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The Coldest Fae Special *LIMITED* Edition Omnibus (Hardback + eBooks)

The Coldest Fae Special *LIMITED* Edition Omnibus (Hardback + eBooks)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 13,000+ 5-Star Reviews Series-Wide

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SIGNED OMNIBUS EDITION OF THE COLDEST FAE SERIES. INCLUDES: TAKEN, STOLEN, MARKED, AND FATED. EBOOKS DELIVERED INSTANTLY TO YOUR EMAIL UPON PURCHASE.

Over half-a-million readers worldwide have enjoyed this series.

This is the ONLY PLACE you can get this gorgeous special edition!

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***

What happens when an unsuspecting human is kidnapped and taken to the land of the Fae, only to find out she's a contestant in a brutal and ancient competition? These Fae have been training their whole lives to compete in the Royal Selection, while she's just a seamstress working out of her grandmothers' shop.

That's pretty bad, right? But it gets worse. See, the Fae clearly think she's also Fae, but she's not. She's human. If they learn the truth about her, they'll kill her. Humans don't belong in Arcadia. 

As if that wasn't bad enough, she has a strange connection with the Prince of the Winter Fae. Cillian. Honestly, he'd be a perfect ten; tall, dark, handsome, with antlers that curl out of his forehead. 

Except he's the bastard who kidnapped her and brought her here in the first place! 

Read the full synopsis and the first few chapters of Taken below.

***

TROPES
✔ - Enemies to lovers
✔ - Strong FMC
✔ - Fae
✔ - Found family
✔ - Touch her and 💀
✔ - Grumpy/sunshine MMC
✔ - Slow burn that gets steamier with every book

SPECIAL EDITION DETAILS - Only 300 copies ever made!
- Signed tip-in pages, autographed by the author
🥇 - Dust jacket with silver foil
🥇 - "Naked" case with silver foil
🎨 - Silver sprayed edges
🔖 - Custom interior layout
📗 - One gorgeous *thicc* book!
📦- Free shipping only available in the US - shipping begins in August/ September 2024


*** This special edition omnibus was made possible through a Kickstarter campaign. The bundles available through Kickstarter which included swag are not available here and were only created for my Kickstarter supporters. You are able to purchase one of these gorgeous special editions due to the necessarily large print-run that allowed for the creation of this special project. Please allow plenty of lead time until the delivery of your order, as printing is still in process.

Synopsis

In Arcadia, winter has no heart.

I make magic dresses for a living. I’m not rich or pretty enough to wear them, but I love what I do, working out of my family’s shop on Carnaby Street in London—until the fae show up.

It’s a straight-up kidnapping, and before I know it, I’m brought to this wintry place of cold hearts and beautiful nightmares, but that’s not the worst part. The worst part is, they think I’m fae, and I’m supposed to participate in some competition against a host of other women who have been training their whole lives for this.

The prize? The winner is to marry the Prince.

On the surface that sounds almost like a fairytale, only this competition is brutal and bloody, and the Prince is the jerk that kidnapped me. I can’t get too close to him or he’ll know I’m not fae, and then I’m dead. But I want to get close to him. His body burns with the fire of a cold star, and I’m drawn to him.

I need to fight the pull and survive long enough to find a way out of here, but these winter fae won’t make that easy.

