September 25, 2019

Granting Wishes is on sale!!

Granting Wishes is on sale!

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I hope everyone loves my Aladdin retelling, which is a prequel to the Once Upon a Curse series! It was previously available as part of the Kingdom of Sand and Wishes boxed set, but now it's available as an ebook all on its own!

It was so fun to write a novella that takes place on the day of the earthquake itself, instead of a decade later like the full-length books in the series! Alanna is kickass, her prince is brooding and noble, and her genie is just as eccentric as ever :) AND this is a great one to read before Parting Worlds goes on sale, because one of the characters plays a huge role in the final book of the series... I won't say who... Mwahahaha!

I pasted links and a full description below if you'd like more info :)

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**A USA Today Recommended Series!**

She's about to discover a whole new world... Don't miss GRANTING WISHES, a fantasy romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Aladdin. (*This prequel novella is roughly ½ the length of the other books.)

"His words come back to me--magic is the law. I guess I'm making my own set of rules."

Alanna thought rock climbing in Yosemite National Park would be the trip of a lifetime. Until an earthquake strikes and she finds herself plummeting to her death. But instead of slamming into the forest floor, Alanna drops into a secret underground cave where she's confronted by the impossible--magic.

A mysterious man named Erick uses incredible powers to save her life, then tells her that his magical world has collided with earth, merging the two together. Alanna writes it off as crazy, until he shows her a vision of her brother being dragged down a sandy cobblestone street in chains. Crazy or not, she'll do anything to save him.

As Alanna and Erick team up to rescue her brother from the clutches of a decrepit sorcerer king, fate intervenes in the form of a handsome prince. Alanna doesn't know who to trust, but in this foreign land, flying solo just might get her killed...


               


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Thank you!! Enjoy!


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September 16, 2019

Parting Worlds Cover Reveal!!

I'm so sad to be closing out my Once Upon a Curse series, BUT I'm really freaking excited to reveal the cover of Parting Worlds because... 🔥🔥 I'm in love!

This might be my favorite of the bunch! What do you think?

Keep scrolling to check it out and to read the full description for the book! I also pasted the pre-order links below :) Parting Worlds goes on sale on Nov 18th!

Without further ado...

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.Just a little more...

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She'll risk it all to be with the man she loves... Don't miss PARTING WORLDS, a fantasy romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of The Little Mermaid.

"I know humans like to start these sorts of stories with 'once upon a time,' but I'm worried that's setting the stage for false hopes. Because we don't all live, and we aren't all happy. Not every curse can be broken, after all."

Humans are dangerous. That's the lesson faeries are taught as soon as their flower petals unfurl, welcoming them into the world. It's the first thing Aerewyn remembers the priestesses telling her as a young girl. Humans are dangerous--don't show them your magic and never cross into their lands.

Why then, when she stumbles upon a human boy in the woods, does she find him so intriguing?

His blue eyes don't shine with malice. His smile doesn't menace. His laughter is as warm as the sun against her cheeks. And when she later discovers he's been knocked unconscious in a storm, injured and alone in the forest, the only thing he seems in danger of is dying.

So she saves his life--a single act that will change the fate of both their worlds...

Pre-order your copy now :)

               

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Stay tuned for teasers, chapter reveals, and more Once Upon a Curse goodies!



August 26, 2019

Chasing Midnight is ON SALE!!


Chasing Midnight is on sale!! 

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Woohoo! This day has been about three years in the making, lol, and I’m SO thrilled it’s finally here! I hope everyone loves this return to my Once Upon a Curse world! I can't wait to see what you all think! 

The first review from my blog tour is in, and I LOVE how she described the book!

"Cinderella meets Frozen in a modern fairytale Once Upon a Time like realm. With faeries...Perfect for modern fairytale fantasy fans."

Thank you, Colleen! 

All the links are pasted below if you want to grab your copy :) And if you visit my Facebook fan page, I'm hosting a $25 Amazon gift card giveaway to celebrate the new release!

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A USA Today Recommended Series!

This faerie godmother has an agenda of her own... Don't miss CHASING MIDNIGHT, a fantasy romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Cinderella.

"I could redeem myself if I wanted to. I could help them. But I won't. I'm the villain of their story, because it's the only way to be the hero of mine."

Hundreds of years ago, humans learned the secret to sealing magic beneath their skin and stole it from the world. Faeries reverted back to flowers. Shifters remained trapped in their animal forms. Mermaids turned to foam. And the magical creatures who survived vowed revenge.

Nymia is one of those survivors, a faerie brought back to life by the return of her magic. When she finds a human girl named Ella with her sister's power trapped beneath her skin, she'll do anything to get her back, including kill.

There's only one problem.

This isn't the world she remembers. Humans here have a power all their own--technology. And when a human prince sees her using magic, he'll use every invention at his disposal to track her down. The countdown is on, and time is running out. Nymia needs to find Ella, take back her sister's magic, and escape the determined prince before the clock strikes twelve, or she might not make it out of his city alive...

               

A paperback edition is available here:



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Don't miss the first two books in the series :) 

They can be read before or after Chasing Midnight!

