"The Crown of Anavrea" by Rachel Rossano
Fixing his eyes on hers, he said, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” she replied in a small shaky voice. His blue eyes were dark and clear. She could see traces of pain and sadness, but the fever was gone.
Suddenly a look of concern replaced his smile. Reaching over with his other hand, he caught her face in a gentle, but firm, grip. “What is this?” he asked as he ran a thumb across her spit bottom lip. “And this?” He indicated what was probably the remainder of a black eye. “I may have been in a lot of pain when we met, but I do not remember you looking so beat up.” His voice was hard. Eve did not know if it was aimed at her or his lack of memory. Either way, something was making her tremble.
“Masters have every right to beat their slaves.” She stated it in a flat voice. Mridle had informed her of this fact repeatedly. He usually used it as a warning to her. He had exercised this right often and well on her.
“You are a slave?” The surprise in his voice did not detract from the hardness that continued underneath.
“Yes,” she paused and then added, “A runaway slave.”
With a swiftness that surprised her, his fingers located the leather band around her throat. The circle of leather was where one had been for as long as she could remember, right above her collarbone pulled snugly against her neck. “Unbutton your collar so I can get a better look at it.” Not waiting to see if she would obey or not, he started to search his pockets for something.
The Crown of Anavrea
by Rachel Rossano
In a time when castles were the strongest…in a place where combat was face to face…there was a man on the run. Labren was not his true name and he admitted it freely.
In a time when slavery was legal...in a place where kings were all-powerful…there was a slave in the right place at the right time. Eve, a slave from birth, was asked to trust this stranger who refused to give his true name.
Eve saved a stranger’s life. In return, he offered her the opportunity of freedom. She did not know what would happen to her if she chose to accept his proposal, but she did know the consequences of rejecting it.