Title: Fae’s Deception (Queens of the Fae Book 1)
Author: M. Lynn & Melissa A. Craven
Genre: Fae Fantasy / Historical Fantasy
Brea Robinson is a murderer.
That’s what everyone tells her when she’s accused of killing her best friend.
Her mother always claimed she belonged in a straitjacket. Turns out, she was right.
When the man with flashing violet eyes whisks her through a portal into a world beyond her imagination, a world vicious in its beauty and wicked in its lies, Brea begins to wonder if she was ever crazy at all.
Every hallucination she’s ever had is real, but this new world has its own set of lies and questions.
Why are three royals prepared to battle over her?
Who is Griffin O’Shea, and why did he abduct her?
And does falling in love with a man trapping her in this deadly land mean she really has lost her mind after all?
There is only one thing Brea knows: She can’t trust anything.
Not her mind.
Not her heart.
And certainly not the Fae who claims he’s trying to keep her safe.
“Is there nothing but rolling hills between here and the palace?” Honestly, she’d grown bored with the trip so far. She’d expected to see more. People. Towns. Something.
“We will reach the Dragur Forest soon.”
“Dragur? That doesn’t have anything to do with dragons I hope.”
“No, no dragons.”
“What does Dragur mean?”
“We’re going to the haunted forest? Like with ghosts?”
“It’s not actually haunted. At least I don’t think it is anymore.”
“Oh, well, that’s just peachy.” Brea glanced back over her shoulder.
They stopped for a break around midday in a beautiful low-lying glen. To the east, the rolling green hills gave way to green mountains with rocky peaks. To the south lay the entrance to the Dragur Forest. As Griff cared for the horses, Brea explored their surroundings, taking the opportunity to stretch her legs. After hours of riding through the hills, Brea was happy to see something that wasn’t green. Gorgeous purple flowers bloomed on shrubs at the lowest part of the glen. Orange wildflowers hung in clusters among the tall grass.
Brea picked some of the orange flowers and braided them into a daisy chain for her hair. She even found what looked like bubble-gum-pink strawberries growing on a vine-covered fallen log. She picked enough to go with their lunch, placing them on a napkin on the picnic blanket they’d brought with them.
“I wouldn’t do that,” Griff came up behind her as she was about to pick some of the purple blossoms. “You’ll be dead before we reach the palace. Even more dead if you eat those berries you picked.”
“What’s wrong with the berries?” Brea stood up, taking a few steps away from the poisonous flowers.
“One or two would just make you sick. More, and you’d fall asleep and never wake up. Some healers make a tea from the berry leaves for a sleeping draught, but even that can be dangerous.”
“What about these?” Brea’s hand went to the flowers in her hair.
“Harmless. And quite charming in your dark hair.”
“No purple flowers. No swimming in Lake Villandi. No pink berries and no Gelsi berries. I should start a list of all the things that might kill me or drug me.”
“Don’t touch anything once we reach the forest. There, the more beautiful a thing is, the more likely it is to be dangerous.”
After they ate and packed up, they headed into the forest. She wasn’t prepared for how dark it was under the thick canopy of vine-covered trees.
“I feel like we should be traveling a yellow brick road to find the flying monkeys at the witch’s castle.”
“What are you babbling about?”
“Nothing.” She stared into the swaying branches. “It’s too quiet here. There aren’t any birds in this forest.”
“There are some, but most here are nocturnal. You’ll rarely see or hear them.”
“I find that… unsettling for some reason.” Like she couldn’t trust a forest that didn’t have birds.
“You’ll get used to it.”
“So, how long will we be in the forest of nightmares?” She didn’t relish experiencing nightfall here.
“It’s not that bad, is it?” Griff’s half smile slid into place. It was her favorite smile of his.
“We will reach the Villandi River before sunset. Vindur Palace is just across the river.
“Is the river like the lake? Should I prepare to fight the urge to dive in?”
“Not at all. The river flows north to Loch Villandi. Whatever phenomenon makes the lake so treacherous is not present in the river waters.”
“Good to know. How will we cross the river?”
“There’s a bridge, Brea.”
“Well, you all aren’t very modern, so how could I know if you’d discovered bridge engineering or not?”
“We aren’t imbeciles. We just prefer simpler ways of living.”
“You should think about getting cell service here. It beats the heck out of relying on messengers to carry your snail mail.”
“Oh, I’ve seen your phones and the way humans depend on them like a drug. It may provide a certain level of convenience, but I prefer to enjoy a well written letter rather than the instant gratification of emoji texts.” He smirked as if proud of himself for knowing what an emoji was.
“Whatever. I’d give my right arm for an hour at Dunkin Donuts with a large iced hazelnut latte, a smartphone, and a good pair of earbuds.”
“I have no idea what you just said, but I find you utterly fascinating, Brea.”
“I’m not all that complicated or deep, Griff.”
“I beg to differ.”
Sometimes the way he looked at her made her so nervous she couldn’t see straight. Good job, Brea. Crushing on the hot fae dude.
“So what’s expected of a queen’s niece? Do I get a title or something?”
Griff frowned. “I’m not sure, actually. Technically you’re a princess as the daughter of the queen’s brother.”
“Oh gosh, I was joking!”
“They’d probably just call you Lady Brea. But as the queen’s niece, you’d have certain privileges, and in time, certain duties I imagine. Nothing you can’t handle of course.”
“And after you deliver me to the queen, where will you go?”
“I will stay for a while, but eventually, I’ll return to my cottage where it’s quiet. It will be a lot quieter without all your endless questions.”
“You’ll miss me when I’m gone.”
“Indeed I will.” Griff picked up the pace, urging Mack into a trot. “Look there.” He pointed in the distance where the trees grew taller and wider than anything she’d ever seen. It reminded her of pictures she’d seen of the Redwood forest back home.
The path ahead ran in a straight line for miles and miles. “It’s a lot farther than it seems, but you can just see the other side of the forest. We’ll reach the river before sunset.”
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