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Pearson Mary E, “The kiss of deception”, public translation into English from English More about this translation.

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I took him a fair distance away from the crowds, in case he was as much of a sniveling fool as I suspected. When we were out of sight, I slammed him up against the wall of the smithy. He raised his fists for a moment to fight back and then thought the better of it, erupting in indignant wails.

I pushed him back against the wall so hard it shuddered. “Shut up! And listen to every word I say, because the next time we meet like this, one of us will be leaving without a tongue. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

He nodded his head wildly, babbling yes over and over.

“Good. I’m glad we understand each other.” I leaned close and spit out each word clear and low. “I was in the loft yesterday morning. I heard you talking to someone, and I heard you give directions to the upper road.” I paused, glaring long and hard. “And then I heard the jingle of coins.”

His eyes grew wide in horror.

“I never want another word about Lia to pass from your lips. And if one word should escape, even by chance, I’ll stuff every coin that’s in your greedy little palm down your throat right before I cut out your tongue. Do you understand me, Enzo?”

He nodded, his mouth firmly sealed shut in case I decided to make good on my threat now.

“And this will remain just between us, understood?”

He nodded vigorously again.

“Good fellow,” I said, and patted his shoulder.

I left him cowering against the wall. When I was a few yards away, I turned to face him again. “And, Enzo, just so you know,” I added cheerfully, “there’s no place on this continent where you can hide from me if I choose to find you. Wipe your nose now. You’ll be late for the sacraments.”

He stood there, still frozen. “Now!” I yelled.

He wiped his nose and ran, circling wide around me. I watched him disappear down the lane.

Don’t make matters worse.

It seemed they already were. If only I had been brave enough to refuse the marriage in the first place, she never would have had to run, she never would have had a knife held to her throat, she never would have had to work at an inn with a slimy lout like Enzo. If I had acted so she didn’t have to, everything would be different.

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