Rusted chains rested on the floor. Bolts studded the walls at intervals sufficiently high to hold a man’s arms above his head, low enough to shackle his feet.
Enrique bypassed those items, stopping at the lone chair and long table, her volumes stacked on top. She had so many the wood was no longer visible beneath her books.
He put his candle in a holder, picked up the first volume, and turned page after page, his handsome features slackening with shock. “This is in Arabic.”
“Some are in Latin. I can read both languages.”
“This volume is on Islamic medicine.”
She put her candle into a holder. “All of them are.”
He stared as if seeing her for the first time with the image not pleasing him. “This is heresy.”
Her spirits fell. Although she hadn’t expected him to understand fully or to grin in delight, she didn’t want him to be so intolerant.
She joined him and stroked her books as she would a beloved child. “This is knowledge.”
He rested his hands on her shoulders. “Sancha, listen to me. What you have here are from Spain’s enemies.”
“No.” She pushed his hands off her. “Physicians penned these books centuries before our birth. How can they threaten you, me, or anyone else in this country?”
“I concede those men pose no menace now. However, their ancestors did and the generations that follow still do.”
“Then hate them, not those who wrote the books. What they discovered is beyond compare and saved Fernando’s life, arm, and leg. When his wounds infected, I learned how to treat them as I had Maria’s in order to save both of them. Not because of Spain’s physicians, the Church, religion, or custom. Because of Zakariya Razi. Rhazes to those who honor him.”
She gestured to the great man’s book. “Reading his work opened my eyes to so many possibilities. Men need not go lame, blind, or die needlessly if someone knows how to treat them. Rhazes’s people established medicine far surpassing what we know. A famous tale relates how he determined where to build a hospital for the community. He had meat hung in various locations around Baghdad. The spot where the carcasses rotted the least was the one he chose, because he knew what caused illness.”
She circled the table and lifted a cage with mice inside. Three fat ones eyed her, noses twitching. “I experiment on these creatures wherever I am, testing what my books claim. Thus far, all holds true. The potions and treatments these men discovered centuries ago help us now. How can that be wrong? Would you have preferred I let Fernando die?”
“Of course not.” He threw up his hands. “But this…”
“This is the future. Spain may keep its people from knowing anything so miraculous but the rest of the world will never stand still. They will move forward as we mire ourselves in unending battles and for what? A piece of land? A castle? What about people? Do they have no value except for your family?”
He frowned. “You matter.”
“Then try to understand why I do what I must. How important this is to me.”
“I can see that. You rage like a madwoman.”
“Perhaps I am.” She turned away. “You should leave.”
“Without you? Never.”
She crossed to the other side of the room before he could reach her. “You have no claim on me.”
Frowning, she looked over.
“Study what you want.” He made a sweeping gesture to take in all her books. “Experiment on whatever creature appeals to you. Heal when you will.”
Surprised at his comment, she softened her stance. “Truly? You believe in what I do?”
“You give me no choice, and I give you none. From this moment forward whenever and wherever you heal, I intend to accompany you as your protector.”
for Kensington, Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Siren Publishing, Booktrope, Luminosity, Decadent, and indie.
Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic novels (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) were Readers’ Choice Award winners. Another three (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger, her erotic contemporary romance, was chosen Book of the Year at the French review site Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for her erotic romance Lush
Velvet Nights. Two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.