Sunday, June 26, 2016

Lucifer, the bringer of light

During the course of researching 'Lucifer' for my latest book: A Witch in Time Saves Nine, I've discovered that it was the early Christians who made his name synonymous with the devil. The word 'Lucifer' actually means 'bringer of light' or 'bringer of truth'. He is associated with Venus. Lucifer is a pre-Christian term and is only mentioned one time in the Bible. My fascination grows. I found a wonderful article that I am reprinting here:

One of the most slanderous, ignorant, and utterly false accusations that has been repeatedly directed at H.P. Blavatsky and against Theosophists in general over the years is the claim that Theosophy is a form of satanism and that Madame Blavatsky was a devil worshipper.
To a Theosophist, such an assertion is as laughable as it is ridiculous and nonsensical.
Those accusations and condemnations originate primarily from the realm of Christianity and from those of its adherents who believe in a personal anthropomorphic God and a personal anthropomorphic devil, the supposed enemy of that God.
Considering the fact that Lucifer and Satan have come to be viewed as synonymous terms and names for the same entity, it is not too hard to see why our Christian friends have jumped to such a conclusion, seeing as the Theosophical magazine started in England in the late 1880s by HPB was titled “Lucifer” and that in her masterpiece work “The Secret Doctrine” she speaks of Lucifer in positive and glowing terms.
But there are several important points which need to be understood…
#1. Christianity does not have a monopoly on the term “Lucifer” nor on its definition. The Christian concept and definition of the term “Lucifer” is merely the latest in a long line of definitions and interpretations of this pre-Christianterm.
#2. The word “Lucifer” occurs only once in the entire Bible. This is in Isaiah 14:12, which says: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” Those who read this verse in its actual context will clearly see that the sentence is applied specifically to a certain Babylonian king who was an enemy in war of the Israelites. The original Hebrew text uses the word הֵילֵל which literally means “bright star” or “shining one,” a term applied sarcastically or mockingly by the Israelites to this particular enemy of theirs. The translators of the King James Version of the Bible – one of the chief of whom was the well known Rosicrucian initiate Dr Robert Fludd, a fact which will no doubt shock and horrify many Christians – chose to translate this word with the Latin word “Lucifer.”
#3. “Lucifer” literally means Lightbringer, Lightbearer, Bringer of Dawn, Shining One, or Morning Star. The word has no other meaning. Historically and astronomically, the term “Morning Star” has always been applied to the planet Venus.
#4. Since the only occurrence of the word “Lucifer” in the Bible is that one verse in Isaiah, there is absolutely nothing in the Bible which says that Lucifer is Satan or the devil. It was Pope Gregory the Great (540-604 AD) who was the first person to apply that passage of scripture to Satan and thus to equate Lucifer with Satan. But even then this notion didn’t catch on in a big way until the much more recent popularisation of John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” in which Lucifer is used as another name for Satan, the evil adversary of God. Also, such luminaries of the Christian world as Martin Luther and John Calvin considered it “a gross error” to apply Isaiah 14:12 to the devil, “for the context plainly shows these statements must be understood in reference to the king of the Babylonians.”
#5. Thus the Christians who claim that Lucifer is the devil actually have no Biblical basis or authority for such a belief. Though they may claim to be “Bible believing Christians” whose faith is built solely on “the Word of God” they are actually followers – in this and many other respects – of Christian religious tradition and not of the Christian Bible. Or have they quietly conferred divine infallibility upon the Pope and Milton without informing the rest of the world?
#6. H.P. Blavatsky was never at any point in her life a Christian, gave no credence to Christian theology and did not believe in any type of personal or anthropomorphic God nor in any type of personal or anthropomorphic devil. She believed and taught that there is but ONE Infinite Divine Life which iseverything and in everything and that It has no adversary or enemy, since there is nothing but That – the boundless, impersonal, omnipresent Principle of Absolute Existence Itself. She was against the notion of worshipping or praying to anyone or anything. She taught that evil is really imperfection, which is the automatic and inevitable byproduct of the existence of matter.
