One rainy night, a man drops from the skies and lands at Raven’s feet on the cold streets of Galway. Compelled by the unknown, she palms a unique gold coin from the dying man’s pocket.
This one act sets in motion a series of events that have been destined for Raven all along.
When Kellen’s best friend is thrown from his alicorn, Kellen races through the night sky only to find Alistair crumpled on a street corner, a slender woman with lavender hair and combat boots bent over his broken body. His loss shatters Kellen, and he buys the woman’s silence before returning to fight a battle the Air Fae just might now lose.
Yet the woman with the lavender hair and witchy eyes haunts his thoughts. Inextricably drawn to her, he finds himself returning to Galway to find her cornered in an alley by the Dark Fae.
Fate binds the two together, but will blood tear them apart?
Release date: October 20, 2023
Publisher: Lovewrite Publishing
Print pages: 276
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Lyric of Wind
“You have to come down at some point,” Alistair, Kellen’s best friend and second-in-command, called to him from where they raced their steeds on the wind. As Air Fae, they commanded the skies, and Alicorns were their chariots of choice. Winged unicorns, both fierce and loyal, the Alicorns loved nothing more than to stretch their wings in a good race.
“Make me,” Kellen challenged, urging his beast on. He laughed as the Alicorn dove, catching the wind, dipping among the clouds. Kellen’s heart soared, as he was always at his most free when he was riding the wind, and not stuck in the royal court dealing with the minutiae of day-to-day royal duties that his father insisted he handle.
Even though he’d stepped into power as leader of the Air Fae over a year ago, his father, Devlin, acted as though he’d been the one chosen for the role instead of Kellen. Once Kellen had been instated, Devlin had shouldered his way into almost every meeting and decision that had been thrust upon Kellen, acting as though he had the right to make choices in matters that didn’t pertain to him. They’d gone many a round about it, and yet, still, his father refused to listen to Kellen’s requests that he stay out of Royal Fae business.
His father’s actions were causing ripples of distrust through the Air Fae, and many were starting to question the choice of Kellen as ruler. Now, Devlin’s latest campaign–for Kellen to claim his fated mate—had sent Kellen to the skies to escape.
His fated mate.
Like he didn’t have bigger things to worry about?
Kellen was beginning to chafe at the responsibilities that came with being a leader. Each day ended with a headache from one problem or another, and Kellen was starting to believe that maybe the people were right. Maybe he wasn’t suited to being their ruler. His father certainly seemed to think so.
And now his father called for him to find his fated mate. It was like Devlin just wanted to heap one more problem on top of his already growing pile of issues to deal with. Was the man trying to test his limits?
Or was he just jealous?
Kellen’s thoughts froze when Alistair cried out, blood blooming on his chest, and tumbled from the back of his steed. Kellen dove, urging his Alicorn on, and still he wasn’t sure he’d make it before Alistair hit the ground. He didn’t chance looking over his shoulder at what had dared enter their sacred space and attack. If he broke his focus for even half a second, Alistair would be gone.
As the ground screamed toward them, Kellen closed his eyes and pulled at his magick, whispering an incantation that he prayed would save his friend in time. The clouds grew thicker, obscuring his view, and Kellen’s stomach twisted as he lost sight of Alistair.
It had been stupid, really, to race into the night, working off his frustrations in the quiet darkness. Alistair, seeing his distress, had reluctantly joined Kellen for a race through the clouds, knowing he’d needed the release. And now, Kellen’s decision might cost his friend his life.
Kellen cleared the clouds and issued a sharp command to his Alicorn as they neared the ground at an unsafe speed. The Alicorn, already pulling up, followed Kellen’s direction instantly, and Kellen paused for two seconds to assess the situation before slipping his hand from the Alicorn’s bridle.
Alistair’s body lay on a street corner that was blessedly quiet at this time of night. A woman crouched over him, a guitar on her back and an open case on
the pavement next to her. Reaching his hand in the air, Kellen flicked a bubble of protection around the three of them, hiding this scene from the outside world, and dropped from the Alicorn to run to where Alistair lay slumped on the ground.