Sample

Chapter One

Madame Lydia Whitmore took her sweet arse time coming out of the changing room, leaving me to wonder if she’d forgotten I was even here. It had been twenty minutes since I’d handed her the dress I’d made; twenty minutes since the last time I’d seen another person.
And I really needed to pee.
Don’t get me wrong, you could fit my entire house in the room I’d been left in. A vaulted ceiling made the room appear tall, its white walls gave it incredible depth, and the gorgeous hardwood floors told the story of the many dancing troupes that had danced upon it over the decades.
I was happy with the visuals. But really, I just wanted to get paid, use the bathroom, and be on my way.
“There’s a bathroom down the hall, Dahlia,” came a tiny voice near my ear.
“What are you doing out?” I hissed, trying not to make any sudden movements. The last thing I wanted was for Lydia to know I had a pixie with me. Humans weren’t supposed to have magical pets, and mages like her were sticklers for enforcing those kinds of rules. But Gullie was more than a pet; she was my only friend.
And if I ever called her a pet, I was likely to get smacked around the mouth for it.
“I got bored waiting in your hair,” Gullie said, her little wings buzzing against my ear. I watched her zip around in front of me, her tiny, glowing body leaving a light, glittering trail of fairy dust in the air wherever she went.
“Please get back inside?” I pleaded, “You know what’ll happen if they catch you.”
Gullie stared at me and folded her arms. Her translucent, butterfly wings were impossible to see when she was flying, but the scowl on her pretty little face was as clear as day. “Do you really expect me to stay in your hair the whole time we’re out?”
“That was the deal, remember?”
“Do you have any idea what it’s like being stuck in your hair all day?”
My eyes widened and I sucked in a breath. “What’s wrong with my hair? I’m clean. I use conditioner.”
“Yeah, and by the way, that doesn’t make my job of holding on any easier.” She cocked a thumb behind her back. “I have wings. I can fly. But instead I have to hold onto silky smooth strands of hair to keep from toppling out.”
“Look, they aren’t just my rules, okay? I just… I don’t want anyone taking you away from me.”
Gullie frowned, then sighed. “Don’t do that…” she said, hovering closer to my face. It was easier to see her the closer she got to me. Her body radiated this bright green glow if you saw her from a distance, but the glow fell away up close. She looked like me, almost, if I was the size of the palm of my own hand and had shocking green hair. “You know I wouldn’t let anyone pull us apart,” she said.
“I know. I think I’m just uncomfortable, here. Mages make me feel weird.”
“It’s because they’re classist arseholes. Just picture them all naked, it makes it easier to deal with them.”
A door started to open, and Gullie zipped back into my hair. I swatted at the trail of shimmering pixie dust she’d left in the air, then abruptly stood to try and mask my sudden flailing. Lydia’s assistant came through the door first; a severe looking woman with a black bob and a pencil dress that wasn’t terribly flattering to her figure.
She stopped and stared at me for a long moment, one hand grabbing onto the door she’d just opened, her eyes narrow. After a short while, she pulled the door open the rest of the way and stepped aside, allowing Lydia to step through into the studio.
I’d only ever met this woman a handful of times, but she’d never looked quite as radiant as she did now. She was statuesque, a giraffe in human form with long, golden locks of hair, striking, pointed features, and all the grace of a princess.
The gown she was wearing shimmered as she moved. It was low cut in the front and back, and pearlescent, catching the sunlight and reflecting every color of the rainbow in wonderful, rippling waves.
My heart surged into a quick beat.
I’d made that dress with my own two hands. It was one thing to see it on a mannequin in my dull little workshop, and quite another to watch it come to life on the body of a woman beautiful enough to do it justice. Then I caught myself in the long mirror running along the entire length of one wall, and I frowned.
I was short and pale, my hair a dull, uninspiring kind of brown, my body slight and petite. A black beanie hat sat on my head, I was wearing my lucky blue scarf and black sweater over a floaty skirt. I only wore a little makeup, enough to darken my eyes and bring a little contrast to my otherwise pasty complexion.
In other words, princess, meet peasant.
The only thing we had in common was, we were both wearing clothes I had made myself.
“Wow…” I gaped, staring at Lydia as she glided across the room toward the mirror.
She spun around once, twice, three times. Each time she did, the dress would shimmer and move with her form like it was made of water. She was radiant, immaculate, and yet, she made a sound I wasn’t expecting to hear.
“Hmmm.”
I stared at her. Hmmm? What did hmmm mean? Didn’t she like it? Not to blow my own trumpet, but the dress was my finest work yet. I’d never made anything quite so perfect before and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do so again, not for a while. Working with real, magic, Night Spinner thread wasn’t easy, but the payment from this dress was going to solve so many problems, the many weeks of frustration and insane tiredness would be worth it in the end.
But she’s said hmmm.
“It’s stunning,” I said, deciding to finally speak. “I mean, you’re glowing right now.”
“It is quite spectacular,” Lydia said, her voice delicate, but firm; the voice of a graceful disciplinarian. “But…”
“Is… there something wrong?” I ventured, my heart racing now for a different reason. “Is it the fit? Because I can adjust it.”
“No, the fit is fine. The dress itself is fine.” Lydia twirled again, her blonde curls cascading gently over her shoulders. “There’s just… I’m not sure. I feel like something’s missing. Is something missing, Dawn?”
Fine? I would’ve been seething if I wasn’t on the verge of a panic attack.
“I think you look regal,” Dawn said, “The Queen herself has never worn a dress quite like this one before.”
Good. That’s good. More of that, please.
“I don’t know,” Lydia said. “I like it, but I’m not in love with it.”
“Whatever it is, I can fix it,” I said, taking a step toward her only to instantly regret it.
