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Heart pounding, barely containing her excitement, she watched his tall figure stride with purpose into her lair. The warrior dwarfed the stone arch of the entrance with his imposing presence. The flames of the oil lamps wavered, casting shifting shadows on the rough stone shelves, strewn with worn, heavy volumes of ancient knowledge.
He walked slowly, deliberately, like a predator stalking prey. His wet tunic molded muscular shoulders. Golden hair dripped on his square face, tanned by the outdoors. A northerner.
A large silver cross glinted on his bare chest through the open fold of his linen tunic. A Celtic cross in a circle. A Pagan symbol... also used by Christians.
Palatina sensed a hint of Fae blood roiling through his veins, and she probed the mind of the handsome man to determine whether or not she could trust him. To her surprise, she could not read his thoughts. Strange. Perhaps, his spatter of Fae blood protected him from her probing.
"Who dares disturb the peace of this sacred cave?" Her voice strangled in her throat from lack of use. Her tone sounded strangely formal.
A small rodent scampered into the rocky recesses of the large cave.
The man took a deep breath, released it slowly, then faced her at three paces, feet slightly apart, hands behind his back. Still seated on her elevated flat rock, she gazed on an even keel into his deep blue eyes... eyes that could make any woman forget her duties.
He tilted his head, and the square lines of his smooth face relaxed into an amused smile that dimpled his cheeks and bared perfect white teeth. "I was expecting someone older."