Desperate Alliances (The Last T'En Trilogy, Book 3)

3.75 avg rating
( 83 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780553581034: Desperate Alliances (The Last T'En Trilogy, Book 3)
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

In a land of enchantment and betrayal, an empress sworn to a new future must face the world she left behind . . . With her wine-dark eyes and silver hair, Imoshen is the last T'En empress-blessed with exotic beauty and an extraordinary gift for healing. Once the enemy of the fierce Ghebite General Tulkhan, Imoshen surrendered herself and her island to the powerful invader to save her people. But what began as a political alliance blossomed into a passionate love, and now they share both a kingdom and a newborn son. Yet Imoshen's past still comes back to haunt her, as the T'En renegade, Reothe, refuses to relinquish his once betrothed. Believing Tulkhan will reject Imoshen if she carries another man's child, Reothe uses T'En trickery to seduce her; but Tulkhan's love proves stronger. Angered and betrayed by Reothe, Imoshen still cannot bring herself to forsake her fellow T'En. For Imoshen is hungry for the ultimate intimacy-the sacred mind-touch that she can share only with Reothe. It is a longing that could jeopardize her heart-and perhaps even the future of Fair Isle.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

One

Torn by conflicting loyalties, Imoshen knelt by Reothe's bed. With the arrival of evening, scented candles burned in the chamber that had so recently been her prison. The tower room had been stripped of its rich hangings and, in the space of one day, their positions had been reversed.

She should let Reothe die, for if he regained his gifts he would be too powerful to contain. But to stand by and let someone die when she could heal him went against her instincts. All day she had fought to save him, easing his pain with herbs and, when this failed, drawing on her innate healing powers.

"Here, sip this." She lifted Reothe's head and held the tisane to his lips. His suffering had pared back his features, emphasizing his high forehead, narrow nose, prominent cheekbones. He grimaced at the bitter taste but obediently he drained the goblet. She smoothed the damp silver hair from his pale forehead, and his hand squeezed hers in gratitude. Her heart contracted.

After what he had done she should hate him, but she could not. He was the last of her kind. Both Throwbacks to the T'En race that had settled Fair Isle, they were marked by their wine-dark eyes, vivid coloring, and six-fingered hands. Last survivors of the old royal line, they were gifted with the powers that were both a blessing and a curse. And since the Ghebite General had conquered their island kingdom, they had both clung to life with determination and, when necessary, guile.

Anger ignited Imoshen, for she had succumbed to Reothe's trickery. Last night he had come to her in General Tulkhan's form, slipping into her arms and planting a seed of dissension that she feared would drive Tulkhan from her. He would never accept another man's child.

The General's bone-setter cleared his throat. "Some warmed wine, Princess?"

With an effort she grasped the bed upright and came to her feet. "Thank you. I think the worst is over."

"I will watch him. Get some rest," Wharrd urged.

"Yes." However, she remained, staring down at Reothe. She had to admire his daring. In a decisive gamble he had kidnapped Imoshen and her son, luring the General into a trap. In exchange for a mercenary army, Reothe had offered to deliver Tulkhan to King Gharavan. The Ghebite king was Tulkhan's younger half-brother and legitimate heir, but any love he bore Tulkhan had been eroded by the General's popularity and military success.

With the mercenaries and his rebel army, Reothe could have retaken Fair Isle. He had come so close to making the exchange that Imoshen shuddered.

This time last year she would have given anything to see Tulkhan in chains, but now the thought brought her no joy. How ironic that after surrendering her Stronghold, she had set out to woo the conqueror, only to fall in love with the man.

Through the partially open door General Tulkhan watched Imoshen tend his deadly enemy. Only last night, when Tulkhan had been held captive in the tower's dungeon, Reothe had come to him with Imoshen's scent on his skin, boasting that she carried his child.

Fury surged through Tulkhan. As a tactician he knew, if he was to hold Fair Isle, Reothe must die. But it was the thought of another man's hands on Imoshen that made Tulkhan resonate with rage. Reothe would die this very night!

As Imoshen bade Wharrd good night, Tulkhan stepped into the shadows behind his guards, who were playing dice. Blinded by exhaustion, the last princess of the T'En walked by, her straight nose and determined chin a beautiful mask. The General wanted to break her terrible composure. He wanted her to beg his forgiveness and declare her love for him. But he let her pass, a stiff-shouldered, tall figure with a deceptively fragile air. Something twisted inside Tulkhan. How could she betray him after everything they had shared?

Imoshen climbed the stairs to her room, numbed by the speed of events. Even the knowledge that her life would be forfeit if the Church learned she had used her gifts to kill a True-man left her unmoved. She longed to hold her infant son and rejoice in Ashmyr's innocence. But now that simple joy was a double-edged sword, for she carried a child she had not chosen to conceive.

Resentment urged her to take control. Every midwife knew the herbs. One draught of womansorrow would dislodge this babe and circumvent Reothe's trickery.

She staggered, reaching for the dressed stone wall. In a flash of understanding so intimate that she felt nauseous, Imoshen realized she could not do it. She sank onto the stair, her head in her hands. As a healer she was devoted to preserving life. But it was more than that--she was a mother. Tears burned her eyes. Just as Ashmyr, her son, was an innocent pawn in the game of power, this child was innocent of its father's treachery. She would defend this babe with her life.

But the General would never accept Reothe's child. Taking a deep breath, she stood and straightened her shoulders. Despite everything, she must make Tulkhan understand.

Primed for murder, Tulkhan pushed the thick oak door open, revealing the injured man. Wharrd looked up, a single candle flame illuminating his sun-lined features. Silently, the bone-setter greeted Tulkhan and led him to the canopied bed, raising the candle. By its flickering light the rebel leader lay vulnerable.