Lydia snapped around to glare at me, her nostrils flared, her lips curled into a frown. Meekly, I took a step back, remembering my place. I was human, she was a mage. Mother Helen had taught me better than to step toward another mage like that. They didn’t like humans getting so familiar.
I’d just made the situation ten times worse. Great.
For some strange reason, Lydia decided to soften up a little instead of zapping me to death. She stared at me from atop her turned up nose and lazy eyes, almost like she was sizing me up. “I want a discount,” she said.
And there it was, the real reason for this show she was putting on. It wasn’t that she didn’t like the dress. The dress was perfect. Christ, it was magic. What she wanted was to pay less than we’d agreed, and that meant she wasn’t just a snobby bitch; she was a cheap one, too.
“A… discount?” I asked, “But, we already agreed on the price.”
“And you have been paid half of what we’d originally agreed,” she said, “However, you haven’t entirely delivered on your part of the transaction, though, have you?”
“I haven’t?”
She turned to the mirror again. “You promised this dress would make me younger.”
“No, I said the dress would make you look and feel younger. I also promised it wouldn’t lose its shimmer for over a hundred years, I promised the seams would never break, and I promised it would be hand-stitched to fit your exact shape. I’ve made good on all of those promises, so far, so I don’t understand why you want to pay less?”
“You forget yourself, girl,” Dawn barked. She was sneering at me from the door, like a Pitbull guarding its owner. “You are addressing Madame Lydia Whitmore, Mistress of the Whitmore Academy of Ballet, and you will address her with the respect she deserves.”
I glared at the heavyset woman by the door. “I’m not being disrespectful, but I don’t think it’s right to change the terms of a deal.” I turned to face Lydia again. “With all due respect, I spent weeks making this dress for you. My family is grateful for your business, but I didn’t come here to haggle over a price that had already been agreed upon. I don’t think you’re the kind of person to go back on your word, are you?”
Lydia cocked a quizzical eyebrow… and then promptly kicked me out of her academy. Dawn, the Pitbull, escorted me downstairs and practically shoved me into the cold, wet London street. Honestly, I was lucky to have walked out of that place with even the twenty percent of what Madame Whitmore owed me in my hand.
I’d pushed the limits of what she would take from a human, and I’d blown it. Mother Helen was going to be furious. We needed the money the dress was going to bring in, we were counting on it, and I was coming back home with only a fraction of it.
I slid the envelope with the money in it into my backpack as I walked and zipped it shut. I wanted to get back home quick, thinking maybe if I got home fast enough, Mother Helen could sort this mess out.
I was so in my own head, so eager to rush home, I didn’t notice the guy I’d bumped into until I was already halfway to the floor.
My backpack went one way, and I went another. I was lucky I’d shut it, otherwise its contents would’ve spilled all over the sidewalk. I, however, wasn’t so lucky. I went down hard, falling arse-first into a puddle because, of course, there were puddles everywhere.
I was about to get up and apologize for running into the guy, when someone walking past my backpack kicked it into the road—maybe absentmindedly, maybe on purpose. This was London. It was hard to tell.
I scrambled toward it on all fours and stretched for it, managing to barely grab and pull it out of the path of a black cab that came rushing by. But the cab rolled over a dip in the road as it trundled by, a dip filled with water.
I was instantly soaked, from my head to my toes.
“Fantastic,” I sighed, clutching the backpack to my chest, water dripping down my face.
Then a hand appeared next to my head. I took it, not really thinking about who the hand belonged to before taking it and got myself back on my feet. When I turned around, I found myself staring into the eyes of an angel in a fitted suit.
He was easily the most beautiful, most intense looking man I had ever laid eyes on. His hair was as black as the night, slicked back around the front but pulled into a bun at the back and long at the sides. His beard, his lips, his eyebrows; everything about his face screamed brute strength, except for his eyes. His eyes were gray and sharp, and sparkled with a kind of cold, cunning intelligence that made my heart hammer inside of my chest.
Those same eyes narrowed and fixed on mine.
I returned the stare, becoming instantly aware that I probably looked like a drowned rat. I also realized I hadn’t yet let go of his hand. I tried to pull away, but his grip on it tightened and, in fact, he started pulling me toward him.
“Excuse me—” I started to say, but he plunged his nose into my hair before I could get the words out.
Breathless I stood as this man took a deep whiff of my hair, then abruptly pulled away, a look of stunned shock in those crystalline eyes.
“Belore…” he said, the word spilling from his lips on the back of a sigh.
My skin prickled. “What did you say?” I asked, even as my breath caught in my throat.
I’d never been sniffed like that before. Part of me was desperate to get the hell away from him, but another part was still tingling all over. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. But something was happening to me. It was as if, deep inside of me, something was waking up; something ancient and primal, something written.
Belore.
I felt his grip slacken, and I took the opportunity to yank my arm away from him and start backing off. “Thanks for helping me up,” I called out, and heading directly for the nearest London Underground station as quickly as I could.
He simply gawked at me, confusion written all over his face—his perfect face.
I got a chance to take one last look at him before entering the Underground, before the masses of tourists and Londoners alike became too thick that we wouldn’t be able to see each other. I didn’t think I’d ever forget him, or the way his suit so tightly clung to what I suspected was one hell of a body.
Who the hell was he? Some kind of high-powered executive, probably. He probably drove a Bentley, or a Mercedes. One thing was for sure, he wouldn’t have given me a second look if I hadn’t literally smashed into him on the street.
I moved into the Underground station, losing sight of him completely. It was time to go home and face the music, face reality, face my mothers.







