Before tonight Cassie Tate’s biggest concerns were whether she could pass Algebra and how she was going to keep Elora, her best friend, from dressing her in a skimpy fairy costume for Halloween. Her feet were firmly planted in suburban reality and she had no reason to believe her life would be anything but that of a typical teenager. That is until tonight, when Cassie saw something that no human was ever supposed to see; in the blink of an eye she was thrown into the world of the Light and Dark Elves.
He comes from a realm where light and dark have fought for millennia. He is of a race known to humans only in myths and legends. The darkness that lives inside him is a part of both who and what he is and it makes him the most gifted spy and assassin in the history of his time. His life is not his own; he lives in the service of the Dark Elf King. He slays who he must, has mercy on no one, is relentless in his hunt, and never tires of seeing his prey fall. He is Triktapic, assassin, spy, most feared of the Dark Elves.
Now, in the midst of his King’s complicated plans to expand the Dark Elves’ holdings into the mortal realm, for the first time, Trik finds his loyalties divided. For no Elf, Dark or Light, can turn away from their Chosen.
Unbeknownst to the mortal realm, the battle between Light and Dark is being brought to their doorstep. The only one who can keep it at bay holds darkness in his heart like a lover, and the one who can sway that heart must decide if she can look beyond his black past, beyond his evil nature and see the man he is destined to be.
The question must be asked, does love really cover a multitude of sins? Can true love actually conquer all or will his darkness consume those around him until all that stands is an assassin with the blood of the mortal realm on his hands?
In a YA Fantasy involving elves, I have certain expectations. This one fell a bit short. Honestly, the biggest issue I had were the elves. An elf assassin who’s centuries old is not going to roll his eyes all the time or speak and act like a teenager. If the book had been a paperback, I may have thrown it across the room by the tenth time he acted like an immature brat. The next issue I had was the outdated slang the high school students used. They came across more like a fifty year old attempting to be seventeen. While I understand slang changes all the time, the terms in this book were decades out of date. If those two issues were resolved, the book would be immensely better.
There were other issues, but for the most part, I could have overlooked them. The one that stood out the most were the heroine’s parents who hardly ever appear in the story. I found it a bit odd, and I honestly wasn’t sure why they were even in the book to begin with. It would have been better to make her an orphan. She supposedly loves her parents, and yet, we hardly see them. It was just a little strange to me. Almost like the author forgot about them and just randomly tossed in a mention of them here and there.
Overall, the storyline was good. It intrigued me enough I picked up book two, since it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. As annoying as I found most of the characters, I can’t stand not knowing how the story ends. Hopefully, I’ll have the answers to my questions. If not, I don’t think I can last through a third book of eye-rolling elves.
*Disclaimer: The author did not request a review of this title. I purchased/borrowed through Amazon. The review above is only my opinion.
A collection of queer fairy tale retellings for the discerning reader. Dive into a world both familiar and strange and meet a colorful cast of characters from all different backgrounds and upbringings, from princes and paupers to aliens and dwarves, from merchant sons to sign language interpreters. And fairies, of course. But it’s important to remember… most fairies aren’t fairy godmothers.
The White Cat follows the intrepid young prince Yufitri from across the Sea, who meets a mystical talking cat who offers to grant all his desires—even the call for a wife.
The Fairy’s Gift tells the tale of a young princess Wynn who was cursed by an evil fairy to… have the body of her dreams? Oh no, whatever shall she do? Save a neighboring kingdom it seems!
In From Stars They Fell, when a strange metal ship falls from the sky, an angel with dragonfly wings is left stranded in a strange land, and meets a young man who speaks with his hands.
When the angel takes the job of the young man’s interpreter, Oswin, he sets out to find new work. The Echoes of the Dead finds him stumbling across mysterious black ruins in the woods, inhabited by a scarred and quiet elf whose kindness hides a depth of despair.
In A Step Apart and a World Away, Naomhan, a duke’s son, who has always felt apart from the world, rescues a beautiful snake, who turns into a beautiful man promising rewards for Naomhan’s kindness. But Naomhan wants only to disappear.
And In the Shade of the Tree of Life ends the collection with a tale of anxiety and heartbreak, when a tailor’s apprentice of maligned background falls in love with a hermit of a prince.
