Lucian Willshire is plagued by thoughts of a fey world and the disappearance of his aunt some nineteen years past, but when his friend drags him back to Hamingjur Castle, he stumbles into Alfheim Haven once more where mystical beings become more than a distant memory.
Lyerra Ahdia is baffled by the sudden emotional changes she’s experiencing until she discovers she’s the only witch to suffer “the change” since her mother stole the Rose, a special talisman with the power to perpetuate life among those in her coven. Tasked with finding and bringing the Rose home, she begs Lucian’s help in navigating the human realm. Against his better judgment, he agrees.
Though neither set out to find anything except the Rose, fate has other plans. Will love be more elusive than hunting the Rose?
After a frozen moment, she trudged up the stairs and to her room. When she entered her temporary sanctuary, something felt quite wrong but try as she might, she couldn’t put her finger on the problem. Shrugging, she sank onto the plush mattress and removed the locket. She was about to spread the parchment out on the bed when the dangling bird cage caught her eye.
She jumped from the bed. The tiny door on the cage gaped wide. Charl was gone.
Clutching the paper to her breast she hurried out the door. “Lucian!”
She ran down the stairs and skidded to halt. At the foot of the steps, Lucian stood beside Mary Elizabeth. The child held a limp Charl in her palms.
“I broke the doll.” Mary Elizabeth hiccupped and sniffed back tears.
Charl dead? No. Lyerra had locked him up in the cage to keep him out of the cat’s way and keep him from following her and Lucian into the city.
“Did you take the doll from my room?”
The little imp nodded. “I just wanted to play with him. Can you fix him?” She extended her arms, offering Charl for inspection.
Lyerra bent and examined the poor pixie. A tear slipped from her eye to think of the creature’s untimely death. Just as she was about to answer, Charl opened one eye, winked, and quickly closed the eye again. Lyerra blinked. The pixie played dead while a young girl suffered.
“Fix the doll? Yes, I know just the cure. If you’ll soak him in vinegar water for half an hour, that should do the trick nicely.”
Charl sprang to his feet, balanced for a moment atop chubby fingers then leapt to the floor. Mary threw her hands wide and screamed. An exaggerated ‘oomph’ escaped Lucian’s lips, and he bent double. Mary’s small fist had connected with a very vulnerable place on Lucian’s anatomy. Lyerra covered her mouth with her palm to stifle the chuckle.
Meanwhile, Charl scampered up the stairs and toward the guest room. Luckily Gremlin must have been occupied with other endeavors.
Though difficult to keep the mirth from her voice, Lyerra bent to reassure the frightened child. “I think the doll is fixed now. Perhaps he’ll want to play later.”
Mary gave her a shy grin. “All right.”
“But if you play with the doll again, you’ll have to be very gentle. Charl doesn’t like being handled too much.”
Mary nodded and took off after the fleet-footed pixie. Lyerra straightened to check on Lucian. “I could kiss you and make it better.”
“Madam?” His eyes widened at her suggestion, and his voice sounded strangled.
She placed a hand on his shoulder. “Are you in much pain?”
He slowly stood upright. “I do believe you meant that a kiss would give you the power to heal but by the saints, my rather seedy imagination drummed up a totally different image.”
Now it was her turn to show dismay. “Indeed. But since you’re standing and your words aren’t too breathless, the damage must be minimal.”
“I’ll live.” Warmth suffused his cheeks. “But that pixie might not be so lucky. If he continues to wreak havoc, I’ll be tempted to let the cat ...”
“Surely you wouldn’t be that medieval.”
He sighed. “Probably not, but I give fair warning. Keep that menace from under foot and out of my way while it’s in my home.”
“Pixie’s aren’t easily restrained.”
“Are elfin witches easily restrained?”“I should hope not.” She turned on her heel. “We have a way of getting what we want no matter the consequence.”