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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 slid from the rock to the ground, hugging my knees and staring at the creek. I had no interest in cold or hot baths anymore. I only wanted to crawl into a bed where I could sleep forever and pretend today had never happened. I thought about getting up, walking to the cottage, and melting into the mattress, but instead my eyes stayed locked on the creek, thinking of Rafe, his face, his eyes, his warmth, his disdain, his vile presumptions.

I had thought he was different. Everything about him seemed different, every way that he made me feel. I’d thought we had some sort of special connection. I was obviously so very wrong.

The sparkling color of the creek dimmed to shadowy gray as daylight receded. I knew it was time to go before Pauline worried about where I was and came looking for me, but my legs were too tired to carry me. I heard a noise, a soft shuffling. I turned my head toward the path, wondering if Pauline had already hunted me down, but it wasn’t her. It was Rafe.

I closed my eyes and took a long pained breath. Please leave. I couldn’t deal with him anymore. I opened my eyes. He was still there, a bottle in one hand, a small basket in the other. He stood tall and still and so beautifully and irritatingly perfect. I looked at him blankly, betraying no emotion. Leave.

He took a step closer. I shook my head, and he stopped. “You were right, Lia,” he said quietly.

I remained silent.

“When we first met, you called me an ill-mannered boor.” He shifted from one foot to the other, pausing to look at the ground, an awkward worried expression crossing his face. He looked back up. “I’m everything you could ever call me, and more. Including stupid oaf. Maybe especially that.” He walked closer.

I shook my head again, wanting him to stop. He didn’t. I got to my feet, grimacing as I put weight on my ankle. “Rafe,” I said quietly, “just go away. It’s all a big mistake—”

“Please. Let me get this out while I still have the courage to say it.” The troubled crease deepened between his brows. “My life’s complicated, Lia. There are so many things I can’t explain to you. Things you wouldn’t even want to know. But there’s one thing you could never call me.” He set the bottle and basket down on a patch of grass. “The one thing you can never call me is repulsed by you.”

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