A witch with no past…A Fae with no future…Two shifters with no hope. Their entwined fates could be their doom or their salvation.
I have no memories of whatever life I left behind. No clues indicating why the mage pretending to be my father was hiding me away. And now I’m fleeing for my life, hunted by mercenaries who want me dead.
My only friends are a possessive rebel Fae, his temperamental dragon, and his two exiled wolf shifter brothers. Though I’m drawn to the Fae and his brothers, the last thing I need is three jealous lovers fighting for me when I still don’t know who or what I am. Even if my wolf shifters may hold the key to my heart and my memories.
Of one thing I do know—my magic is strengthening, and if I can’t learn how to wield it, I could very well burn this world down.
“Hello. Who are you?”
My eyes fluttered open, and I blinked at the most handsome face I’d ever seen. He was lying on his side, his eyes still heavy with sleep, his mouth hitched in a lazy smile. His tunic was open, revealing a smattering of dark hairs on a hard chest.
“A healer. How do you feel?”
“Strange.” He dragged a hand down the stubble on his chin. “What happened?”
I did my best not to become transfixed by eyes as blue as a spring sky, his irises ringed with silver that complimented his hair. “Radnor says you were attacked by Malvolia’s fire mage.”
“Fuck.” He sat up, dragging a hand through that silky curtain of hair while searching the sky. “Is he okay?”
I assumed he meant Radnor. “Of course. He’s a dragon.” I reached for him, then quickly pulled away when he turned back toward me, pinning me with that penetrating gaze.
“How did I survive?”
My chest flushed with heat at the way he stared at me so intently, as if he could see into my heart, my soul. “I healed you.”
“I remember now,” he said with a note of awe. “He burned me alive—a fire mage. He attacked us in the sky.”
If Malvolia sent one of her fire mages deep into human territory, Radnor and his rider must’ve seriously angered the queen. “What did you do to piss off Malvolia?”
“A better question would be what didn’t I do?” he said with a wink, his sensual chuckle like warm honey dripping all over my senses. He leaned into me, licking those full, kissable lips. “How lucky I am that Radnor found a green witch.”
I gave a start when Demon jumped into my lap, and I berated myself for forgetting about him. “I found him when I was being chased by a berchta,” I said while absently scratching my rabbit’s soft ears.
“A berchta?” He tilted his head toward Demon, and then he rubbed the rabbit’s forehead. “That’s no fun.”
Demon lowered his head and closed his eyes, softly grinding his teeth in delight.
“No, I wouldn’t advise it.”
I didn’t know if I was more shocked that this Fae was petting my bunny or that Demon was letting him. Even though green witches were known for keeping various animals as familiars, I’d gotten no small share of rude comments from others about skinning and eating my best friend. And here was this Fae, petting him as if it was the most natural thing in the world. His bare, hard chest and those thick, muscular arms were such a sharp contrast to Demon’s soft, fluffy body. I could’ve watched him pet my bunny all day.
Or maybe you want him to pet something else.
I berated myself for my wicked thought as I had to work hard to keep from gawking.
He arched a sculpted, black brow. “I presume Radnor ate her in exchange for you healing me?”
Her? Oh, yes. We were talking about the berchta. “Something like that.” I momentarily got lost in the pools of eyes that shone like diamonds while I absently petted my familiar. When his fingers grazed mine, a spark flew between us, and I snapped out of my trance, pulling my hand away.
“Is she who injured your face?”
My hand flew to my cheek, to the worst of the throbbing there. I’d put herbs on my cuts, but one scratch still particularly pained me. Embarrassment flushed my face. I probably looked hideous. “I cut my face on tree limbs running from the berchta.”
“And your healing magic doesn’t work on your own wounds?”
I shook my head. “Just on others.”
Thankfully, he didn’t show any signs of repulsion as he continued to pet Demon with a surprisingly straight face. “We were over the Werewood Forest when we were attacked. What were you doing there?”
I shrugged. “Long story.”
“What’s your name?”
His smile was as bright as the sun peeking from behind the clouds on a bleak winter’s day.
“Anya,” I said a little too breathlessly. I didn’t know why, but I couldn’t stop staring at his full mouth, wondering what it would feel like if his lips were pressed against mine.
“Nice to meet you, Anya. I’m Helian.”
I stared at his outstretched hand for a few moments, my body refusing to catch up with my brain. “Helian,” I finally said, taking his warm hand, that spark between us once more turning my veins to molten lava. “You have better manners than your dragon.”
“Trolls have better manners than dragons.” He chuckled, still holding my hand in a firm grip. “I’m sorry if he mistreated you.”
