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SABINE
by Moira Rogers

Genre: E-book, Erotic Romance, Paranormal

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The hut was as uncomfortable as it looked, almost unbearably chilly until she knelt and stirred up the banked fire. Only then did she remove her cloak, revealing a simple dress of dark blue. “Sit, please.”

She’d been young when she’d first come to his bed. Not so much younger than he himself, but if war had hardened him, then age had softened her. Oh, not all over—her body seemed more slender, perhaps, but with entrancing new curves that made his mouth water. Wicked hips, glorious breasts—

He was not to touch her. It was hard not to sigh as he dropped to a hard wooden chair, his discomfort magnified by his acute arousal.

Sabine hung a kettle over the fire and began to speak. “When you left, those at the palace were eager for me to go, as well. I refused. The chancellor offered me money, your mother asked me to think of what was best for you… The last thing they wanted to hear was that I’d promised myself to you.”

“They didn’t need to be told. I made it clear to everyone that they were to treat you as my mate.”

She hesitated at his words, and he saw her hands were shaking as she pulled two chipped cups from a cupboard beside the hearth. “They needed to be rid of me. Your mother had her witch lay a spell. You had gone, so she had to cast the magic on me.” She turned away. “Magic to make you forget me while you were away.”

The words made no sense. “And yet here I am. I assure you, I thought of you every night.”

It seemed to ease her. She glanced back at him and, for just a moment, she looked the way she once had—blushing at his attention. Yearning for his touch.

She blinked and it was gone. “Something must have gone wrong. Soon, no one at the palace could remember me, not even the witch.”

All thoughts of lusty touches faded in a rush of worry. “When I asked about you, I thought my mother was doing what she has ever done—refusing to acknowledge any truth which does not please her.”

“Far from it. It—” She dropped to sit across from him at the rough table, careful to keep her hands far from his, misery etched in every tense line of her body. “At first I thought it was a cruel joke, or perhaps an effect limited to the palace. When I traveled home to see my mother, I found out the truth.”

Worry turned to horror. “No.”

Sabine closed her eyes, as if it hurt her to make him listen. “It happens faster if I touch someone, or if they sleep. I don’t know why. Otherwise, I think I simply…fade.”

So she’d lived alone, in the woods. In squalor. “How long?”

A shudder took her. “I would have spared you this, Ciar. It won’t matter now, not for long, but you should know that.”

Ominous words, but he chose to pretend there might be some innocuous meaning. “You’ve discovered a way to break the spell?”

She flinched. “The witch was most affected, along with your mother. I tried to tell her what was happening, begged her to reverse the spell, but every time she turned away, she forgot I was there.”

“Sabine. What do you mean, that it won’t matter for long?”

“Your distance must have protected you from the spell’s effects. But my own mother forgot me, Ciar, and now so will you.”