Now let us take a look at some of the statements HPB made about Lucifer in “The Secret Doctrine”…
* “Esoteric philosophy admits neither good nor evil per se, as existing independently in nature. The cause for both is found, as regards the Kosmos, in the necessity of contraries or contrasts, and with respect to man, in his human nature, his ignorance and passions. There is no devil or the utterly depraved, as there are no Angels absolutely perfect, though there may be spirits of Light and of Darkness; thus LUCIFER – the spirit of Intellectual Enlightenment and Freedom of Thought – is metaphorically the guiding beacon, which helps man to find his way through the rocks and sandbanks of Life, for Lucifer is the LOGOS in his highest, and the “Adversary” in his lowest aspect – both of which are reflected in our Ego.” (Vol. 2, p. 162)
* “In antiquity and reality, Lucifer, or Luciferus, is the name of the angelic Entity presiding over the light of truth as over the light of the day. In the great Valentinian gospel Pistis Sophia it is taught that of the three Powers emanating from the Holy names of the Three Tριδυνάμεις, that of Sophia (the Holy Ghost according to these gnostics – the most cultured of all) resides in the planet Venus or Lucifer.” (Vol. 2, p. 512)
* “It is but natural – even from the dead letter standpoint – to view Satan, the Serpent of Genesis, as the real creator and benefactor, the Father of Spiritual mankind. For it is he who was the “Harbinger of Light,” bright radiant Lucifer, who opened the eyes of the automaton created by Jehovah, as alleged; and he who was the first to whisper: “in the day ye eat thereof ye shall be as Elohim, knowing good and evil” – can only be regarded in the light of a Saviour. An “adversary” to Jehovah the “personating spirit,” he still remains in esoteric truth the ever-loving “Messenger” (the angel), the Seraphim and Cherubim who both knew well, and loved still more, and who conferred on us spiritual, instead of physical immortality – the latter a kind of static immortality that would have transformed man into an undying “Wandering Jew”.” (Vol. 2, p. 243)
* “The Fall was the result of man’s knowledge, for his “eyes were opened.” Indeed, he was taught Wisdom and the hidden knowledge by the “Fallen Angel,” for the latter had become from that day his Manas, Mind and Self-consciousness. In each of us that golden thread of continuous life – periodically broken into active and passive cycles of sensuous existence on Earth, and super-sensuous in Devachan – is from the beginning of our appearance upon this earth. It is the Sutratma, the luminous thread of immortal impersonal monadship, on which our earthly lives or evanescentEgos are strung as so many beads – according to the beautiful expression of Vedantic philosophy.
“And now it stands proven that Satan, or the Red Fiery Dragon, the “Lord of Phosphorus” (brimstone was a theological improvement), and Lucifer, or “Light-Bearer,” is in us: it is our Mind – our tempter and Redeemer, our intelligent liberator and Saviour from pure animalism. Without this principle – the emanation of the very essence of the pure divine principle Mahat(Intelligence), which radiates direct from the Divine mind – we would be surely no better than animals.” (Vol. 2, p. 513)
So we see that in the teachings of Theosophy – which are at times deliberately symbolical, allegorical, and esoteric – the Lightbringer or Bringer of Dawn (Lucifer in Latin) is our Mind Principle, our individual self-consciousness and spark of intelligence, which was awakened in mankind around the middle period of the Third Root Race, also known as the Lemurian Epoch. Our mind can either be our adversary (which is what the word “satan” literally means) or it can be the lightbearer (the Lucifer) of spiritual Truth to us, the knowledge of which brings about our liberation from ignorance, including spiritual self-ignorance.
Jose M. Herrou Aragon, in his book “Primordial Gnosis: The Forbidden Religion,” writes…
“According to Gnostic legends and myths, the great Unknowable God sent Lucifer, angel of indescribable fire and light, to show man the light and to help him wake up and see his true origin, the origin of his Spirit, which has been perversely imprisoned in this impure matter called body-soul. He is an uncreated being, who came to the created world to bring Light: Liberating Gnosis. The saving knowledge which can wake man up and help him free his imprisoned Spirit. The knowledge which allows him to know who he truly is, why he is here in this world and what he has to do to liberate himself and fulfil his Spirit, which belongs to another uncreated and unknowable plane.