“Don't touch him,” Kellen commanded, his voice sharp, and the woman turned, fear in her stormy grey eyes. Fear was quickly replaced by anger, and she straightened, brandishing her fists.
“I was just seeing if I could help him.”
Kellen was too focused on his friend to pay much attention to the woman and her attempt to appear threatening with her tiny fists. He stepped forward, and paused when the woman did as well. What was she doing? Couldn’t she see his friend was dying?
To Kellen’s shock, he stepped back a foot. Confusion clouded his thoughts. Who was this woman? And how did she have the power to push him back with her voice? They stood and studied each other for a moment, precious seconds ticking by as Alistair 's life drained from him.
“Who are you?” the woman demanded.
“I don't have time for your questions. My friend is dying.” Kellen brushed past, not caring if he angered her or whatever magick she carried. As he bent to Alistair, his friend dissolved into a liquid puddle of purple blood, and the breath left Kellen’s body. He can’t be. Alistair was gone. His best mate, his brother, had left this realm. Anger filled him as he straightened and whirled on the woman who had cost him precious seconds with his friend.
“What in the hell just happened?” The woman sprang back, shock on her face, her eyes wide. To an outsider, a man falling from the sky and dissolving into a puddle of liquid purple blood would be more than enough to send someone screaming for the hills. Yet this woman didn't run. Even though fear was plastered across her pretty face, she stood her ground. Strange.
Kellen’s royal training kicked in, and he turned to assess the neighborhood around them. Though they stood on what was normally a relatively busy street corner in Galway, there were no cars driving past at this time. What was this woman doing out here at this hour? Kellen glanced down at the guitar case open on the ground with a smattering of coins inside and back to the guitar hanging from the woman’s shoulder. A minstrel, he realized. She must play for her coin. Based on his assessment, the scene was secure, except
for this woman—the sole witness. Which meant he’d need to bring her with him if he had any hope of keeping this quiet. Reaching out, Kellen grabbed her arm. “You'll have to come with me.”
“Like hell I will.”
Her swift punch to his face snapped his head back. The hell? Who was this woman?
He held his fist up to his nose, dabbing at the dripping blood, and narrowed his eyes to where the woman stood in a fighting stance.
“That was unnecessary,” Kellen said, deeply annoyed with her.
“Step back.” The woman held a proper defensive position, protecting her face and her body with her fists, rocking lightly back and forth on her feet as though she was ready to spring again. Kellen noticed that she didn't turn to run though. Instead, she faced the threat, which apparently was him, head-on. Her courage was admirable even if it was an annoyance.
“I can't have you speaking of what you've seen here this night. You'll need to come with me. I don't have time to argue about this. There's danger afoot, and I can't promise that you'll be safe.” Kellen kept his tone even, hoping to convince this woman to come with him. He also didn't need her repeating stories of the Fae around Galway, but as time was running out and the royal guard would have followed him, his options were about to be taken from him one way or the other.
“What do you mean danger is afoot? Am I in trouble? What are you? Did you really come from the sky?”
Kellen took a moment to study the woman, taking in her tousled lavender hair, soulful eyes, and leather jacket thrown over a frilly tulle skirt. Combat boots completed the look. She was arresting in a confusing way—both with a come-hither appeal and a back-off attitude—and he wasn’t sure which one to listen to.
“I could ask the same of you, darling,” Kellen said. He stepped toward the woman once more. Again, her hands came up.
“Back off.” Once again, to his surprise, Kellen found himself unable to step forward. Fury roiled. At her. At whomever killed Alistair. At his lack of control in this situation. He didn’t have time for this nonsense. If he couldn’t force her to come with him, and he wasn’t sure he had the time to test whatever powers she held, then he’d need to secure her silence.