“Nothing I can’t handle,” I said, instantly missing his touch when he released me. “Will you be ready to fly tomorrow?”
“I think so, thanks to your excellent care. Will you be joining us?”
I wanted to melt in a pool of lust when he smiled, his eyes dazzling as if they held the moon and all the stars. “Yes. Radnor is flying me to Caldaria.”
“Caldaria? Is that where your husband lives?”
His question caught me off guard. “Husband?” Nervous laughter bubbled up from my throat. “I have no husband.” At least, I didn’t think I did.
“Lover, then?” His tone changed, his easy demeanor shifting to something else, something almost feral.
I didn’t know why, but his stare suddenly made me uncomfortable. I wrapped my arms around my rabbit, pulling him closer to me. “No, none that I know of.”
He leaned toward me, his knees grazing mine. “How would you not know?”
Unease snaked down my spine as I scooted back. “A mind spinner erased my memories.”
“A mind spinner?” He scooted closer. “Why?”
I pulled my knees in tighter, needing to distance myself from his touch. “I don’t know. I only just found out he faked my death and took me from my family while pretending to be my father.”
“Where will you go in Caldaria?”
“I’m not sure yet. I just need to get out of the human lands.” Feeling the urge to get away from him, too, I looked over my shoulder. I was pressed against a thick slab of rock. I swore when Demon climbed up my torso and hopped off my shoulder onto the rock. Now there were no barriers between me and the strange, handsome Fae.
“We’re not going to leave you in the middle of a foreign country.”
My gaze shot to his, and I was struck by how glazed his eyes were, his lids heavy. Hadn’t he gotten enough sleep? “I don’t want to be a bother.”
“You brought me back from the dead.” He chuckled, some of that easy manner returning. “You can bother us all you want.”
“Where will you bring me?” And did I trust him enough to travel with him?
“I know a safe place far from Delfi’s and Caldaria’s borders,” he said too casually, a direct contrast to the tension radiating off his skin and the shift in the very air I breathed. “It’s about two weeks’ flight from here.”
“Two weeks? I don’t want to impose on you.” And I certainly didn’t want to be alone with him that long.
“You won’t be imposing. Besides, I can think of worse ways to spend my time than in the company of a beautiful witch,” he said with a wink.
I laughed at his comment, though it made me more uncomfortable, for that spark in his eyes had turned to flame.
“Why do you find humor in my words?” He splayed a hand across his heart, a wounded look in his eyes. “I speak the truth.”
I repressed the urge to wrap my arms around myself, not wanting him to see just how uncomfortable he made me. “So, whereas Radnor is all thorns and venom, you’re honey and wine?”
He rested his hand on his crotch. “I can assure you, Anya, I taste far better than honey or wine.”
I gaped at him a long moment, disgust rippling up my spine. “It’s late. We both need rest if we’re to have strength for the trip tomorrow.”
“You don’t need to worry about my stamina.” He pulled his hand away from his crotch, from that massive bulge pressing against his leather trousers. “I can go all night long.”
I swear I vomited a little in my mouth. “You’re a pig.”
“Relax, Anya.” He leaned back on his palms, his mouth hitched in a cocky smirk. “It was just a little harmless flirting.”
I jumped to my feet, glaring down at him, understanding more and more why someone would want to set him aflame. “Goodnight, Helian.”
“It’s drafty out here.” He had the nerve to flex his hips, that bulge in his leathers jutting toward me like a spear. “You need someone to warm your furs.”
“No, I don’t.” I was about to snatch up Demon and stomp away, but I gasped when my familiar dug his claws into my calf. “Demon, what are you doing?” I pulled him off me as he humped the air, his puffy little tail twitching, a glazed look in his eyes, green goo dripping off his mouth. Fuck.
“As alluring as you are, can you blame him?”
My gaze shot to the Fae as he stood, looking at me with that same glazed look while flexing his hips and humping the air.
I clutched Demon to my chest, hissing when he nipped my arm.
“I usually prefer brunettes”—the Fae stepped toward me, reaching for my hair—“but I can wrap blonde hair around my fists just as easily.”
I ducked under his arm and quickly spun around as he grappled the air and stumbled forward, nearly face-planting into that now empty bowl of what I realized wasn’t cacao and cava, but cacao and something else. “Sirenshade,” I said breathlessly, backing up a step when the Fae turned on me like a cat cornering a mouse. “I-I mixed it up with cava. I’m always getting those plants confused.”
He stopped his advance, looking like he’d hit an invisible wall. “Sirenshade?”
