Message From The Author

Author's Message

Secret confession: In high school I had a desperate crush on the quarterback of the football team. Yes, he was dreamy. And yes, I was a nerd. So no, he never, ever noticed I was alive. He was always dating cheerleaders named Heather or Gretchen, girls with perfect figures and perfect tans and that perfect, practiced hair flip that still gives me a headache if I try it.

I was far from perfect in high schoolI still am! And Lady Amiranth St. Clare, my heroine from THE SECRET SWAN, knows exactly how that feels. Amiranth is the medieval me in those tender years: plain, unsung, painfully shy. Shes been in love with Tristan Geraint for most of her young life.
Hes a knight, a lord, her most desperate crush: handsome, rich, charming and popular. For years shes adored him from afar, yet never had the courage to utter a word to him.

But she gets to marry him anyway.

Amiranths dreams have come true. The fact that Tristan still barely notices her hardly matters. She loves him with all her soul and knows that someday hell love her, too. But then Tristan abruptly disappears. Someday turns into yearseight of themand by the time Tristan Geraint finds his way home again, Amiranth is gone in every sense of the word.

In her place is a stranger, a coolly beautiful woman with a heart full of secrets. Tristan has secrets of his own; hes endured a trial few could survive. His only desire is to return to his wife and the life he used to knowbut its too late to win the girl he wed. Now, amid treachery and betrayal, Tristan is going to have to risk all that he has, and everything he is, to regain what matters most: the true love of his secret swan.

Shana Abi ended up marrying her own dream man, whos way cuter than that high school guy was. See him yourself (plus book stuff!) on her web site: www.tlt.com/ authors/sabe.htm. THE SECRET SWAN is available April 2001 from Bantam Books.

EXCERPT FROM THE SECRET SWAN

The fire had all but gone out; the room now was dusky with night, only a faint, reddish glow coming from the hearth.

He looked at her, her hair loose and free, long curls arranged around her like a pillow of spun gold. His eyes were still used to years of darknesshe thought he could see her better now than even in daylight, with her brilliance dimmed, slumber and dreams taking away the caution that always seemed to shade her.

He found himself kneeling beside the pallet, examining her face, her hands against the blankets. Her closed eyes, her lashes long and winsome. Her lips, sweet and pretty and full. He remembered how they tasted, how they felt

All other thoughts seemed to melt away from him, fading into the dusk. As Tristan stared down at her a new word came to him, just one, repeating itselfa dangerous word, encircling him, and her, until it was all he could consider:

Mine, mine

He leaned closer, slowly, slowly, never taking his eyes from her face. She slept on, unaware of his thoughts, his very presence, the peril near
her now.

The scent of her came to him, subdued and infinitely pleasing, filling him. He felt almost dizzy with it, heady now, lost.

Tristan lowered his lips to hers.

She was warm and luscious, for all her sleeping peace. He kept the kiss soft, so nearly not there, teasing himself with the contact between them, allowing his lips to glide across hers, feather light.

He felt her take in her breath in a sigh and paused, hovering, but she did not awaken. So he continued the kiss, still gentle, fighting the craving within him for more of her, for what was not his, despite the throbbing ache of his body. And because that thought made the craving turn unbearable, Tristan allowed his tongue to savor her lips, to slide along the smoothness there, a deliberate torture


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