Chapter Two

I didn’t have one mother—I had three.
Mother Pepper.
Mother Evie.
And, of course, Mother Helen.
They weren’t my biological mothers. I wasn’t grown in a tube, but I had been adopted. My real parents were gone. Not dead, necessarily. Just gone. I didn’t know who my real parents were, or how I came to fall into the laps of the three caring, amazing women who raised me.
To be honest, I didn’t need to know anything else. They had given me the life I had. The only life I could ever have wanted. I owed everything to them, and that was why coming home with my tail between my legs stung as bad as it did. I felt like I’d failed them.
My mothers owned and operated a haberdashery in Carnaby Street, in London. For the everyday human, we sold the fabrics, the tools, and all the other knickknacks a person looking to make their own outfits would ever need.
Everyone who walked through our doors was made to feel welcomed, and like they’d made the right choice in deciding to wear the things they could make instead of buying the kinds of mass-produced, massively overpriced, low quality clothes you’d find at a shop.
Of course, there was more to the shop than that.
Ask the right questions, and the door to the backroom opens. In there, you might just find anything from enchanted threads, to potions, to little oddities useful to those with a flair for magic. See, my mothers were all mages, and even though that made me—the human—kind of an oddball at home, it also meant I should’ve known better when dealing with Lydia.
Sorry, Madame Arsehole Whitmore.
“I need to talk to you,” Gullie said into my ear as I walked beneath the arching, brightly lit and multi-colored sign that opened Carnaby Street. The Magic Box sat tucked away at the end of an alley not far from the entrance. It was a little out of sight, but that was fine. We didn’t make our business on foot traffic.
“Not now,” I hissed.
“No, it’s important.”
“Look, I’m about to walk into a hornet’s nest. Unless what you’ve got to tell me is life-or-death, it can wait. Is it life or death?”
“It could be.”
“Okay, Mother Helen is definitely going to kill me, so this takes priority. Besides, you’ve had this whole trip to talk to me.”
“You don’t like me talking to you while there’s humans around. Are there any humans around now?”
“You make a good point, but still, no.”
The Magic Box itself barely looked like a shop at all. It was a ruddy brown building at the end of a deep alleyway with a single black door and a little window looking onto the cobblestone street outside. I opened the door without knocking and stepped through. A bell jingled, and right away I was hit with the warm, inviting scent of freshly baked pastries.
Yes, that was probably a strange smell to come out of a haberdashery, but strange was our brand.
Stacks upon stacks of rolled up fabrics lined two of the shop’s walls. Walking through it, there were aisles covered in tools, bits, bobs, and even more fabrics to look through. In here, you’d find everything you could possibly need, whether you wanted to make a modern looking summer dress, or a classic, turn of the century, historically accurate, ballgown.
Mother Pepper was stationed behind the desk at the far end of the room. She perked up at the sound of the bell, then smiled when she saw me. She was a jolly woman, fairly ample herself, and getting on in years, but she had a kind, grandmotherly spirit and she loved to cook. I’d barely arrived at the desk, and already she held a small pastry in her hand for me to take a bite out of. The light fell out of her kind eyes when she saw the state of me.
“Oh, darling, you’re soaked,” she said, “What happened?”
I grabbed the pastry, stuffed it into my mouth, and started chewing. It was delicious. I was getting cinnamon, apple, cream; all the ingredients in an apple pie. But there was something else, too. Something I couldn’t put my finger on, but it turned the taste up to eleven. “Oh, that’s really good,” I said, “Apple pie, right?”
Mother Pepper stared at me from behind her half-moon spectacles. “It’s not apple. It’s something called a Lerac fruit. It’s exceedingly rare, only the Goblins know how to find it. I bought some this morning.”
“Tastes a bit like apple.”
“A bit, yes, if you prepare it the way I have. But unlike an apple, a Lerac fruit will sharpen your senses for a time. She pulled a handkerchief out from under the desk and handed it to me. “Now, care to tell me why you’re drenched?”
I shrugged. “Not really… is Mother Helen around?”
“Yes, she’s in the back.” Mother Pepper paused. “You did hand the dress over to Madame Whitmore, yes?”
“Yes mother, I did.”