   

More info can be found on my Once Upon a Curse page here :)


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The Chasing Midnight Blog Tour

August 26

August 27

August 28

August 29

August 30

Hope you follow along :)


August 20, 2019

Chasing Midnight -- Third Chapter Reveal!

Happy #TeaserTuesday!

Chasing Midnight goes on sale next week! 😱😱😱I am SO excited! I seriously cannot wait for you guys to read Nymia's story. I've had so much fun returning to my Once Upon a Curse world and I just know you'll all feel the same way! 😊😊

If you missed the first chapter reveal, or the second chapter reveal, just click the links to read them now. Otherwise, keep scrolling to read the complete third chapter!

PS: There's only six more days left to pre-order your copy of Chasing Midnight and submit your receipt to get a set of three free bookmarks :) Just click here for more information about the pre-order giveaway!

ONE MORE WEEK!

Enjoy!

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I spend the next few days in isolation, which serves me just fine. The hours give me time to understand this new world I’ve found myself in. I knew it was different—I could taste the rotten, sour flavor in the air—but I had no idea how different until I dove into the memories Omorose accidently gave me.
The first seven years of her life were lived in the world I knew—the world between the two apocalypses, when the humans had stolen all the magic and ruled unchallenged. She was a princess in that world, being raised to inherit a power that never belonged to her. Then in her seventh year, while I was still in my healing sleep, everything changed. An earthquake struck while she was riding in a carriage with her father. I watch the scene through her eyes, my emotions a mirror reflecting hers back at me—the same awe, the same terror—as the ground stilled and she opened her eyes to a new reality. The open field her carriage had been riding across was gone, replaced with a city made of human inventions I’ve never seen before, never even imagined. The buildings were so tall, they glimmered like swords cutting into the sky. Instead of horses, people rode in big hulking machines that sat on four wheels. Their language was different. Their clothes were strange. Most of all, their weapons were advanced. They didn’t use swords or arrows, but strange metal objects that at first seemed harmless, but then, with the blink of an eye, shot death across any distance.
In the hours spent studying Omorose’s memories, I’ve come to learn these weapons are called guns, and the humans value them above all else. I’ve also come to learn that the thing they despise most of all is magic. They believe our worlds were running parallel to each other, existing on two different planes of reality that somehow crashed together, merging into one. Before the earthquake, their world didn’t have magic. Now, they’re terrified of it—as they should be—and they want to destroy the human royals who possess it. In that way, we’re the same. I’d almost consider them allies, except for the small fact that they’d kill me too if they knew what I was.
All magic is unnatural to them, not just the stolen kind, which is why I’ve been locked in this tent and hidden away from the rest of the camp.
While I was in my healing sleep, humans destroyed the shifter village and tore their castle to the ground. They think that Cole and his people are refugees who fled from the evil king their weapons destroyed—they have no idea Cole was the king all along. Now, the humans have come here to help these perceived victims rebuild a new home in the mountains. They think they’re helping, but the shifters are terrified of them and their guns. With my healing spell lifted, the shifters have regained their magic, but now they’re trapped in a different way. They remain stuck in their human forms, pretending to be simple men and women. They’re too afraid to show the humans who they really are, who we all are—beings made of magic.
Unfortunately for me, with the faerie glow sparkling along my skin, I’m not so easy to hide. The shifters only allow me outside in the middle of the night while the visiting humans sleep. Omorose and Cole even stationed guards by my tent to make sure I don’t break their rules. It’s cute, almost, that they think a few shifters with swords could stop me, but I play along because until I know more about the location of Omorose’s sister—and my sister’s magic—I can’t leave anyway.
“Good, you’re awake.”
With a sigh, I slip free of Omorose’s memories and open my eyes in time to see the canvas flaps slap closed behind her. A small waft of fresh air washes over me and I greedily suck it down. I’m tired of hiding in the dark.
“Did you bring any useful information this time?” I drawl. The last time she spoke with me, she came with nothing but confused visions of a sister she hadn’t seen in a decade sitting on a dusty wood floor, reading a book beside a simmering fire. There were no locations, no specifics, nothing I could actually use to track her down.
Omorose glares at me. “Yes.”
“Then, welcome,” I mutter as I sit up and meet her glower with one of my own. I’m starting to think the only thing we have in common is a mutual disgust. She hates me for what I did to her prince and his family. I hate her for what her ancestors did to mine. Oh well. The world is painted in shades of gray—ones I don’t have time to decipher. “What news did you bring?”
She grabs the chair in the corner and sets it closer to the bed. Like me, she doesn’t bother with pleasantries. “My friends Asher and Jade were able to sneak in some time on one of the defense computers back at the base.”
I stare at her blankly.
Omorose winces. “Right. My friends Asher and Jade went back to the Midwest Command Center, the human military base where I grew up. There are a few of them scattered across the country, created to fight the magic. This one is only a two days’ ride on horseback, but they took motorcycles so it was even less. Oh, motorcycles are—”
“I know,” I interrupt. I don’t explain how I know—that I’ve seen them in her memories—but she doesn’t ask. I have a vague understanding of what computers are too—strange little machines filled with facts—but I don’t understand why that helps us.
