Published by Laura Lond at Smashwords
Copyright 2011 Laura Lond
Cover design by Steena Holmes
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
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Ellie straightened her simple blue dress—the best one she owned—and adjusted the new shawl on her shoulders. This was going to be the last dance. Her last chance to be asked, although she no longer hoped. Neither the handmade shawl she had spent months embroidering nor even the Lady’s circlet and necklace her sister Leatra was wearing could entice men to dance with them.
The music began; as usual, all the pretty ones were snatched in an instant. Klina, slender and tall, her shiny auburn hair cascading in waves, flittered away with Gorman, one the best pearl divers. While not the most handsome, Gorman always dressed well, and he was a good rider, famous for winning a few races in addition to his legendary skills at finding large pearls. He was generous, too, often bringing sweets for all the girls on a dancing night like today. Tilma the green-eyed, the miller’s daughter, went to dance with Gram. Gram was a charmer. He worked at the Mansion, tending livestock, doing repairs, picking fruit in the garden. He aspired to become a pearl hunter as well, using his time off to train in the lagoon. Girls from wealthier families were being warned to stay away from him; he was said to be a schemer who had nothing and wanted to marry for money, but no one cared. With his shoulder-length black curls, bright blue eyes, and a dashing smile, Gram was every girl’s dream. Mark, the blacksmith’s apprentice, asked Paulina, cute as ever with her rosy cheeks and thick strawberry blond braids tied with red ribbons. Mark was handsome as well, strong and broad shouldered. He and Paulina looked wonderful as they whirled together. He seemed very interested in her, but then, who wasn’t.