Mother Pepper lit up and rapidly clapped her hands, making the bangles on her wrist jingle. “Oh, splendid!” she said, “I take it she liked the dress?”
“Yeah… I should go and talk to Mother Helen.”
“Is everything alright, child?” she lightly touched my face with the back of her hand, “You’re looking a little pale.”
I shook my head. “I’m always pale.”
“Paler than usual, then. Are you sure you’re alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I picked up another pastry and ate it as I walked through the beaded curtain and into the back.
The corridors in our shop were tight and dark, barely wide enough for one person to walk without their shoulders touching the walls. A set of stairs to the right led the way up to our house, which sat on top of the store. Going straight ahead and through the door at the end of the corridor, though, took you to the back; a codename for our little magic shop.
I found the door slightly ajar as I reached it, a shaft of light breaking from the other side. I pushed the door open and moved through, swallowing the last of my apple—Lerac?-—pie as I reached the magic shop. The space in here wasn’t much bigger than the space out front, but it looked it thanks to the lack of fabric stacks all over the place.
In here, there were shelves, and tables, and cupboards all filled with many wonderful, strange, and increasingly random things. From crystals with bits of magic in them, to strange books, to needles of all shapes and sizes, and spindles of thread that shimmered with the light. There were also potions all throughout, whole racks of bottles filled with liquids of all colors, some of which bubbled or faintly glowed.
Mother Helen wasn’t back here, but Mother Evie was. She sprang up from her workstation and squealed, her long, black hair bouncing as she bounded toward me like a speeding train. “You’re back!” she said, throwing her arms around me and scooping me up. Mother Evie was the youngest of the three, she could’ve been my older sister. Her eyes were so wide and bright; childlike, almost, and sparkling with magic. “Your first delivery! How did it go?”
Ah. Yes. This had been the first time my mothers had entrusted me to go and deliver a dress to one of our clients. Because that only made things better.
“Ummmm…” I said, trailing off. “As well as it could’ve gone, given the circumstances?"
She pulled away and bopped me on the nose with her finger. “Well, that doesn’t sound terribly good, does it? Come, you must tell me all about it.”
I didn’t have a choice. Mother Evie dragged me across to her workbench and sat me down on the stool she’d been sitting on. She was a seamstress, too. Her desk was covered in rolls of fabric, scissors, and needles. We didn’t use machines, here. Everything was hand-sewn. Mostly because the kinds of clothes we made had the tendency of making man-made machine we put them through… explode.
I’d learned that the hard way.
“So?” Mother Evie asked, “What happened?”
I shook my head. “It didn’t go great.”
“No?”
“No. It really didn’t. I think I really messed it up.”
She cocked her head to the side. “No, don’t say that. How could you possibly have messed it up?”
“She… said something was missing. I don’t think she liked it.”
One of her hands flew to her mouth. “Oh, no.”
“I don’t know why. She kept saying it wasn’t right, but it was. I spent ages working on it. It was perfect.”
“I’m so sorry, sweetie. That sounds awful.” She scoffed. “That woman doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I’m sure she’ll come around.”
“I don’t know if she will. I felt like she just didn’t want to pay what we’d agreed to pay.”
“What would make you think that?”
“Because she didn’t pay what had been agreed,” came a stern, older voice from the other side of the room. Mother Helen. “Did she?”
I swallowed my nerves and shook my head. “No.”
“And you left without making her keep her end of the deal… didn’t you?”
“I didn’t know what else to do, I—”
Mother Helen waved her hand, a gesture that usually meant keep the hell quiet. “Come with me. Now.” With that, she disappeared into an adjoining room.
“I’m in trouble,” I said.
Mother Evie squeezed my shoulder and smiled. “Go,” she whispered, “It’ll be alright. It’s not like she’s going to turn you into a frog, or anything… not after the last time.”
“Don’t remind me. I get nightmares every time I think about it.”
I took a deep breath and rose to my feet, then I followed Mother Helen into my little workroom feeling only a little more optimistic after what Mother Evie had said. She was right. I wasn’t going to get turned into a toad again, but there were plenty more animal shapes I could be made into as punishment.








