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Daughter of the Twin Moons
Cancer. The terminal diagnosis paralyzes Catriona. Both saved and imperiled, she must navigate a new, immortal life as mate to the Captain of the Seelie Palace Guard.
In obedience to the oracle’s command, Thelan abducts a human woman and takes her to the Deepwood where she is unmade and remade by ancient magic. Thus given his mate, he quickly finds himself enamored of her spirit, intelligence, and uncommon beauty. She arouses his passion and challenges both his control and authority at every turn. Thelan needs to win the heart and trust of this untraditional female whom he’s determined to keep and protect from those who covet control over the moon-born’s legendary influence.
Catriona let them have their way with her, obeying their softly spoken instructions as they massaged her limbs while they cleaned her body. She detected no prurience, no salaciousness, in their care for her and floated on a cloud of pure physical pleasure. She luxuriated in the warm languor, not particularly paying attention to her caretakers’ gentle splashing in the pool until she realized that their play with each other was not so innocent. She closed her eyes against their sexual play until, giggling, the women practically poured her into a long gray gown deceptively simple in its fashion. The neckline swept from collar bone to collar bone. The bodice seams followed the line of the feminine figure to flare at the hip into a full skirt. The hem dragged the floor, immediately darkening when the fabric absorbed the moisture.
“She’s not as tall as one might expect,” the attendant said in dismay as she stared at several inches of wet hemline. “I should find a shorter gown, perhaps in the children’s wardrobe.”
“She was built upon human bone,” Gwenda explained and, with a wave of her hand, dismissed the offer to find a child-sized gown which might be short enough, but would not accommodate adult curves. “The captain appears well satisfied with her small size.”
The attendant smiled slyly. “I would have thought a larger female would be necessary to satisfy one such as he.”
“She is his mate, created for him, tuned to his pleasure.”
Catriona frowned at hearing that. What did Gwenda mean by that? She held her own hand in front of her face, examined the slender, graceful, smoothly skinned appendage that yet glittered faintly as though lit from beneath by myriad twinkling stars. She could not deny that much had changed, but she thought she was still the same person inside the new body—at least her bones were if she understood Gwenda’s oblique reference. She pondered the meaning of the physical change, the extent of the change that made her respond to the handsome captain and forget she had a life, a career, and a family elsewhere. And a date with chemotherapy or hospice. She missed them, didn’t she?
“Will you take her to the dining hall, Gwenda? Or return her to the captain’s suite?”
“The suite for now. She tires easily and must rest.”
“First, take care of her hair, else it will soak the gown.”
The two females escorted Catriona into a warm, arid room and unwound the towel from around her head. Gwenda caught her hair and began running a comb through the long, long strands. Surprisingly, the comb did not catch on any tangles.
Soon—too soon, really—Catriona’s hair was dry. Gwenda efficiently plaited it into a long braid that hung to mid-thigh. Unbound, her hair stretched to her knees.
“Thank you,” Catriona said politely in the new language that came so readily to her tongue.
The attendant nodded acknowledgement and said, “I shall call an escort for you.”
Gwenda, who now tended to her own hair, nodded assent. In a moment, the maid, wearing a moss green dress, and her mistress, wearing a similarly styled gown of pale blue, met a uniformed guard who bowed with stiff precision and allowed the rapidly weakening female on his right to use his strength to walk.
As Gwenda had mentioned, the palace rearranged itself and the return trip to the captain’s suite took less time along a shorter route in accordance to their needs.
Thelan waited for them when they arrived.
“Thank you for escorting my lady,” the captain said with a curt nod of dismissal.
The guard bowed and retreated, steps smooth and quiet and hasty.
“I wondered where you went,” he said quietly in a voice gone soft with menace.
Gwenda turned pale. “My lady felt much recovered and wished to visit the baths,” she replied, head bowed, gaze averted, near to trembling as though she expected a blow.
“Leave her be, Thelan,” Catriona said, drawing his attention away from the maid. “She was only trying to be kind and helpful.”
Thelan’s eyes narrowed at his mate’s acidic tone.
“I am grateful to her,” Catriona added. “And now, I’m hungry.”
Still stinging with the shame of having not anticipated his mate’s hunger after her first awakening, Thelan sprang to fulfill her nutritional needs. He took a chair and drew her into his lap, insisting that she rest against him while he brought choice morsels of fruits and cheeses to her lips.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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