eBook release date: February 5, 2014
Araneae Nation, Book 3.5
A Kiss of Venom
Betrayed by her lover and exiled from her clan home, Nicolette has carved herself a new identity from the heart of her old life. Hardened by grief and desperate to survive, she hones a new skill set…and the daggers that go along with it.
Armand is heir to the wealthiest clan in the Araneae Nation. His entire life is as mapped as his heritage. Tradition dictates his every decision, and the one choice he ever made for himself cost him the woman he loved.
When Nicolette is offered a contract she can’t refuse, she returns to Erania with deadly intentions. Her secrets are safe behind the façade she created. Or they would be if Armand would stop chipping at the cracks in her veneer.
One kiss ignites an old flame, and suddenly their history is in danger of repeating. Armand falls for Nicolette’s charade, but she can’t let a second chance at happiness distract her from her mission. Someone in the Araneidae nest is marked for death, and Nicolette aims to deliver.
Warning: This story contains one heroine bent on revenge and one hero determined to atone for his sins. Also included are venom kisses, poison hangovers, pointy objects and questionable taste in condiments. Expect fireworks, near-death experiences and one surprise ten years in the making.
Titles available in this series include:
A Kiss of Venom Excerpt
Talons pierced the meat of my bare shoulder. I winced at Tiah, who blinked wide black eyes at me. White was a rare color for a falco. Most were common browns and blacks. Not my girl. Plumage dyed teal and indigo to match my hair, Tiah lent my soft curves a razor edge with her predatory grace. Ever my companion, she could have pitted her wits against the cleverest of my peers, and she would have found each of them lacking. As I stroked her soft breast, she playfully nipped my finger with her wicked beak.
A vicious shiver racked my body, spooking her into flight. Each exhale frosted the air in front of me, but presentation was crucial. Skin as numb as my conscience, I was grim tidings swathed in vital colors. I was the end no one envisioned, because death should be darker than any shade I ever wore.
“Are you sure we ought to do this?” A small hand slid into mine.
I gave Maisy’s gloved fingers a squeeze. My heart clenched when I glanced back at the rainbow girl amid the swirl of snowflakes that enveloped us. Her coat was violet, her favorite color this week. Her dress had a rich cream-colored bodice that blended into the yellows and oranges in her skirt. The leggings she chose were soft pink, which fed into her thick travel boots that had been dyed a gradient red. Pale blue edged her mouth from the biting cold. I smiled, my own lips cracking beneath their carefully applied paint. “This is the last time. Promise.”
One final contract would earn me enough gold to supply her with the plush life she deserved.
Deep creases appeared between her eyes, prompting me to rub them smooth with my thumb.
“You’ve said that before,” she whispered.
“This time I mean it.” I kissed her forehead. “One and done, I swear it.”
Her smile was missing a tooth, and I ached to see faith in me sparkle in her bright blue eyes.
She leaned her head against my side. “Will they call for us soon?”
“It’s almost time for gifts to be presented.” From this vantage, I saw the party winding down.
My feet were bare, my toes blue atop the black stone cobbles where we stood. Beside me, Maisy shuffled her feet. We stood exposed to the elements while our hosts reveled. The Araneidae clan held their tradition in a chokehold, preservation of their precious monarchy their sole concern. Long live Maven Lourdes.
While Maisy’s teeth chattered, my blood simmered too hot to allow the cold to penetrate me.
She toyed with the chain slung low around my hips. “Do you think they’ll like me?”
I wrapped an arm around her shoulders and squeezed. “They will love you.”
Her head fell back, flakes melting on her round cheeks. “Not as much as you do.”
“No.” I tweaked her nose. “There isn’t that much love in the second world. I stole it all for you.”
Footsteps crunched on snow behind us. I slid a hand up my ribs, fingers brushing the handle of a throwing knife sheathed in the side of my hammered gold corset. Easing Maisy behind me, I waited.
A slim youth appeared dressed in the shimmering gilded livery of our hosts.
“Lady Nicolette,” he said, voice cracking as his eyes drank in my outfit. “I came to…”
“Yes?” I made him work for it, a fitting test of the gown I had chosen. Though gown might be a generous word for this ensemble considering the corset was the only solid piece, the better to plump my breasts. The skirt was sewn from curling ribbons in sunset colors, in different lengths and widths. I wore nothing underneath. Even standing still bared the length of one thigh and the curve of my hip.