“We have said that Lucifer came to the world to wake man up, to help him remember his divine origin, the divine origin of his Spirit, and to help him free himself from the body-soul in which he is trapped, and from created time and matter.”
Theosophy interprets all these allegorical Gnostic teachings as referring to “the lighting up of Manas” (Manas is the Sanskrit word for Mind) which we mentioned above. When we bear in mind that “The Secret Doctrine” teaches that the Lemurian Root Race was born under the influence of Venus and received its “light and life” from the Planetary Spirit of Venus, it all becomes clearer, since Lucifer has been an accepted synonym for Venus – the bright and morning star – since long before the days of Christian theology and millennia before Lucifer was first ignorantly equated with the devil.
In “The Secret Doctrine” we read that “Venus, or Lucifer (also Sukra and Usanas) the planet, is the Light-Bearer of our Earth, in both its physical and mystic sense.” Venus is said to be the “spiritual prototype” of Earth and “the Guardian Spirit of the Earth and Men.” It is “the most occult, powerful, and mysterious of all the planets; the one whose influence upon, and relation to the Earth is most prominent” and every change that takes place on Venus “is felt on, and reflected by, the Earth.”
Since it would take too long and also be out of place here to try to explain all of this to the reader unfamiliar with Theosophy, we can sum up by saying thatwhat H.P. Blavatsky has to say about Lucifer is entirely esoteric, symbolical, and philosophical. Those four excerpts quoted above are virtually the only specific statements and explanations she ever made about Lucifer, although fanatical Christians and half-crazed conspiracy theorists like to give the impression that she spent almost all her time ranting and raving about Lucifer, which is simply not true.
As for the reason her magazine was named “Lucifer,” she wrote in its very first article – titled “What’s in a Name?” – that “the first and most important, if not the sole object of the magazine, is expressed in the line from the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, on its title page. It is to bring light to “the hidden things of darkness,” (iv. 5); to show in their true aspect and their original real meaning things and names, men and their doings and customs; it is finally to fight prejudice, hypocrisy and shams in every nation, in every class of Society, as in every department of life. The task is a laborious one but it is neither impracticable nor useless, if even as an experiment. Thus, for an attempt of such nature, no better title could ever be found than the one chosen. … No fitter symbol exists for the proposed work – that of throwing a ray of truth on everything hidden by the darkness of prejudice, by social or religious misconceptions; especially by that idiotic routine in life, which, once that a certain action, a thing, a name, has been branded by slanderous inventions, however unjust, makes respectable people, so called, turn away shiveringly, refusing to even look at it from any other aspect than the one sanctioned by public opinion. Such an endeavour then, to force the weak-hearted to look truth straight in the face, is helped most efficaciously by a title belonging to the category of branded names.”
But as she was later to remark, the ignorant and erroneous belief that Lucifer = Satan “has struck its roots too deep in the soil of blind faith” to allow many people to bravely, boldly, and unashamedly reveal the true origins and true nature of what the so-called Lucifer actually is. Those who attempt to do so are always bound to be immediately labelled as “satanists” and “devil worshippers” by a certain class of Christian, those whose trademark characteristics invariably tend to be wilful ignorance and mental laziness. It has indeed become a “branded name,” one which still automatically conjures up the image of an anthropomorphic devil even in the minds of the most hardened atheists.
Yet who can deny that even Jesus is portrayed as boldly proclaiming his identity with Venus the Lightbringer in Revelation 22:16, where he says “I, Jesus, am the bright and morning star.” If the translators had chosen to translate this verse using Latin just as they did with Isaiah 14:12, it would read “I, Jesus, am Lucifer.”
Theosophists are not afraid of public opinion or misguided prejudice, nor of the claims and threats of Christianity, that most arrogant, ignorant, and impudent of all the world’s religions. “There is no religion higher than Truth” – and eventually, as always, the Truth will prevail.

