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Eternally Yours (Immortal Beloved #3)

Eternally Yours (Immortal Beloved #3)

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Published by gabbym_22
After 450 years of living, Nastasya Crowe should have more of a handle on this whole immortal thing....

After a deadly confrontation at the end of Darkness Falls, the second Immortal Beloved novel, Nastasya Crowe is, as she would put it, so over the drama. She fights back against the dark immortals with her own brand of kick-butt magick...but can she fight against true love? In the satisfying finale to the Immortal Beloved trilogy, ex-party-girl immortal Nastasya ends a 450-year-old feud and learns what "eternally yours" really means.

Laced with historical flashbacks and laugh-out-loud dialogue, the Immortal Beloved trilogy is a fascinating and unique take on what it would mean to live forever
After 450 years of living, Nastasya Crowe should have more of a handle on this whole immortal thing....

After a deadly confrontation at the end of Darkness Falls, the second Immortal Beloved novel, Nastasya Crowe is, as she would put it, so over the drama. She fights back against the dark immortals with her own brand of kick-butt magick...but can she fight against true love? In the satisfying finale to the Immortal Beloved trilogy, ex-party-girl immortal Nastasya ends a 450-year-old feud and learns what "eternally yours" really means.

Laced with historical flashbacks and laugh-out-loud dialogue, the Immortal Beloved trilogy is a fascinating and unique take on what it would mean to live forever

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Published by: gabbym_22 on Jan 13, 2013
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08/06/2013

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CHAPTER 1UPPSALA, SWEDEN, 1619Vali! Vali! Where is the girl?”I heard my employer’s voice and scrambled up from the storage cellar.“Here!” I said breathlessly, setting the heavy box of gold thread on the counter. Thewooden steps to the cellar below the shop were barely more than a ladder; I’d had to holdthe box with one hand while the other kept me from pitching head over feet. In time Iwould become as nimble as a mountain goat, but I’d been here only a month and thesestairs were, even by Scandinavian standards, steep and narrow. Factor in the long skirtsand petticoats and you had potential disaster in the making.My employer, Master Nils Svenson, gave his customer a smile. “Vali is new here; she’sstill learning the stock.”I made a little curtsey, keeping my eyes down.“She’s doing very well, though, aren’t you, dear?” Master Svenson nodded at meapprovingly, then turned his full attention to the man who was deep in the throes of deciding whether large ruffs were truly going out of fashion or not.I took a feather duster from my apron pocket and began to dust the bolts of fabrics liningtwo walls. My master was one of the most sought-after tailors in Uppsala, known to havethe finest fabrics: finely woven wools, smooth to my hand and dyed in deep jewel tones; plain and colored linen in various weights, from moth-wing gauzy to the heavy, sturdycloth for breeches and bodices; unbelievably fine silk from the Far East in bright, parrotcolors that were completely exotic and out of place in this country in November.The silver bell over the shop door tinkled, and a very elegant woman came in, her hattrailing a turquoise ostrich plume that I knew cost as much as what I earned in sixmonths.“Hello, my dear,” said the man, turning and lightly catching the woman’s gloved hand tokiss. “I apologize for being late.”“I’m not inconvenienced in the least,” she said graciously. “You finish your business.”She seemed to glide across the shop on fine kid shoes that made barely a sound. Momentslater she stood near me as I flicked the duster and tried not to stare at her beautiful storm-gray cloak, chain-stitched all over with black flowers.“What exquisite fabric,” she murmured, gently touching a peach-colored watered silk, itssilver-thread embroidery making it heavy and stiff. She turned to her husband. “My dear?You really should have a waist—”I don’t know why she looked at me just then, but she did, her clear blue eyes skimmingabsently across me and then sharpening and locking on my face like a magnet. Shestopped in midword, her eyes wide. Her hand gathered a bit of silk and held it, as if 
 