The next day, Yufitri woke to gentle hands shaking his shoulder and pointing toward a set of unfamiliar clothing folded atop the chest at the foot of the bed. Two pairs of hands helped him undress, then put on the foreign clothes. A short shirt with tight sleeves and short pants came first, and then a longer shirt that ended at his knees and buckled at the waist. It had tight sleeves only to the elbow and then fell open, dangling strangely around the long sleeves of the first shirt. And to finish, soft deerskin shoes.
He felt like his top half had been overstuffed, leaving legs oddly bare, but he found, as he acclimated to the unfamiliar clothing, he was much warmer. A long cloak was draped over his shoulders and fastened with a pin.
Now that he was fully dressed, the hands gave him a gentle push toward the door and led him down to the dining hall. The white cat sat at the head of the long table, sitting primly on a velvet cushion so it could look over the empty dishes. The rest of the table, save for one seat, was filled with other cats of varying size and color. Their eyes, jewel-bright and glittering, watched him as he entered. He was a bit intimidated but took the empty chair beside the white cat and sat to its right.
Green eyes gleamed at him, and the cat inclined its head politely. “I am glad the clothes suit you, king’s son. Don’t worry; you can have yours back when you leave. I am having them washed.”
“Did they offend?” Yufitri couldn’t help a smirk.
The cat seemed to smile, its eyes narrowing softly. “A little. Cats have delicate noses.” The rest of the table started to purr, presumably in amusement. The food emerged from the kitchen, carried by the floating hands. He was surprised how quickly he was getting used to them.
However, he was not excited to see the plates contained an opening course of roasted mouse. The cat saw his face and called a pair of hands over with a paw. “Make sure our guest gets his proper meal,” it said. “I will not be the sort of host who serves food unfit for human consumption.”
The hands came together and dipped forward as if bowing and returned to the kitchen.
In a moment, there was a bowl of warm soup in front of Yufitri, white and steaming. “Milk and potato are the main ingredients,” the cat said comfortingly. “No mouse or rat has touched it.” A purr snuck into its voice. “Though I can do nothing about the cat hair. A hazard of a cat-ruled kitchen, you see.”
“I…also do not consume swine or cow, dear cat. Though I’ve no such objection to accidental fur.” He smiled.
“I shall have a note made.” Sure enough, it told the nearest set of hands to inform the kitchen. Yufitri watched, marveling, as two hands came together and reshaped into quill and parchment. Another hand wrote the note and, when finished, rolled it up, and flew off into the kitchen.
The potato stew was excellent. Two large birds served as main course, each carried by two sets of hands. Well-mannered cats cut slices off with their claws and took only small bites. The white cat, the politest of them all, patted delicately at its face and whiskers with the napkin from beside the plate.
After the meal, the rest of the cats leapt from their chairs and returned to whatever their business they had, leaving Yufitri and the white cat.
“Would you care to join me in the drawing room?” asked the cat.
“I would be glad to,” he said.
It jumped off the cushion and landed primly on its feet, looking back at Yufitri. “I am curious about whatever quest brought you to this strange land, and I’m sure you have questions for me, though there is little I can answer.”
H.R. Harrison is the penname of an unfortunate soul whose ancestors opted to Americanize pronunciation… but not spelling.
She has worn a lot of hats in her day jobs, but always spends a lot of time thinking about communication, language, and how words… word.
She has a love for fantasy, mythos, and genre subversion, and that is what drew her toward writing LGBTQ fantasy. She also tends to fall into research pits while trying to write. Therefore, she knows a lot of random trivia about a lot of random topics.
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Royalty, first time, sexual discovery, elves, goblins, duplicity, mercenaries, kidnapping, revenge, action/adventure, coming out, enemies to lovers, in the closet, slow burn, road trip
Moranthus is an elf who has lost everything. With his lover dead and his career stagnating, he jumps at a chance to redeem himself by rescuing a human prince from the goblins hunting him—even if failure means death or eternal exile from his homeland.
Gerrick, a human soldier who bears an uncanny resemblance to his prince, has always chosen duty over desire. As the sole parent of his young daughter, he needs the extra coin that working as the prince’s body double provides—even if it may one day cost him his life.
