Lina is a tree sage, a gifted person who heals trees, but her duty binds her to one place for her whole life until she marries. Tree sages must marry and birth a daughter by twenty-eight, even if true love is out of the picture. When hot rally winner Brad meets her, he is drawn to her mystical powers. Lina can’t resist the man who represents something she shouldn’t go for, but neither can she turn away his sexy touch. Brad offers to marry her and take her on a world-wide rally tour. She can fulfill her dream of traveling, and he provides a way to meet the demands of her breed, but will that be enough? What about love?
When Lina settles in Paris, loneliness and unfulfilled expectations threaten to pull the shaky relationship apart. Could the barriers between them be caused by an evil greater than they imagined? Soon, they will have to fight for Paris, but will they survive?
“What powers do you have?”
“You’re the only person who’s ever noticed. I can heal sick trees, make them healthy again. Tonight, I discovered I can even save them from a forest fire by visualizing things in my mind.”
He opened his mouth, but no words came out.
“The problem is I have to marry someone within six months.” She squeezed her eyes closed, unable to look at him. The words she spoke must sound crazy to him. “I’m not ready for marriage, for settling down. I want to see the world, yet I feel a duty to my gift. I love the trees. I can’t betray them.”
“You can heal them and bring them back to life?”
Opening her eyes again, she shrugged. To him it might seem otherworldly, but for her, it was just the norm.
“That’s an incredible gift. You’re so lucky.”
“I can lose my gift if I don’t follow The Pinnacle. That book over there.” She flung her hand in the direction of the dining room table. “If I leave here before my time or if I don’t have a daughter soon enough, my gift will disappear, and any children I have will be fully normal.”
“You are the new normal.” Wonder swam in his gaze, and she turned away again.
“Why do you say that?”
“It’s like being a nurse. She spends her life healing people. Yes, in the beginning, she might think what she does is special, but then she soon realizes many people the world over do the same job, and some do it better than her. She grows weary of the same old routine.”
“Wait.” He pulled her to face him again. “There are others?”
She nodded, and, all of a sudden, she could sense them. She gasped.
“Oh.” Hunger steeped his gaze, drawing her in for a kiss.The Century Sage 33
Oh, wouldn’t it ease all the confusion if she filled her gnawing hunger for his touch?
His mouth rested on hers, and she closed her eyes, all tears forgotten. From relief to soaring conflict, her heart rate accelerated. The man in her living room had become the ultimate distraction.
But he couldn’t marry her. He hardly knew her. No, she shouldn’t be doing this. She couldn’t do casual anymore.
In a blink, she realized she couldn’t turn away from her calling. Her powers had increased, and so had her sense of duty, the pull toward her destiny. As hard as it would be, she had to follow—no, she had to lead at this stage of her life.
But Brad’s pressure on her lips glued her to him. She leaned in to him. I’ll just kiss him, nothing else.
Then his hands touched the back of her head, and he stroked her hair. He deepened the kiss, and his fingers pioneered new ground. She explored his tongue, the melding of their tips lighting a forest fire in her body. He opened the top buttons of her blouse. She waited for the touch on her breasts, craved it.
Gasping, she yanked away, pressing her blouse closed to cover her skimpy bra. “Brad.”
“You’re so hot. When those powers flow from you, I feel drawn to you.” He reached for her again. “I can’t resist.”
“I can’t do this.” She moved away. “I’ve already told you why.”
His mouth formed a thin line. Standing, he walked to the palm in the corner, placing his hands on the leaves, fingering their flat, neat blades.
“That’s insane.” Brad’s voice came out harsh.
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