“You don’t know who I am,” I whispered. He didn’t move—either away from me, or closer—and after an interminable moment, I stepped back and hurried out of the house.
He didn’t follow me as I fled into the night.
Lylin was not used to being alone—much less alone, hurt, and lost. So when she is separated from her guard and forced to abandon her horse, she counts herself lucky to stumble upon a manor house. Still frightened by those who chased her into the night, she keeps her identity a secret, calling herself Lily as she accepts the help of kind servants, and the compassion of Lord Fallon. When they fall into an easy friendship, she wonders if her secrecy was too hasty. However, as she gets to know the manor and its residents, Lylin discovers that she’s not the only one hiding secrets, and it may be a very good thing that her host doesn’t know her true identity as a member of the royal family.
I found a cloak in the wardrobe and put it on, then quietly unlatched the door, hoping to leave without anyone’s notice.Rhys sat on the floor, leaning against the wall opposite my door, sleeping. It broke my heart to see him there, obviously waiting for me to come out. But with any luck, he wouldn’t discover my departure until later. I slipped through the door and crept past him, trying to keep my breath quiet even with my nerves jumping every which way. I reached the top of the stairs before his voice stopped me.“Where are you going?”I looked back. His head still rested against the wall, but his eyes were fixed on me.I faced the stairs again, contemplating running down them. I cleared my throat. “I’m just going for a walk outside to clear my head.” My foot stepped down.“The sun is down.” Confusion infused his voice as he stood to follow.My pace increased. “I won’t be gone long.”He grabbed my arm, stopping me. “What has you so upset?”I tried to hold his gaze He hated me, even if he didn’t know it. “I’m just…worried.”“That’s not it.” How could he know such a thing? “There’s something else.”I tried to invent a lie, but my thoughts wouldn’t cooperate. He moved closer to me, making my neck grow hot. I swallowed, desperately searching for something to say, or even something to focus on besides the warmth spreading through me. I ignored it. I didn’t know this man, he may very well be a traitor, a conspirator. But all I could feel was his proximity.“Won’t you tell me?” he pled. I made myself look at him and his eyes delved into mine, searching for any clue to explain my behavior.I closed my eyes, whispering, “I can’t.”“Please?”I opened my eyes at his pleading tone, then opened my mouth, trying to say something. His eyes locked on my parted lips and I stopped trying to talk. He lowered his head, glancing at my eyes before refocusing on my mouth and moving closer. He was going to kiss me. Half of me wanted it, desperately. The other half was terrified. It was all wrong. This was wrong. He was wrong.I turned my face away and he froze.“You don’t know who I am,” I whispered. He didn’t move—either away from me, or closer—and after an interminable moment, I stepped back and hurried out of the house.He didn’t follow me as I fled into the night.
Author Annette K. Larsen
I was born in Utah, part of a crazy, fun family of nine. I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ and St. Louis, MO before striking out on my own college adventure in Virginia. I decided to try my hand at writing novels after I was married and living in Idaho. I write clean romance because it’s my favorite genre, but often difficult to find.
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