Provocation was the game, and in the spirit of temptation, the ribbons were thickest between my thighs, my sex a curtained mystery. More than one male’s hand had tried to draw aside that veil, to his peril.
“I’m to fetch you, my lady.” He gulped. “The herald is ready to announce you to the maven.”
A throat cleared daintily behind me. The youth tore his gaze from me, peering around my side.
“Forgive me.” I stepped left with a flourish. “May I present my sister, Maisy?”
Her soft giggles wounded my pride. She was of the opinion I was too old to pass for her sister.
His eyes widened when she stepped forward and lowered her hood, indigo hair tumbling in curls down her back. Her curtsey flashed the vibrant layers of the multicolored skirt under her long coat.
“Miss, the pleasure is mine.” He bowed to her. “Word of your incredible talent precedes you.”
Pink suffused her cheeks. She reached for my hand. “Can we go in now?”
I blew a shrill whistle, and Tiah lit on Maisy’s shoulder, picking at the paper flowers in her hair.
The youth’s eyes stretched even further. You would think he had never seen a dyed falco before.
“If you don’t mind,” I said, gesturing toward the stairs, “my sister is cold.”
“Of course.” He ducked his head. “Forgive me. This way, please.”
He guided us past a quintet of weeping black stone statues, to the front of the massive hall where the festivities were underway. We climbed a set of winding stairs leading to a door that stretched several heads above mine. Through its panes, I glimpsed the ruling family. Down the table my gaze skipped until it landed on the Araneidae heir, Armand.
Drawn closer by the scene before me, I touched the icy glass, let it numb my finger while I traced the silhouette of his face.
Ten years had passed since I last saw him. That decade had honed the brilliance of his smile until it hurt me to look at him.
My hand lifted of its own accord, tucking strands of hair behind my ear, and my fingers grazed a ridge of thick scars hidden there. I forced my arm to lower while I choked down bitter memories before they rose like bile up the back of my throat. No time for sentimentality. I was here for the job.
Armand sat at his sister’s right hand, dark blond hair slicked to his scalp. His lavender eyes crinkled at their corners. His formal coat was sewn from the same golden brocade as his sister’s gown, as were their siblings’.
One, two, three, four royals present for the night’s festivities. Where was the fifth? Pascale’s absence from the table left me tapping my nails against the glass.
“Lady?” The youth paused with his hand on the doorknob. “Is everything all right?”
Tearing my gaze from the spectacle, I put a hand over my stomach. “I’m a little nervous.”
“You have nothing to fear.” He twisted his wrist. “Maven Lourdes is most kind.”
I remembered her as amiable, preoccupied but polite during our few exchanges. Those had been a lifetime ago, before I shed all vestiges of the love-struck fool she once caught in her brother’s bed.
“This is a cruel thing you’ve done.” Lourdes slammed the bedroom door. “You’ve ruined her.”
“No. I’ve claimed her.” Armand covered my modesty with a sheet. “I love her.”
“If you loved her,” Lourdes said, eyes soft with pity, “you would never have touched her.”
Talons punctured my skin when Tiah flitted to my shoulder, ruffling her feathers at my ear.
Maisy’s gloved hand touched my arm. “We don’t have to do this.” Her warmth seeped into me, the perfect balm for my past hurts.
“Yes.” I straightened my spine. “We do.”
The youth ducked inside, reappearing a moment later. “The herald will announce you next.” He gestured us into a foyer that opened into the enormous chamber serving as a dining hall this evening.
Once he left, I peeled the winter layers off Maisy, handing her coat, boots and gloves to a valet.
When the herald appeared, adorned in clan colors and blasting a gold horn, I pasted on a smile.
“On behalf of Paladin Wendelin of the Ctenidae clan,” he proclaimed, “it is my great pleasure to present to Maven Lourdes and to Paladin Rhys, the virtuoso Maisy of the Ctenidae and her guardian, the ethereal Nicolette, also of the Ctenidae. In honor of your first anniversary, Paladin Wendelin has commissioned the composition of a sonata for your pleasures, to commemorate this auspicious day.”
Hand in hand, we strolled down a length of rug until we stood before the maven and paladin.
We curtseyed, we smiled, and I held my breath as their stares rolled over Maisy onto me.