Monday, May 30, 2016

when in doubt...

Last post was a mess of ramblings with no focus except to complain about blogspot and google! Today I'm not worrying that they have an e-mail address for me that hasn't existed in five years--instead I am going to get right to the point--which is:

Writing is what's important! If you spend too much time worrying about how many sales you've made it brings your energy down and makes you falter...in other words it keeps you from moving forward along your path. There are several other things that also get in the way, and for what it's worth, here's the list and my advice:

1. Formatting--I know a lot of authors who pride themselves on knowing how to do this--I don't know and I don't want to know. I have a good formatter who doesn't charge me much and also finds typos that have escaped unseen. His name is Rik Hall.

2. Cover art--there are many cover artists out there and there is also Shutterstock where you can find your own images and then have them worked into a cover by a professional. Perry Elizabeth Designs is just one of many but I do recommend her.

3. Marketing--This is HUGE. How many of you spend hours every day attempting to do everything you can to get people to buy your books? This includes searching through sites that do reviews, putting your book on their blogs, etc.(for a sizable fee I might add) giving your books away and actually PAYING hundreds of $ to do it--this is the one that gets me the most. It also includes reading posts by other authors on FB sites and blogs, attempting to repeat the claims they've made that they've sold a million books by doing X. Well, X may have worked for them, or, just maybe, they are lying--did you ever think of that? And even if they are telling the truth you know they've left out Chris O'Byrne who not only does the marketing piece but also edits, formats, and answers stupid questions. (and puts up with occasional hysterics) He has worked on my keywords, a concept I could not seem to get despite buying several books on the subject.
some tiny detail that holds the key. I have now turned over my marketing to

4. Angst--another piece of a writer's day in which he puts his head is in his hands and can't seem to put one word on the page. Angst comes from #1, 2, and 3. If you delegate these extra hats to people who actually know how to do them your mind is clear to move forward on your writing--and isn't that what you want to be doing???

Thanks for reading and: KEEP ON WRITING!


Saturday, May 21, 2016

google craziness



I just spent nearly an hour trying to get into my blog--it is under an old e-mail account that doesn't
exist anymore, but when I TRY AND CHANGE IT THINGS GO TOTALLY AWRY!!!

Why is everything so damned difficult? And I LOVE it that there is no phone number listed ANYWHERE to call a human being in order to solve these damn problems that come up OVER AND OVER!

Okay, rant over, although my blood pressure is still too high...Back to blogging--isn't that why I'm here? Can't even remember what I'd planned to blog about!

Thinking...okay...marketing...is anyone using either Twitter Jukebox or Manage Flitter? I've been working with a marketer who has been setting up automatic tweets (twitter jukebox) that cost nothing and go out something like 5 times a day? They are in the form of picboxes with images of my books and either some little word teaser or just a wolf image to go along with The Wolf Moon trilogy...fun--wish I knew how to do them because I love this kind of stuff--would have to buy a program and learn it. Do I have the time or patience for this?

I just uploaded the 3rd book in my Summer McCloud paranormal murder mystery series (Black and White and Red all Over only .99) and the Createspace copy should be out in a day or two. I am also working on a book (Return of the Wolf) that fits in between The Wolf Moon and Bridge of Mist and Fog--it fills in some of the sixteen year time gap between the two and follows Maeve and Harold into....I would tell you the storyline but if you haven't read The Wolf Moon it would be a major spoiler alert!

Also beginning a book about a time-travelling witch...so, probably don't have the time to do the picboxes. On to manage flitter--it's a way to quickly follow a lot of people and hopefully many will follow back--I guess it's important...still undecided about Twitter since I've been tweeting my books and not getting many sales as a result. How about you? Does it help?

Keywords, a subject I've read about but have no patience for, has now been taken over by my marketing person, Chris OByrne. It is too early to tell, but I'm hoping my readers will find my books because of all the work Chris has done.

I highly recommend getting help in these areas--even if it costs it frees an author up to concentrate on
what they love, which is WRITING. I've noticed I have a less anxious demeanor since I hired Chris.

Thanks for reading!!!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Contest for FREE book!

I am gifting five kindle copies of Bridge of Mist and Fog to the first five who tell me the name of the Norse god who is a character in the story--yes, I know you haven't read it, but make a guess--to play you need to e-mail your answer to nikkibroadwell@comcast.net--anyone who does NOT want to be added to my e-mail newsletter list please say so. And good luck!!!!

Thanks  for reading!!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cupid's arrow

I put down the shears and stalked toward the house. Damn these daisies! Why couldn’t they just grow like everything else in my gorgeous garden? An envelope lay on the step in front of the door and I bent down to pick it up. When had that been delivered? I had been in the garden for most of the morning—surely I would have noticed. As I drew out the deckle-edged paper a familiar lemony scent wafted upward. My heart did a tiny flip-flop.

Diamonds are nothing
Compared to your beauty
I would come forward now
If ‘twas not for my duty

The paper slipped from my grasp and drifted toward the garden. When I went to retrieve it, it had landed in the middle of my forlorn daisies. Apropos, I thought, as I scanned into the distant past.  Duty, my ass! The last time I saw him was on another Valentine’s Day. At the time I thought his gift of daisies was sweet. If only I had known then what I knew now.
A distant shriek brought my attention to the street. “Watch out—it isn’t human!” I heard someone yell and then the sound of running feet. Ohmygod he was here! I ran into the house and slammed the door behind me and then stationed myself behind the sheer curtain in the picture window. When I saw the feathery white wings I was sure.