When a case of mistaken identity puts the prince in the hands of a goblin raiding party, Moranthus’s and Gerrick’s paths collide. With winter closing in and miles of hostile goblin lands ahead, they must set aside their differences and work together to bring the prince home safely.
Their deepening connection comes with a growing certainty that rescuing the prince may be fatal. Moranthus and Gerrick must each find a way to reconcile his heart’s desires with his homeland’s needs—or die trying.
Moranthus had spent the better part of a fortnight chasing his quarry along the Dawn’s Gate edge of the Ghostwood. His meager diet of chalky waybread and oversalted jerky did little more than take the edge off his hunger, and spending weeks on horseback had left him beyond saddle sore. His days blurred together like the colors of the glowstone he kept cradled in the center of his palm. Though it was his only reliable guide at the questionably mapped edges of this unfamiliar country, the strain of determining where each of its shades faded into the next, counting off one less mile between him and his ever-moving destination, left him with a near-constant headache.
The wide, hilly landscape around him certainly didn’t offer much else to guide him on the rare occasions he glanced at it to ensure he hadn’t strayed too far from the Ghostwood’s edge in his search. Dawn’s Gate’s northern plains didn’t look so different from the southern steppes of Moonridge, his homeland, but in the absence of the bone-chilling winds that screamed across Moonridge’s southern steppes, the still air around him felt foul and stagnant, as though a dozen people had breathed it before him and sucked all the life from it.
But Moranthus wouldn’t have traded any of it for the world. This was the first real hunt he’d seen in over a decade, after he’d made a pariah of himself by getting caught on the losing side of the coup that had killed his Patriarch and set his Patriarch’s illegitimate daughter on Moonridge’s throne. A few minor discomforts were nothing to complain about.
Even the solitude came as a welcome change after finding himself at the center of attention in every human village he passed through. The adults gave him veiled stares and treated him with just enough politeness to make him feel unwelcome. Their children’s endless questions over what had made his ears so long and pointy and whether he’d gotten his purple skin from frostbite, of all things, made him feel like one of the framed butterflies his Patriarch had kept in his study. Moranthus wondered if they treated all elves that way. Or if they knew the shaved sides of his head marked his probationary status in Moonridge and didn’t want him trying to find a place for himself in their community. Not that anyone in Moonridge had treated him much better lately.
Just over two months earlier, he’d lounged on the narrow, rickety bed pressed against the left wall of his rented room, happy to be home after the latest in a series of jobs only marginally more interesting than watching snow melt. Beside him, his amethyst cameo of his former Patriarch sat in its usual place near his pillow. Moranthus absently rubbed the carved likeness of his Patriarch with his thumb, missing the days when his work left him feeling fulfilled instead of frustrated. In his service, Moranthus had spent his days tracking down fugitives, missing persons, and lost or stolen valuable objects.
His Matriarch’s latest orders had gotten his hopes up by sending him in search of a messenger who had vanished en route to his destination while carrying sensitive correspondence. But when Moranthus found the messenger’s belongings and gnawed bones strewn about an abandoned wolf den, the “sensitive correspondence” in question turned out to be nothing more than a dinner invitation to the head of a minor noble household. Moranthus had been reduced to a glorified follow-up letter.
The room’s low ceiling and windowless walls made him wonder if it had been part of an attic before its conversion into a living space. The cramped space around him—occupied by a table and single chair pressed against its right wall in addition to the bed and chest of drawers that lined its left—felt comfortable enough compared to the inns he stayed in on the road. After ten years, he hardly noticed the draft his poorly sealed walls let in. The fire he kept blazing in the small fireplace against his back wall kept the worst of the cold out anyway.
The smell of blood from the butcher’s shop beneath him wafted through the gaps between his thin floorboards, mingling in a not entirely unpleasant manner with the crisp, sweet taste of the bowlful of plums he’d made into his evening meal. As he finished each plum, he tossed its pit across the room, where it bounced off his doorknob with a sharp ping before clattering along his floor. It made a completely unreasonable amount of noise, really. But that was the point.
He’d done it as his latest mild act of revenge against the butcher downstairs, who had woken well before dawn that morning for what seemed to be the sole purpose of loudly and thoroughly fucking his wife. For the past several years, the butcher had made a point of waking Moranthus that way every morning after Moranthus returned from a mission and wanted nothing more than a good, long sleep.
