Before I could panic and try to figure out who-was-betraying-who in the early morning faerie light, Archer reached out and grasped the giant’s hand. A hand I’d thought was about to smash into us, but must have simply been… waving hello?
Had I been freaking myself out over nothing? The kidnapping from the harpies definitely had me extra jumpy.
“Ranger,” Archer said quickly, the pair exchanging a handshake that consisted of a fist bump–of all things–followed by a closed fist over their hearts. “What are you doing here?”
Ranger… This was Archer’s second in command?
At this point, with the adrenaline dying off, I took a second to really take in the scene… and the “giant.” Now that the sky was brightening, his features were defined, and I almost swallowed my tongue. He was seven feet tall at least, which explained my instant freak out over a giant in our midst. But the rest of him… definitely nothing like a giant from human lore.
Ranger was hot. Like Archer hot and that was saying something.
His skin was a mix of dark and light, giving it a deeply bronze appearance. He had blond hair, light and sunkissed–despite his loyalty to the dark court. It looked probably shoulder-length, and he had it pulled back at the nape of his neck, except for two braided strands on either side of his face. These braids were tied with intricate beads and dark purple string, giving him a viking look.
Which was all topped off by his eyes. They were golden, there was literally no other colour descriptor I could use. Gold, softly glowing, and piercingly intense.
I might have thought him a giant at first with the excessive height but it wasn’t just that. He also had the broad shoulders and muscled chest to beef up his height.
Still… he was definitely far from fe fi fo fum.
Resisting the urge to fan myself, I wondered if it was even legal to have a first and second command as good looking as this? How did the females in their courts handle it?
“When our communications were cut off by the harpies,” Ranger said, his voice a low rumble, with an accent that I’d liken to somewhere in Europe, “I worried that those traitors finally figured out how to get one over on you.”
Archer crossed his arms over his chest and levelled his friend with a dark stare. “Don’t fuck with me. You know they’re no match for me, so why are you really here? Who is watching over the royal territory?”
Ranger didn’t seem remotely worried about the expression on his Prince’s face. “Cary, of course. She would skin us alive if we entrusted it to any other.”
Archer relaxed minutely. “Yes, that’s fine.”
I could see the giant-fae’s lips twitch, but he didn’t remark with anything further.
Instead it appeared to be time for us to continue on with the journey. With another male in tow. Great. The balance was starting to really skew in the wrong direction. I mean, except for an orgy. Then we had just the right numbe–
I cut myself off knowing it had been way too long without sex for those sort of thoughts.
As we moved, I noticed that Rufus didn’t acknowledge Ranger, and the giant ignored him just as beautifully. My day was certainly looking up. Any enemy of the fluffy bastard, was a friend of mine in the making.
“Hi,” I said suddenly, stepping closer to the second in command. “I’m Liv.”
I stuck my hand out, and Ranger blinked down at it, before his gaze slowly traced up to my face. “I don’t touch strangers,” he said simply.
As I slowly lowered my hand, I reassessed if he was still hot or not. Because this girl regarded personality as part of a dude’s attractiveness.
Rufus let out a scratchy snort beside me. “Bet that doesn’t happen a lot.”
Swinging my head toward him, I pushed down the slight embarrassment or whatever I was feeling inside, focusing instead on the ire this bastard could bring up in me in seconds. “What the hell does that mean?”
Rufus shrugged now, his cat-shoulders doing things I was fairly sure a normal cat couldn’t do. “Means what it means. Nothing else.”
Then he wandered off as I muttered, “Clear as fucking mud, you little shit.”
At this point Asher and Ranger were in front, and the difference in their height not as obvious when they were close together. Archer was so… deceptive. I knew he was tall, but he had to be six and a half feet–
“Are you ready?” the dark prince finally called back to me, levelling a confusing stare my way. “You’re standing there like a–”
“Stunned mullet,” Rufus added from where he’d pranced his fluffy ass.
Forcing myself not to kick him, I hurried up to the group. “Let’s get moving,” I huffed out, like I wasn’t the one who’d been holding us up. “I need to get out of the damn forest and stop sleeping on the floor.”
“Ever noticed how floor and whore rhyme?” Rufus said randomly as he started to prance forward in the forest. “No coincidence I’m sure.”
As I blinked after him, I tried to figure out if he’d just called me a whore, or… I really had no idea what the fuck that meant.
Archer shot the cat a slanted eye look. “Enough. Let’s just focus on getting through undetected. No doubt there’s an army now amassing to try and stop us before we reach the safety of the dark lands.”
