Book Teaser: The Peasant Woman

Jasmine left Damian to wander further down the brook to bathe in a well-covered area. She disappeared among the cattails and tiger lilies. For a moment, he recalled how the bright, orange wildflowers were gathered to be put in elaborate bouquets in the palace. Out there among the long grasses, they looked so minimalist. Taking off his filthy clothes, his skin crawled at the realization of how dirty he was. He’d never smelled so bad in all his life. Stepping into the cool, running waters, the depth only went up to his knees. It made him miss those warm, perfumed baths even more. He sat down in the stream, hyperventilating at first from the shock of cold, then started to scrub his arms. When his entire body had been washed, he dunked his head, scrubbing his hair until all the dirt was gone. It had grown out a little without his regular barber cuts. He walked back to shore and changed into the clean set of clothes. He felt like a new man as he examined the bland, scratchy fabric. It didn’t matter so much to him now. He was just happy not to be dirty anymore.

He wasn’t sure if he should wait for Jasmine. In the corner of his eye, he noticed her approach. Dressed in a red, form-fitting gown, she looked like a different person. It highlighted her narrow waist and the curve of her hips. Her hair was wet, but she looked so naturally pretty that he couldn’t think of what to say.

“You look much better,” she said, eyeing him up and down.

“You, too. That’s a nice dress.”

She blushed, looking down at the grass as they walked back to the hut together. The garment was something one would see middle class merchants’ daughters wearing. It must have cost her half of her life savings to pay for the gown.

“I can’t wait to dance. It’s been a hard year. Finally, we can all unwind and fully enjoy a night.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” he said.

While he wasn’t exactly looking forward to partying with peasants, the idea was growing on him. He could use a drink after everything he’d been through over the last month. In the distance, new stone houses were being built. The three towers still stood tall, their white exterior glowing in the sunset’s soft light. It was a strange new reality, but being with Jasmine soothed his anxiety. She did save his life, after all.

A flock of geese flew above them. They both looked up at the pink sky, watching the birds pass over them.

“If you were a bird, what type would you want to be?” she asked.

“What?” he asked with a laugh.

“It’s a game, Dan. Imagine you had to turn into a bird the day that you leave this world. What type of bird would you rather be?”

“I don’t want to think about death right now. I’m twenty-four years old, lady!”

“And I’m thirty-six. I don’t want to die for a long time, either. I just thought it would be a fun game.”

“Involving death,” mocked Dan, shaking his head. “By the way, I would have never thought you were so much older than me. I thought you were around my age.”

“Marco thinks I look younger because of my childlike wonder.”

“Maybe it’s the minerals and vitamins found in that brook you bathe in,” he chuckled. “Nice work, though. I know of some rich ladies who would love to know your secret.”

“You flatter me.”

He looked her over in amazement. “I’m just being honest.”

“Hm,” she said with a sigh, glancing up at the pastel skies. “I think I’d like to be a mourning dove. They’re so elegant, but not flashy like some of the songbirds. They pair for life with their lover, and their song is so beautiful.”

“Ah, yes, there was one who would often sing by my window in the early mornings. I didn’t hate it. They have a soft, soulful song. Good choice, Jasmine. I don’t know what I would be …”

She laughed. “I’m sorry for making you play one of my weird games.”

“Maybe we’ll have to play one of mine next,” he said with a grin.

She didn’t respond and he regretted saying it.

Do you want to read the rest? You can check it out on Amazon!



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