Only a few more days to go until The Song of the Thrush is released, which means it’s time for a little sneak peek!
Perhaps I flattered myself, but I thought I saw a spark of interest in Corin Blackstone’s eyes as he looked on me, although almost at once it disappeared, and he only gave me a slight nod. Very well, if that was how he wished to play it, then I would be as cool and composed as he.
Even so, I could not entirely ignore the flutter in my stomach as the priest took his place on the lowest step of the dais, with Corin and I standing before him. My father moved slightly to one side, and Sendra took up an almost identical position opposite him. We would have no other witnesses; other than the five of us, the hall was empty. But that was all custom required, even though this spare setting was a far cry from the lavish ceremony I had imagined for myself, with flowers on all sides and silk hangings on the walls, and a gown finer than anything I’d worn before for my bridal day.
I had attended the weddings of my brothers, and witnessed the ceremonies at many others, both friends and distant relations, and so the words the priest spoke were familiar enough to me. Still, even though I did not falter as I repeated the ancient vows, some part of me kept thinking that surely I must be asleep and suffering a terrible dream. Once or twice I had had nightmares of marrying someone I did not know, but always before I had awakened the next morning to realize that those awful dreams were merely that, and nothing more. Now, however, I knew that no such sweet morning would come to end this particular nightmare.
At last came the time to share the ritual kiss. I tilted my face up toward Corin Blackstone and forced myself to keep my eyes open, so I might look on the man I must now call husband. Oh, gods, this close, I could see how truly handsome he was, how long the lashes that encircled his dark eyes, how finely chiseled his nose and mouth.
And now that mouth was touching mine, but briefly, only the faintest whisper of a kiss before he drew away. Surely I should not have reacted to such a cursory caress, and yet for some reason, I experienced an odd thrill that seemed to move through my entire body, a new kind of heat I could not entirely explain. Of course it could not be love, for I did not know this man at all. Was this what all the books and poems meant when they spoke of desire? That emotion was often described as hot and fiery, and although I couldn’t say that I was precisely on fire, the flush brought on by Corin’s kiss did not subside immediately, but continued to pulse deep within me, awakening a need I had never felt before.