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Twin Curse

By:Rinelle Grey

(Twin Gems Series Book 1)


Blurb


Born together, wed together

Brianna has never questioned the ancient law that requires her to marry  the same man as her twin sister-until her sister falls in love with  gentle and obedient Terion. Despite knowing he's perfect for her sister,  Brianna can't bring herself to care for him, but unless she agrees to  the marriage, her sister can't marry either. In a desperate attempt to  allow them both to live the life they want, Brianna fakes her own death  and runs away. She knows she can never marry another, but she can live  with that. What she hadn't counted on was meeting Lyall, a handsome but  mysterious man visiting the inn where she works.

A powerful mage and heir to the throne of Isla de Magi, Lyall could have  his pick of women, but it's not until he meets a simple serving woman  while on a covert mission to the mainland, that he loses his heart.  First fascinated by the raw magical power he senses in her, then by her  forthright and honest nature, Lyall is smitten. He can't understand why  she keeps her distance, or why she refuses to talk about her past, but  he is sure he can win her over.

As their love blossoms, and a fierce enemy threatens her home village,  Brianna begins to discover more about the origins of the ancient law,  and what happened to the last set of twins who broke it. Can she escape  the curse, or will she have to choose between her love for Lyall, and  the safety and happiness of her sister?



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"What do you think of Terion?"

The question caught Brianna by surprise, and she paused plaiting her  long dark hair to stare at her twin. Mianna stood by the window,  watching something Brianna couldn't see. Tying a yellow ribbon in her  hair, she walked across to the window.

Following her sister's gaze, she saw the young man in question helping  move the tables and benches into position around the outskirts of the  village square, where the older villagers could watch the dancing that  would occur in the middle.

Like everyone else in the village, she'd known him since she was a child, and she could easily recall a hundred facts about him.

He was kind and gentle, and always did the right thing. He'd rescued  Mianna's kitten from a tree when they were seven. He'd taken them for  rides on his horse when they were thirteen, but he wouldn't let Brianna  jump over the hedge. When he'd caught them sneaking out of the house at  fifteen, after Brianna had spent hours convincing Mianna that the chance  to watch the dancing at the midsummer bonfire was worth the risk of  being caught, he'd marched them straight back home, explaining with a  twinkle in his eye that they'd soon be old enough to join in the  dancing.

He was the sort of person who obeyed the rules without exceptions-even  if it wasn't fun. Squelching the feeling of irritation that bubbled up  in her, Brianna forced a shrug. "He's okay, I guess. Why?" She couldn't  really find any faults with him-not that her sister would agree with  anyway.

When Mianna didn't answer, she glanced up and caught a blush stealing  across her twin's face. Mianna turned back to the dressing table to pick  up a brush. "No reason," she said in an attempt to be off hand. "Are  you going to wear the yellow dress? Because if you are, I'll take the  blue."

Being the exact same size, both girls shared a wardrobe, and usually a  discussion of who was to wear what was enough to start an argument that  would eclipse any previous conversation. But Brianna, who had already  planned on wearing the yellow dress, was not so easily distracted.

"You're not trying to tell me you like him, are you?" she asked incredulously.

"Well, we've been working together in the mill," Mianna said, her tone  defensive. "We had some problems with the alignment of the millstones,  and he's been helping fix them. He's really good with his hands."

Brianna raised an eyebrow. "Good with his hands? Mia, you should hear yourself."

"Bri, we can't just sit around waiting forever. I want to get married, you know, and have babies."

If her twin had punched her in the gut, she couldn't have shocked her  more. "So what, you're just going to forget about Kylis?" she demanded.

"He's dead, Bri, he's not coming back," Mianna said softly. "He wouldn't have wanted us to stop living our lives."

Brianna was silent, her heart quietly aching. No, Kylis was never coming  back. He'd ridden off to battle, laughing and telling them that he'd be  home before they knew it, so they'd better have the wedding  celebrations ready and waiting for him. The image was so clear in her  mind it could have been yesterday. She almost expected to see him walk  in the door and demand to know what nonsense Mianna was talking about.         