Omorose frowns at the interruption, but swallows whatever snide remark she wanted to say. By this point, I think her stomach must be full of them. I almost wish she’d just explode—it would make pushing her buttons all the more fun—but I get the feeling she’s had a lifetime’s worth of practice at biting her tongue.
“As I was saying,” she continues through gritted teeth, “they got access to the computers and it took a while of searching, but they think they found my sister. When they tried searching for her under her given name, Eleanor Bouchene, nothing came up that fit. But then I remembered she was only two when the earthquake struck, and she never said her full name—the only thing she could say was Ella. I don’t know if she knew our last name, not really. So they tried searching with the new parameters, just Ella with a surname starting with a B, and we found a listing for an Ella Bush at an orphanage in London.”
“London?” I’ve never heard of it.
Omorose nods enthusiastically and opens the folded paper in her hand to reveal a map—one I don’t recognize as any world I’ve seen before.
“We’re here, in the Rocky Mountains, in a country called the United States,” she says, pointing to a spot on the left side of the map. “And London is in a place called England,” she murmurs as she drags her hand all the way across the paper, over what I believe is a long stretch of land and an entire ocean, “which is here in a country called the United Kingdom. I don’t know how my sister got all the way over there—I mean, I don’t even know how she survived the earthquake. My kingdom disappeared when the worlds merged. I looked for it on maps for ages but never found anything, and I know my mother died or I never would’ve inherited her magic, so I’d always assumed my sister had too. But Asher has a theory. He said that there were a lot of children orphaned during the fusion, children on both sides, and the countries that were hit the hardest didn’t know what to do with them. The United States practically fell apart—so many of their major cities were destroyed or simply gone—but the United Kingdom is much smaller in size and it got off relatively unscathed. Anyway, they offered to take a lot of the orphans to help ease the burden on harder-hit areas and to help transition the humans from the magical world into their society. That’s probably how my sister got shipped over there as a little girl. According to the records we found, she’s been at this orphanage for almost seven years.”
“Do you know what it looks like?” I ask, keeping my eyes on the black spot beneath the tip of her finger. “Do you know what it’s called?”
Omorose opens another piece of paper, this time revealing the image of an ornate building made of red brick, with defensive battlements along the top and a gatehouse framed by two large identical towers. “The Queen of England didn’t want to force anyone to give up their own homes, so she donated buildings owned by the crown to the cause. My sister wound up here, in the orphanage called St. James’s Royal Home for Children.”
I snatch the paper from her hand and hold it close, memorizing every inch of the image. “Are you sure?”
“Yes. I saw it while I was—while I was—” She breaks off sharply, drawing my gaze to her face, which is absent of its normal color, as though all the blood has drained from her cheeks. I think I know why.
“While you were dead?” I supply sweetly. She blinks and gapes at me, then recoils and sits taller in her seat while a pink flush returns to her face.
“Yes,” she snaps, annoyance evident in her tone, though I have no idea why. By the looks of it I did her a favor, returning a little life to those pale cheeks. “After I— I mean, when I—”
“Died,” I interject again. Humans are so touchy about their mortality. She’s alive now, isn’t she?
“After that,” she ignores me and continues, voice gravelly as though it’s getting caught on her clenched teeth, “my spirit followed the magic across a wide ocean and to a city lit by more electricity than I’ve ever seen in my life. Though it was nighttime, I recognize this building and it’s definitely the one my sister was sitting inside when I watched the magic consume her.”
“Excellent,” I snippily reply, then fold the paper and tuck it inside my pocket.
I prefer magic-spun clothes, but the humans of this new world aren’t completely inept, and I quite like these pants they call jeans. The fur-lined boots aren’t so bad either, though I almost fainted when the shifter prince first handed them to me. He’s part-bear and part-wolf. How could he condone wearing their skins on my feet? But he assured me the materials were fake, and only made to seem like the real thing. Some sort of new human invention. My feet are so warm I almost don’t care if he was lying—though Mother help me if my old teachers were alive to hear me think it.
I glance back to Omorose, wondering why she’s still here. “Anything else?”
Her nostrils flare. It’s becoming more and more effortless to annoy her, and though I know it shouldn’t give me pleasure to see another person in pain, even if that person is a worthless human, one thought of my sister and her stolen magic smothers the guilt.
“Don’t you want to know how you’re going to get all the way to England?”
“No,” I quip. There go those nostrils again, and the red cheeks.
“We’ve been working on a plan for days—”
“I don’t need your help.”
“But we—”
“It’s not necessary.”
“Would you just shut up for two seconds?” She finally cracks, raising her voice. I sigh and shut my mouth, humoring her. “Soldiers from the Midwest Command Center are crawling all over these mountains, but we found a way to smuggle you out. Once we do, we’ll supply you with train tickets and some travel documents so you can get across the country. Jade and Asher are working on securing passage on a ship crossing the Atlantic, and we thought we could maybe try putting some makeup on your exposed skin to hide all the…” She pauses and waves her hands in the air, gesturing toward my face. “All the sparkle.”
I curl my lip.