Chapter Three

Of my mothers, Mother Helen was the disciplinarian. She was like every single school headmistress I’d ever crossed paths with, only about ten times scarier and gifted with magic. Mother Helen was tall, probably as tall as Madame Whitmore, and possessed of the same kind of grace, although hers was more refined and less entitled, like an aged wine, and suited to her incredible intelligence and poise. She was also one hell of a dresser, looking as she did with her choice of black dresses and corsets, like she belonged in the Victorian age.
I didn’t speak as I walked through my workroom and found my stool to sit on. It was tiny, and a little cramped in here, but thanks to Mother Helen’s insistence that I treat my place of work like a temple, the place was also immaculately kept. My rolls of fabric all had homes, the dress forms I used sat quietly in the corner, and my basic sewing supplies were properly organized, and never out of reach.
Not the magic stuff, though; that was kept out of my reach, and with good reason.
“Care to explain to me exactly how this happened?” Mother Helen asked, breaking through the silence like she had a sledgehammer.
“How do you know what happened?” I asked, trying my best not to sound too argumentative.
“I could sense your thoughts the moment you walked through the doors. You truly do wear your worries on your sleeve.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to screw it up, Madame Whitmore just—”
“—the Whitmores are a notoriously pompous, vainglorious lot who would sooner die than be seen in a sub-par outfit.”
Anger flushed into my chest. “My dress wasn’t sub-par.”
“I know it wasn’t. I also happen to know that family is cheap and will do anything they can to squander their wealth.”
“Why did we do business with them?”
“Because we need it, child. I thought, perhaps, she would fall in love with the dress and not cause any trouble. Evidently, I was wrong, and I apologize.”
“Wait… you’re apologizing to me?”
“I should not have sent you to deliver the dress. I should’ve gone myself. Perhaps, then…”
“Why didn’t you?”
Mother Helen’s face hardened, her jade eyes bearing down on mine. “Because you are a Crowe, just like the rest of us. This family isn’t a family without you, Dahlia, but I grow weary of having to put up with the disrespect our family gets.”
I lowered my head. “Because of me, right? Because I’m human.”
“No, child… because you have a gift they do not have. Because you are better than them.”
I looked up at her again. “Better than them?” I scoffed. “Hardly. I can’t do magic.”
“Perhaps not, but your skill with a needle and thread are unmatched. You can work with the kind of silks not even your mothers can, not without either grave peril or great exhaustion.”
I stared at her, trying not to frown. She was lying to me. Sure, what she was saying about my ability to fashion a dress out of strange, magical materials was true. I was good at that. But the other part, about me being human and that leading other mages to look down on our family? That was also true, and we both knew it.
It was also the reason why we were going out of business.
Six months ago, the Magic Box was flourishing. Our clothes were red hot, fresh orders coming in every single day. Mages wore our dresses to all sorts of events—none of which I’d ever been invited to, but I’d heard about them. The Solstice Ball, the Midsummer Ball, the New Year’s Ball.
All the Balls.
Mages threw a lot of Balls.
Then Mother Helen had the idea of revealing to the world that, not only had their trio become a quartet—the magical community as a whole didn’t know I even existed—but that I, a human, was the one responsible for crafting the special-order clothes mages came to buy from us.
That had been a mistake.
Maybe if she had talked to me about it, I may have been able to persuade her otherwise. I liked my life before. I still liked my life. But I hated the idea that anyone out there thought any less of the three wonderful women who had chosen to raise me as one of their own, even though they didn’t have to.
I loved them, and they loved me; the instinct to protect each other was mutual, and I felt powerless—like the weak link in the chain.
“Let me go back to her,” I said, “I mean, let me clean up first, and then let me go back. Maybe I can talk to her, and—”
“Absolutely not,” Mother Helen said, shutting her eyes and shaking her head. “We aren’t doing business with that family anymore, not if they are going to go back on their word. We may be simple seamstresses to them, but we should be proud enough to know our worth.”
“I hear what you’re saying, I really do… but I feel like I can get through to her. I know she loved the dress.”
“I know. Pepper, Evie and I will be leaving immediately for the Whitmore Academy to collect the rest of our payment. For now, you are to stay here.”
“Because I’ve done enough damage?”
Mother Helen approached and laid a gentle hand on my shoulder. “Sweet girl, no. Heavens, no. I am sure you were as polite and as courteous as I have taught you to be. You have done no damage, here. I would simply feel a lot more comfortable knowing you’re here, safe at home… and bathed.”
I remembered how ratty I probably looked. “Oh, yeah… long story.”
A playful smirk. “Yes… I know.”
My cheeks flushed bright red. Awkwardly, I shot to my feet, knocking over the stool I’d been sitting on. “Okay, well… I should go bathe,” I said, and I slid past Mother Helen and made my way up to my bedroom.
Like my workroom, my bedroom was tiny, but roomy enough for me. A single bed sat pressed up against a corner, just beneath a window looking over the Magic Box’s front door and the street beyond it. Against one of the far walls was my desk, mostly empty save for my laptop and a small desk organizer in which I kept the pens and pencils I used to design new clothes.
The thing that took up the most space was my wardrobe. That was filled with clothes I’d made myself, from jumpers, to blouses, to jeans, to dresses and everything in between. When I went out shopping, I didn’t look for actual outfits, I bought fabric with which to make my own. I didn’t wear anything I hadn’t made myself. Not only did that save money, but it was also nice to wear stuff that fit me just right.