"I have never seen an injury like this. The whites of his eyes are blood red. And it is almost as if he can sense the Princess; since she left he has faded rapidly." Suddenly, Reothe's body convulsed. A moan was torn from him and he lay panting, his skin glistening. "He sinks deeper still and radiates heat like a forge. I doubt he'll last the night."

"Then he will save us the trouble of killing him!"

Wharrd met Tulkhan's eyes.

"Not only is he the last male of the old royal line, but he is pure T'En. If he recovers his sorcerous gifts he will unite Fair Isle against me." As Ghebite war general, Tulkhan had made many hard decisions, but betraying Imoshen's trust went against the grain. "Better to suffocate him now and face Imoshen's wrath."

"Why face her anger when you could console her?" Wharrd suggested. "As I watched Imoshen battle to save her kinsman, I felt for her, knowing that we could not let him live. Like you, I sought a soldier's clean solution, but after consideration I offer you a courtier's solution. My herbal knowledge comes from the mainland. Pains-ease is odorless and swift, and in his state a double dose would snuff his flame."

Tulkhan's mouth twisted with repugnance. "A courtier's solution!"

"Imoshen trusts you, and this way--"

"She will not know that I have betrayed her trust," Tulkhan acknowledged. Wharrd was right, yet the General felt this subterfuge diminished them both. He longed for an honorable solution that would not conflict with his warrior code, the Gheeakhan. Finally, he expelled his breath. "So be it. I have fought beside you these eleven years, Wharrd, and never thought to see you murder a sick man. Never did I think I would give you such an order."

Wharrd looked down.

"Just do it and do it quickly," Tulkhan ordered. "I'm going to see Imoshen."

On the mainland much was whispered about the mysterious T'En of Fair Isle. Tulkhan was only just beginning to understand their strengths and weaknesses. They called them Dhamfeer in his own language, and the priests believed them closer to beasts than to True-men.

The General should have been repulsed by a woman who stood as tall as a tall True-man, whose milk-white skin and garnet eyes proclaimed her tainted T'En blood, but he found Imoshen's refusal to admit him her master exhilarating and her Otherness fascinating. He had discovered that this proud, passionate woman was far more dangerous than any mainland myth. Tulkhan could not pinpoint when it had happened, but in the space of one year she had ensnared him, heart and soul. Imoshen was his addiction and he ached to confront her again. As conqueror of Fair Isle he had dictated the terms of surrender. Imoshen had negotiated many concessions for her people. But tonight she would be the one to make concessions.

The soft sound of running feet made him stop.

"General Tulkhan?" Kalleen gasped. The little True-woman wore nothing but a nightgown, and her hair hung loose to her waist, glowing like honey held to sunlight. Though she was no longer Imoshen's maid, she would let no one else serve her lady. "It's Imoshen, she--"

Mouth dry, Tulkhan rushed past her. Striding to the door, he threw it open. Imoshen lay crumpled on the brilliant carpet like an abandoned toy. "What happened, Kalleen?"

"She had just passed the baby to me when she convulsed and fell to the ground."

Crossing the room, Tulkhan spared one glance for his son, who slept in his basket. "Imoshen, can you hear me?"

She did not respond.

He slid his arms under her and stood, fear making the movement effortless. Even as he carried her to the bed he felt the heat rise from her skin. "Did she give any sign that she was sickening?"

"She was very quiet. I thought her tired after nursing T'Reothe all day." In her distraction, Kalleen gave the prisoner his royal title. Kalleen touched Tulkhan's arm. The expression in her hazel eyes made his stomach clench. "I believe this is no ordinary fever. Before it came on, there was that tension on the air. You know the way it feels when Imoshen uses her gifts?"

Tulkhan nodded briefly. For him, forewarning came as prickling of the skin. His concern deepened. Once before, when Imoshen had suffered as only the T'En could, Reothe had saved her. Imoshen had been granted dispensation to forgo her vows of chastity and take Reothe as her betrothed. That was before the General had invaded Fair Isle, and though Imoshen had sinc...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Daniells, Cory
Published by Bantam (2002)
ISBN 10: 0553581031 ISBN 13: 9780553581034
New Mass Market Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Fleamarketbooks
(Luzerne, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Bantam, 2002. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. {NEW} Paperback. Seller Inventory # 282913

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 24.95
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Cory Daniells
ISBN 10: 0553581031 ISBN 13: 9780553581034
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Marissa's Books and Gifts
(Salt Lake City, UT, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Condition: New. This book is softcover. The item is Brand New! Fast Shipping - Safe and Secure - Ships from Utah!. Seller Inventory # 2RUCMP00014L

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 30.00
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Daniells, Cory
Published by Bantam (2002)
ISBN 10: 0553581031 ISBN 13: 9780553581034
New Mass Market Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Bantam, 2002. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110553581031

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 39.90
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Cory Daniells
Published by Bantam (2002)
ISBN 10: 0553581031 ISBN 13: 9780553581034
New Softcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Bantam, 2002. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0553581031

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 41.96
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Daniells, Cory
Published by Bantam
ISBN 10: 0553581031 ISBN 13: 9780553581034
New MASS MARKET PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
M and N Media
(Acworth, GA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Bantam. MASS MARKET PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0553581031 Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Seller Inventory # XM-0553581031

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 49.67
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Cory Daniells
Published by Bantam (2002)
ISBN 10: 0553581031 ISBN 13: 9780553581034
New Mass Market Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Bantam, 2002. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. First Printing. Seller Inventory # DADAX0553581031

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 57.20
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds