Hey Everyone!! :-)
Given the season, at least here in the Northern Hemisphere, I just thought I'd share a peek at Roni and Uaine's adventures in the Summer Court of Fairie with you today. Enjoy! ;-)
Excerpt from Intrigue In The Summer Court:
As they strolled arm-in-arm through the forest, he reflected, with amusement, on his Anamchara's protests when he had asked her to change into comfortable clothing and walking shoes without telling her the reason. She was still shooting him suspicious glances out of the corner of her eye. He suppressed a chuckle; his lady definitely preferred being in control at all times…except in bed.
The prince's loins tightened as he thought about what he had planned for the rest of the evening. The thought of his mate tied up and spread out for his pleasure made him want to take her hand and run to the cabin that awaited them. Even when she agreed to submit to him, she always made it a battle of wills. Dominating her was an exciting challenge, made all the more so by the knowledge that he only succeeded because she chose to allow it.
In all his millennia, Uaine had seldom met anyone who could match his princess when it came to tenacity. She could be stubborn, prickly, and demanding, but she also had a good heart and compassionate nature. Not that she would admit to the latter.
At times, her behavior could be maddening! Even now she was refusing to speak to him because he wouldn't reveal the nature of the surprise that awaited her. It took a secure male to deal with such a complicated female. But it was that very strength of will that made her surrender, when it finally came, all the sweeter. Because he knew it was for him, and for him only.
As the two of them walked in companionable silence, each lost in their own thoughts, a cabin slowly came into view. At first, it appeared to be an unprepossessing structure, sitting beneath an overhanging tree and seemingly half-buried in the side of a hill. It was only on closer inspection that it became apparent that the home had been built into the hillside, not buried by it, and that it was larger than it first appeared.
From a distance, the front wall seemed to have been painted green, but when Roni approached she saw that it was actually covered in vines. She would have been amazed to know that the wall itself was comprised of those vines, and that the builder of the cabin had created the entire structure out of living vegetation and earthen walls. The part of the roof that emerged from the earth was made from mushrooms that fed on the vine stalks in the walls. The mushrooms grew in a shelf-like pattern and spread out to cover the top of the cabin.
The entire dwelling was enshrouded in magic and no one knew when it had been built or who built it. As far back as anyone could remember the cabin had been exactly where it was, and had served as a retreat for the Summer royals when they wished a break from their duties. Even Roni, who lacked the Fae sensitivity to magic, could feel the aura of time that emanated from the dwelling.
She reached out and stroked the leaves that surrounded the door. The door appeared to be made of stone, but in actuality it was the outer shell of the vine's seeds. Harder than any known metal, the shell surrounding the nut was nearly impenetrable. Inside the shell, the contents were under pressure and the seeds themselves were hard spheres suspended in an acidic gel. If anyone attempted to force their way past the barrier, and succeeded in penetrating the outer shell, they would find themselves bathed in an explosion of acid and hard projectiles.
The moment Roni's fingers touched the foliage, the heavy door swung inward, causing Roni to jump in surprise. She looked at her Anamchara in question.
"It opens to the royal family," he explained. "It recognizes you as the princess, and so it responds to your touch."
"How?" she asked.
Uaine shrugged. "No one knows. It just always has."
Sighing at an answer she was beginning to realize was quite common in Fairie, Roni stepped through the entrance to look at the inside of the home. As she entered, a candle in a sconce by the door flickered to life, and soon several more candles scattered around the room were also lit. The rising light revealed a cozy living room and kitchen.
In the living room, a love seat and two chairs were arranged around a small fireplace. They looked as though they had been well-stuffed, and the upholstery appeared soft and light. Overall, they looked quite comfortable; as though one could easily sink into their cushions and drift to sleep. The fireplace and its surround was made of gray stone, and a stone mantle hung over it.
On the wall adjacent to the fireplace was a window that was covered with a transparent membrane. Roni could tell there was no glass in the window, but she didn't know what the membrane was. Noticing her interest, Uaine said, "It's from the vines that make the walls. They grow in thick groves in the wild, and they need to let air circulate around them but block insects and other parasites. The membrane lets air through, but nothing else, and is much stronger than it looks."
"Amazing!" she exclaimed, and continued her inspection. The kitchen was small, but contained a stove and oven, a sink with running water, and a surprising amount of counter space. The counters, cabinets, and other fixtures were all made of white stone and were cool to the touch when she ran her fingers over them. Turning the faucet on the sink, she was happy to find that both hot and cold water ran from the tap. "What powers the oven and stove?" she asked as she turned the knob on the stove to see the burner flame to life.
"What powers the lights?" he asked teasingly. "Magic."
She smiled. "Yes, this whole place is magic. What's in there?" she asked, pointing to a door at the back of the room.
The prince smiled wickedly and picked her up in his arms. "Let me show you."
Intrigued? ;-) Great! Get your copy now, so you can read on! It's even free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. :-)