“If I leave you here, how do I know that you’ll tell no one of what you saw?” Kellen
crossed his arms over his chest and waited for her reply. To her credit the woman took a moment to think about it. A smile broke out on her face.
“Two things. Answer a question for me and pay for my silence. I'll be the first to admit that I'm the mercenary sort, and it would be ideal if I didn't have to worry about where my next meal was coming from.”
Kellen scanned the woman's body, for the first time noticing the leather jacket concealed her thin frame. There wasn't much she could do about the hollows at her cheeks. Perhaps she wasn’t a very good minstrel.
“What is your question?” Kellen asked.
“What are you?”
“Give me your name,” Kellen countered, rocking back on his heels.
“Raven.” The woman also crossed her arms over her chest, mirroring his stance, and waited. Time was of the essence now. It was likely his people were at war in the skies above him and now that Alistair was gone, he needed to get moving. “I am Kellen, Ruler of the Air Fae.” Kellen wasn't sure why he’d given Raven his name or why he felt the need to let her know his position, however, there was something about her that made him want to prove himself. Which was such an unusual and uncomfortable thought, and he immediately regretted giving her his name.
“Fae,” Raven whispered. Instead of fear drifting through her eyes as Kellen often found when humans discovered the Fae, excitement bloomed as though he’d answered a question she’d long held.
“That's the truth of it.” Kellen’s eyes scanned the dark shadows of the streets. “You’ll need to watch your back. There’s danger here. Both Dark and Light Fae. I’m one of the good ones.”
Raven huffed out a laugh. “That's what all the guys say.”
“Believe what you want, but I'm telling you that I’m on the side of good. I don't know what's happened to my friend, and I don't know if the Dark Fae will be following, which is why I’m warning you to sleep with your eyes open. They’ll know we spoke. Meeting me is a danger to you, and they’ll now consider you as an asset in their
game. If you won't come with me, then the best I can do is warn you. The choice is yours.” It wasn't in Kellen’s nature to force people to do things, and if she wanted to open herself up to danger, that was on her. “What are your powers, Raven?”
Raven’s stormy grey eyes widened.
“My power is my voice.” Raven tapped her finger on the guitar that was still slung across her body. “I love singing, and it’s not just my job, it’s my life.”
Kellen noted that she didn't really answer the question, but he was out of time as he heard the winged Alicorns approach in the night. Opening his palm, he showcased a few gold coins which were far more valuable in the human realm than they were in the fairy world. “I have your silence?” Kellen waited for Raven’s nod of agreement. When she gave it, he flipped the coins into her case and darted forward, grabbing her chin in his hand, and lifting her face to his. For a moment fear flitted through those gorgeous eyes of hers. “I'll hold you to that.”
For a brief instant, Kellen brushed his thumb across the softness of her lower lip, a shock of recognition warming his blood, the spark mirrored in her eyes. And then he dropped his hand, dancing backward before she could punch him again, and hopped on the Alicorn that materialized out of thin air.
“What the...” Raven gasped in surprise. Kellen took to the skies, leaving her alone on the street corner far below, his royal guards circling him. Flying close to one of his most trusted guards, he leaned over, and commanded the guard’s attention.
“Stay here with her. Something’s wrong. I don’t want to lose track of the woman. Keep her safe. Understood?”
The guard nodded, peeling off from the group, and returned toward Galway as Kellen urged his Alicorn on.
Kellen told himself it was because he was worried for her safety as the Dark Fae were ruthless in destroying anyone they thought connected to the good Fae. But it was more than that. Raven of the mournful eyes and tough attitude had enchanted him far more than any Fae woman he'd met before. Maybe, someday, he'd get a chance to investigate why.
She'd known he was Fae. He wasn't the first she'd seen, though he had a different aura than the others who slipped through the shadows in the early morning hours. Raven wondered if the slightly purplish hue that clung to the Ruler of the Air Fae was the color of the good guys and if the silver men that she'd seen slipping through back alleyways late in the night were those of the “bad” Fae.