Who’s she to call my faerie glow a sparkle? I’d rather have skin that shimmers like the surface of a pond on a summer day than something so lifeless and dull as hers.
“I don’t want to cover my sparkle, as you call it. I quite like it, thank you very much, and like I said, I don’t need your help.”
“Then how are you planning to get there?”
I shrug, keeping my lips sealed. I’m not revealing any hint of my magic to these people. I don’t trust them—why should I?
She rolls her eyes. “You’re exhausting.”
“The feeling is mutual.”
“Look, I—” She stops, takes a deep breath, and then releases it slowly. Her body slumps as the tension in her clenched muscles melts away. When she meets my gaze, there’s a glimmer of sympathy and understanding in her own, a sight I’ve never seen in human eyes before. “I’m sorry. I know you don’t trust me, and I understand why. Cole explained where my magic came from, where all human magic comes from. He told me that our ancestors stole it, that they helped destroy the world and then conveniently rewrote history. I get why you hate me.”
No, I think, you don’t.
She has no idea. I hate all magical humans, but I hate her the most, because all I see when I look at her are all the things Aerewyn never got to become, all the dreams she never saw come true, all the years we’ve been kept apart. She’ll never understand what it was like to wake up surrounded in my sister’s magic, believing we’d finally been reunited after so long, only to find a stranger instead. A thief. 
“But I didn’t know,” she keeps going, unaware of the apathy churning in my gut. I don’t really care how she justifies her ignorance in order to make herself feel better. I don’t want her apology. “I thought the magic was my birthright. I thought it belonged to my mother, and her mother before her, and her mother before her. I didn’t know that hundreds of years ago, someone in my family had stolen it from someone else, from the world itself. I thought it was a gift to my bloodline. And my sister doesn’t know either. She has the magic now. She’s alone and terrified and cursed. Be as mean as you want to me, but please, please, be gentle with her. She’s just a child. She doesn’t know any better.”
When she says the word sister, a memory stirs from the depths where I’ve shoved it—the face of a little toddler with gold-flecked eyes that shine with love. 
I suffocate it.
I replace it with the image of a girl with bright red hair the color of roses and deep green eyes the color of fresh spring grass. The memory of her laugh brings goose bumps to my skin, sending a ripple down my shimmering arms. To save my sister, Omorose must lose hers. It’s a fact. For one to live, the other must die.
I’m willing to make that trade.
“Are we done here?” My voice is so cold I hardly recognize it. Omorose flinches as though my words have wounded her, and I stifle the hot twinge of guilt zapping my heart. What else can I do? What other choice do I have? I can’t give up on my sister. I can’t let her go. I’d rather lose my mind than lose my hope of seeing her again.
The priestesses would be disappointed. We were taught to treasure life. Our magic was always meant to be a source of good. It was a gift from the Mother to keep her world thriving. We were supposed to be saviors, guardians, protectors.
In the end, what did that peace get us?
Massacred.
I’d rather be a murderer than a martyr.
“We need a few more days to fake your travel documents,” she says, careful to keep her tone detached this time. “I know you don’t want our help, but you’ll be safer if you at least have the proper paperwork, which means my sister will be safer too. And I’ll bring some makeup in case you change your mind about blending in. It’s not the worst thing in the world to be cautious. You have no idea how advanced human technology is in this world, no idea what their machines can do.” She breaks off with a sigh, as though swallowing the lecture on her lips, and then stands. I’m a little disappointed by the aura of defeat hovering over her head like a thick rain cloud blocking out the sun. “I’ll be back soon with supplies.”
Then she leaves.
As soon as the tent flaps seal shut, I walk over to the back corner where a bowl of water rests on a small table. With my palms hovering above the glassy surface, I murmur the words for the scrying spell, so quietly I almost don’t hear them myself.
“Nachtinn eoscu ma mhoin.” Water, reveal my wish.
The old language rolls easily from my lips, but inside, despair casts a shadow over my heart. There’s so much I don’t know, so much I was never taught—a knowledge I fear my people have lost forever. But if I can save Aerewyn, maybe together, we can save our faerie kin too.
The water ripples, flashing with a rainbow sheen of colors as my magic takes hold. I bury the nostalgia, focusing on the task at hand instead of the monumental one ahead.
When I tried to imagine the face of the little girl I saw in Omorose’s memories, the scrying water didn’t work. The same thing has happened every time I’ve tried to spy on a human with stolen magic—something about their power affects my spell. So this time, I imagine the building I saw on the paper now folded in my pocket, forgetting my sister, forgetting Ella, and thinking only of that distant location. After a few moments of prodding, the scene comes into view—a bustling street, a looming brick palace, and a small sign beside the front door which reads, St. James’s Royal Home for Children.
The orphanage is real, and now, it’s within reach.
I don’t want to waste any more time.
I want to leave. I want to run. I want to fly.
Instead, I pull my fingers back and release the spell, then dip my hands below the surface of the water to cool the sudden rush. Much as it pains me to say, Omorose is right. I don’t understand the technology of this world, and I should take at least some of the help they’re offering. I’ve been hunted by humans before. The first time, it ended with my magic stolen and my consciousness slipping away. The second time, it ended with a sword to my gut, a near brush with death, and a flawed spell that destroyed an entire kingdom. There won’t be a third time.
I’ll play along with their plan as long as I have to.
Then, when they least suspect it, I’ll destroy them.


