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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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“And that’s when you knew you loved him?”

She laughed. “Oh, no. What soldier doesn’t have a posy of sweet words at the ready?” She sighed and shook her head. “No, it was two weeks later, when he’d exhausted every posy at his disposal, and he seemed so dejected, and he looked at me. Just looked at me.” Her eyes glistened. “And then he whispered my name in the sweetest, weakest, most honest voice, ‘Pauline.’ That’s all, just my name, Pauline. That’s when I knew. He had nothing left, but he wasn’t giving up.” She smiled, her expression dreamy, and resumed massaging oil into her foot and ankle.

Was it possible that Pauline and Mikael had shared something true and real, or had Mikael just drawn from a new well of tricks? Whichever it was, he had gone back to his old ways and warmed his lap now with a fresh supply of girls, forgetting Pauline and tossing aside whatever they had. But that didn’t make her love for him any less true.

I bent over and rubbed my hair with the towel to dry it. I want to feel your skin, your hair, run every dark strand through my fingers. I pulled the wet strands to my nose and sniffed. Did he like the scent of rose?

My first encounter with Rafe had been a contentious one, and not by any stretch had I been smitten the way Walther was when he saw Greta. And Rafe certainly hadn’t wooed me with sweet words the way Mikael had Pauline. But maybe that didn’t make it any less true. Maybe there were a hundred different ways to fall in love.

From the loins of Morrighan,

From the far end of desolation,

From the scheming of rulers,

From the fears of a queen,

Hope will be born.

—Song of Venda

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

I nearly burst with joy watching Pauline dress in the new clothes I’d bought her, a loose peach-colored shift and delicate green sandals. After weeks of wearing the heavy clothing of Civica or her drab mourning clothes, she blossomed in the summer hues.

“Such a relief in this heat. I couldn’t love it more, Lia,” she said, admiring the transformation in the mirror. She turned sideways, pulling on the fabric to judge its girth. “And it should fit me through the last spike of autumn.”

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