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Here is excerpt two from chapter one of Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court
To read the first excerpt from chapter one click HERE.
Prince by Blood and Bone
chapter one, excerpt two
Prince Kian, only son of the Faery Queen of the Black Court, and her seemingly eternal prisoner, pawed at the book on the long wooden table. His talons cut deeply into the old vellum, shredding the page and digging into the binding.
“I don’t understand why it’s not working!” he growled, and yanked his claws out.
The book hit the floor hard, smacking down into a puddle of ash and liquid that was all that remained from Kian’s failed attempt at a witch’s retrieval spell. The crowd of rubbery white hobgoblins at his feet chittered their distress, fleeing into the shadows to bob and lurk amid the ruins of the wallpaper. Kian pushed away from the table, brushing past the hovering grey gnome at his side, and flipping off the hobgoblins with his middle claw.
Kian breathed through his nose and struggled for control. He paced the perimeter of the chamber he’d designated his work space, the claws on his misshapen toes clicking on the marble floor.
Just because his ever-loving mother had forced him into this distorted shape did not mean he had to succumb to the animal instincts threatening to overwhelm him. Even if it would feel good, oh-so-good, to take out his frustrations on Beezel and the hobgoblins, he would resist.
“I followed the spell exactly. This should be easy for me. Not only am I a lord of the fae, I am a prince of the Tuathan, damn her!” He leaned in close and waggled his blade-like digits inches from Beezel’s cringing face. “I can’t bring light and fire—children’s magics learnt at my nurse’s knee. I can’t grip a sword, nor ride a horse, and I can’t free myself from this hell hole…yet.” He stood up as straight as his current shape would allow him. “But I am determined to make this stupid spell work and fetch someone here who can play chess!”
The shaking gnome leaned away from his caustic glare. “Maybe, the trouble is, you aren’t being specific enough.” Beezel’s voice was small and hesitant.
Kian turned away, his muscles straining from the effort of not beating the gnome senseless.
As far as gnomes went Beezel was a waste. He lacked the tall stature of the Galentian Gnomes and the book-smarts of the Scalian Gnomes. He was a whining, cringing, ignorant common cave gnome, with bulging eyes and grey scaly skin. And he was the queen’s spy.
He was all Kian had in the way of companionship. Or was likely to get, given how this particular experiment had failed. But maybe the gnome was onto something.
“Explain.” Inches from the gnome’s perspiring face Kian let his large, hairy jaws gape open, revealing his ivory fangs, and uttered a low growl.
“I m-m-mean, Sire, you’re asking for a chess companion, but that’s all you’ve asked for. There m…m…may be m-m-many to pick from.” The gnome quivered in front of him. “Be more narrow in your request, and maybe the spell will be able to ac-c-commodate you.”
“I hadn’t thought of that.” He backed up a little. “I thought if I left it open, the spell would have an easier time choosing. Maybe it cannot make up its mind.” He resumed his pacing. “It’s witch magic after all. Witches use spells and cantrips, maybe some visualization is what’s missing.”
“You’ve been able to work some of the witch spells, sir.”
Kian growled. “Yes. Small, pathetic things, like making glass glow.” He resumed his pacing, trying to get his bestial anger under control so he could think. He’d struggled to do anything in the witch’s book. Even small child’s magics like calling fire required verbal spells with the correct intonation, and something called centering that he didn’t understand. The fae didn’t need to center.
“Beezel, maybe the witches need more than the words, maybe they need focus. I’ve been treating these spells like things to recite—get the pronunciation right and it should work—but that’s not how fae magic works.” He swept the little gnome off his feet and spun him around in the air. Beezel clutched his spectacles, his face turning an even paler shade of grey.
“Yes, sir. Maybe, sir. I don’t know, sir. Gnomes don’t do magic.”
“Of course you don’t.” Kian stopped spinning. “Fae magic is like blood pumping, like moving a hand. I don’t have to think about it, it just happens. But things feed it, like food, sleep, and emotions. I’ve got the food.” He swung the gnome upside down to look at all the beakers and jars on the work table. “I’ve got the means.” He plunked the gnome down. “Maybe what I’ve lacked was the intention.” He scraped the book off the floor with his talons, dropping it on the table where its savaged pages splayed out from its broken spine.
If he had to be specific, he would ask for a woman. An, intelligent, attractive sort of woman. Someone curved and sexy and real. The idea of smelling, touching, tasting the soft, scented skin of a woman…
His mouth filled with saliva and his paw-like hands shook.
“Beezel!” The gnome jumped. Kian coughed and got his voice back under control. “Get it ready. We’ll try again.”
He hardly noticed Beezel’s sigh of relief as the gnome readied the powders and beakers and flipped to the right page in the shabby book. This time, Kian pictured exactly what he desired. A slender, shapely, blond maid with chess playing abilities. One who smelled good enough to eat.
And, though he hardly dared even think it, banishing the thought before it had time to appear, he asked for one with the ability to free him from his prison.
This time, the potion developed a rosy pink glow, which crept slowly out of the glass and became a small pink cloud. The mist coalesced and grew larger, filling the room with the rich scent of spun sugar.
Kian’s pulse beat hard in his throat. This was better than the last time. Much better.
The cloud expanded, tendrils of mist stretched out into the edges of the room. Goblins shrieked and screamed, climbing over each other and racing from the chamber.
Beezel squeezed into a corner. Kian himself moved back from the now sparkling puffy wisps. No sense in getting caught in his own spell—he didn’t want to accidentally turn into a woman. Especially in his current state.
He snorted, thinking about being stuck between a woman and this mashed version of man and animal his mother had stuck him with. If he’d been forced to deal with female hormones as well as his bestial rage for the last fifteen years, he likely would have given in to his mother’s demands.
The glow grew until it filled most of the large chamber, his tension growing along with it. This was the best spell he’d attempted since he’d been imprisoned and his hopes soared.
The puffy high pink cloud shivered. The mist retracted from the corners, speeding into the center of the room until the cloud was a globular, gelatinous mass about five feet around, crouching on the floor.
He waited. Nothing happened. The hobgoblins snuck closer.
He sagged. “Fuck me.”
It wasn’t going to work. He, Prince Kian, master of the hunt, superior swordsman, and wooer of women, was a failure at simple witch magic.
Kian peered into the mass, but it had a thick, spongy quality that defied examination. Beezel crept out of his corner and huddled next to him. Together, they waited for something to happen, afraid to disturb it.
“It’s worse than before. Nothing is happening, but we’re going to be stuck cleaning up this gunk.” Kian eyed the pile morosely and mourned his blond vision. “I’m going to bed.” He turned his back on the mess. Beezel and the hobgoblins would clean it up. He trudged toward the door.
He was never getting out of here. His mother would let him rot until he died.
Beezel grunted. “Sire!”
Kian spun around.
The mass quivered and shook. It began to emit a low whine, the pink gelatin texture reflecting the lantern light on its now shiny surface. The shaking increased. The floor vibrated. Beezel ducked under the table and hung onto a leg, but Kian couldn’t take his eyes off of his creation.
The whine increased in pitch. Kian covered his still pointed ears, crouching in pain as the pink glob exploded in a burst of light. Twinkling sludge spattered everywhere, on the table, on the book, in Kian’s face.
He wiped off the gunk and stared at the tangle of long limbs and golden hair.
Beezel’s mouth fell open. “Sire, what have you done?”
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