Queen of Fae/C1 Avery
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Queen of Fae/C1 Avery
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C1 Avery

“Someone is trying to kill you.” Darrius slammed a broken arrow onto the dining room table.

I jumped and a gasp slipped from me. My gaze jerked from the weapon on the table to the servants bustling back and forth from the kitchens to the shadows along the chamber as though the enemy hid there before finding Darrius again and my heart calmed a few beats.

The torches on the wall behind me caught the copper-highlights in his hair. The muscles in his arms bunched up under his tunic with tension.

“Couldn’t this wait until after dessert?” Simeon rolled his eyes and leaned his elbows on the table. “Avery knows half the Fae don’t support her claim to the throne and the Unseelie that have tried to murder us all since we were born.”

“Ye sound like Malcolm.” Darrius shook his head and pointed to the arrow, his Fae accent thickening which sounded closer to a Scottish brogue than anything else I could place. “This is dipped in enough poison to bring down a Kelpie.”

“Where did you find this?” I asked, hoping that Darrius was wrong about an assassination attempt on my life. Kind of was still getting used to the whole being royalty and full-blooded Fae. And still coming to terms with the fact the Fae weren’t my worst enemy or that I had been raised, protected by an Unseelie who I’d thought was my real mom. I didn’t want to add being on someone’s hit list to my life.

My stomach knotted of how she’d think of me spending years after her death hunting down and killing her kind. I was learning that there were good and evil Seelie and Unseelie just like Earthside humans. Though there were some monsters that lived only to cause harm like Kelpie or waterhorses who gave their victims a ride that might cause a heart attack and many drowned them afterward. Those types of creatures were like rabid animals, nothing could be done for them except a mercy killing.

Darrius harrumphed. “Down in the weapons, hidden inside one of the stones.”

“Then that could’ve been from anyone.” I leaned back, forcing my racing heart to calm down. Panicking right now when we’re not certain about where this poison came from or the intentions of who placed it there were dangerous. Jumping to conclusions was something I had done all the time in the past and I was trying to change. To give those I would have considered my enemies the benefit of the doubt. Darrius grew up next to the Unseelie and had a hatred that ran even deeper than mine. I only hoped there was a rational, non-assassination plot, for the tainted arrow.

“Even leftover from one of your wars, Darrius.” Simeon grasped my hand and squeezed, giving me a look that stole my breath.

He resembled the Fae of fairytales with long silver-blond hair and those piercing eyes. Even his ears were pointier than either Darrius' or Malcomb's. He had a grace to him that outshone both other Fae. Malcolm looked the most human of the group with light brown hair and killer sex appeal that had me drooling when I first bumped into him instead of killing him like I should have. But I was fucking glad I had stayed my hand. While Darrius always looked and sounded like he should be in the middle of a war with William Wallace of Scotland.

“I’m sure you forgot you had this commissioned and tucked it away for safekeeping.” Simeon shrugged.

Sometimes he could be sweet and seductive. Other times there was a dangerous side to him that rubbed me the wrong way and had all my instincts from my hunting Fae days screaming…. like now.

“I don’t keep arrows inside stones, nor do I keep them dipped in enough poison to kill the lot of us with a simple scrape,” Darrius snarled.

Both of my Fae princes glared at each other and the heat from Darrius’ temper flared across the table at me. This was going to escalate into something ugly if I didn’t stop it.

“Thank you, Darrius.” I cleared my throat, trying to sound formal and like the queen they expected as servants milled about bringing food to the guards and others throughout the castle. “Get rid of the arrow and we’ll do a sweep of the entire palace. We will need to question the staff as well and tell everyone to inform us of any suspicious behavior or items.”

He snatched up the arrow by the shaft. “I will use our best guards. Fae that I trust and have known personally.”

“Is that really necessary?” Simeon sat back, pulling my fingers to his lips for a quick kiss and spiking my desire. “Darrius likes to invent tall tales. He lived on the border with the Unseelie too long. I think it’s affected his judgment. He sees enemies where there are none.”

“How can you be so sure?” I asked, unease pressing along the sides of my gut. “We barely escaped with our lives mere months ago.”

How my life had flipped upside-down and sideways. Months ago, I was a Fae bounty hunter. I killed anything that went bump in the night and called either the Seelie or Unseelie court as their heritage. To me, they were all monsters. But that was before I came here.

I could accept the Fae better now… at least the Seelie like Simeon, Darrius, and Malcolm, but it was harder to accept the darker Fae. The ones who bred creatures like the leminax who preyed on women and ate the heart and liver of their victims.

But as Queen of the Fae, I wanted to bring peace between the two kingdoms. Yeah. Turned out my real mother was royalty with numerous husbands, and I was whisked away to safety after she was murdered.

For eleven years, my mother was mine in every way except blood. I still don’t know why she raised me rather than kill me. I didn’t even know what type of Unseelie she was.

She protected me from the Fae when they had cornered us in a tunnel. I still remember her intense dark gaze as she looked down at me. Never trust the Fae, Avery. None of them. Run and don’t look back.

Now with Darrius finding the poison arrow, I wondered if Mom’s warning was prophetic. That it might not be the Unseelie who were the threat.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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