These silly people and their superstitions, he thought to himself as he approached her house. If it wasn’t for me who knows how unhappy everyone would be. Yes, he thought, I may not be that handsome from certain points of view, but I certainly have had my way with the ladies. And they like it, there is no doubt. Even this one, who I pretended to love so long ago. If only she really was my lost love, he thought sadly to himself, wiping his eyes.  He shook himself to get rid of the memory, making the  feathers on his wings fluff up. As he rounded the corner the garden came into view. The iris were full of ire this morning, he thought, watching their angry purple expressions as their stalks bent and twisted in the breeze. He smiled at the sunlit daffodils dancing in a wild riot from one side of the garden to the other. The lily’s, loquacious as always, all began to speak at the same time.
“Hello, my friends,” he said when their lilting voices had died down. He dug his bare into the soft earth as he turned to take in the garden, sudden horror replacing his smile. “But what has happened to the daisies?” he cried. “My gift has deteriorated and is close to death!” He bent to examine the blackened stalks, the white petals turned drab. A sudden warmth on his back brought his gaze toward the house and he glanced up to see her silhouette in the window. His eyes met hers and he stared until she turned away.  She looks the same, he thought, getting up off his knees and brushing away the mud.

A large knot took up residence in my solar plexus as I watched his approach. The sight of his well-proportioned naked body was nothing new, but I had to admit it had a certain effect on me. I did not want to open the door when I heard the knock but something propelled me there.  I swung it open, surprised as always by the languid expression in those angelic eyes of his.  He pulled the arrow from his quiver and aimed it at my heart. “No, not again,” I cried, but it was already too late. It had pierced the flesh and I was no longer able to resist him. He took me in his arms and I tasted his sweetness as his mouth met mine.
“I love you, Psyche,” he said as he picked me up and carried me toward the bedroom.
His wings brushed against my skin sending shivers up and down my spine. “My name is not Psyche, but if you want to call me that it’s fine with me,” I murmured into his neck. He cradled me against his well-muscled body before he placed me down on the bed. I lay helpless as he unbuttoned my blouse, his eyes staring into mine. He was methodical and careful, his fingers warm against my skin as he helped me out of my clothes. When I lay before him like an opened present, his eyes narrowed, a cat-like smile hovering around his full lips. A blush crept from my neck into my cheeks, the heat making me tingle with anticipation. And then Cupid, in his very adult form,  lay down beside me and I was lost, just as I had been fifteen years before.




Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Lord and his Lacky--a romance

Lord Lamborne looked up from the pile of papers on his desk. “I thought I told you to stay on it,” he said, frowning.
“I am ‘staying on it’, as you so aptly put it. I’ve been on her trail since last Wednesday. The russet beauty is elusive.”
Lord Lamborne pushed his leather chair back and stood. He was several inches taller than I was, and that coupled with the frown of displeasure on his handsome face made me cringe. I knew what this man was capable of, and I didn’t want to be the recipient of his wrath. Before I could back away he’d grabbed my arm.
“No more excuses, Reinette. If you haven’t found her by Monday you will be punished.”
“Yes, my lord,” I said, making the mistake of meeting his dark eyes. What I saw there chilled me to the bone.
“Get out of my sight.” He let me go and I backed away until I felt the door behind me. Turning, I fled through it.
My full name was Vonzuccalimaglios Reinette but since no one could pronounce it, I was simply known as Reinette. My grandmother, despite protestations from the entire family, had bestowed this moniker upon me. “It suits him,” she’d said looking down on my wizened baby face. Why she thought this I never found out, since she died before I reached one year of age.
I had worked for Lord Lamborne for over six months now, and wished I’d never applied for the job. I’d expected to be his secretary, since he did a lot of writing and needed someone to organize his papers. Unfortunately this was not to be. Instead he expected me to find people, women mostly, who had gone against him in some way. This latest russet beauty, as we referred to her since her hair was a flaming red color, had been his lover before she disappeared. Her full name was Maeve McDuff. I had enjoyed several pleasant conversations with this lovely lady, and understood completely why she did what she did. Lord Lamborne was a cruel man who when angered lashed out with riding whips or fists. I’d seen the bruises on Maeve’s face and neck.
I hurried to the stables to tack up my horse, my mind on several conflicting plans.  I knew where Maeve was, but I was caught in a moral dilemma. Should I let her remain and incur the lord’s wrath, or should I bring her back to him and watch her suffer? It was a hard decision since I was reluctant to undergo the physical punishment that came with displeasing his lordship.

