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by Cindy Spencer Pape
Description: Rhodri of Llyan has returned from the Crusades a cursed man. On the way home to Wales, a young friend is sorely injured, and Rhodri seeks the aid of village healer, Selene, whose gift for healing is as uncanny as her beauty. Can Selene's magic find a way to break the curse, and heal the wounds on his heart? And what price will she demand for her help? Can he meet her Beltaine Bargain?
eBook Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc./Faery Rose, 2007 2007
eBookwise Release Date: August 2007
11 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [63 KB]
Reading time: 36-50 min.
By the time she'd gotten him disarmed, she was nearly faint from hunger. She'd poured a good bit of her personal power into the young man to ensure his recovery, which always left her weakened for a while. And there was something else, a sharp, tingling sensation she'd never felt the like of before. It was much like standing amid a lightning storm, with her skin taut and her senses awhirl. What was happening to her? Hastily, she moved away from him to serve the soup and a loaf of fresh-baked bread.
"Where are you bound, my lord? I can send word when your friend is ready to be moved." She sipped the soup, understanding now why it had resisted spicing. In the back of her mind, she must have sensed an impending patient.
"Home to Wales." He didn't even pause between mouthfuls to answer. "But you won't need to send for me. I'm staying."
Staying? That was never going to work!
"But my lord, there is only the one bed." True there was also the loft, where her father stayed on his visits, but Selene had planned on sleeping there herself.
He cocked one golden-brown eyebrow and tilted his head toward the ladder to the loft. So he'd seen it. Fie! Then he swallowed and nodded.
"I'll pitch my campaign tent in the field beyond the cottage. I've spent more nights in that than in a bed these last many years."
Oh. How utterly reasonable. Selene sagged into her chair and nodded.
"That will be fine, my lord." She studied her soup, unwilling to gaze on him openly.
"Rhodri." His voice was gruff, but gentle, and so soft she could not make out his words.
"Beg pardon, my lord?"
He cleared his throat then spoke again, marginally louder this time.
"Since I'll be your guest, you may as well use my name. It's Rhodri. Rhodri ap Cadoc, Earl of Llyan." There was but a trace of a Welsh lilt to his English, just enough to lend a musical softness to his rough tone.
An earl? Oh my! She struggled not to let her discomfort show. Here and now, he was only a man, like any other, she reminded herself.
"Well that explains the lion on your shield, I suppose." She sent him a smile. "I am called Selene. Welcome, Rhodri."
He tipped his head in a bow.
"Well met, Mistress Selene. I am eternally in your debt. What boon can I offer in return for you care of my young charge? Name it and it is yours."
"Let us wait until he recovers to talk of payment, my lord."
He gave her an unexpectedly engaging grin and tsked.
"I mean Rhodri. But you could begin by explaining to me how it is that there are gashes and blood on your clothing, yet none on your skin."