“True beauty is what lies inside of us, not what the world sees. A beautiful shell that houses a vile soul becomes sullied over time. But an outer shell, imperfect as it may be, that houses a beautiful, shines with that beauty, radiating it for all who have eyes to see.”
“Sometimes it seemed like those with the most rotten interiors were blessed with the most exquisite exteriors.”
“Have you ever heard of the theory that it is better for one man to die than an entire nation to suffer? Do you believe that to be true? Is it ever okay to take a life in hopes of saving others?”
“You knew I was a girl and you stil came out to talk to me in the middle of the night without a shirt on?" I shot right back.
"You did what?" Rylan cut in, his eyes wide.”
“I didnt care how handsome he was or how he made my heart race, the next time that he came to drag me out of my tent in the middle of the night, I was rolling over and ignoring him.”
“You're perfect," He said roughly, cutting off my protest. "And if I had to do it over again, I would save you every time." His mouth closed over mine and there was no more thought. No more worry. No more pain or loss or fear. There was only Damian. His arm tightened around me, crushing me to him. I clung to him as his lips moved on mine with a need and hunger that nearly overwhelmed me.”
“Those who truly love you will only ever see you for what you really are.”
“I couldn't breathe. I wanted him to keep touching me; I wanted to feel his whole body against mine again. But Rylan was here. Rylan was listening. Rylan, who had cared for me all along.
"Thank you," I said, my voice unsteady, and somehow I made myself move and turn away from his touch to stare at the tent again, my heart hammering. Rylan's back was still turned to me, but I could see how stiff he was, as if every muscle in his body was clenched.
"I hope you are able to rest well Alex," Damien said.
"You too," I said, making myself close my eyes, to pretend I was going to sleep. But inside, I thought, Rest well? Is he serious?
It was going to be a long night.”
“How long have you known?" My body thrummed with tension.
He lifted one hand slowly and I froze. He took a lock of my short hair and rubbed it gently between his fingers. "I've always known.”
“You think I want to hurt her? Do you think it makes me happy to see the little bit of trust she had in me die today?”
“You were attacked by a jaguar, and you didn't think to tell me? Are you all right?"
"You knew I was a girl and you still came out to talk to me in the middle of the night without a shirt on?" I shot right back.
"You did what?”
“Because you understand. More than anyone. Because you know what it's like never to trust anyone - to be completely alone, lost in a disguise of your own making. Because... because for quite some time I've -”
“He looked at me for a moment longer, with unbearable longing. I love you, Alexa. No matter what happens tomorrow, or any day after that, I will always love you.
My eyes burned. I love you, too, Rylan.
But it's not enough, he said. I was too late.”
“Don't do that with me," he replied, staring down at me with a look of almost hunger on his face. "We're too much alike to pretend with each other. At least when we're alone, lets be who we truly are.”
“And now I finally have a chance to treat you the way you deserve - to cherish you the way a woman should be when a man loves her. And all you can do is stare at the prince.”
“I was the one who was supposed to protect him, but I'd never felt as protected as I did in that moment, encircled by his strong arms”
“True beauty is what lies inside of us, not what the world sees. A beautiful shell that houses a vile soul becomes sullied over time. But an outer shell, imperfect as it may be, that houses a beautiful soul shines with that beauty, radiating it for all who have eyes to see.”
“As I gripped the hilt of the sword, my mind calmed and my body filled with purpose. This is who I was-this was what I knew how to do. I was a fighter.”
“I want you to know that I'll always be here for you. He paused and then rushed on. When the day comes that Prince Damian breaks your heart and you need a friend to turn to, I'll be right here for you, just like I always have been.”
“His name is, uh, Ninny.” At Mark’s look he added, “A sort of pet or stable name.” Its name is Fat Ninny. You edited it. Ha. “So what do I do? Stand here and yell ‘Here, Ninny, Ninny’?” He felt a fool already. “Three times.” “What?” “Miles always repeated the name three times.” The horse was standing across the pasture, its ears up, looking at them. Mark took a deep breath, and in his best Barrayaran accent called, “Here, Ninny, Ninny, Ninny. Here, Ninny, Ninny, Ninny!” The”
“Most of what I say is complete truth. My edit button is broken.”
“When you throw a tennis ball in the air, you can count on it coming down.”
“All this time she’d thought it God’s will that she be a spinster. She had grown content with that expectation, taking satisfaction in the wisdom she’d gained through her experience with Stephen. No man would dupe her again. But what if living alone was never part of God’s plan for her? What if she chose that life because it was safe—because she was afraid?”
“I've never told Liat. About who I am. Do you think ... Maati, can you love someone and not trust them?"
"We're born to odd lives, Otah-kvo," Maati said, sounding suddenly older and more sorrowful. "If we waited for people we trusted, I think we might never love anyone.”
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