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She stares at it in the palm of her hand, still warm from his skin. It is about the size and shape of a sparrows egg, with the suppressed, milky radiance of a sunlit cloud and veined with iridescent streaks of color. Somehow, she had expected a jade found in a persons mouth to be rough, unpolished; but this is satin-smooth to her touch. He is right: the stone itself is not special. You might find something similar in any jewelry stall for thirty or forty taels. I hate it, he says again. I hate the things people imagine about me because of it. Its all just stories, you know. What do you mean?

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Jessica, you are a pain in the arse, do you know that? If I were not so immensely fond of you, I should throw you out the window." She wrapped her arms about his waist and laid her head against his chest. "Not merely 'fond,' but 'immensely fond.' Oh Dain, I do believe I shall swoon." "Not now," he said crossly. "I haven't time to pick you up.

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