Click here to Download The Kiss of Deception PDF Book by Mary E Pearson having PDF Size 1 MB and No of Pages 276.
Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born. The wind knew. It was the first of June, but cold gusts bit at the hilltop citadelle as fiercely as deepest winter, shaking the windows with curses and winding through drafty halls with warning whispers. There was no escaping what was to come.
The Kiss of Deception PDF Book by Mary E. Pearson
|Name of Book||The Kiss of Deception|
|Author||Mary E. Pearson|
|PDF Size||1 MB|
|No of Pages||276|
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About Book – The Kiss of Deception PDF Book Download by Mary E. Pearson
For good or bad, the hours were closing in. I closed my eyes against the thought, knowing that soon the day would cleave in two, forever creating the before and after of my life, and it would happen in one swift act that I could no more alter than the color of my eyes. I pushed away from the window, fogged with my own breath, and left the endless hills of Morrighan to their own worries.
It was time for me to meet my day. The prescribed liturgies passed as they were ordained, the rituals and rites as each had been precisely laid out, all a testament to the greatness of Morrighan and the Remnant from which it was born. I didn’t protest. By this point, numbness had overtaken me, but then midday approached, and my heart galloped again as I faced the last of the steps that kept here from there.
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I lay naked, facedown on a stone-hard table, my eyes focused on the floor beneath me while strangers scraped my back with dull knives. The Kiss of Deception PDF Book Download I remained perfectly still, even though I knew the knives brushing my skin were held with cautious hands. The bearers were well aware that their lives depended on their skill.
Perfect stillness helped me hide the humiliation of my nakedness as strange hands touched me. I closed my eyes and lowered my head. First Daughter. Both blessing and curse. And if the truth be known, a sham. My mother laid her hand on me again, her palm resting on my shoulder. My skin stung at her touch.
Her comfort came too late. The priest offered one last prayer in my mother’s native tongue, a prayer of safekeeping that, oddly, wasn’t tradition, and then she drew her hand away. The Kiss of Deception PDF Book Download More oil was poured, and a low, haunting singsong of prayers echoed through the cold stone chamber, the rose scent heavy on the air and in my lungs.
I breathed deeply. In spite of myself, I relished this part, the hot oils and warm hands kneading compliance into knots that had been growing inside me for weeks. The velvet warmth soothed the sting of acid from the lemon mixed with dye, and the flowery fragrance momentarily swept me away to a hidden summer garden where no one could find me.
If only it were that easy. Again, this step was declared finished, and the artisans stepped back from their handiwork. There was an audible gathering of breath as the final results on my back were viewed. The Kiss of Deception PDF Book Download Pauline took my arm and helped me to rise. “Your Highness,” she said as she handed me a soft sheet to wrap around myself, sparing what little dignity I had left.
We exchanged a quick knowing glance, which bolstered me, and then she guided me to the full-length mirror, giving me a small silver hand mirror, that I might view the results too. I swept my long hair aside and let the sheet fall enough to expose my lower back. The others waited in silence for my response.
I resisted drawing in a breath. I wouldn’t give my mother that satisfaction, but I couldn’t deny that my wedding kavah was exquisite. It did indeed leave me in awe. The ugly crest of the Kingdom of Dalbreck had been made startlingly beautiful, the snarling lion tamed on my back, the intricate designs gracefully hemming in his claws, the swirling vines of Morrighan weaving in and out with nimble elegance, spilling in a V down my back until the last delicate tendrils clung and swirled in the gentle hollow of my lower spine.
The lion was honored and yet cleverly subdued. My mother tightened the laces in the hidden structure of the dress, pulling it snug so the bodice appeared to effortlessly cling to my waist even without fabric stretching across my back. It was an engineering feat as remarkable as the great bridge of Golgata, maybe more so, and I wondered if the seamstresses had cast a bit of magic into the fabric and threads.
