Intimate Strangers

Free Intimate Strangers by Denise Mathews

Book: Intimate Strangers by Denise Mathews Read Free Book Online
Authors: Denise Mathews
Tags: Fiction, Romance, Historical, Regency
    He talked with her about the weather and other trivial matters, but he seemed to be deliberately skirting the subject of the past. Sara became more impatient while listening to his trivial conversation. This was the side of him she had become accustomed to seeing these past weeks. But she didn't want impersonal charm, she wanted honesty.
    "Sara, you have to eat more. All you're doing is moving your food around on your plate. You haven't eaten more than a few bites. You'll be back in the hospital if you don't put on some weight soon."
    "I just don't have very much of an appetite. Food seems to stick in my throat." Sara threw her napkin on the table. "I think I'll turn on the news." She started to rise from her chair.
    Roarke leaned back, watching her intently. "You're doing a lot of things you never did before. Like staring at that TV. You always said television was a waste of time and turned people into mindless zombies." Roarke's cigarette smoke hid his face, and Sara couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic.
    She shrunk back in her chair like a balloon that had lost its air. "I've told you a thousand times that I don't know what I did before."
    Roarke stubbed out his cigarette and seemed to be in deep thought. A frown creased his handsome forehead and his lips pursed tightly. His face was a closed book; he obviously wanted to keep his thoughts to himself.


    Roarke poured them more champagne and stood up and prowled around the room sipping his drink. Sara watched him, turning her head as he walked behind her chair. Roarke came back to the table and scooped up the bottle and emptied the remaining champagne into his glass then continued his restless roaming. He picked up the sketch pad lying on the chaise and sat down, setting his glass on the floor beside him. Throwing back the heavy cover, his eyes narrowed as he examined the sketch of his face. Glancing over at Sara, he took the loose page out of the pad and his face clouded when he noticed the second sketch. Tearing the other sheet of paper from the pad, he held the two sketches at arm's length and studied them.
    In a low, hoarse rasp, he asked, "When did you do these?" He laid them on the chaise beside him and reached down to pick up his glass.
    "This afternoon."
    "Both of them?"
    Roarke looked over at her, his shadowed face a graphic sculpture of sorrow. "Why are there two?" he said, holding them up again in front of him.
    "Well," Sara paused, "I was out on the balcony and had a vivid flashback and when I came out of it, I had drawn one of them."
    "And the other?"
    "I… I did it later," she lowered her head.
    He studied them again, absorbed with his thoughts for a few minutes then suddenly he added, "You mean you don't remember doing one of them? Which one?"
    She pointed to the drawing of the smiling Roarke in his left hand. "That one."
    Again he examined the two sketches. Finally he held up the sketch he clutched in his right hand, the taut, tense face staring back at him. "My God, Sara, is this how you see me? Do I really appear so hard to you?"
    Sara got out of her chair, clasped the cane, and went over to stand in front of him. "I don't know what to say, Roarke. I don't want to hurt your feelings but… yes, you do. I feel that every time I ask you anything about us, you close yourself off from me. I felt like your prisoner at first and now I'm feeling like your guest, not your wife. I have never felt that you've treated me like your wife, let alone someone who belongs in this house. I've had to put up with it because I don't know what to do or where to go. When I saw what I had drawn at first, I was angry because I don't remember ever seeing you look like that and… and in my anger and frustration, I drew that." She pointed to the picture.
    Roarke jumped to his feet and threw his arms around her, pulling her roughly to his chest. "My poor Sara, my poor darling. Have I really been that rotten? I've tried to explain to you how confused

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