Moranthus still hadn’t decided whether the butcher did it as a backhanded reminder that Moranthus wasn’t getting any, or as a bizarre way of marking his territory. More than once, he’d considered pulling the butcher aside and explaining that, if he had any intention of running off with a member of the butcher’s household—which he did not—he would’ve been far more interested in the charming young fellow the butcher had recently brought in as an apprentice. If the charming apprentice in question hadn’t already taken up with the butcher’s wife, anyway. But pointing out that the butcher had an attractive apprentice and an unfaithful wife would probably get him banned from the butcher’s shop, and he didn’t want to go to the trouble of finding another reputable place to buy meat in the lower district of Aurora, Moonridge’s capital. Or a new landlord, for that matter.
The first knock at his door caught Moranthus off guard. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a visitor. He’d halfway decided to dismiss it as a trick of the wind, or a child throwing rocks as an ill-advised form of amusement, when a second knock echoed through his room, followed by several more in rapid succession.
Moranthus slid off his bed and retrieved the dagger he kept beneath his pillow before padding, barefoot, across the floorboards between him and the door, careful to avoid the ones that creaked. No one who’d come to his door unannounced was likely to have anything pleasant in store for him. Not anymore.
He opened his door to find one of his Matriarch’s messengers standing outside, an official-looking satchel in his arms. In that moment, Moranthus wanted nothing more than to tell the bastard that his next set of orders could wait until he asked for them and slam his door shut again.
Instead, he sighed and asked, “What do you want?”
“I am looking for Moranthus. I’ve come to the wrong place, I take it?” The messenger frowned as he cast a disdainful glance over Moranthus. His eyes lingered on the shaved sides of Moranthus’s head and the thick stripe of red hair—the only thing separating him from a clean-shaven full exile—that ran down its center, woven into a disheveled, three-strand commoner’s braid. Outside of Aurora’s upper district, Moranthus rarely bothered with the elaborate, seven-strand affair that marked him as a veteran duskblade. In Lower Aurora, it only served as a marker of how far he’d fallen.
“Not at all. You’ve already found him, in fact.” Moranthus flipped his dagger so its blade rested in his palm and presented its pommel—engraved with a stylized snowhawk, the duskblade insignia—to the messenger for inspection.
The messenger’s face snapped into a toothy smile, oozing false cheer as he presented the satchel to Moranthus. “Excellent. I come bearing orders from our most esteemed Matriarch,” he said, each syllable accompanied by a tap of his well-fitted, overembroidered right boot. The steep, narrow streets that wound their way through Lower Aurora—slick with mud and whatever other refuse trickled down from the upper city—had left it and its twin covered in a layer of filth that would never quite wash off. It served him right for wearing that sort of footwear on the job.
He was a mousy little thing, with pale, watery eyes set in a bland, but well-proportioned face, his ears perfectly pointed and skin a flawless shade of dusky lilac. Probably hadn’t set foot outside Upper Aurora before their Matriarch had sent him on this delivery, no doubt as a punishment of some sort. Moranthus would’ve much preferred the sight of the butcher, his face flushed ruddy-violet from exertion and his blood-stained apron draped over his ever-growing paunch. At least he’d earned his place in the world.
“So I noticed.” Moranthus made no move to accept the satchel.
The messenger blinked at him, brow furrowed in an almost comical display of confusion. “Would you like to invite me in then? I’d prefer to conclude my business here as soon as possible.”
“Not particularly, but I take it I don’t have much choice in the matter.”
“You don’t. There are certain…details our Matriarch insisted I explain to you in person. To prevent any misunderstandings.”
Moranthus opened his door wide and gestured for the messenger to step through. “Let’s get this over with.” Before he lost his temper at being forced to offer hospitality to a highborn busybody, who’d no doubt leave grimy footprints all over his floor.
The messenger made himself comfortable in Moranthus’s chair, his hands folded over the satchel on his lap. Well aware the messenger expected him to remain standing as a way of acknowledging that the messenger acted as an extension of their Matriarch’s will, Moranthus seated himself on his bed and leaned back against the wall behind him. The frustrated glare it earned him made him confident he’d chosen the right course of action.
“So, what’s this all about?” Moranthus gave the messenger the most ingenuous smile he could manage. Best not to press his luck too far.