I yelped when Demon nipped me again, this time breaking skin. I shifted him in my arms, nearly doubling over when he kicked my stomach. “It turns men into horny dragons’ asses.” I only carried it with me because Thorin said he couldn’t entertain his lady friends without it.
He frowned down at his crotch. “That explains the raging boner.”
“I’m sorry.” I set Demon down, wincing when he went for my leg again. “This is all Radnor’s fault for rushing me to wake you. I told him you needed rest.”
“What I need is a warm and willing cunt.”
I winced at his crude words. He was certainly persistent. “You’ll get neither from me.”
“Why not?” He pouted like a toddler on the verge of a tantrum. And to think I’d once thought him handsome.
I shook Demon off my foot. “I don’t need a reason.”
“Where I come from, women line up at my bedchamber.” He waved toward the dark copse of trees behind us, as if his harem was waiting for him there.
“Good for you.” This Fae was so pathetic it was comical. “You can sate your lust when you return home.”
“Don’t you think I’m handsome?”
It was hard to take him seriously while my rabbit was humping my leg. “That’s beside the point.” I shook Demon off again. He went straight for me again.
“So you do think I’m handsome?”
“Damn, that Sirenshade is potent.” I picked up Demon and held him tightly to my chest so that he couldn’t hump or kick, but he could still bite.
“You should feel honored to sleep with me.”
Holy troll turds! These two horny males! “What I feel right now is repulsed.”
“Why? I’m a ten and you’re a seven at best.”
My gaze shot to him, and for a moment, that squirming rabbit in my arms was forgotten. That temperamental dragon no longer a concern. The pain from Thorin’s betrayal muted as I gaped at my tormentor. He was right. I was a seven at best. I’d always felt uncomfortable in my own skin, as if I’d somehow been stuck in the wrong body. I was too small, too pale, too plain. Sometimes when I looked at my reflection, I barely recognized the woman with the mousy features staring back at me, my hair a golden wheat that grew so wild, the only way to tame it was to keep it in a thick single braid down my back, which only emphasized my dull gray eyes. Thorin’s friends had always thought I was a child, though he’d told me I was already twenty-three winters. And now this hairy gnome wart confirmed what I’d known all along.
I didn’t think, just acted on the rage that built inside me, flooding my veins with scorching magic that flew out of my fingertips and struck his chest.
He flew backward, landing against that slab of stone, the audible crack of his skull splitting the air.
I rushed toward him, dropping Demon at his feet while I reached for Helian’s head, cringing when I pulled my hands away and they were coated with blood. I tensed when I heard the swoosh of wings in the distance. I quickly pulled Helian back to his bed of grass and willed my magic to flow through my fingers and heal that gash while also chanting a sleeping spell. By the time I finished, a rosy tint had returned to his cheeks as he still slept. I quickly cleaned my bloody hands on the inside of my skirts as I sat back on my heels. That’s when I noticed Demon humping Helian’s leg. I snatched up my rabbit and murmured a sleeping spell while petting his ears. He quickly fell limp in my arms, and I placed him on the grass.
Radnor landed with a thud. Wings pinned behind his back, he approached us on his two hind legs. He sniffed his rider, then turned to me with a snarl, smoke pouring from his snout. “He’s not awake?”
“He’s alive. He’s healed,” I snapped back, brushing trembling hands down my skirts. “What else do you want from me? He was a piece of coal last night.” I held his gaze for longer than I thought possible, ignoring the tremors in my bladder. “Powerful healing requires rest.”
He snorted, hitting me with rings of smoke. “Sounds like you need rest, too, cranky witch.”
I fanned my face, swearing. “I do.”
“Your rodent has other ideas.” He nodded toward Demon, who’d somehow woken up and was humping Helian’s leg again, albeit much slower, kind of like a drunkard at a brothel.
“He’s fine. Now leave us alone!” I snapped, shooing away the monster as if I was swatting a fly.
He turned his back on me, his monster tail nearly hitting my head as he huffed off, stomping so hard I lifted off the ground with each angry step.
Only when he disappeared into the shadows of the forest did I heave a sigh of relief.
“Demon, you have to stop this.” I pulled my little black ball of fluff off Helian’s abused knee and stroked his ears while chanting the sleeping spell again, this time infusing it with more magic. Fortunately, it didn’t take him long to fall asleep. I pulled him to my chest and curled my knees into my belly while staring at the sleeping Fae, his chest rising and falling in a steady rhythm. My gut churned and my heart twisted in knots as I wondered if Helian would change his mind and leave me in this forest after he woke.
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