Aeden was the most beautiful in that line of hopeful young Wodaabe men at the annual wife-stealing contest.
The first woman inspected each painted prospect. The men jostled, faced a practiced angle, and pivoted onto their toes to look taller. But it was Aeden’s relaxed stance and features barely touched with makeup that she stopped in front of.
Aeden turned slowly and looked into her eyes. His secret played prettily on his clamshell lips.
Aeden’s gaze dropped to the woman’s mouth, then…slowly…rose.
She lowered her eyes.
To be beautiful is to never be afraid, she thought, and moved on.