The messenger took a deep breath, pinching the bridge of his nose as though he meant to fend off a headache. “Our Matriarch has, for reasons far beyond the comprehension of one such as myself, chosen to entrust you with a highly sensitive mission of the utmost urgency. I would advise against treating it with the same flippancy you have shown me thus far.”
Moranthus sat up straight, eyeing the satchel with a sense of curiosity he hadn’t felt in years. “Is that why she was so adamant about you explaining my orders to me?” When they’d last spoken, their Matriarch had told him in no uncertain terms that he should consider himself lucky she’d spared even his life after he’d chosen his master so poorly. She’d then evicted him from his hard-won room in Aurora’s palace and made a point of restricting him to assignments well below his rank, most of which took him as far away from Aurora as possible. Putting this sort of trust in him wasn’t like her. “Because that won’t be necessary. I’m sure our Matriarch has told you all sorts of wild stories about me—most of which, in her defense, are probably true—but I assure you, I am perfectly capable of reading and understanding whatever’s in that satchel of yours.”
“The orders themselves aren’t what she asked me to explain,” the messenger replied. “In fact, I couldn’t explain them if I wanted to. Our Matriarch felt that sharing the exact nature of your orders with me would compromise their security. They should be self-explanatory once you’ve taken the time to read over them.”
“So, if I can’t ask you anything about my orders, what did our Matriarch want you to explain to me?”
“That a great deal depends upon your success in this matter, and that you may find yourself in a more…favorable position upon your return so long as you do not disappoint her. She also instructed me to give you this, to be used in the unfortunate event of your failure.” The messenger retrieved a razor from a pouch on his belt and tossed it onto the bed beside Moranthus. Even tucked inside its wooden handle, its steel blade had a cold, sobering shine. “Does it clarify the gravity of the task that lies before you?”
Using only his fingertips, Moranthus picked up the razor, casting a wary eye over the ceremonial carvings that adorned its handle. So, that was his Matriarch’s game. Either he returned home with news of his success, or he faced the grim choice he’d so narrowly avoided ten years ago: death or exile. Whichever he chose, the razor’s edge would suit his needs. “That it does. I suppose I’d best get to work,” he said. His voice sounded hollow, like a distant echo carried on the wind.
“Indeed, you should. Sooner, rather than later, if you’ve any sense left in that space between your ears.” The messenger got to his feet and placed the satchel on Moranthus’s table. “This contains your orders, as well as everything you’ll require to carry them out. I wish you the best of luck. You’re going to need it.” With that, the messenger let himself out of Moranthus’s room, leaving the door open behind him.
The autumn air it let in felt warm compared to the ice in Moranthus’s veins.
Shannon Blair is a fantasy author with a fondness for elves, goblins, and general otherworldly goodness. Their love of fiction and storytelling drove them to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing from Regis University, where a short writing exercise spiraled out of control and eventually became their first novel. When they aren’t on a quest to make the fantasy genre a more LGBTQA-friendly place, Shannon can be found inventing whimsical backstories for the colorful crafts and vendors at the craft market where they work. They live on the outskirts of the Denver metroplex with their partner and two spoiled rotten cats.
Pyk has never fit in with the light fae, no matter how hard he’s tried to conform to the ways of his people. He craves things, dark things, that no light fae should ever even think about, much less desire. At four hundred years old, he should have figured things out, not felt conflicted and like he didn’t belong. Until the day the dark forest calls to him… Lured into the shadows, Pyk never thought he’d find his destiny in the forbidden territory, the place all light fae feared.
Prince Llewellyn was banished from his home long ago, his deformities too much for even the dark fae to handle. He’s lived in isolation for around five thousand years, the stories of the monstrous fae prince nothing more than fodder for nightmares and to scare children into obedience. But Llewellyn lives, and he’s lonely. When a light fae comes to him, Llewellyn demands Pyk bow and submit. He’d only meant to keep him long enough to ease the ache of being alone. Llewellyn never counted on falling in love.
When others want Pyk, want to destroy him and use him to start a war with the light fae, Llewellyn knows he must do everything he can to protect the male he’s claimed as his mate, even if it means going home. Now that he’s found the perfect fae to give in to his dark desires, he’s not letting him go.
