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The Chalam Chronicles

by Morgan G Farris
Volumes I & II Available Now

In Vino Veritas

An excerpt from my latest book, The Stag at Hand

Careful. You’re about to cut right through the table,” said the man across from her.

“Is there a reason you’re so keen to torture me, sir?” She bit the piece of meat so hard her teeth sang with the impact of the fork. Around them, conversations continued, oblivious to their exchange.

“I hadn’t realized you’d consider lighthearted conversation a form of torture,” he said, a twinkle of humor in his eyes. “Then again, you won’t give me your name. So perhaps you’re terrified of making new acquaintances.”

She met his eyes, holding his gaze, her face expressionless. But a wicked grin slowly curled her mouth when she finally said, “If it’s the acquaintance of an acolyte you’re seeking, I’m sure I can introduce you to several who will suit your needs.”

“You consider conversation an invitation to my bed?”

Her eyes flared and she blinked once. The man was utterly unfazed by her. “You, sir, are too forward.”

He breathed another laugh. “Well. For reasons I have yet to understand, I have gotten off to the worst possible start with you, Lady Without a Name. For this, I sincerely apologize.”

She slammed her fork down and grabbed her goblet of sparkling wine, guzzling down the fizzing liquid without an ounce of forbearance. A servant passed by, and she shoved her glass in his direction, silently demanding he refill her drink.

“That’s not enough,” she said curtly when the servant only filled her glass a respectable amount. Reluctantly, the servant poured some more. When he stopped again, she snarled, “I’ll tell you when to stop.”

The servant shot his eyes to Ezra across the table, who wasn’t bothering to hide his chuckle. Miri bit down on her retort and watched the servant fill the glass. The golden liquid poured much more freely now, and she did not stop him until the glass was filled to the brim. Enough to intoxicate three men.

“Have a nice trip,” Ezra said as Miri took her first drink. She eyed him with disdain over the rim, but he seemed undaunted so Miri guzzled the beverage without a hint of contrition.

“It would be a pity for you to lose your inhibitions,” he added.

“And why is that?” she asked, despite herself. At least the pause offered her a chance to take a breath.

“In vino veritas,” he said, grinning.

She did not know the phrase, but she recognized the cadence of the words. He had uttered something in Medinian.

Before she could say anything, he went on, “Careful, now. You might make a new friend.” And with that, he returned to his dinner once more, still smirking.

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