it then. Marry the duchess for a title. I hope that it will be well worth the price of your soul and my heart.”
    “Damn you, Amanda!” Robert cried, and he reached for her, dragging her hard against him. “You’ve no right! And you wait! You will be promised to a man like Lord Hastings, a man with three chins and four stomachs, and thenyou shall be sorry that you taunted me so! I love you, and you will not forget me. You will see. And for now, my God, you’ve played the bitch and the tease—”
    “How dare you—” she began, her voice low and husky and shaking with emotion and pain.
    “You’ve led me on! You’ve taunted and teased with your eyes, you’ve driven me near madness with your touch, and now you tell me that I shouldn’t come near you—”
    “Let me

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