Click on image to enlarge.
by Sandra C. Stixrude
Category: Mainstream/Science Fiction
Description: Know he will succeed when all others fail you?so reads the fateful letter of introduction which heralds the beginning of Marya's desperate journey. When the Ktar chooses Marya to watch over the heir on his confirmation journey, she has no illusions about a pleasant trip. A prophecy concerning the heir's death, ominous dreams of a mysterious city, and the certainty one of the heir's companions will betray him all weigh heavily on her. Unfortunately, the discovery of the assassin in their midst is only the beginning. His menace pales in comparison to the ancient evil lurking in the mountain city. When Marya and her party are trapped and the men with her enslaved, she is forced into a battle of wills and hearts with two remaining choices: give in to the alien being who offers her power and prestige, or join forces with the same handsome assassin she sought to thwart. Lives are at stake and so are her heart and her honor - how can she choose?
eBook Publisher: Red Rose Publishing, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: June 2010
9 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [464 KB]
Reading time: 292-410 min.
"Your turn, Captain. Sit down. I will have a look at that now."
She helped him with the various buckles and straps, and worked the leather and plate over the remainder of the arrow shaft, and over his head.
Marya wanted the shirt off as well, but he grasped her hands. "No, Holiness, please don't." His eyes pleaded with her. She reasoned that either this was a clan custom, not to expose oneself to a woman, or he had unpleasant scars he would rather not have her see. His shyness surprised her. After all, she was a healer and had seen all manner of injuries.
"All right then, keep the shirt on, but you'll have to let me cut around the shaft to get to the wound."
He had an arrowhead embedded in his side between the second and third ribs, not deep enough to puncture a lung, but enough to be excruciating.
"Captain, I don't know why you're not screaming in pain with this rubbing against your ribs. I'm going to have to dig it out and I can put you to sleep to do it if you like..."
"Thank you, Holiness, but I'd rather not be drugged. Pain is only pain after all; it lets us know we survived."
A morbid way to look at it.
She had begun to think he was not human, he sat so quiet and still while she dug out the arrowhead, but as she pulled it free, he passed out. She caught him in her arms and looked down at his sharp-featured face. She brushed a loose strand of hair back from his cheek, such soft hair, and thought again about how much she liked this man and how foolish those feelings were. Even if he were not attached to the Ecclesiarch's Basilica hundreds of miles away from her own temple, what would such a physically impressive man want with a crippled priestess? She was getting as bad as Sabiana.
When his eyes flickered open, she inquired, "Do you think you'll be able to walk with me, Captain, or shall I have Jovan carry you, as well?"
"I'm actually quite comfortable here." She was wondering what he meant when he hurried to add, "I think I can walk. It would be better if the men see me on my feet."
She stitched up the wound for him, using the twisted, immobile fingers of her left hand as an anchor for the thread. She bound his side, brought his greatcoat from behind Sunshadow's saddle to cover the bloodstained shirt and helped him to his feet. With a hand under his elbow, she kept hold of him until he was steady, a sharp twinge of regret needling her when she let him go.