without it she would fall down.“Yes, my dear?” her husband said.She let go of the silk and gave a shaky smile. “One moment.” She gracefully turned her  back to the two men and looked at me again.“You,” she said in a voice too low for them to hear.“Yes, mistress?” I asked, concerned. Then—I don’t know how to describe it. I still can’t.I don’t know how we know or what it is. But I met her eyes, and there passed between usan instant of recognition. My mouth opened, and I almost gasped.We had seen each other for what we were: immortal. I hadn’t met another person like mein three countries, eight cities, and almost fifty years.“Who are you?” she whispered.“My name is Vali, mistress.”“Where are you from?”The decades-old lie came easily to me. “Noregr, mistress,” I murmured, hoping that therewere in fact immortals in Norway. I hadn’t met any when I lived there.“My dear?” her husband called.With a last penetrating look, the woman left me and joined her husband. Soon they wentout into the dark, cold afternoon—it was only three thirty, but of course the sun had setalready, this far north.I stood still, my mind turning wheels, until I realized Master Svenson was looking at me.I started busily dusting again.The next day my master called me over from the glass-fronted display of silk ribbons thatI’d been arranging.He was wrapping something in brown paper, folding it neatly and then tying it withwaxed twine. “I need you to take this to Mistress Henstrom,” he said. “She’s requestedseveral cloth samples.” He took up his pen, dipped it in ink, and wrote her street andhouse number on the paper in his educated, slanty script. “Make haste, Vali. And here—  buy yourself a bun on the way back.” He handed me a few copper coins.“Thank you, sir,” I said. He was a genuinely kind man, and working for him hadn’t beenat all bad so far.I retucked the scarf I wore always, pulled on my own loden-green rough-wool cloak, andhurried out. This Mistress Henstrom lived about a thirty-minute walk away. I dodgedstreet filth, horses, and people crowding the high street’s shops, and was glad again that Ilived in a town and no longer in the countryside. Uppsala was by far the biggest town Ihad lived in since Reykjavík. In the countryside, night closed in on you like a bell placed
 
over a light, silent and grim. Here even at midnight you could occasionally hear theclopping of horseshoes on the cobbles, a baby’s wail, sometimes the off-tune and bawdysinging of men who’d drunk too much. And here, in this town, lived at least one other immortal.The streets twisted and turned, and more than once I had to backtrack and take a differentroute. I walked as fast as I could, mostly to keep warm, but the damp, misty chill slippedunder my cloak and through my ankle-high boots. By the time I found the correct housenumber, I was chilled down to my fingernails and shaking with cold.The house was large and fine, made of brown brick with other colored bricks set into a pattern, and it had a false front with ziggurats. It was four stories high, with the entranceup a tall flight of stairs. I struck the lion’s-head heavy brass knocker several times. The black enameled door was opened almost immediately by a big, round woman wearing aspotless white apron. She had the reddened, work-roughened hands of a servant but alsoan unmistakable sense of importance. So the head housekeeper, maybe.“I’m from Master Svenson’s shop?” I said. “With fabric samples for the mistress.” I heldout the package for her to take, but she opened the door wider.“She’s waitin’ on you in the front drawing room.”“Me? I’m just the shopgirl.”“Go on then.” The housekeeper nodded toward a double set of tall, paneled doors painteddove gray.Inside, a woman sat before a white marble fireplace carved with fruit and garlands. Blueand white tiles with ships on them surrounded the firebox, and I wanted to kneel downand look at each tile, enjoying the fire’s delicious warmth. Instead I stood uncertainly inthe doorway, and then the woman moved and I saw her face. My heart sped up: It was thewoman from the shop the afternoon before. The immortal.“Oh, good—the samples from Master Svenson,” said the woman, her voice smooth andmodulated, the accent refined. “I need you to wait, girl, while I look at them. Then youcan directly return my choice to your master.”“Yes, mistress,” I said, bewildered.“Thank you, Singe,” she said to the housekeeper, and the woman reluctantly backed out,clearly curious and disapproving of a shopgirl in the fine drawing room.When the door had quietly clicked shut, Mistress Henstrom beckoned me closer.“Forgive the deceit, but I couldn’t call on a shopgirl,” she said in a low voice, and Inodded. “You said you were from Noregr?”I nodded again. “And you, mistress—where are you from?” I asked boldly.“France,” she said. I knew so little about immortals then that I was shocked. Were thereimmortals all over? In every other country?

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