It was better to think on these details than what the short hour would bring. My mother turned me ceremoniously to face the mirror. My stomach lurched, and I shifted my gaze closer to the bottom of the hill, where wagons lumbered on the road far below the citadelle, heading toward the town square, perhaps laden with fruit, or flowers, or kegs of wine from the Morrighan vineyards.
Fine carriages pulled by matching ribboned steeds dotted the lane as well. The Kiss of Deception PDF Book Maybe in one of those carriages, my oldest brother, Walther, and his young bride, Greta, sat with fingers entwined on their way to my wedding, scarcely able to break their gazes from each other. And maybe my other brothers were already at the square, flashing their smiles at young girls who drew their fancy.
I remembered seeing Regan, dreamy-eyed and whispering to the coachman’s daughter just a few days ago in a dark hallway, and Bryn dallied with a new girl each week, unable to settle on just one. Three older brothers I adored, all free to fall in love and marry anyone they chose. The girls free to choose as well.
Everyone free, including Pauline, who had a beau who would return to her at month’s end. We screamed. We yelled with all the power of our lungs, knowing the wind, hills, and distance plucked our nervous freedom from any ears that might listen. The Kiss of Deception PDF Book We screamed with giddy abandon and a primal need to believe in our flight.
When we were well within its cover, we found the streambed that I’d seen on hunts with my brothers and doubled back through the trickling waters, walking in the shallow stream until we found a rocky embankment on the other side to use for our exit, leaving no prints or trail behind us for others to follow.
Once we hit firm level ground again, we dug in our heels and rode as if a monster were chasing us. We rode and we rode, following a little-used path that hugged the dense pines, which would give us refuge if we needed to duck in quickly. The Kiss of Deception PDF Book Sometimes we were dizzy with laughter, sometimes tears trickled backward across our cheeks, pushed by our speed, but most of the time we were silent, not quite believing we had actually done it.
After an hour, I wasn’t sure what ached more, my thighs, my cramping calves, or my bruised backside, all unaccustomed to anything more than a stiff royal gait because these last few months my father would not allow more. My fingers were numb from gripping the reins, but Pauline didn’t stop, so neither did I.
We finally came to a small clearing. With a last glimmer of daylight overhead, and both of us sagging in our saddles, we agreed silently that this was the place to camp. All I wanted to do was collapse on the grass and sleep until morning, but the horses were just as weary and still deserved our attention, since they were our only real way to escape.
We removed the saddles, letting them fall with an unceremonious clunk to the ground because we didn’t have the strength for more, then shook out the damp blankets and hung them on a branch to dry. The Kiss of Deception PDF We patted the animals’ rears, and they went straight to the stream for a drink. Pauline laughed, but our nervous bravado hung in the air between us.
We both knew there had been occasional sightings of small bands of them in the woods crossing from Venda into the forbidden territories of the Cam Lanteux. Sometimes they even ventured boldly into the kingdoms of Morrighan and Dalbreck, disappearing as easily as wolves when they were pursued.
For now, we were still too close to the heart of Morrighan to need to be worried about them. The Kiss of Deception PDF I hoped. We were more likely to encounter vagabonds, the drifting nomads who sometimes strayed from the Cam Lanteux. I had never seen any myself, but had heard of their unusual ways.
They rode in their colorful wagons to trade trinkets, buy supplies, sell their mysterious potions, or sometimes play music for a coin or two, but still, they weren’t the ones who worried me most. My greatest worries were my father and what I had dragged Pauline into. There was so much we hadn’t had time to discuss last night.
I watched her as she absently stared into the fire, adding kindling as needed. Pauline was resourceful, but I knew she wasn’t fearless, and that made her courage today far greater than mine. The Kiss of Deception PDF She had everything to lose by what we had done. I had everything to gain. If we didn’t believe, fear would overtake us. I already felt it nipping at my back as I pushed harder. We headed north, aware that the stable boy would watch us until we vanished into the forest.