“Excuse me?” I said quickly.
When they looked my way, I hurried on before they forgot about me again. “There’s an army? On our asses? I really feel that this is something which should have been brought to my attention earlier.”
Archer shook his head at me. “There wasn’t an army until you got yourself captured by harpies. The prince might have expected you were in this world when your energy left Earth, but he now has it confirmed.”
“He’ll be gunning to get you back before we make it to our territory,” Ranger added. “He knows he has no chance against our army.”
I cleared my throat. “Should we maybe bring our army across now? Just for like… a safety backup.”
Rufus snorts, and it spoke to how fucked up I was, that it almost felt comforting at this point. His raspy, creepy little snort. “Already thinking of it as your army. The princess bleeds from your pores, princess.”
I flipped him the bird. It did nothing except make me feel better. Rufus just smiled, since apparently he was getting used to me as well.
Ranger started to walk again before he answered my query about the army. This time all of us followed. “A war is the last thing we need, with the worry of you falling into the wrong hands hanging over our head. Especially an unplanned one. War is messy, and I can’t keep an eye on everything. If we can just continue on undetected, then we have the ability to plan our next moves without worry of ambush.”
“Makes sense, I guess,” I muttered, all the while looking over my shoulder to try and discern the enemy hiding in the bushes.
We continued on after that, and the silence was somewhat heavier now that Ranger was here. His energy was dark like Archer’s could be at times. Like with Rufus, though, I grew more used to it the longer we walked. After some time, I barely even noticed.
The weather was not as cold as it had been up the mountain, but it was far from summer, so when Archer paused a few hours after we started walking, the forest still as thick and dark around us as it had been all day, and announced it was time to wash up, I just stared at him and crossed my arms over my chest.
My nipples actually ached at the thought of exposing themselves to the frigid air.
On the other hand, it had been a couple of days without really being able to wash or change my clothing. The small runes I used to clean myself and my clothing, was not even close to as good as actually washing off.
But my nipples.
It was only when three sets of eyes turned my way, and one snort from a cat, that I realised I’d said that out loud. “It’s too cold for water,” I hurried to say. I wasn’t embarrassed, but that sentence needed context in a majority male group.
Archer let out a low laugh and Ranger might have even cracked a smile. Or… yeah, no, it wasn’t a smile, but his lips definitely twitched.
“I promise, that there’s no need to stress about–” Archer’s eyes dragged from my eyes a little lower, but he managed not to look at my tits, “–any part of your body.”
And all of a sudden, I was hot. My skin tingled as the cooler air caressed the burn of my skin, and I was relieved when Archer released me from his hold and turned to leave the clearing. That fucking fae had been doing that to me from basically the first day he tried to murder me. Where was my therapist and journal when I needed to get all the feelings out?
Rufus went with Archer but Ranger lingered a beat longer, his golden gaze burning into me. He was hard to read and I hadn’t forgotten his “I don’t touch strangers” comment, so I made sure to keep a decent distance between us as I followed Archer’s path.
If someone didn’t want to touch me, then I would respect that. Unless he turned asshole, and then I would use it against him to the point he would want to kill me. It was called balance.
He fell in behind me, as if he’d been waiting for me to move so that I wasn’t left alone. I felt better having him at my back. He was definitely a huge, scary sort of fae.
Archer’s new path was less open than the path we’d been on, and I had to duck down under some heavy overhanging branches to make it all the way through. A glance over my shoulder told me that Ranger was making no such “ducking” movements, but then again, he was all but creating his own path. A few dozen yards along this new path, and it opened up again into a clearing.
A small gasp left my lips as I took in the scene. “Unbelievable,” I murmured, trying to take in the beauty of what I was seeing.
It was a huge, turquoise and stone lined pool. A pool with steam rising from it so I could only assume it was a natural spring. “Are we safe to get naked here?” I gasped again, suddenly desperate to get clean. “Seriously?”
Intense green eyes burned into mine. “Yes. Very few know about these springs. We could actually move through them and stay undetected almost all the way back to my territory.”
I blinked at him for probably thirty seconds, trying to wrap my mind around floating down a warm bath of natural springs back to the Dark Territory. “We should do that,” I got out breathlessly. Before I was hit with a sudden thought: Was I about to get into a spring with two naked fae gods and one asshole of a cat?
And should I be thanking my lucky stars… or cursing them?
Frozen nipples had nothing on the female equivalent of blue balls I’d be rocking after this bathing episode. Blue vagina. It was about to be a thing.Return to Serial Page