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ueen Fae (NYC Mecca #3)
Author:Jaymin Eve & Leia Stone

ueen Fae (NYC Mecca #3)

Jaymin Eve & Leia Stone

To our children, who have no idea of the crazy things their mothers dream up.

Chapter One

The funny thing about fae…

The fire crackled as embers shot toward the sky. Leaning back, I enjoyed the heat enveloping me as I sank into my soft chair. My clothes were still a bit damp from the downpour I’d run through, so it was nice to feel warm again. Still, I found myself snuggling further into my furs. Tonight the cold was bone deep; so far the Otherworld’s weather was far more extreme than New York City. We were on our second and final night with the gnomes, and this was the third time I’d been caught in turbulent weather as I raced from my small hut to the general gathering area where they prepared and ate their meals.

The gnomes had retired to bed now, which meant it was just Kade, Nikoli, and me around the huge copper pit, only the roaring fire to keep us company. With one ear listening for any unwanted eavesdroppers, I turned to Kade: “We still haven’t received word from Baladar. Do you think everything is okay? What if Selene attacks your people?”

That was why I was late. I’d forgotten to take the flower with me and had to duck back. I was trying to keep the magical bloom with me at all times so I wouldn’t miss a communication from Earth.

Kade ran a hand through his thick dark hair, sending the unruly strands out in a few directions. He looked absolutely massive sitting by the fire, his furs giving his already giant size an extra boost.

“I think with the time difference between the Otherworld and Earth, they’re probably only just realizing what happened. It’ll be fine, Ari. I trust my people to keep us from war for as long as possible.”

I nodded, but I was worried. I had tried to stop Kade from coming with me. He was the king of the bear shifters; he had responsibilities to them. But he had refused, and secretly I was really happy to have him here.

Kade then lifted me from my chair, depositing me in his lap, sending my heart off in a race of pitter patters. I forced myself to focus on what he was saying when all I really wanted was to wrap myself around him. “We leave at first light,” he said in a reassuring voice. “We’ll find Violet and then return home before Selene can do too much damage.”

I let out a sigh, leaning in closer to him. “It’s hard for me to sit and relax like this. I need to get out of here and save my best friend. Who knows what the Winter Court are doing to her?”

Dark expressions descended over both Kade and Nikoli’s faces, which definitely looked odd on the pale magic born. But I understood it, he was close to Violet too. All of us worried about her.

Nikoli leaned forward in his chair. “At least our time here has not been a waste. We have learned a lot from the gnomes. The information will definitely aid us in the coming days.”

He made a very good point. The gnomes were an odd, earthy race. Roughhewn on the outside, with blunt speech and mannerisms, but not unlikable creatures. They lived simple lives, filled with hunting, gathering – a strong tight-knit community – and their dedicated metal weapon craft. They still hadn’t completely warmed to us “highborn fae” as we were pretending to be, but were forthcoming enough with information.

We had learned that we were on the border of the fall and winter courts, in a stretch of lands that sounded like a rural outlier of the courts, which also explained the turbulent weather. Apparently the four courts controlled much of this world, or the moods of their leaders did at least. Not to mention the unstable mecca was making it worse.

We couldn’t see it now in the dark, but there was a huge shadowy mountain off in the distance. This was apparently where the Winter Court’s main city was. It was there we hoped to find Violet. We would set out at first light; the gnomes told us it would be a three-day trek unless we could buy some horses, which was pretty much impossible as we barely had anything left to trade.

“I just hope we have enough food to make the journey,” I said, allowing myself to relax into the comforting heat of my mate. My body was on fire from being in his lap like this, our bond so newly formed that the need to touch Kade got stronger every day.

“Finn at least said that they were doing okay, and had their full rations left, which will help.” Nikoli repeated the information I had given them yesterday, after being in contact with my familiar. Our other party of friends were in position now, waiting for our arrival tomorrow.

Staying with the gnomes had been the right decision to make, it had been very helpful in acclimatizing us to this world, but they were also getting plenty from the deal. They had all but cleared us out of food, except for what we kept as absolute minimum rations. Food was scarce here because of the dying mecca and the war between the summer and winter courts, which meant we had no chance of replacing that which we had traded.

For our food we got three exquisite, elf forged weapons, and two days’ room and board. The elves were part of the Tuatha too, an ancient race who kept to themselves in the mountains and did not bother with the drama of the fae courts. Thankfully they made unbelievable swords. We were keeping the weapons back in the hut, and I was a little in love with mine. Every time I saw it I had to stop myself from pulling it out and examining the intricate detailing of the silver and gold handle, the way the blade narrowed to a perfect point, the sharpness that could cut though anything.

Another burst of coppery flames lit up the fire pit, and my eyes fluttered closed as Kade’s hands settled on my shoulders and started massaging the tight muscles at the base of my neck.

“I love this freedom,” I murmured to him, reopening my eyes and tilting my head back so I could see his dark, handsome features. “That we can be together in the open.”

It was not something I was used to. Wolf and bear shifter couples were forbidden. Throw in that we were both royalty in our worlds … we were screwed.

“I won’t go back to hiding,” Kade said, and I could hear the growl of his bear. “We are bonded mates. We will not hide that from the world.”

He always says the most perfect things.