: Echoes of the Moon
Bethan Owen would give her life for her identical twin. With the care of Elunid’s troubled mind resting on her shoulders, she knows the love of a man will never be possible. But she can’t fight her attraction to the mystifying Henry Stephens, who, despite his lowly occupation as a night soil man, captivates her with his courtly manners and vitality.
Henry’s entire life revolves around building a fulfilling life for his mentally challenged son. When the vibrant and beautiful Bethan captures his heart, his world changes, but the secrets he harbors remain. Will he be able to give himself completely to the one he loves?
When Elunid’s behavior becomes more unstable, she makes a vicious enemy. Bethan is forced to make the greatest sacrifice, exchanging her life for her sister’s. Can Henry save Bethan and keep their love alive? Or will the dangerous adversary destroy all that is dear to them both?
Through the buzzing in her ears, a voice called to her from far away, low and resonant.
Strong arms cradled her, naked, and so warm. Her head lay against his chest, the hairs upon it tickling her ear. The muscles of his broad chest were hard and solid against her side, and so reassuring, rising and falling against her, encouraging her to suck in breath. But it was as if she sucked through a hollow reed.
“Bethan, you will be well soon. I’ll take care of you.”
He smelled of soap and earth. She clasped her arms tighter around his solid neck and closed her eyes. She’d not been held like this since childhood. He began to walk, carrying her as if she weighed no more than a kitten. Heat radiated from his chest, and his stomach muscles shifted and tensed as he headed toward the cottage.
She wheezed, then coughed.
“Don’t worry, Bethan. I know what to do.”
She nodded, her cheek rubbing against his chest, the curls there soft, yet pleasantly rough. His heart beat a reassuring rhythm against the uneven frantic beat of her heart.
“Georgie has the same problem. I’ve some herbs will help you. George!” he yelled. “Is there water left in the pot?”
“Aye, Da. What’s wrong with Mistress Bethan?”
“She’s having trouble breathing, much like you do.”
“Da always makes me feel better, Mistress Bethan.”
George ran ahead and opened the cottage door. He had a towel wrapped around his waist. He stopped and gaped at them. “Da.”
“Not now son. We must help Bethan.”
“But Da, you…”
Henry stepped sideways to accommodate Bethan’s long legs through the narrow doorway, and she lifted her head, eyes slowly adapting to the dimness in the simple room. A fire glowed in the hearth; a homespun rug lay in front of the fire, with a divan on one side. A simple trestle table stood by the open window. A collection of sea shells and a daguerreotype of a woman graced the mantel.
He stood over the divan. “Can you sit up?” His breath upon her face was warm, his eyes dark.