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The Betrayal of the Blood Lily

Lauren Willig

Top 10 Best Quotes

“There's nothing like competing for your boyfriend's attention with an emotionally needy sibling to make you feel like the worst sort of evil psycho-bitch.”

“Such kindness wasn't a gift but a goad, scraping against one's skin like a yoke of thorns. She would have preferred him stiff, defensive, even offensive.”

“I should have known something was wrong when my advisor’s parting words were Good luck. To his credit, he had—very gently—suggested that I might want to consider a different sort of topic. But I didn’t want to consider another topic. I was madly in love with my topic: “Aristocratic Espionage during the Wars with France, 1789- 1815.” It had dash, it had swash, it had buckle.”

“Because I like you,” she blurted out, and realized that for once it was true. It was a rather unsettling revelation. “You’re . . . , well, you.” Not just a body on a balcony, not just a pair of lips to blot out boredom, but Alex, Alex who argued with her and watched out for her and woke absurdly early in the mornings to ride with her every day, whether he had the time to do so or not. Perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Alex didn’t seem to think so, either. His dark eyes were intent on her face, watching her in that way of his, as though he were learning her from the inside out, peering into every little dark nook and cranny of her soul. There were plenty of those to choose from. Dark nooks were one of Penelope’s specialties. He might have wanted her last night, in the still of the bungalow, with the lingering scent of moonflowers on the breeze, but not in daylight, when he saw her again for what she was, brash, impetuous, with her face gone unfashionably tan and curry stains on her habit. He was undoubtedly mustering the words with which to turn her down politely. Penelope suddenly, very desperately, didn’t want to hear them. She jumped to her feet, leaning over to gather up the empty tins. “Or we can just ride on,” she said brusquely, not looking at him. A lean brown hand closed around her wrist. Penelope regarded it blankly, as though not quite sure what it was doing there, alien against the white lace frill of her sleeve. Slowly, her breath catching somewhere in the vicinity of her corset, she lifted her eyes to Alex’s face. What she saw banished any doubts she might have had. In his eyes blazed a reflection of the desire she felt in her own. Nothing more needed to be said. Without a word, he drew her down beside him on the blanket, the blanket that had seemed so prosaic only moments before, but now presented the prospect of a host of exotic and illicit possibilities. Penelope plunked down hard on her knees, catching at his shoulders for balance as she tilted her head down to kiss him, enjoying the unusual advantage of height. “Are you sure?” he murmured, his teeth tugging at her earlobe, even as his hands moved intimately up and down her torso. In answer, Penelope pushed hard at his shoulders, sending him toppling back onto the blanket, narrowly missing sheer disaster with a fork. She followed him down, bracing herself on her elbows and scattering kisses across his upturned face as he busied himself with the buttons on her riding jacket. The fabric parted, and his hands slid beneath, burning through the linen of her blouse, drawing her down on top of him with drugging kisses that made the noon sky dim to dusk and the rustling of the tree leaves blur in her ears. Penelope wriggled her hands beneath his shirt, feeling the hard edges of muscle beneath, delighting in the way they contracted with each labored breath, with a flick of her tongue against the hollow of his throat and an exploratory expedition taken by her lips along his collarbone.”

“There was a curiously ferocious quality to their lovemaking, as if it were a competition to see which of them could elicit the greater response from the other. It was as though they were trying to scour their mark into each other, like lovers’ initials charred into the trunk of a tree, relic of a lost romance. Teasing, taunting, titillating, they grappled together long after the fire had burned down to embers and the night-blooming flowers on the lake had opened their petals to the night sky, perfuming the air with their too-sweet fragrance. Afterwards, Penelope lay awake, feigning the regular breath of sleep. Beside her, she could sense that Alex was doing the same.”

“The food of love isn’t music. It’s grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches.”

“Strange, that the thought of him still evoked such bitterness in her. She had thought death would have conquered that, transmuting bitterness to grief and recriminations to guilt. For a time it had. But like an alchemist’s experiments, the transformation had proved illusory.”

“Love. Such a mild term for such a destructive force.”

“I have nothing to say,” she said in a tight little voice. “If you have, I wish you would just say it and get it over with. I’m sure we both have other things to do this afternoon.” Alex’s hands grasped her by the shoulders and turned her bodily around to face him. Up close, his face wasn’t expressionless at all. The expression on display appeared to be intense irritation. “Damn it, Penelope,” he said harshly. “Don’t play games. Do you?” “Do I what?” Alex just looked at her. He didn’t need to say anything. Just the look was enough. Penelope jerked her head back defiantly. “What is it to you?” Alex choked on an incredulous laugh. “Don’t you know by now?” he demanded. “If you don’t, you’re the only one who doesn’t.” “Now who’s playing games?” shot back Penelope, but it came out decidedly less vigorous than she had intended it. Alex met her gaze without hesitation. “No games,” he said. “No evasions. If you don’t know by now that I have a severe case of being-in-love with you, you’re the only damn one in the compound.”

“He appreciated her as a companion; he admired her as a comrade; he wanted her as a lover. All innocuous enough each on its own. Put together . . . Christ. What a coil.”

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Book Keywords:

goad, pride, love, men, kindness

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