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Thanks for reading!

Chasing Midnight goes on sale next week! Have I mentioned that before? I hope you pre-order a copy now!! 


August 13, 2019

Chasing Midnight -- Second Chapter Reveal!

Happy #TeaserTuesday!

It's time for another Chasing Midnight chapter reveal! Woohoo!

If you missed the first chapter reveal, click here to go read it now :) Otherwise, scroll down to read the complete second chapter!

If you've read Withering Rose, this scene will be familiar, but reading it from Nymia's POV adds a whole new perspective! I absolutely love how she and Omorose are pitted against each other for wanting the exact same thingtheir sisters.  

As a little reminder, Chasing Midnight goes on sale on August 26th, 2019! If you want to pre-order a copy, just click this link :) And don't forget to check out the pre-order giveaway for a free set of bookmarks if you live in the USA!

I hope you enjoy the preview!

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Before my eyes, the stranger’s rosy cheeks grow pale. She’s young with a sweet face framed by wild auburn hair, reminding me of my sister in a way that makes me squirm. Her eyes are closed and deep wrinkles cut into her brow. Her lips purse as though she's in pain. As she wilts like a flower without sunlight, I sense my own body grow stronger.
Her magic gives me life.
My life will be her death.
I open my heart to the power and pull, ripping it from her thieving soul, draining more and more away. Her body slouches, weakening, but I don’t care. It’s no less than she deserves. Her ancestor stole this magic from my sister, stole my sister’s waking life, so it’s only justice I steal it back.
Aerewyn.
I try to whisper her name, but no sound passes through my lips. It’s been so long, I’d almost given up hope, and now she’s so close. I can see her rose-red hair shining in the summer sun. I hear her laugh like warm mist on my skin. I see the woodland green of her eyes, bright with mischief. My best friend. My other half. My sister.
Aerewyn, come back to me.
The magic floods beneath my skin and I close my eyes, imagining she’s there. A single tear slips down the side of my face. The power begins to fight me, begins to draw back, but I don’t let go. I don’t want it to end. I don’t want her to leave. I need to free Aerewyn’s magic so it can find her, wake her, and bring her back to me.
I feel the stranger’s body collapse against my chest. I feel arms shake us. I hear the shout of muffled words. But I’m lost in the power and the past and the possibilities. I’ve killed humans before. What’s one more if it will bring Aerewyn back to life?
As the magic sinks beneath my skin, I’m distantly aware that something else has worked its way there too—a little piece of this stranger’s soul. Suddenly, pictures fill my mind, flashing faster than I can control, colors and lights and sounds I can’t process as they fly across my vision, stealing it away. A little girl with a princess crown. A carriage ride. An earthquake that sent her flying. A new world. A dark prison cell. An underground home. A kingdom of beasts. A lost prince. Memories, I realize. The girl’s memories. As her life drains into mine, I see it flash before my eyes. Years of loneliness and heartache. Weeks of bright love. All winding down to this moment.
The magical tie between us snaps.
In the whiplash, she stands and stumbles back. I open my eyes, trying to blink her memories away as a guttural scream pierces my confusion.
“Omorose!”
That’s her name. I know it like I know my own, as though it is my own. But I’m Nymia—Nymia the faerie vigilante, not Omorose the human scourge. I force the broken piece of her soul away, down into the dredges of my mind, not entirely sure what to do with it.
I know enough to know I need to deal with it later as I sit up and blink, utterly confused by my surroundings. When I stole the magic from the shifters and cast the spell for healing sleep, I’d been in a small room of a large castle, on a plush bed beneath heavy blankets, surrounded by stone walls as a fire crackled in the corner. But that’s not where I’m waking up.
The air is cold as ice. When I breathe, white plumes billow by my lips before fading into the dim light. I’m lying on a cot of some kind, in a tent. Through the slit in the canvas flaps, I see snow illuminated by moonlight. When I drop my feet over the side of the bed, they land on a thick wool rug, cool against the frozen ground. Omorose’s body is draped lifelessly across a man’s lap. She struggles to keep her eyes open as she stares longingly into a face I can’t quite see. The man holds his hand to her cheek, cradling her as though she might break while he caresses her rapidly paling skin.
“What did you do?” he whispers.
There’s such heartache in his tone, my own chest pinches witnessing it. Omorose tries to open her lips, but she has no strength left. The strip of her soul that somehow braided with mine cries out. Colors flash before my eyes, stealing my vision for a prolonged second. Just like that, I know what she’s done as though it’s my own life we’re discussing.
Before I cast the spell for my healing sleep, I’d heard rumors that human magic was cursed. No one knew exactly why or how. Some said the magic cursed itself as a way to gain freedom. Others believed the faerie priestesses had cast a spell cursing all human magic with their dying breaths. More still that humans had accidently cursed themselves by using a spell they had no right to know. To be honest, I didn’t care. As far as I was concerned, if they were cursed, they deserved it, just as they deserved the blades I plunged through their hearts.
But in these memories that aren’t my own, I see the truth. The magic is cursed. It's a burden Omorose has lived with for most of her life, a constant weight, a constant fear. Her magic is beautiful. Visions flash through my thoughts of flowers blooming to life, of trees growing taller, of vines creeping up walls as petals unfurl, and of dried fields returning to lush meadows. Her magic is to give nature life—such a faerie gift it almost brings a smile to my lips, until I remember it comes at the cost of my sister. Then a twisted sort of pleasure floods my veins as I experience her curse in visions of pain and agony—bits of her own life being stripped away.
