He made a promise he didn’t keep…now both mortals and immortals alike will pay the price.
Realm Immortal Book Two
It is ill-advised to incur the wrath of a faery, but it is most foolish to do so of a faery queen…
Queen Tania has waited over a year for the Earl of Bellemare. When he left her palace to help blessed King Ean fight a battle to save the earl’s sister, she expected him to come back for her when the encounter was over. Instead, he left her, returning to the world of mortals and his precious Bellemare. He made her a promise he didn’t keep and now both realms will pay the price for his deceit.
Hugh, Earl of Bellemare, hates the immortal realm. Though it has brought his family blessings, it is now taking everything he holds dear away. Most heartbreaking of all is the sister he was forced to leave behind. Juliana married the unblessed King Merrick, a man who can never love her, and he blames Queen Tania for securing the match. He’s spent a year trying to forget the faery queen, but it seems she’s not done meddling with his family…
“You got what you wanted from me,” Hugh said, not opening his eyes. “Now let me go.”
What? Tania pulled back to study his face.
Hugh rolled off her, not looking at her as he sat on the bed. He put his head in his hands. “Where are my clothes?”
Tania watched him, not sure what she was waiting for him to do. She pushed up from the bed, feeling the ends of her tattered gown tickling her flesh as it fell aside. The clothes were unwearable.
“They were too bloody. I had them thrown out.” She reached to touch him, only to stop as she saw her hand. The dark lines on her flesh hadn’t faded. She drew her hand back to her lap, itching at it as she tried to rub the marks off. How could it be? They’d joined. The darkness within her should be gone. Her full power should’ve come back. The goodness and happiness should’ve come back. She looked at the vines. They had perked up, but they were still wilted and didn’t bloom. Arching her back, she stretched her crushed wing, fluttering it back and forth to straighten it.
“Do you think nakedness will trap me in your palace?” Finally, he turned to look at her. There was no love in his eyes for her, only an emotionless resistance. Hugh paused and she saw his eyes following some of her lines. Why hadn’t this worked? Why hadn’t she changed? Why didn’t he? “You will be better off trying to restrain me again, only this time I will know it is coming and I will not be as merciful when I find my freedom.”
Her gaze narrowed in anger.
“You have nothing to say, queen?” Hugh stood from the bed, completely naked and seeming not to care. Derisively, he drawled, “Well that is wonderful, is it not?”
“What do you expect me to say? You are being hateful.” She crossed her arms, pouting out her lip.
“Me? I am hateful? You are one to talk, Tania. You join forces with the King of the Damned, kill my horses, do something to my brother, haunt me like a spirit only to have me beaten and kidnapped, and then have the impudence to tell me I am being hateful? Aye, I do hate you and what you have done to me and my family. Every time you are near I lose someone I care about. First, you send Juliana to that monster. And now William is missing.” His eyes were hard, his body rigid. “All I can determine is that you do all this because you are bored and wish to amuse yourself with me and my family. You are a wicked being, Tania. You stole my sister from me just to be part of some faery tale story between Juliana and Merrick—a man, by the way, who can never love her, and now you take my brother. What will you do with William? What have you done? Where did you send him? To the giant Lord Angus? What faery tale do you think to be part of now?”
“You liked me well enough to take me to bed,” she charged. How could he have done that while hating her?
“Please tell me that is not why you brought me here. Tell me it wasn’t to finish what you started between us a year ago.”
“I started?” she gasped. “You—”
“Oh, by all that is holy, that is it, is it not? You brought me here for this.” Hugh motioned toward the bed.
“You do not love me,” she said, confused. How could he think she’d do all that to him? Aye, she sent Juliana to Merrick. She did want to be part of their love story. It all worked out. They were married. Juliana was a queen. As for love, Merrick was born of light, he could love, couldn’t he? Or had she made a mistake with that one? She wasn’t so sure anymore. Everything was confused inside her—her powers, her emotions—and it kept getting worse each time Hugh said he hated her. Did her deal with Lucien somehow cause these events he spoke of? She didn’t mean for anyone to be hurt. She only wanted to see Hugh, to talk to him, to ask him why he never came back like he promised.
But, he spoke of William. She didn’t take William. She knew that.
“Love you?” he spat. “I do not even like you, Tania. How could I? You threaten everything I have ever cared about. Bellemare and my family are the only things I have ever loved. Now my family is broken up, my lands are threatened, the pride of our family—the horses—are dying. The dead walk…”
As his words tapered off, he shivered. She looked down at her lap, slowly pulling the sides of her gown to cover her body from view. Lucien had said the earl had been attacked by the walking dead. Was that her doing? Did her hunger to have him cause such an event? He claimed to love only two things—Bellemare and his family. Hadn’t his actions in choosing the manor over her proven that? Her heart ached, a horrible feeling inside her chest, and still she did not want to accept what he was saying, even as she heard it from his own lips confirming what she knew to be true. The earl did not love her.
Hugh hated her.
He hated her.
“And there is no room in you for anything else, is there?” She tried to keep the emotion from her voice, but it was hard. No room to love beyond those two things? Bellemare and your family.
“Why would you even care?” Hugh asked. “You are nothing more than a bored, silly faery who takes sick pleasure in tormenting me. What do you know of my responsibilities? What do you care of my honor and duty?”
Tania shot up on the bed, lifting off as her wings beat hard in the air. She glared at him, wishing she had the magic to hurt him as he hurt her. But, even now, she couldn’t strike out. This was all too much. His words killed the physical pleasure she felt, but her body was still renewed by sexual release and she used that energy now. Hugh held his ground, even as the lines of her sorrow crossed completely over her. Seeing her reflection in the glassy floor, she stiffened. Her eyes had gone completely black and her wings no longer held any white. They were gray with black threading to completely replace the silver. Her gown mended itself, stringing across her body to cover her even as it left gaps of flesh showing through the ripped holes along the front. The material grayed, no longer pretty and white, but dingy and dark.
Tilting her head, she looked at him. “That which has been taken cannot be given back. You will remain here, my lord. You can never go back to Bellemare.”