     



 

But when she counted up the days, it had been just over a year.

They should be thinking about celebrating their anniversary together. Not talking about Terion.

"How can you even think of anyone else?" Brianna asked, her voice  choking on the emotion. How could anyone else ever fill Kylis's place?

She stayed stiff as Mianna gave her a tight hug. "I'm never going to  forget him, Bri, but I'm not going to give up on living my life because  he isn't around anymore," she said gently. "And you shouldn't either."

The thought of living with someone else, having someone else's children,  hurt too much to even think about. They'd shared so many plans for the  future together, the three of them. "I can't, Mia." She tried to  explain. "Moving on …  well, doing that means accepting that he's g-gone."  As Brianna said the words out loud, it hit her. He was gone. Kylis was  never coming back.

Ever.

Tears filled her eyes and threatened to overflow. She tried to blink  them away, tried to stuff those feelings back where they had been,  safely contained, to finish what she had planned to say. "I-I don't  think I can do that."

The attempt failed, and the tears she had been holding in for a year burst out all at once.

She melted into Mianna's arms, and her twin held her, rocking her back  and forth, as she sobbed out months of grief that she'd kept hidden.  Mianna had done her share of crying in the weeks following the news of  Kylis's death. Then, Brianna had been the strong one, holding her sister  as she cried.

Now it was her turn.

When her sobs finally lessened, Mianna said quietly, "You've been holding that in for a long time, Bri. It had to come."

She handed Brianna a handkerchief, and Brianna blew her nose loudly. "I  could have avoided it a lot longer if you hadn't gone and found someone  else." Her mood had improved enough that she could joke about it. A good  sign.

Mianna didn't joke back. "Bri, you could at least give him a chance," she pleaded.

Brianna sighed. She owed her sister that much at least. "I'll give him a  chance," she agreed grudgingly. "But if he starts giving me a detailed  description of how he fixed the millstones, I'm out of there."

Mianna threw her arms around her twin and squeezed her tight. "Thanks, Bri."

"We'd better finish dressing, or the dance will be over before we get  there," Brianna said pointedly. Anything not to have to look into her  twin's eager, excited face.

Mianna danced off to put on the blue dress, smoothing the skirt over the  layered petticoats, arranging the frills carefully. The narrow waist  showed off her figure perfectly and would have made Kylis laugh and pull  her close for a kiss, while cursing the artfully arranged flowers, each  folded carefully by hand, that hid her cleavage.

Turning away from the sight and the thoughts, Brianna stepped into the  yellow dress. It was last year's style, the waistline higher than the  one Mianna wore, but Brianna wasn't bothered by fashion. The dress was  her favourite, and she'd been wearing it the last time she and Kylis had  danced together.

If only he hadn't died. She and Mianna had both loved him, for he could  be sweet and kind, and at the same time, dashing and adventurous. He  always did the right thing, but his own version of it, not necessarily  the accepted one.

Her sister hummed under her breath as she tied a ribbon around her head  to hold her hair off her face. Brianna's jaw clenched. She pulled at a  tucked up bit of her skirt, smoothing it out with jerky movements.

Why did Mianna have to be so darn happy? Was she trying to make Brianna  feel guilty? She'd said she would give Terion a chance, and she would  honestly try. But he was just so …  so... boring.

The truth was, there wasn't one man in the village she would consider  marrying. The trouble with living in Eryvale, nestled at the base of the  ridge, was that all the best men, all those with courage and heart,  died fighting the trolls. Most of them, of course, had the sense to get  married and have a child first, or the whole village would have been  wiped out long ago.

But she couldn't expect Mia to wait around forever just because she was too exacting.

Born together, wed together.

Damn that stupid rule that said twins married the same man. It went  against all the other rules of marriage, and made no sense at all.

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