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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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The songs were finished, and Berdi gave thanks for each item on the platters, all the foods that the Remnant had found in abundance when they were delivered to a new land, and once each food was blessed, we were all invited to eat.

The room went from reverent whispers to festive chatter. The meal was eaten with fingers only, following tradition, but Berdi did break with custom by bringing out one of her blackberry wines and pouring everyone a small glass. I sipped the dark purple liquid and felt its sweetness warm my chest. I turned to Rafe, who was watching me. I boldly looked back as I slowly nibbled a piece of the silky dark pigeon meat and then leisurely licked my greasy fingers, never taking my eyes from him.

Rafe swallowed, though he hadn’t eaten anything yet. He scooped up a handful of pine nuts and leaned back to pop them in his mouth. One fell from his hand to the table, and I reached out and put it in my mouth. I blinked slowly, pulling out every trick I had seen Gwyneth use—and then some. He took another sip of wine and pulled on his collar, his chest rising in a deep breath, and then suddenly the icy curtain fell again. He looked away and began a conversation with Berdi.

My resentment surged. Maybe I didn’t know how to flirt. Or maybe I was just flirting with the wrong person. I looked at Gwyneth across from me. She tilted her head toward Kaden. I turned and engaged him in chatter. We talked about the procession, the sacraments, and the games that would begin tomorrow. I noticed our earnest attention on each other set Rafe on edge. His own conversation with Berdi became stilted, and his fingers tapped on the table. I leaned closer to Kaden and asked which games he would participate in tomorrow.

“I’m not really sure.” His eyes narrowed, a question lurking behind them. He glanced at my hand resting on the table in front of him, invading his space, and he leaned closer. “Is there one I should try?”

“I’ve heard a lot of excitement about the log wrestling, but maybe you shouldn’t—” I reached up and laid my hand on his shoulder. “How’s your shoulder since I bandaged it?” Rafe turned his head toward us, halting his conversation with Berdi.

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