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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 stood to return to camp and was brushing off my skirt when I spotted Kaden walking toward me. He carried a basket. I walked out to the meadow to meet him.

“Reena made these this morning,” he said. “She told me to bring you one.”

Reena sending him on a delivery? Not likely. He’d been quite conciliatory since bursting into my carvachi and passing out in a drunken stupor. Maybe even ashamed.

He handed me the basket filled with three crisp dumplings.

“Crabapple,” he said.

I was about to reach in the basket to take one when a horse that had been grazing nearby suddenly charged at another horse. Kaden grabbed me and pulled me out of its path. We stumbled back, unable to regain our footing, and both tumbled to the ground. He rolled over me in a protective motion, hovering in case the horse came closer, but it was already gone.

The world snapped to silence. The tall grass waved above us, hiding us from view. He gazed down at me, his elbows straddling my sides, his chest brushing mine, his face inches away.

I saw the look in his eyes. My heart pounded against my ribs.

“Are you all right?” His voice was low and husky.

“Yes,” I whispered.

His face hovered closer to mine. I was going to push away, look away, do something, but I didn’t, and before I knew what was happening, the space between us disappeared. His lips were warm and gentle against mine, and his breath thrummed in my ears. Heat raced through me. It was just as I had imagined that night with Pauline back in Terravin so long ago. Before—

I pushed him away.

“Lia—”

I got to my feet, my chest heaving, busying myself with a loose button on my shirt. “Let’s forget that happened, Kaden.”

He had jumped to his feet too. He grabbed my hand so I had to look at him. “You wanted to kiss me.”

I shook my head, denying it, but it was true. I had wanted to kiss him. What have I done? I yanked free and walked away, leaving him standing in the meadow, feeling his eyes follow after me all the way back to my carvachi.

CHAPTER FIFTY-NINE

We sat under a full moon around the campfire. It was warm, making the tang of pine and meadow grass floating in the air stronger. They had brought blankets and pillows outside so we could eat our supper around the crackling fire. We finished the last of the sage cakes, and I didn’t hesitate to lick the crumbs from my fingers. These vagabonds ate well.

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