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Copyright, 2011, Carolyn Chambers Clark

For personal use only

Smashwords Edition

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Seville, Spain

April, 1669

Tonight Isobel would defy her parents, her intended, and all the rules of civility.

Heart pounding with excitement, she pulled her mantilla around her for warmth and hurried down the narrow, winding streets.

Her feet echoed hollowly in the shadows when she turned in at one of attached two-story houses. Laundry and colorful flowers hung from its window. The overwhelming sweet smell of rose-laden carts made her head reel.

Pleasant-faced and plump, Clara opened the door, her long robe sparkling in the overhead lamp, her soft features and lively eyes meeting Isobel's with strength and warmth. "Come in by the fire, my dear. I'm so glad you came."

Isobel swallowed hard, drawn to the woman’s hands. They appeared bold and coarse like a laborer’s, yet something vital stirred beneath their surface.

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