The man’s question comes back to me.
What did you do?
Hardly a second has passed since he muttered the words, and yet, I’ve lived an entire life behind my closed eyes. The perverse glee I’d been feeling a moment ago fades away, replaced by stilted disbelief as full understanding of her sacrifice blossoms inside my mind.
What did she do?
“She saved my life.” The answer spills from my lips, a soft whisper, surprising me as the words roll out, steeped with undeniable truth. She used her magic to save my life, knowing the entire time that because of her curse, it would kill her. 
I glance at Omorose in time to see her lips twitch with a smile. Then her body goes limp as death takes her.
The man cradling her in his lap trembles and gently shakes her shoulders. He glances up, swiveling his head in search of help, eyes bloodshot and strained. I recognize him in an instant—those smoky gray irises, that onyx hair, the aura of wildness saturating the air around him. He’s the shifter prince I tricked, whose magic I left intact while I stole the power from his people. He was a young boy when I cast the spell for healing sleep, and something must’ve gone horribly wrong, because he’s a young man now.
Did I fumble the words?
Was I too weak to properly cast?
Was the magic simply above my training?
The spell should’ve taken months, no more than a year, yet it seems a decade could’ve easily gone by—a decade in which I slept peacefully ignorant while his people remained trapped as little more than animals, unable to shift, unable to speak, captives to their baser instincts, leaving him and his parents the only humans in a town of beasts.
Hatred spills from his gaze as he turns toward me.
To be honest, I don’t blame him.
“Do something!” he demands, voice hoarse and crazed.
Cole, I remember his mother calling him, though it seems more from a dream than a memory. I’m having trouble rectifying the change between then and now, between boy and man, between hopeful and unhinged.
“Help her!”
Help her? I think, mind still on his mother and her warm voice. Then I pause, remembering the girl draped lifelessly in his arms, and recoil. Help her?!
I flick my gaze back to Omorose, suffocating her foreign memories as they try to rise to the surface of my mind. I bring my own to the forefront instead. Memories of laughing with Aerewyn as we snuck through the forests at night. Memories of dancing with Aerewyn during the summer solstice as magic simmered and sparkled in the breeze. Memories of spying on the elders, testing our magic, and dreaming of the future ahead—dreams that were snuffed out when her magic was stolen, then mine, then the world’s, all because of humans like this girl draped pale as death before me.
“There’s nothing I can do,” I murmur coldly. Someone of her bloodline murdered my sister and stole her magic, then passed it down from heir to heir until it finally reached Omorose. As far as I’m concerned, this is justice hundreds of years in the making. “Besides,” I add to drive home the point, “I wouldn’t help a human thief even if I could.”
“You’re no better,” the prince snarls, offering a glimpse of the beast trapped beneath his skin. As his arms tremble, I watch his hands, half expecting them to change to claws. “You stole everything from me. Everything.”
“That wasn’t personal,” I snap, denial my gut instinct. Doesn’t he realize why I needed to borrow the magic from his people? Doesn’t he realize I’m trying to save beings like us? Doesn’t he see I’m trying to free the magic? To stop the humans?
No, I suddenly realize as I stare into his broken eyes. He doesn’t. All Cole knows is that I showed up at his castle in the middle of the night and stole his people’s magic. He went to bed with an eager heart, and woke to find his entire kingdom destroyed. Of course, he doesn’t understand my reasons—I never explained. The healing sleep should’ve only lasted months, but it lasted years. I shattered his childhood. I crushed his innocence. I didn’t mean to ruin his life, yet somehow I did. No matter how good my intentions were, I’m the bad guy in his story. And now here I am, awake while the woman he clearly loves is dying in his arms. She didn’t sacrifice her life to save mine. She did it to save his—to bring his people back, to return their magic and reunite them with their prince, to heal his lonely heart before her curse inevitably killed her.
I sigh as all my self-righteous anger oozes away, replaced with sympathy. Whatever brought us to this moment, I don’t want to cause him more pain. I meant what I said—it wasn't personal, none of it was. Voice softer, I clarify, “And this isn’t either. There really is nothing I can do. I’m not strong enough to break her curse, not by myself.”
“What curse?” The prince goes still. A droplet of dread oozes down my spine. “Her curse is pain.”
I laugh. I can’t help it. The sound is dark and disdainful and dripping with irony. Of course, the human lied. That’s what they always do. That’s who they are. A long time ago, a human prince lied to my sister, filling her head with beautiful dreams that could never come true. And now it’s a different world, a different age, a different game, but the players are the same. A human with beautiful lies, and a magical being who fell for them.
I want to hug him as I would’ve my sister.
I want to shake him and shout at his stupidity.
I want to cry.
Instead, I give him the truth.
“Dear prince, her curse is death.”
“No,” he whispers. His pale skin goes positively ashen as the blood drains from his cheeks and his eyes go wide. His face twists in pain as he pulls her limp body to his chest. “No!” This time, the word erupts as a roar, tearing its way free and spilling into the world ripe with anguish. “There has to be something, some way, some…” He hunches over as his voice cracks. With a gentleness I never would’ve expected from a man whose wildness permeates the air, he brushes his fingers against her cheek, staring down with such intensity I have to look away. “Please,” he begs. “Please don’t leave me.”