Gullie’s wings fluttered against my ear as soon as I found myself alone, startling me. I wasn’t used to the buzzing from her wings being so loud, but then I remembered what Mother Pepper had said about the pastries I’d just eaten.
Lerac fruits really did work.
The glowing green pixie shot out of my hair, zipped around my face, and slapped me across the cheek. It was the weirdest thing, getting slapped by a pixie. They looked like miniature humans with wings. You’d think getting slapped by one of them would feel like having a toothpick flicked at you. But with the help of a little magic, they could slap like a full-grown adult, and it stung.
“What the hell was that for?” I gasped, my hand flying to cover my face.
“That’s for letting me get soaked earlier,” Gullie said, “I never got to properly thank you. Now, if I could kindly have a moment of her highness’ time, I have something important to tell you.”
“Can it wait until after I have a shower? I’m pretty sure I look like crap and everyone’s just too polite to tell me.”
“No, it can’t wait. It’s about him.”
“Him?” I cocked my head to the side. Then realization dawned. “Oh… him.”
I remembered what had happened between us with vivid clarity. There wasn’t a single detail that had escaped. Not the strength of his grip, not the shape of his body, nor the way I had felt when he pulled me in close and smelled my hair. It had been dripping at that point, and it probably smelled like rubber, tarmac, and who knew what else. But that didn’t seem to have mattered to him.
Belore.
That’s what he’d said to me. The one word he’d uttered—or growled, more like.
There was something animal about him, something primal. I remembered watching a video once of a wolf stalking a deer. The deer stood almost motionless in the wilderness, except for its chest. It must have been taking three breaths a second, paralyzed by fear having sensed a deadly predator had gotten hold of its scent.
Was that what he’d been doing? Had he been finding my scent? Whatever his intentions, I could now relate to that deer. I now knew what it felt like to feel my own heart start running away, to have my breathing suddenly shorten to an almost dangerous degree. The worst part? I’d liked it. Jesus, I’d liked the way that had felt.
I liked him, the way he looked, the shape of his face, his body. Never mind that he was probably just like that wolf; dangerous as fu—Gullie clicked her fingers in front of me, snapping me out of my thoughts. “Hello,” she said, drawing the word out.
I shook my head. “What?” I asked, grabbing a fresh outfit from the wardrobe and starting to change out of my damp clothes.
“I lost you for a second, and I really can’t lose you. Not right now. You need to listen to me.”
“Alright, I’m listening.”
Gullie buzzed a little closer to me. “You need to be careful,” she said. “That man, I don’t know who he was, but he was fae.”
A wave of cold and hot rushed through me. “Fae?” I asked, my voice rising a little too high.
The little pixie frantically waved. “Lower your voice! Do you want the whole neighborhood to hear?”
I had never met one before; I only knew of them from what I’d been told; that they were a secretive culture; that they weren’t of this world, exactly; that they were magic. I’d heard other things, too. Like, how they were supposed to be divided into the Seelie and the Unseelie; the good and the bad. And how, digging deeper, they were also divided into Courts, with Monarchs, and royalty, and… stuff.
Regular people didn’t generally meet the fae; spotting one was a big deal, for common-folk like me.
But that was only the beginning of what the fae really were. They were cruel, and disconnected. They didn’t think like humans did. They didn’t have our codes of morality or ethics. They worked under a completely different set of rules; rules that made them dangerous.
“Are you sure he was fae?” I asked.
“Trust me, they have a distinct smell about them. He was fae.”
“Wait… he smelled me, was he trying to figure out what I was?”
“Probably. I don’t know.”
“But I’m human, though.”
“It’s totally possible he was actually smelling me, and judging by his face, he probably did.”
“Oh shit. No… no, no.” I started pacing around my room. “What do you think he’ll do? I’m not supposed to have a pixie. You’re not supposed to be here. Do you think he’s told someone? Maybe Madame Whitmore?”
“You need to breathe, right now,” Gullie said, hurling soft clouds of fairy dust at me. Though I could feel the beginnings of a second panic attack starting to build, Gullie’s magic was doing a good job at fighting the anxiety away.
Slowly, I managed to get my breathing back to normal. I walked over to the window, my hand over my chest, my breaths deep and long. “That was good,” I said, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” Gullie said. “I think the important thing for us to do right now is relax, and calm down. Even if he did tell Madame Whitmore what he’d seen, I doubt he could trace you back to her—much less trace you back here. It’s gonna be totally fine.”
“You’re right, it’s going to be totally fine.”
I took another deep breath at the window, watching the glass fog up with my breathing. Then I noticed something through it. A shimmer of light, like a distortion of air. I narrowed my eyes and wiped the foggy glass with the sleeve of my sweater to look more closely at what was happening in the alley.
My heart almost stopped.
There were people down there. Not just people, but soldiers wearing full suits of silver armor, massive silver shields, and gorgeous white capes. Some were wielding swords, others spears, there must’ve been six or seven of them. No, definitely seven. Three soldiers on either side of one who looked like the leader of the bunch.
He was marching toward the Magic Box… and unsheathing his sword.
“Gullie…” I said, my throat tightening, “I’m going to need more of that powder, now.”

