More in the continuing series this week of excerpts from the upcoming collection, DARK SECRETS: A PARANORMAL NOIR ANTHOLOGY. Other excerpts can be found here, here, here and here. For today we have a peek at Suzanne Johnson’s story, THE CONSORT.
Faulkner Hearne, the captain of the ruthless Fae Hunters, finds his duty at odds with his heart when he’s ordered to capture the consort of Faerie’s cruel Prince of Summer when she flees across the veil into modern New Orleans. Can Faulk turn Liandra over to a certain death at the hands of the prince, or will he risk a war with Faerie in order to save her?
An all-new novella set in the Sentinels of New Orleans multiverse.
“Let her go, Romy.”
At the sound of the deep, quiet voice, both Lia and Romany stopped struggling.
“Faulk, let me take her to Florian.” Romy gave her a look of disgust. “Anything else is going to bring trouble on our heads like we can’t imagine.”
Lia’s gaze met the stern amber eyes of the man who would decide her fate. “Please, Faulk. Just a few moments alone.”
Faulk walked toward them. “Romy, monitor the alley to make sure we don’t get another unexpected visit. I’ve got this.”
“But…” Romy clenched his jaw shut and shook his head. “Fine. I’ll look forward to saying ‘I told you so.’”
Faulk gave his friend a small smile. “I’m sure you will.”
“Thank you.” Lia waited until Romy had closed the door behind him and she and Faulk were alone. Once they’d taken chairs at the table nearest the stairwell, he took a sip of beer, leaned back, and crossed his arms over his chest. Even his forearms were muscled, his hands strong and capable of wielding much magic. Lia wanted to touch him, but her seduction skills were nonexistent. She needed to seduce him, but didn’t know where to start. Instead, she kept her hands on her wine glass, fidgeting.
“Well?” Faulk cocked his head and studied her far too closely. “I assume you wouldn’t seek out the home of the Captain of the Fae Hunters if you didn’t have a plan.”
“This is your home?” Lia glanced at the stairwell, then at the doors along the hallway.
“Don’t change the subject, Liandra. Tell me why I should not return you to Prince Florian immediately and save myself a hell of a lot of trouble.”
Lia took another gulp of wine.
“I heard you last night,” she said softly. “You asked yourself how you could ever send me back to him. I…” She finished the glass of wine, its warmth burning along her throat and reminding her how long it had been since she ate anything of substance. “I thought of something that might keep Florian from wanting me back.”
“Did you now.” It was more statement than question, and Faulk motioned for her to stay as he went to retrieve the bottle of wine and pour more into her glass. “Don’t drink that too fast. So tell me, Lia. What do you think would make Florian back off?”
She took a fortifying sip and raised her gaze to meet his. “I want you to take me, to be my lover. If I’m no longer a virgin, Florian won’t want me.”
“Ah, my sweet Liandra.” Faulk reached across the table and took her hand. “I’m afraid that won’t work.”
“Why not?” She twined her fingers through his—a bold move, she thought.
He pulled his hand away, leaving hers lying alone and vulnerable on the dark wood. “Because Florian’s original deal for you is off the table, Lia. He will see you ruined physically and emotionally, and then he will see you dead.”
Taking another sip of beer, he studied her with an expression she couldn’t read. “My orders aren’t just to catch you. They are to take you as hard and as often as I want, then share you with any other Hunters who care to partake.”
“Oh.” Lia had no answer for that, and the horror of her fate sank on her like the heaviest anchor at sea. Her face burned so fiercely, she thought it might spark flames.
“He doesn’t want you physically marked when I return you to him.” Faulk leaned across the table, his eyes unreadable. “But he does want you broken.”
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