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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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Rafe was just returning from the wagon with another case. I tried not to stare, but with his sleeves rolled up and his tan forearms flexing under the weight, I couldn’t look away. I imagined his work as a farmhand that kept him fit—digging trenches, plowing fields, harvesting … what? Barley? Melon? Other than the small citadelle garden, the only fields I had experience with were the vast Morrighan vineyards. My brothers and I always visited them in early autumn before harvest. They were magnificent, and the vines produced the most highly prized vintages on the continent. The Lesser Kingdoms paid enormous sums for a single barrel. In all my many visits to the vineyards, though, I had never seen a farmhand like Rafe. If I had, I certainly would have taken a more active interest in the vines.

He stopped next to Berdi, setting his case down. “Morning again,” he said, sounding short of breath.

I smiled. “You’ve already put in a day’s work.”

His eyes traveled over me, beginning at the garland on my head that he had taken some pains to hunt down, to my decidedly new and slight attire. “You—” He glanced at Berdi sitting on a crate beside him. He cleared his throat. “You slept well?”

I nodded, grinning.

“What now?” he asked.

Kaden came up behind Rafe, bumping into him as he set a chair down for Berdi. “The log-wrestling, right? That’s what Lia said everyone is the most excited about.” He adjusted the chair to Berdi’s liking and stood tall, stretching his arms overhead, as if the morning of fetching and hauling had been just a little warm-up. He patted Rafe’s shoulder. “Unless you’re not up to it. Can I walk you, Lia?”

Berdi rolled her eyes, leaving me to squirm. Had I created this quagmire when I flirted with Kaden last night? Probably, just like everyone else, he’d heard me yelling at Rafe to go away, but he evidently hadn’t heard anything else.

“Yes,” I said. “Let’s all walk together, shall we?”

A scowl crossed Rafe’s face, but his voice was cheerful. “I’m all for a good game, Kaden, and I think you could use a sound dunking. Let’s go.”

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