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By Charlotte Lamb

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I told you not to take me seriously,' he said, faintly aggrieved. ' The word had taken her breath away. Robert had flushed slightly. The tone of her voice had conjured up memories which lay between them and which he could not deny, but he had said flatly: 'Deb, I never promised you any commitment—you can't say I did. Don't try to build walls round me, I don't like it. ' She was grateful now that she had retained sufficient pride to hide the blow he had dealt her. At the time all she had thought about was getting away to ride the pain somehow where no one could watch.

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof, she told herself, turning away from the canal. She couldn't even tell herself that he had made any secret of his nature. 'Don't take me seriously,' he would say from time to time, always laughing, and he had used the phrase so lightly that she had not even taken his warning seriously. She had gone on blithely falling in love, ignoring the danger signals. Robert was charming, he charmed without intention, the allure of his smile as meaningless as that flattering Latin smile the hall porter had given her.

Deborah glanced up, a polite smile ready, but it withered on her mouth. ' She couldn't pretend to be pleased to see him. He reminded her of the panic and fear she had half forgotten. And she increasingly didn't like the amusement in his blue eyes. ' He was laughing, but Deborah wasn't. She knew she was going to have bad dreams. Get lost, she wanted to say, and every line of her body said it for her as she carefully did not look back at him. The hotel had one of those old-fashioned lifts with wrought iron cages painted gilt.

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