Despite myself, I almost want to help him.
Not her. Not the girl with Aerewyn’s stolen magic.
But this prince who’s breaking right in front of me.
I spent years hardening my heart so I’d be prepared to do whatever it took—and I mean, whatever it took—to return the magic to the world. I’ve lied. I’ve killed. I’ve turned my back on all the principles of peace I was born to believe in—though, to be fair, I sort of think those principles turned on me first. I’ve become someone I don’t think my former teachers would even recognize. But for the first time since I was a girl, a crack works its way slowly across my shell, fracturing and expanding as my chest swells with his plea.
Unfortunately, there really is nothing I can do.
I wasn’t lying.
Faerie magic is only a shadow of what it once was, and worse yet, I was never properly trained on how to use it. I was still a novice when the world fell, still learning my elemental power, still years away from understanding how to warp it into the grand incantations the priestesses used to weave. I don’t even know all the ancient words, only a limited few. Whatever or whoever wove the curses into the human magic, they were far more powerful than me. I don’t know how to break her curse, and I’m not strong enough to bring back the dead.
Which she is.
I know it the moment the magic detaches from her limp body. A subtle golden shimmer rises to the surface of her skin, a faerie glow to match the one always emanating from my own. All faeries have it—I never thought it was strange until the first time I laid eyes on the dull, lifeless skin of a human. Ours sparkles with magic, a mix of sunlight and stardust we can’t shake away. For a moment, I swear I see Aerewyn before me as the power lifts off Omorose’s body and, still glistening, billows in the air. Then she’s gone. The magic whisks away, vanishing in the blink of an eye and leaving me no chance to follow. 
I’m left alone with the prince I’ve helped destroy.
His cries fill the small space of the tent, forcing out the air until I’m suffocated by his grief. My body splits in two, divided by the worst side of myself and the best. Half of me wants to do whatever I can to help fix this situation I know I’ve inadvertently caused, to ease his pain. Half of me wants to use the opening to escape, to run away and find my sister, who at any moment will be waking to a world she doesn’t recognize, confused and terrified and probably still wrecked by the betrayal that will be fresh in her mind. I’m torn between this prince I broke, and the sister I brought back.
Yet, the choice is easy.
Aerewyn needs me.
I turn toward the tent flaps, already longing for the fresh air, but someone jerks the fabric aside before I get there. A human man with hair that glows silver in the moonlight stands in the entrance, holding it open. A human girl with determined green eyes runs in and falls to her knees beside the shifter prince. I jump back as a frigid wind strikes my chest, chilling me to the bone. The tent flaps close, but the cold remains. It’s in my skin now. A premonition. A sense of dread. The two new strangers share words with the prince, but my ears are ringing too loud to hear as I take in the object they brought with them.
It’s not from my world.
It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.
The front flashes with numbers. A blue line moves and blinks as it zags across the black surface. Somehow, it makes noise, a beeping sound that grates at the ears. The humans settle Omorose on the floor and press two handles to her chest. When they push a red circle, lightning shoots beneath her skin—it’s the only way I can think to describe it. This strange little box makes a blast of pure energy, as though they’ve bottled up a storm from the sky. Her body jerks on the ground. A buzz hums through the silence. Then they do it again.
“Come on,” one of them says with stubborn defiance.
They can’t mean to…
It’s not possible…
She’s dead…
She—
The charge blasts her chest again, but this time, her mouth opens and she sucks in a breath, suddenly alive. The two humans cheer. The beast prince gasps. I do too, but I think it’s for a different reason.
This wasn’t magic.
This was something human. An invention of some kind, like the ones my sister used to be so enthralled by, but so much more. It terrifies me. While the four of them laugh and cry and hug on the ground, relishing in their victory, I shrink back. My entire sense of the world tilts to the side, gradually slipping away as I dart my gaze around the room. The humans know how to cheat death. What else have they learned while I slept? What new world have I been thrust into? And what about my sister?
Her magic is gone.
There’s no trace of her in the room, but what if they’ve somehow destroyed it? Do they have an invention for that too? Could they bottle her power up in a little beeping box and keep her locked away for all eternity?
I close my eyes, trying to dredge up the memories Omorose accidently flung into my mind, but my thoughts whirl too much. They won’t settle enough to let me focus. Instead, question after question rises to the surface, making it impossible to concentrate, until a voice stops me cold.
“And she’s going to help us.”
A shiver rushes down my spine as I sense multiple sets of eyes on my skin. I blink, feigning a sense of confidence I don’t feel. My arms are crossed defiantly across my chest, as though rebellion has become part of who I am—something the meek little girl I once was never would’ve foreseen. I’m not meek anymore, and no matter what power these strange humans have, I’ll find a way to defeat it. I may be surrounded on all sides, but I refuse to be backed into a corner. So I cock my hip, deepen my scowl, and arch my brow in a silent dare.
“No, I’m not.”
“Yes, you are,” Omorose says, voice sharp with conviction. I don’t know what she wants my help with, but the demanding nature of her tone irks me enough not to care, especially when she adds, “I saved your life. You owe me.”