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Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
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J
J.M.
Oh Delilah!

This book was entirely too short, that’s the bad part. But that’s the only bad I can find! The last several chapters had me gasping at every new line.
That dark prince is gonna be T R O U B L E and only the good kind. I just know my sweet introverted Delilah is gonna end up being some closet baddie we never expected. These trials seem so minuscule but end up being really complex and I love how she brings it to life. 10/10 will be recommending this series.
Katerina, you did good my darling, can’t wait to devour book 2 next!

P
Priya Prakash
Very magical and enjoyable

I loved the world of icy, cold Arcadia that the author has created and the characters Dahlia and Prince Cillian are very interesting too. The descriptions bring the images vividly to life and the story is laced with humour. The magic is amazing too as is the competition Dahlia is chosen to participate in. There are many unanswered questions at the end of this first book and I would love to know more so I'm definitely continuing this series.

V
V.L.
Amazing start

I was taken into this world quite easily. It's well written. The only thing is that I would love to have the pov of the prince but it's a preference. It's a very good book, can't wait to read the rest of the serie.

S
Stephanie Marie
Great read!

I loved this book! It was witty and intriguing and I never wanted to put it down. I loved the characters and their interactions with each other. Can't wait to read the rest of the series!!

M
Matthew Pyle
I love the story, and it's hilarious

I am obsessed with Dhalia, gullie and Mira characters and dynamic. Dhalia is Strong, smart, witty. Well written. So far, the story reminds of me Cinderella meets hunger games. Excited to read the next one.