Lourdes frowned at me until my lungs burned for air. When she gestured I should approach her, caution ghosted my steps. I inclined my head, sweat beading my forehead as she examined me. I half-expected her eyes to narrow, for her jaw to drop or for an accusation to tumble from her mouth.
“Her toes are blue.” Lourdes’s lips pressed into a firm line. “How long was she kept waiting?”
“Maven,” I dared address her. “My feet remain bare as a sacrifice to the gods for the talents they gifted Maisy. It is our way. I was happy to experience the might of your homeland as I paid tribute.”
I was tithing to the gods, all right. The ones who reveled in the blood I shed in my travels. It was the way of the Maratus, as penance, and since I had raised Maisy in that faith, it was my way as well.
The fierce male to Lourdes’s left placed his hand atop hers and bent to her ear, murmuring softly while his lips traveled the column of her throat. His kiss bared wicked fangs, and I flushed, glancing aside, directly into Armand’s eyes. Heart pounding, I cursed my arrogance for returning to a place so rich with memories. His smile faltered when our gazes collided. Leaning forward, he cleared his throat until the maven and paladin took notice.
I broke eye contact first and stared at my toes. My skin prickled under the weight of his regard. When I dared to peek up at him through my lashes, he was pushing away from the table.
I rocked back on my heels before I thought to lock my knees.
I had dressed to cause a stir, and he had reacted. That was all. It wasn’t recognition. It was interest.
Interest I could handle. It meant he had bought into the guise of Nicolette.
As so many others have before you… One last time and her name would fade into northland myth.
“I will send my thanks to Paladin Wendelin for his most generous gift.” Lourdes dabbed her lips, where her husband’s hungry kisses had smeared the peach-tinted paint on her mouth. “Please, join in the festivities. We’ll talk tomorrow.” She gestured to the same youth who had escorted us. “Once our guests finish enjoying our hospitality, lead them to the guest chambers down the eastern corridor.”
The youth bent at the waist. “Yes, Maven.”
With a curt nod to me, he vanished into the crowd of revelers watching the gifting proceedings.
Beside us, the herald blasted his trumpet while flicking one slender wrist at us in dismissal.
I took Maisy by the hand and led her through the mingling guests. She noticed the tremble in my fingers and squeezed them tighter. We escaped to a quiet corner where I could put my back to a wall and observe the proceedings. I had business to attend to in the city, which meant I must find a way to exit the celebration unobserved, but I didn’t dare leave Maisy unattended.
Our entrance was not the one I anticipated, but it boded well for us that neither Lourdes nor Armand had found me familiar or remarkable. Even a talent such as Maisy’s was drowned beneath the next offering of two stark white kittens presented to the ruling pair in a basket woven from strips of rose-colored gold. The small hunting cats spat and hissed, their fat tails bristling when Lourdes extended her hand. Beside me, Maisy sighed wistfully.
“I doubt your falco would appreciate a kitten,” a wry voice said, “except perhaps as a snack.”
All the room’s boisterous sounds trickled to a halt, leaving only the rush of blood in my ears.
The crush of bodies parted for Armand, clearing him a path right to us.
I reached for my skirt and coiled a length of its ribbon around one of my fingers. The closer he came, the tighter I wound, until fabric ripped and I found myself holding a blue streamer. Until he mentioned her, Tiah had kept so quiet I almost forgot she stood guard on my shoulder.
Maisy noticed what I had done and pried the ribbon from my grip. She tied a bow and made it her headband, as if that had been my intention all along, then she returned her attention to Armand.
“Tiah would never eat my kitten,” Maisy informed him primly. “She has manners.”
“A falco with manners,” Armand mused. “No doubt she learned them all from you.”
She tugged my hand. “Nicolette helped.”
“Did she now?” He appraised me. “Perhaps the two of you can reform me. I have no manners or I would have introduced myself. I’m Armand.” He bent at the waist. “I’m pleased to meet you both.”
“I’m Maisy.” She showcased her perfect curtsey. “The pleasure is ours.”
He stared to me expectantly, as though the royal horn-blower hadn’t just made the introduction.
“I’m Nicolette.” I followed Maisy’s example with a grimace. “To what do we owe the honor?”
“When you walked in, I thought you looked familiar.” He took my hand and brushed his lips across my knuckles. “I wanted to ask if this was your first visit to Erania.”
