The Crimson Lady by Mary Reed Mccall

By Mary Reed Mccall

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Breathing deep and exhaling on a sigh, Fiona forced herself to unclench the twisted ball of her fingers, clasped in a death grip atop her upraised knees. She flexed her hands, wincing at the tingling stiffness, while her thoughts spun round the unavoidable truth. Sooner or later she would once again need to face the man who had stolen her innocence and corrupted her beyond redemption. If she complied with Braedan’s coercion, it was a foregone conclusion. She’d avoided it as long as she could—had intended to avoid it for the rest of her days, preferring padded, matronly obscurity to the chance of attracting Draven’s notice again—but now it seemed inescapable.

All of his garments were gone. Every bit of clothing.

Tipping a fresh cup of the cooled, herbed wine to his mouth, Fiona forced a few sips past his lips, watching his throat move as he swallowed. After a little while his breathing calmed once more. It was likely naught but a bad dream that had disturbed him, then. Returning to her position at the hearth, Fiona resumed watching him, unmoving; the gray, predawn light in the chamber cloaked him in peaceful silence, his 52 MARY REED MCCALL dreams banished for the moment. But she couldn’t help wondering what images those nightmares had held, connected as they undoubtedly were to Draven.

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