Owe you? I want to scream. Owe you!
She runs around with my sister’s stolen magic beneath her skin, and now has the gall to think I owe her a favor? For what—destroying everything I hold dear? My spell for healing sleep would’ve worked eventually. I didn’t need her help. I didn’t want it. It’s so typical of a human to take credit for something that was never even asked for in the first place.
I roll my eyes, unable to stop the spiteful response as it rolls from my tongue. “You just expedited the process. I was going to be fine.”
“Are you sure about that?”
I grit my teeth. “Either way, I got out of the business of helping humans a very long time ago, when their greed murdered everyone I know. One act of kindness doesn’t undo all the harm your people caused, all the lives they destroyed.”
“What about helping me?” the shifter prince whispers softly. “My kind?”
I wince and turn toward him, guilt churning in my gut. A glimmer of the girl I once was rises to the surface before I can force her and her caring heart back down.
“I’m sorry.” The apology spills out before I can stop it. I’m not sure if I’m speaking to the prince or to the girl I used to be, the one who would be ashamed to learn of the woman she’s become—cold, and bitter, and cruel to the very beings she was created to protect. But I don’t want to go down that road, so I turn my focus on Cole. “I really am. What I did to you, I did out of desperation. Believe me when I say there was no other way. I never wanted to hurt you, but I needed magic and I needed it fast.”
“You’re a priestess, aren’t you?”
The sound of that word shocks me still. I thought the people of the world had forgotten my kind, that we’d become little more than a myth lost to time. Yet if he believes I’m a full-fledged priestess, maybe that will help me. Maybe it’ll fool them into thinking I’m stronger than I really am, that my magic is more powerful than they could imagine, that I’m not someone they want to cross.
“All faeries have a little magic,” I murmur with a shrug, fully aware that their own imaginations will do more than my words ever could. I let my response hang there for a moment, so it sinks in and expands, teeming with possibilities. “But that’s not the point. Yes, I borrowed your magic. Borrowed. The spell was going to run its course and the magic would have been returned to you no matter what.” I’m not entirely sure who I’m trying to convince—Omorose, the prince, myself? The thought of owing a debt to a human makes my skin crawl. It can’t be true. I plow on, pointedly ignoring the smug look shooting my way. “I left your magic alone and I left your parents’ magic alone, so the three of you could still guide your people until that day came. I wasn’t trying to hurt you.”
I’m not evil.
I’m not a monster.
Again, I’m not sure who I’m trying to convince.
“Well, my parents are dead,” he murmurs darkly. “So your plan didn’t really work out.”
The underlining fury in his tone whispers that my spell undoubtedly had something to do with their deaths, though for the life of me, I don’t know what.
I release a breath.
Myself—I was trying to convince myself. And I failed. I’m a horrible person. I left this boy alone in the world because I couldn’t bear to die without seeing my sister one more time. And I’m doubly terrible because I’m going to do it again. I can’t stay here. I can’t help these people. Not when Aerewyn is out there somewhere, finally alive. I’ve been waiting a lifetime for this moment, and I refuse to wait any more.
“I’m sorry for that. I am,” I mutter, only half feeling the words. My mind has already slipped through the break in the tent flaps and into the crisp night, alive and wanting. I need to go. I need to get out of here. I need to see her. “But there are things I need to do, people I need to see. And I can’t waste my time helping a human, least of all a human who possessed stolen magic”—Aerewyn’s magic!—“not when other people need me.”
“Would it be a waste of your time to break a curse? To free some magic? To give it back to the people you claim you want to help?” Omorose’s voice latches onto my escaping thoughts and yanks them back into the tent. I flinch with the impact.
“What do you mean?” I turn to her slowly, eyes narrowing. “Your magic is gone. Otherwise I’d feel it.”
“My curse isn’t broken.”
“What?” Cole growls, stealing the word right out of my mouth.
The magic fled. I felt it. If it wasn’t being freed, if it was still cursed, then she must mean—
“It’s not me,” Omorose quickly tells the prince to quell his fears. “When I died, my magic transferred to an heir I didn’t know was still alive.”
All the pieces sink into place.
“My sister,” she continues, unaware of how my mind whirls with this new information. She has a blood heir, and that changes everything. “My little sister. My spirit traveled to her. I saw her. I saw the magic consume her. She inherited my curse. And I have to save her. I’ll do anything to save her.”
As I will for my sister.
Aerewyn’s magic isn’t free—it’s still trapped. It’s been passed down Omorose’s royal lineage to a new human host, a new human thief. But it won’t be for long. No matter what lie I have to tell, no matter who I have to hurt, I’ll save my sister. I’ll do whatever it takes to see her again. I refuse to come this close just to fail. Consequences be damned, I blink and meet Omorose’s pleading eyes.
The part of me that’s still a little bit good whines in protest, twisting my insides painfully tight, so I can almost hear a plea in my pounding blood, telling me not to cross this line. Omorose’s memories flood my thoughts until the face of her sister fills my mind, a toddler with chestnut hair and big hazel eyes, the picture of innocence.
I smother the image.
I smother the protest.
I smother the good girl I used to be, and I tell this human the one thing I know she desperately wants to hear. “I’ll help.”
I’ll help Aerewyn—but Omorose doesn’t need to know that. 


***

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