“Familiar?” I forced my lips to bend. “And here I thought my style was original.”
“I didn’t mean to offend you.” He studied me. “For a moment, you reminded me of someone.”
“I’ll take the compliment,” I offered, “since you were so eager to see her again.”
“The musicians are warming up.” He smoothed his thumb over the back of my hand. “Would you save the first dance for me?”
Give him an opportunity to put his arms around me? I laughed. “Surely your dance card is full.”
“It is now.” He turned my wrist and scribbled across my palm with his pointer finger. “I wrote you name on every line.”
Heat swept through my cheeks. I had forgotten how charming he could be.
“I hate to disappoint, but the journey here tired me.” I pulled my hand from his grip. “Another time perhaps.”
“I’ll hold you to that.” Armand lowered his gaze to Maisy. “Several of our guests have expressed interest in meeting the virtuoso.” He offered his arm. “Would you allow me the privilege of escorting young Maisy and making a few introductions?”
At my nod, she slid her arm into his. “Do you mind if I bring Tiah with me?”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Armand allowed me to pass the falco to her.
“We traveled far to be here for the celebration.” I touched his elbow. “The poor girl is exhausted.”
“I understand.” He hailed a passing dignitary from the southlands. “I won’t keep her long.”
Chest aching, I watched Armand twirl Maisy so her skirt fluttered around her calves, as delicate as butterfly wings and twice as colorful. Only when I looked closely did I notice the shapes of their faces were similar or that their noses were both aquiline. Thank the gods her eyes weren’t lavender.
At least they weren’t anymore.
Grateful for Armand’s unwitting assistance, I left Maisy to enchant her audience while I eased across the rear wall of the room, looking for an exit. The Araneidae were nesters who had erected their city of black stone atop the buried catacombs forming their clan home. Nest infiltration was near-impossible, escape unlikely if you lost your way.
I had precious few minutes before Armand and Maisy finished their circuit of the room and began looking for me. Maisy could only entertain for so long. I hadn’t been lying. The journey north was treacherous this time of year, and it had taken its toll on both of us.
While all eyes were fixed to the presentation of the latest gift, I slipped from the festivities to an adjoining room. From there I found my way into the hall and followed it to the rear of the building. I paused with my hand on the doorknob, deafened by my heartbeats and the furious wind pummeling a nearby window with sleet. With a ripe curse, I wedged open the door, gasping as the air froze in my chest. Eyes watering, I squinted against the flurries, jogging down the stairs back onto frozen pavers.
I wasted precious seconds orienting myself. At last I located the abandoned market, closed until spring. I dashed through the empty stalls until spotting a narrow shop with a sign hung on the door. I wiped away the frost and read Bellaire’s Rare Produce and Ornamental Flowers. I flipped a lever on the corset beneath my rib cage, and a small compartment slid open, releasing a drawer into my hand. I lifted the key my employer had given me and fit it to the lock. It opened with a snick, and I crept into the store. Dust covered every surface. Each shelf sat empty, and the stale air smelled of peat moss.
I rounded the counter and studied the ceiling. Rows and rows of hammered tiles, each design the same as the previous. Except one. Two rows from the door and four tiles down, I spotted a variation. Grabbing a plant stand, I hauled it beneath the tile then stood on it while popping the square from the grid. With that done, I reached through the gap and felt around the edges. My fingers brushed the hilt of a sword. No. Several hilts all bundled together. On the opposite side, I located the box I needed. It was made of metal and heavier than a container that size ought to be. Gently, I cradled it in my arms and flipped the catches. The lid swung open, revealing three rows with three vials in each line nestled into a thick velvet lining. One vial, I noticed, had already been drained. I shivered when I touched its cork.
I had a good idea what purpose that particular draught of venom had served.
Lourdes had not been maven long, and her predecessor, her mother Reine, had been poisoned.
Now Lourdes would lose a sibling to the same fate.
Considering her sister Pascale was responsible for their mother’s assassination, there was a certain grim balance to the circles of their lives and the means of their deaths.
When I stared at that empty vial, I recalled the last time I had seen Pascale. Her honey-blonde hair had been streaming behind her. Her father, Ennis, had been stomping his feet and roaring while he chased her down the hall. The memory of her squeal when he caught her rang in my ears.
Learning that innocent child had grown up into a murderer had shocked me.
