...Fae Meets Halloween in a Romance Free Read
Last year, Lori Connelly, of Written Fireside fame, invited me to participate in a Halloween round robin story with her and seven other writers. That story, A Witch By Chance, was so much fun to read and write, I secretly hoped she would ask me back again this year. Yay! She did. Below is my contribution to this year's free romance story, Of the Storm.
If you haven't already read Part 1, you'll want to read it first, here.
Of the Storm
Part II by Aileen Harkwood
“The queen requests the Samhain Torc,” Brishen said. “I am to collect it from you and deliver it to her majesty before the hour changes.”
He might use the word request, and speak in bland tones normally suited to please pass the potatoes, but Amaya knew better. This was not a polite entreaty. It was a demand.
“Well, she can’t have it,” she said. “The torc has been in the sacred trust of my family for over 800 years. It’s not the Queen’s to command.”
He raised one moon-silver brow in disbelief which she thought might also be tinged with admiration, or, knowing Bri and the fae, was more likely delight at her stupidity. In refusing Tasaria—her great-grandmother twenty-one generations removed, with far too much human blood running through Amaya's veins to ever be considered one of them — she not only denied the Queen of the Fae what she desired. She risked death. Tasaria wasn’t squeamish. She’d do it herself, executing Amaya by her own hands, in full view of the court.
Today was that day, Halloween, or as the fae preferred it, Samhain.
“In case you hadn’t noticed…” Bri nodded significantly at thunderheads visible through her kitchen window, thousands of feet high, ignited by lightning, and boiling up into a storm no one in their right mind would consider natural.
“They’re prepared to force the border if you don’t hand over the torc.”
“Good luck with that.”
“You assume she won’t be able to?” That too-silver-to-be-human eyebrow went up again.
Odd, she’d known her counterpart from the other side of the border most of her life, but never before noticed; Brishen’s eyebrows were neither symmetrical nor perfect. Distinctly unfae-like. His stance, hip leaning into her countertop, arms folded across his upper body, may have communicated trademark sídhe boredom, but his broad chest couldn’t carry off the fae’s boneless dissipation.
Too much human in you, Bri. You’re a throwback, aren’t you?
Contrary to the fae way of thinking, the imperfections made him more, not less attractive.
“You’re unwise to underestimate the queen’s–”
“I don’t have it.” She blurted out the catastrophic news she’d learned the moment she’d stepped over her threshold.
“I don’t have the torc. It’s gone.”
His face showed no reaction. “Some sacred trust.”
“Makani’s missing,” she added. “You didn’t see the disaster in the living room?” Her worry over her sister’s absence gnawed at her.
He gave a precise shrug. “I figured…typical human housekeeping.”
She abandoned him and returned to the living room. This wasn’t an ordinary mess, not even for Makani.
“So,” Bri said, having followed her. “Where do you think it is?”
This room, the sign on the door, Bri’s lack of surprise at hearing of the torc’s disappearance...felt off, so off. She turned to him.
“Why the sudden build up at the border?” she asked. “What aren’t you telling me?”
Ready to go on to Part 3? The fabulous Elise Forier Edie continues the story on her blog. You won't want to miss it. Definitely some fae fireworks between Bri and Amaya!