Love. A steamy fae romance with an arranged marriage...
Loyalty. A challenge for the throne in a Celtic-inspired fantasy world...
Legends. In a realm full of darkness and betrayal...
When Princess Saoirse was born, she was betrothed to the son of her father's right hand man. But the mischievous fae whisked Ciaran away for their own dark purposes never to be seen again. Now of marrying age, Saoirse has no fiancé nor any interest in the lords of the surrounding realms. She is focused on commanding the army to keep her realm safe from hordes of slaugh na marbh, dark goblin creatures which have infected the land...
But one fateful night, Saoirse encounters a handsome fae who declares that he is honoring his vow to marry her. Now she must contend with the fae who claims to be her fiancé, Ciaran, and defend her realm from dark forces. Even worse, she quickly discovers there are powerful secrets about Ciaran even he does not realize…
Will Saoirse give in to temptation while honoring her father's oath? Will the darkness destroy her realm before it's too late?
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Mature Content Warning: sexually explicit, physical violence, fantasy violence, attempted assault, explicit language.
Once Upon a Dream
I curiously peered around the oak in the glen. He was back.
A tall man with a strong jawline stood in the glen, surrounded by fireflies under star strewn skies. His tousled black hair and mischievously dark eyes were like an old friend waiting, welcoming. He wore a simple navy blue tunic and black trousers with leather boots.
“Good eve,” he said softly, noticing me as I tentatively maneuvered around the oak tree trunk.
His eyes reminded me of a dark swirling storm. But I knew I could take refuge in his arms. Admittedly, I loved the sound of his voice, low, smooth, and warm, like sitting next to a crackling fireplace when a storm rages outside the castle walls.
“How are you?” I asked. I never knew what to say to him at first, only that I felt at home basking in his aura.
This man was an enigma, plaguing my dreams intermittently ever since I was a child. Back then, he appeared around my age and we played, climbing trees and pretending to be knights vanquishing dragons. We grew older together over time. It was a strange recurring dream.
More recently, he would ask me questions, and I would be mesmerized by his handsome figure -- his lithe muscles and his charm. Some days my thoughts echoed my siblings’ and servant’s, that he was a vision of my future husband. Or I believed that my mind was simply filling the void with this fantasy. And what an incredible fantasy it was...
He flashed a grin and my heart melted at the sight. Gods, I loved these dreams. “I am well. And you, Princess Saoirse?”
My heart pounded when he spoke my name. It sounded so magical on his lips. I curtsied slightly in my simple white sleeping dress, remembering my manners, even in a dream. “As am I.”
“Your thoughts have been harried,” he said, his brow knitting together with concern.
I hugged myself as I stepped closer, mildly embarrassed at my revealing clothes in his presence. But he was imaginary, after all so what was I worried about? He was always asking about my day. Of course he knew what I was thinking, as he was a figment of my imagination. It was still nice to speak with someone so willing to listen, even if it was just my own consciousness in the form of this handsome man.
I sighed, relaxing a little in his presence. “As you know, my realm is threatened by hordes of slúaghs. Yet admittedly, the onslaught has gotten worse and worse by the week!”
“You burden yourself with the defense of your realm,” he said. It wasn’t a question. We’d bickered about this many times before.
“As the eldest princess, it is my duty to protect my people,” I responded curtly.
“But you should not have to,” he murmured. “You are so beautiful and intelligent. You should not need to concern yourself with such cruel realities of the human world. You should be free from those responsibilities…”
I clucked my tongue. “Wishful thinking. Yet, I so adore the challenge of fortifying our defenses and protecting the townsfolk. They are my friends and I will gladly die in battle for them.”
He frowned, his face contorting. Here we go! My subconscious is concerned once more with my safety. Yet some commitments are more important. That is what it means to sacrifice for my people.
“Your situation is becoming more dangerous.”
“Yes.” I nodded frankly. I wasn’t going to lie to myself. The situation was getting dire. But I was not about to back away from the fight. “Some things are worth dying for.”
“I know I cannot deter you from fighting for your people.” He opened his arms, welcoming me to him. I stepped forward tentatively and allowed him to wrap his arms around me. Here in the confines of my dreams at least, I was safe.
Each time he appeared in my dreams, I got a little closer to him. Last time, I traced my fingers across his muscles until he shivered under my touch. He had embraced me, stroking my hair until I drifted awake.
I loved the feeling of his hard body against my own, breathing in his spiced-musk and pine scent. It was the only thing that made sleeping worthwhile anymore.
“Do not go to the tavern tonight,” he warned softly in my ear.
I rolled my eyes, pulling slightly away from him. “How do you suspect I would go to the tavern this eve?”
“Because you go nearly every night,” he said dryly.
I pouted. “The tavern is where I gather strategic information and mingle with my people.” It was a losing battle. I didn’t need to listen to my subconscious. I was going and that was that.
“If the pathway is more dangerous, you should not go alone.”
“I can handle myself!” I stuck my nose in the air indignantly.
“I know you can, Saoirse…” he sighed, embracing me ever more tightly. “But you should be more careful... ”
“I promise,” I murmured. “And I never break my promises.”
“That is what I’m counting on.” He pressed his lips softly to my forehead.
I wanted more. I traced my fingers along his muscular arms, but then changed trajectory, down his chest and to his hard abdomen. Gods, he felt so perfect under my soft hands. I leaned my head up to press my lips to his neck. He stood rigid, his arms embracing my body as I pecked his neck and then jaw. I wished he would explore my body too, but he was always so aggravatingly polite.
After a moment of hesitation, I decided at last I was ready. I kissed the man on his soft lips, breathing in his spicy musk. He tentatively returned my kiss. Ah, how heavenly a kiss could be! Even if it was just a dream...
The brief exchange sparked a flame inside me, one that could not be extinguished. I deepened our kiss, my tongue dancing with his in pure ecstasy. My fingers glided down to the top of his trousers, but before I could go further, he grabbed my wrist.
“Ah,” I murmured, disappointed. How could my dream be so cruel to me, to stop me before I could even feel my fantasy man? My fingers felt at the end of his tunic and I cocked her head to the side mischievously. “May I?”
He nodded, smirking. I lifted his tunic over his head and gaped at his chiseled chest. Gods, how was he so handsome? How was he so handsome and I wasn’t even allowed to explore him? Just stare in lust at his elegant figure...
“What do you think?” he asked curiously, cocking his head to the side.
“Of you?” I blinked, astonished, trying to gather my thoughts into words. “I couldn’t imagine a more perfect man to inhabit my dreams.”
He chuckled and I melted in his arms once more. “That is also what I’m counting on.”
“I wish you could tell me my future,” I said softly, nuzzling my face into his chest. “They say dreams can be visions of what is to come. Sometimes I feel so lost at what to do. I try to be strong…” I wavered, listening to his beating heart and steady breath. His embrace was so comforting. It was hard to imagine this was only a dream.
“You wish to know your future?”
I nodded sleepily. How cruel my dream was coming to an end so soon. I could feel my body stirring in bed, my vision softening, the dream growing hazy. The man took a deep breath and squeezed me a little harder. His voice sounded distant. I was fading fast.
“I am your future...”
Before I could respond, he pressed his lips to my forehead once more and my dream faded away to darkness.
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