WARNING: contains bondage, spanking, sex toys, anal sex, and a bit of darkness. If you don’t like over the top hot scenes between two sexy fae males that may melt your e-reader, then this book isn’t for you.
With an overactive imagination and a penchant for making up stories, was it any wonder Dulce Dennison decided to be an author? From cowboys to shapeshifters, she has a story for them all, but her passion lies in writing m/m fantasy romances. Dulce believes in love in all shapes and sizes, and that everyone deserves a happily-ever-after — even grumpy bear shifters.
Married since 2000 to a man she isn’t sure is quite human, her husband and children (which she fondly calls the demon spawn) keep her busy, but never too busy to write. Is there such a thing as too busy to write? Most mornings you can find Dulce set up with her laptop, a cat curled up next to her, and a steaming cup of coffee just an arm’s reach away.
Captured by the Dark Fae Dirian and kept in a spelled cage, wolf shifter Navarro wonders if he’ll ever see freedom again. Being imprisoned takes an interesting turn when his mate steps through the door at Dirian’s side, his torso and back scarred from years of abuse. Navarro wants nothing more than to save the both of them, but he doesn’t know how.
When the Wood Elf Tabor first touches the red wolf in the cage, he knows the two of them share a special connection. Dirian gives Navarro to him as a pet, but the shifter is so much more. For the first time in three hundred years, Tabor wants to bind someone to him with Fae magick, a commitment not taken lightly by his kind.
The two make the best of their captivity, but when an opportunity to escape presents itself, Navarro knows they must take it — and in doing so, free everyone Dirian has enslaved.
COMING OCTOBER 13th from CHANGELING PRESS
Available at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and Kobo October 20th
Two sexy elves, one innocent human woman, and a pair of thigh-high boots.
Hanna Bregot is struggling to make a go of her ailing father’s cobbler shop, but the residents of her town regard a woman shoemaker as an oddity. At the end of the day, she can’t even summon the energy to repair her tattered slippers, let alone earn enough to feed herself or her cat.
Elf companions Lear and Garrin like to mingle among humans, but always in disguise. When they notice a poor cobbler crying over her shoes one evening, they immediately decide to intervene and give her a gift in the hopes of lifting her spirits.
What starts out as simple kindness soon morphs into a sensual game the three want to play forever. But when the Queen of the Elves discovers their love, it becomes a matter of magic versus mundane in a life or death decision.
A gasping noise interrupted his thoughts and he and Lear turned toward the sound, alert to any threat. Rather than facing an intruding thief, instead they confronted a blinking Hanna crouched on the stairs. She was clad in a thin chemise, her bare feet and ankles peeping out from under the frayed hem as she tottered on an upper step, her thin hand grasping the rail. Her pink lips parted wordlessly as she glanced between the two of them. For a long moment, Garrin found himself wondering what she saw. Neither he nor his mate had bothered to assume a human veil, so she was now seeing elven men for what had to be the first time in her life. He knew he was ruggedly built by his race’s standards, where Lear aligned more closely to the slim, lithe ideal. They both had brown hair grown long and pulled back in a hank. His was thick and dark while Lear’s was more auburn and smooth. Of course, their pointed ears and sharper features were likely the first things she’d notice, alerting her to the presence of magical beings in her shop.
“You’re…you’re…” Hanna’s soft voice trembled and before he realized what he was about, Garrin found himself rising, ready to assist. Her blue eyes widened as she took him in and her eyelids fluttered. Like a felled sapling she slumped, crumpling on the stairs in a swoon. She would have tumbled down the last remaining few if he hadn’t gathered her up in his arms. Her warm weight was a welcome burden and he allowed himself the pleasure of looking over her body, taking in the swells of her breasts pressing against the thin fabric of her gown, the curved collarbone and hollow at the base of her throat revealed by the garment’s disarray. Her dark brown lashes fluttered against her pale skin as she roused and he couldn’t help but draw in a deep breath to capture her sweet, musky scent while he could.
Lear crouched at her side, running his fingers along the soft skin of her wrist, his gaze never leaving her face.
“Should we return her to bed, do you think?” Garrin tried to keep his voice low so as to not startle her, but she flinched and blinked her eyes instead. Her gaze flew to his, her deep blue eyes wide with confusion as she pressed her hands to his chest as if to push away. He tightened his grip instinctively, something about their physical closeness pulling him to her in an immediate and primal way. Her muscles stiffened in response and at that slight friction against his body, his prong thrummed to life, affirming that indeed he wished to have this woman.