Raven slipped a hand into the pocket of her leather jacket, cupping her palm around a gold coin she'd taken from the fallen Fae before Kellen the Ruler had appeared. She wasn't sure what had made her do it, whether it was curiosity or if it was years of living on the streets that made her take advantage of the situation, but she’d palmed the coin and had it in her pocket seconds before the Ruler had hit the ground. Now she pulled it out briefly and studied it, surprised at how the gold warmed to her touch. It was almost as if the coin had its own pulse, which was a creepy thought in its own right. There was a unique design across the front of the coin, a Celtic knot with an etched unicorn in the middle, or in this case, Raven supposed it was the beast that Kellen had flown away on. And just how cool was that? If she'd known that he was going to take her away on a flying unicorn, she might have reconsidered her position on going with him.
Nevertheless, if what the Ruler, Kellen, she reminded herself, said was true, then she needed to get moving. One thing Raven had learned in all her years on the streets was to heed warnings from people who were in the know, and was there anybody more in the know on mystical comings and goings than a Fae ruler himself? Bending over, she grabbed the few coins from her guitar case, zipped them into her small wallet, and put the guitar neatly in its case. In moments, she was striding down the empty streets of Galway, chin in the air, eyes ever vigilant. Over the years, Raven had learned how to carry herself, and she no longer feared the night or the empty streets the way most people would. Instead, at some point in her life she'd become one of the night walkers, a term she affectionately used to refer to everyone from the street buskers to the homeless who begged for change on the corner. They were all in the same game, weren’t they? Hustling for a living. Just some people were better at it. A light flipped on in a flat, and Raven’s stomach twisted as a young mother came to the window, rocking her baby in her arms. Must be nice, Raven sneered, annoyed at herself for being jealous of an infant. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been, or had allowed herself to be, held.
Her boots echoed on the pavement, the quiet of the city settling around her shoulders. Well, as quiet as a city could be. Raven always took extra care to really listen, as it could be the difference between being jumped for what change she had made that night, and her next meal. A few drunk voices caught in an argument drifted by on the wind, but not close enough to be a nuisance to her. She turned the corner to her street, grateful to almost be home.
For the first time in her life, Raven had a small spot she could tentatively call home. Granted, it was a month-to-month lease, eviction a constant threat, but nevertheless it was hers. A place to hang her hat, if she had a hat, that was.
“They're stalking you.” The man who sat on the dirty pavement near her building cackled as she approached.
“Who is stalking me?” Raven crouched in front of the laughing man. “Come on, Buzz. You can't just be saying that and not give me more information. Who's stalking me?” Raven knew that Buzz largely lived in a
sea of his own delusions. However, that didn't mean he didn't see what happened on the streets. Raven tried to make sure he was fed when she could, and warm in the winter. Just because he'd been dealt a bad hand didn't mean he deserved her indifference.
“Raven!” Buzz gripped her arm, his rheumy eyes lighting when he saw her. “There's a pretty girl.”
“Are you flirting with me again, Buzz?” Raven smiled, even though tension knotted her shoulders. “Come on, Buzz. Who’s stalking me? You see everything.”
“It's the silver men. They’re slippery.” Buzz made a whooshing sound, dancing his fingers through the air. “They get through the cracks in the street. Jump out of puddles. It’s mental, man. Just mental.”
“Have they spoken to you, Buzz?” Raven asked. But Buzz had drifted away, lost in his own mind once again, laughing and humming a jaunty tune to himself. Raven squeezed his shoulder and slipped past him, the notes of the song he hummed tumbling around in her head. Music came to her as easily as breathing, and it wasn't a lack of ideas that slowed her down from writing songs. If anything, it was the songs that kept her up most nights, relentlessly dancing through her head, which was why, more often than not, she took to the streets to sing for her supper. She’d made quite a name for herself among the Galway street buskers, and it was because of this that she could afford the little studio flat she now called home. Raven unlocked the outer door of the building, ...
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