I won’t say hearing the truth about Pascale’s role in her parents’ deaths eased my conscience, but perhaps in the long run the knowledge she had blood on her hands might help me sleep at night.
But I doubted it.
The Araneidae had ruined me. Their grief should bring me joy. Their losses should salve the savage ache in me. Instead I felt only the cold resolve to see this job through, to at last be free from my past.
I checked the second vial. Milky fluid sloshed a finger’s width from the cork. I lifted it gingerly, shivering, gooseflesh dappling my chest when I slid the icy tube between my breasts for safekeeping.
Please don’t let my corset crack the glass before I reach my room.
After closing the lid with trembling fingers, I replaced the box where I’d found it and fit the tile into its grid. The planter I returned to the dirt-free rectangle where it had stood. After a glance around, I left the shop, locking it behind me. The frost I brushed away had already reformed. Fresh snow covered my footprints. Teeth chattering, I ran toward the only building with lights blazing in the vacant city.
A gust of wind slammed the door open before I reached it. I flinched at the ear-splitting crackof sound. Cold sweat beaded on my clammy skin. I shoved the door closed then darted down the hall to another room. Warm as it was, I was frozen. I paced, rubbing my arms, flexing my fingers and toes.
When at last the pinpricks in my limbs faded, I found a mirror where I straightened my hair and adjusted my dress. I thanked foresight for wearing my hair in a tightly braided tail tonight. Sadly, my skirt fared worse. I untangled the knots and dusted the ribbons clean, but they were damp at the ends.
Wiggling my toes stung their joints. My feet felt carved from ice, and they retained a bluish tint. Tempted as I was to rub them to increase circulation, that defeated the purpose of sacrifice, didn’t it?
Besides, the Maratus had done far worse in their training of me. I would endure this as I endured all else. But first I had to slink back into the dining hall unnoticed in time to grab a drink and pretend to be enjoying the festivities. Be polite. Talk up Maisy, always an easy task, then we’d call it a night.
Please let us last that long…
From where I stood, I heard muffled voices. When they rose on a collective gasp, I assumed the maven had unwrapped what I hoped was her final gift of the evening. While her guests clapped, I let myself inside and joined the round of thunderous applause. What caused the stir, I couldn’t see from my vantage point. Wending through bodies, I made my way toward the front of the room so Armand could spot me and deliver Maisy. That was when I saw her, sitting on a delicate bench pulled before a sleek harpsichord. After running her palm lovingly over the ornate casing, she stood and curtseyed.
The room erupted with the fervent clapping of hands and ardent pleas for just one more song.
My heart swelled at the sight of her until I thought my ribs would crack.
Indecision played across her face until she saw me and waved. Armand noticed me then, and he offered her his arm. She took it with a bright grin, allowing him to escort her to me. Her slender arms went around my waist. The chill of my skin made her shiver, but she held her tongue and squeezed me tighter. I dropped a kiss on top of her head before facing Armand.
“You have something in your hair.” He frowned while extending his hand. “May I?”
I leaned into Maisy so I wouldn’t topple. “Of course.”
He pulled a few strands of my hair and came away with a cobweb stuck to his fingers.
“This time of year the city is rarely used, but the occasion called for celebration.” He dusted his hands. “It appears the hall could have used a better cleaning prior to the event. I hope you won’t hold this against us. The nest is well-kept and your room there is immaculate. Perhaps I could show you?”
Rubbing her eyes, Maisy peered up at him. “That would be nice.”
“Do you know what else is nice?” His low voice turned conspiratorial. “Chocolate. I have it on good authority that we are serving cocoa mousse to our guests tonight.” He pointed to a row of crystal goblets filled with creamy mousse and sprinkled with chocolate shavings.
Maisy’s face softened with longing when she spotted the table laden with rich desserts.
“Nicolette doesn’t let me have sweets,” she said on a sigh.
Armand’s scandalized expression earned him a compassionate pat on his arm from Maisy.
I glowered. “Ever try putting a nine-year-old to bed after she’s inhaled a tray of sweet rolls?”
“I have a brother a few years younger than Maisy.” He grimaced. “I can imagine.”
Hope sparked in her bright eyes. “What if I promised to only eat three spoonfuls?”
Armand waited to see if I caved. Faced with two sets of imploring eyes, what choice did I have?