“What are you? Why are you in my shop?” Her voice quavered and her eyes brightened with imminent tears. “Please don’t hurt me.”
Garrin took in an aghast breath. She was frightened of them? To be fair, they were trespassing, but they were attempting to do a good deed and had certainly never contemplated sneaking up to observe her as she slept. Or at least he hadn’t until the thought occurred.
“We won’t hurt you.” Lear’s voice went quiet and soothing, but the woman shook her head in denial. Her limbs quivered as if she longed to escape.
“We aimed to help you, mistress, only that.” Garrin knew that wasn’t quite the whole truth but better to reassure her than reveal he and his mate harbored lustful thoughts toward her. To ease her stress he invoked a small glamour over her, a mere shadow of reassurance and charm.
“But…but…what are you? You aren’t like any men I’ve seen before. Are you from one of the northern kingdoms?” Hanna blinked and attempted to sit up, somehow managing to position herself on Garrin’s lap. His thickened prong approved of the soft buttocks pressed to it. Her expression was sleep softened and gentle, not tense and frightened like before.
“In a manner of speaking,” Lear agreed with her but went still as she reached out one work-worn hand to almost touch the flared point of his ear.
“Was that an injury? How could that be? You both have them.” Her tone went from speculative to confused. Her whole body flinched against his, and Garrin longed for her to move like that when he had his thick prong pressed tight inside her body. However, it seemed there were quite a few impediments to overcome before that scenario would come to pass.
“You aren’t human, are you?” Now she did pull away in earnest, somehow able to overcome the little spell he’d sent her way.
Lear reached out to her cheek and whispered something under his breath and she quieted again, gently shaking her head even as she subsided against Garrin’s shoulder.
“We’re elves.” Garrin believed direct was best, especially when she was somewhat impaired by magic. She moaned low in her throat and Lear again reached for her, smoothing his fingers along her wrists.
“But you don’t exist. The old stories are mere fables and tales. The devil has pointed ears like yours. Or a demon. The cleric says minions of hell can come to steal us away underground where you use us cruelly.”
Garrin wondered what the cleric’s reaction would be if an orc shambled through his church in the middle of a service, or dwarves tunneled out of the vestry floor. As always, the legends and tales of humans cast magical folk as the enemy and blamed them for all the troubles that befell them.
“We aren’t devils or even particularly mean.” Lear smiled at her and she tentatively returned it. How much of her agreeability was due to genuine feeling or the glamour, Garrin couldn’t guess, but the main point was she was calm. “Merely different.”
Hanna raised her hands in the air and shifted her legs, clearly attempting to rise, but Garrin wanted to hold her fast. She might stumble and he would not care to see her injure herself.
“You need to let me go. You need to leave my home,” she declared as she wrenched herself free and tottered between them. Her gaze fell on the boots gleaming like night, and her eyes widened again. “What…are those for me?”
“Yes, Mistress Hanna.” Lear stood from his crouch and reached for the boots, holding them out as the silken laces trailed down.
“This defies all explanation. Mythical creatures in my shop, making me beautiful things.” Hanna’s voice trailed off as she accepted the boots and ran her fingertips along the stitched seams, her hair loosening from the plait down her back. “I should be afraid, screaming for the constable, but I’m not. Why?”
Garrin cleared his throat, sure he didn’t want to tell her the reason.
“We mean you no harm, so there’s no need to be afraid.” Lear nodded encouragingly at her. “Would you care to try them on?”
He knelt at her feet, a supplicant searching for her approval. Abandoning all pretense of aloofness, Garrin joined him, needing to touch her again. He no longer cared about the potentially grave consequences of interacting with her. He craved this sweet-smelling human as he craved wooded glens and waterfalls.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J. Lore needs three things; strong, black coffee, time to write, and…well…you can guess the third. When she isn’t inventing fantastical tales filled with passionate people, she’s shaking sriracha on whatever she’s eating or reading about the Justinian plague. For updates on her bestselling erotic romance releases, visit her at http://mllesnarratif.com/j-j-lore/ or follow on Twitter @JJLore1