As I rode into the forest I listened carefully for bandits. This hilly area outside the manor lands was a hard place, with hard men about, and although I was a good shot, I carried no gun. I did have a dagger on my belt, but this would not protect me from the roving thieves who thought nothing of killing for a few coins.
It was several hours before I came close to the small village where Maeve made her home. This was a poor place where disease was rampant and villagers scrabbled to stay alive. Many had succumbed to the afflictions that had taken up residence in the air and water, and because of this, thieves gave it a wide berth.
I found Maeve hanging out sheets from a hastily erected line. She wore a scarf to keep her wild hair back, her face red from exertion.
I dismounted and let my horse forage, approaching her carefully since she was known to throw heavy objects when startled. “Hello, Maeve,” I called.
She turned,  and when she saw me her eyes narrowed in irritation. “What are you doing here, Reinette?”
“I bet you can guess.”
“I’m not going back to that bastard. I’m needed here.”
I was well aware of her healing skills that caused people to call her a witch, a word that could be used as a compliment or a curse. “If I don’t bring you back he’ll have my hide.”
“Better yours than mine.”
When she reached up to wipe the sweat from her forehead her scarf fell, letting loose her red tangle. I sucked in my breath realizing how utterly beautiful she was. No wonder the lord wanted her back.  My breath quickened as her green eyes met mine. I was not as handsome as the lord, but women enjoyed my company often enough.
“I understand your dilemma, Reinette, but if you have any feeling for me you will leave this place.”
“If I don’t return with you he’ll find someone else to do his dirty work, and that person may not be as kind as I am.”
“I don’t care. I have duties here, and until that day I’ll continue to do them.”
“Could you entertain the idea of my company?” I asked before I could stop myself. Her beauty was unparalleled. and not only that, she was a kind and gentle woman I would gladly spend the rest of my life with.
A look of surprise moved across her features. “I…I’ve never thought of you in that way.” She seemed to assess me after that, her glance moving across my face and physique. I straightened my back, trying to appear taller than my six feet. “You’re not bad to look at,” she admitted, her head cocking to one side. “But what are your other attributes?”
I saw the little smile playing around her lips and had a moment of hope. “I can cook, I’m handy with tools, I'm good with a dagger, and with a gun, if I have one. I can dance quite nimbly. And traveling with me is a delight because I refuse to go without my creature comforts. In other words, I spend a lot of time setting up camp and finding the best herbs to go with my freshly caught rabbit.”
Maeve laughed, a tinkling sound that made my heart skip a beat. Would she? Could she…? I’d seen her gaze at me from time to time at the manor house, but I never dared interfere with his lordship and try and woo her for myself. I realized with a start that I’d loved her for a very long time.
She bent to pick up another sheet, throwing it over the line. Her bare ankle appeared beneath her skirt, the skin pale. I longed to bend down and take her foot in my hand and kiss every dirty toe. 
When she straightened her eyes were bright. “If I come with you then both of us can escape his punishments?”
“That’s correct, and I have a safe place in mind. But what about your duties here?”
“If it is within traveling distance I can come as I'm needed. Where is this safe place you speak of?"
I thought of my cave up in the hills far from the roads, what I'd done over the years to make it livable. Would Maeve be comfortable there? It was hidden by thicket and far from any beaten path. My bed was of soft heather covered in a sheepskin, another sheepskin as a blanket, my latrine, a hole dug far in the back and filled with sand and covered over with moss. My kitchen was a fire pit, my food the rabbits I trapped and the fish I caught. My water came from a stream at the bottom of the hill and that is where I bathed. The thought of bathing there with Maeve made my heart beat faster. 
Maeve stared at me for several long moments, her thorough perusal making the blood rise into my cheeks. “I’ve wondered about you, Reinette,” she finally said. “I’ve seen the way you looked at me, but you never said a word.”
“How could I? His lordship would have killed me on the spot.”
“I suppose that is true. Did you not see my interest?” she asked.
“You were interested in me?”
“I would have been had you made a sign.”
“Well, I am now,” I said strongly, taking hold of her hand.
She took one last look at her sheets and then picked up her long skirts and followed me back to where I’d left my mount. I took hold of the reins and swung into the saddle and then reached down to grab her hand, pulling her up behind me. Her arms went round my waist and I could feel the warmth of her body against my back. A thrill went through me as we rode toward the distant mountains.