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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, too, had my strengths, but their consummate skills were a matter of fact in the field, whereas they had seen mine only in practice. Except for Tavish. We shared a secret between us—the time I killed eight men in the space of ten minutes. I came away from it with a hefty gash in my thigh that Tavish himself had had to stitch because that had to remain a secret as well. Not even Sven was aware of that night, and he knew almost everything about me.

I surveyed the four faces waiting for me to say something. Even Sven, who had thirty years on all of us and usually showed little interest in the idle chat of soldiers around a campfire, seemed to be waiting for some details about Lia.

“She’s nothing like the ladies of court,” I said. “She doesn’t fuss about clothing. Most of the time, if she wasn’t working in the tavern, she wore trousers. Ones with holes in them.”

“Trousers?” Jeb said in disbelief. His mother was master seamstress of the queen’s court, and he enjoyed the delights of fashion himself when he wasn’t in uniform.

Sven sat forward. “She worked in a tavern? A princess?”

I smiled. “Serving tables and washing dishes.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this before?” Sven asked.

“You never asked.”

Sven grumbled something to himself and sat back.

“I like her,” Tavish said. “Tell us more.”

I told them about our first meeting and how I wanted to hate her, and all of our times together after that. Almost all of our times. I told them she was small, a head shorter than I, but she had a temper and stood as tall as a man when she was angry, and I’d seen her bring a Morrighan soldier to his knees with a few sharp words. I told them how we had gathered blackberries and she flirted with me, and while I had still thought I hated her, all I wanted to do was kiss her, but then later, when we did finally kiss—I paused from my description and breathed out a long, slow breath.

“It was good?” Jeb prompted, eager for the vicarious details.

“It was good,” I answered simply.

“Why didn’t you tell her then who you were?” Tavish asked.

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