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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 didn’t answer. Gwyneth had witnessed my frustration as I came in the kitchen door. Once again, Rafe had gone from attentive and warm to distant and cold as soon as we reached the inn. I’d slammed the kitchen door behind me, and I’d said under my breath, “What is wrong with him?” Gwyneth heard my grumbling. I tried to cover by saying I was talking about Enzo, but she would have none of it.

“What about the blond one? What’s the matter with him?”

“Nothing’s the matter with him! Why are you—”

“I actually think he has kinder eyes,” Pauline said. “And his voice is—”

“Pauline!” I looked at her incredulously. She turned back to arranging piles of bush beans.

“Oh, stop acting so innocent, Lia. You know you find them both attractive. Who wouldn’t?”

I sighed. Who wouldn’t indeed. But there was more to how I felt than simple attraction. I spilled sorrel, rose hips, dandelions, and loquats onto the platters surrounding the pigeons in a colorful edible nest, and even though I didn’t respond, Gwyneth and Pauline continued to go back and forth on the merits of Rafe and Kaden and how I should proceed with them.

“I’m glad my friendships provide so much entertainment for you two.”

Gwyneth balked. “Friendships? Ha! But a sure way to get the attentions of one is to lavish yours on another.”

“Enough,” I said.

Berdi poked her head through the swinging door. “Ready?” she asked.

Each of us took a platter into the dining room, which Berdi had lit with candles. She had pushed four tables together to create one large one in the center of the room. The guests were already seated around it, Kaden, Rafe, and three others from the inn. The rest had gone to the public meal.

We set the trays in the center of the table and Pauline and Gwyneth quickly took the remaining open seats, leaving me to sit with Kaden on my left and Rafe adjacent at the corner on my right. He smiled as I sat, and my frustrations melted into something else, something warm and expectant. Berdi took her place at the head of the table and sang the remembrances. The rest of us joined in, but I noticed Rafe only moved his lips. He didn’t know the words. Had he received no instruction at all? It was the commonest of prayers. Every child knew it. I glanced at Pauline, sitting on the other side of Kaden. She had noticed too. But Kaden sang even and clear. He was schooled in the holy songs.

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