Solena, a young healer with a generous heart, is desperate to heal her dying grandfather. When she ventures into a hostile territory to find a rare herb, she finds out just how much she’s risked when she’s captured by the enemy and accused of being a spy.
As a soldier, Rundan has struggled all his life to please his father, a ruthless army commander, but when he’s ordered to take the beautiful trespasser to the royal courts, where she’ll be summarily tried and executed, he’s plagued by the most inconvenient desire to protect her at all costs.
Though terrified and anxious to escape, Solena is confused by the handsome young soldier who cruelly captures her and then displays uncommon kindness. When he risks his own life to save her, she discovers she may have risked more than her life… she may have lost her heart.
Rundan continued watching her as he ate. When the food was gone, he took a votif stand from his things and set it carefully by the fire. Then he untied his votif from his belt and, after removing its cork, began breathing prayers over it. Solena watched his every inhalation and exhalation in rapt attention. She couldn’t have moved or looked away if she’d wanted to.
After placing his votif in the stand, he glanced at her from under the sweep of unexpectedly dark lashes. After some hesitation, he removed the cork from her votif as well and breathed a quick prayer over it. He reached to place it in the votif stand, stopped mid-reach, and then replaced the cork and tied it again to his belt. With this done, he rubbed the back of his neck for some time and avoided her eyes.
Solena opened and closed her mouth with a snap.
He’d prayed over her votif?
The action was so unexpected, so shocking, she could barely connect her thoughts. What he’d done was the most intimate of acts. What a father might do for his child. Or a husband for his new bride.
Rundan’s unusually pale eyes met hers briefly and the flash of vulnerability in them disconcerted her. The expression fled as quickly as it had come and the cool mask he always seemed to wear slid into place. He was again Rundan: captor, soldier, enemy.
Solena moistened her suddenly dry lips and stared into the fire, desperately trying to make sense of her thoughts—and of the strange tightness in her chest.