I could feel his desires, his need to shed blood; it permeated the room, intoxicating me. But underneath all of that was sadness. It was faint, but I could feel it.

Closing my eyes, I conjured up one of the visions in my mind. I didn’t realize it before, but it was this exact moment I had dreamed about two weeks ago.

Instead of being in my body, I was the spectator. From the darkened corner, the Shadow fae watched me with his stormy gray eyes, but that was all I could see of him; he blended in with the night. Either he didn’t know who I was with my back turned, or he wasn’t ready. He made no move to attack. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the time or place for a fight. I had a duty as a Keeper. But if it came down to a battle, I wouldn’t lose.

Linette’s life force within her started to slip away faster.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

Taking a deep breath, I let it out slowly. I placed my other hand on top of our clasped ones. If the Shadow fae didn’t know who I was, he was about to find out. “My name is Ella,” I replied. “I’m the daughter of King Brayden and Queen Ariella of the Ice Court.”

Linette gasped and more tears fell down her face as she squeezed my hand. “I am beyond honored, Your Highness. Thank you for being here with me.”

Her heartbeat slowed.

“You’re welcome, Linette. And I’m honored to take you to the Hereafter. Are you ready to go?”

She closed her eyes and nodded. “Yes.”

The magic inside of me exploded all around us, filling the room with pure light. We couldn’t go until her heart stopped for the final beat.

A few seconds passed, and as soon as the last thrum echoed in my ears, I let the magic take us. However, before we disappeared from the mortal realm, I glanced back at the dark corner of the cabin.

The Shadow fae was gone.



“Son of a fucking bitch,” I growled, running a hand through my hair.

I was too late; my mother was gone. I didn’t get to say goodbye, even though I hadn’t seen her in years. She hated me for what I’d become. Maybe it was a good thing she didn’t see me. I wasn’t expecting to seeher, the one and only Ice Court princess, by her side. I hadn’t seen Ella since that night in her bedroom.

I still felt the burning need inside me; it was much worse than that first night. It overpowered everything else, including the pain of the loss of my mother. Nevertheless, I welcomed the distraction and held onto it with all my strength. Love made people weak. I’ve never given in to it, and I wasn’t about to start.

Images of Ella in her bed flashed through my mind. My hands wanted to touch her, to relish the feel of her skin all around me ....

“Fuck,” I hissed, squeezing my eyes shut, willing the thoughts of the princess out of my head. All I could see washer, her body naked beneath mine. My father’s curse had now become mine. His obsession had awoken the beast inside of me.

Storming through the front door, I marched past my brother and went straight to the whiskey bottle sitting on the kitchen counter. Ridge got off the couch and followed close on my heels.

“What the hell happened to you?”

Grabbing the whiskey bottle, I poured a heaping glass of the amber liquid and downed it in one gulp. The burn was a welcome feeling. Ridge scoffed impatiently, which only pissed me off more. He was my half brother, but I was older and stronger. That was why I was the leader of the Shadow fae now. Our eldest brother, Dorian,hadthe title before he found himself on the other end of a Winter Court sword. Unfortunately, he was impulsive, and it cost him his life.

Ridge slammed his hands down on the counter, impatience written all over his face. “Are you going to answer me or not?”

I poured another shot of whiskey and tossed it back, anger building in my gut. “I’ll tell you when I’m goddamned ready.”

Piper strolled in through the front door and froze when she saw me. There was no mistaking us as siblings; we all resembled our father with our dark hair, but I was the only one who had his gray eyes. But Piper wasn’t like Ridge or me; she had a heart. She was kind.

“You had us worried, brother,” she said, nervously glancing back and forth between Ridge and me. “Are you okay? You just disappeared on us.”

Huffing, I slammed my glass down. “My mother’s dead.”

Piper gasped and flung her arms around my neck, but I didn’t return the gesture. “Kai, I’m so sorry.”

“It’s fine,” I snapped, moving away from her. “That’s not all, though.” I looked at them to make sure I had their attention. “Ella was with my mother. Inthisrealm.”

Tags: L.P. Dover Fantasy
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