“All right. Three bites. No more.” I nudged her toward the dessert table. “I will be counting.”
Angling away from Armand, I watched her navigate through the crowd.
“I meant what I said.” He stepped behind me, his breath warm on my neck.
“I’m sure you have more urgent matters to attend to than sorting our sleeping arrangements.”
“I wouldn’t say that.” His lips brushed my ear. “I want your stay to be pleasurable.”
I swatted him away. “A soft pillow and warm blanket are all the pleasures I require.”
“Nights get cold here,” he murmured. “My body heat is yours for the asking.”
I glanced back at him, at those soft lips of his. “You aren’t serious.”
He chuckled. “I could be.”
I studied him for signs he was.
He returned my studious expression.
I broke down first. “Do you have anything else to say for yourself?”
His answer was a sinful curving of his lips.
I shook my head at him.
“There’s Maisy.” I started walking. “We’re going now.”
I left him with flushed cheeks and a grin. My revealing gown had done its job too well. It was meant to entice, but I had baited the wrong male. Or had I? Stealing one last glance at Armand over my shoulder, I caught him staring after me.
“I’m done.” Maisy’s voice sliced through the fog to my brain. “Do you want the rest?”
“No.” A sweet treat was the last thing my roiling stomach needed. “Thank you.”
She scrunched up her face. “Are you feeling all right?”
“Never better.” I plucked the sticky goblet from her hand and passed it to a male in gold livery. “I think we ought to explore our room. We have an early day tomorrow, and you must be well rested.”
She bit her lip. “Is it very scary down there in the nest?”
I tapped her nose. “The nest is the most beautiful place that you or I will ever live to see.”
Eyes shining, she twirled. “I’ll go fetch our escort.”
As she skipped off in search of the youth, I decided to encourage her skipping all the way to our room. Surely the exercise would burn off some of her extra energy.
If not, I had one long night ahead of me.
It was getting longer all the time as one of the male guests sidled up to me, resting a hand on my hip. I deftly knocked aside his touch. Dark-skinned and blue-eyed, this male was devastatingly handsome and he knew it.
Perhaps that was why I disliked him on sight.
“Nicolette.” He captured my hand and kissed my knuckles. “We have a mutual acquaintance.”
“Oh?” I expected him to drop Armand’s name or pick up where that failed attempt had ended.
When he said nothing, did nothing more than touch his thumb to my pulse, my chest went cold. His utter stillness did it. I had been at this long enough to recognize one of my kind. He was a killer.
“She would like me to remind you of the price of failure.” His smile framed perfect white teeth. He indicated Maisy with his dimpled chin. “Bad things can happen to little girls while their mothers’ backs are turned.” A nod of his head sent a second male striding toward Maisy. For a second, I lost sight of her. His muscular build eclipsed her swirling colors. Then he turned to wink.
She was gone.
I shoved the male beside me and darted toward the place I last saw her. He caught my wrist and spun me into a dance as smoothly as if it were choreographed. What a fool I’d been. Of course it was.
“Where is she?” I snarled.
“Close,” he assured me. “An associate of mine is entertaining her while we chat.”
Eyes darting wildly, I scanned each corner of the room. “If you hurt her—”
He clicked his tongue. “You won’t dare harm me. It would attract too much attention. You think this is frightening?” He leaned in close. “This is a taste of what lies ahead if you fail in your duties.” He cupped my cheek and forced me to meet his gaze. “Her fingers will be the first bones we break.”
I memorized his face. “I will kill you for this.”
“No, you won’t.” He let his mouth hover a breath above mine. “But you’ll want to.”
I refused to be the first to withdraw. “Is that my motivation?”
“If that’s what you need. Use it.” His gaze darted to the right. “Ah. There we are.”
He turned my head a fraction so that I caught a glimpse of Maisy from the corner of my eye.
Before I could knock him aside, he bent to my ear. “In two days, I expect a pyre to be lit.” He let me go. “You choose whose corpse feeds the fire. Pascale or Maisy will do just as well to me. Break your vow, and you force me to fulfill mine.”
With a frigid smile that promised retribution, I assured him, “Two days is plenty of time.”
Maven Colleen would have her satisfaction. Her son’s death would be avenged.
By the time I was finished in Erania, Maisy’s gift to Lourdes would be a requiem.
Copyright © 2014 Hailey Edwards
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