After all, everyone knows Titania, the Seelie Queen, wants her dead. But Titania claims not to be the one behind the death threats; and her son, Prince Henry, makes the decision a whole lot easier when he suggests Dana might be arrested for supposedly conspiring with her aunt Grace to usurp the Seelie throne. The journey through Faerie is long—and treacherous. When a violent attack separates Dana from their caravan, the sexy Erlking saves her just in the nick of time. Will she be able to prove her innocence before the forces of the Seelie Court—or, worse, the Erlking—catch up with her?
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Sirensong Chapter One I hate politics. Too bad my father is a big-deal Fae politician, hoping to get bigger. Which is how I found myself dressed in an insanely expensive midnight-blue evening dress—wearing heels, no less—and being escorted by my tux-clad father to a fancy state dinner I wanted no part of.
My dad and I joined the glittering cream of Avalon high society, waiting in line between the velvet ropes as a pair of Knights controlled traffic and checked invitations.
When I came to Avalon, the only place where the mortal world and Faerie intersect, I already knew my father was some kind of big-deal Fae. Or that he would try to use me as a pawn in his political chess game. You see, in a little more than a year, the current human Consul—the most powerful person in Avalon, kind of like a president, but not really—was going to have to step down in favor of a Fae.
The Consulship changes hands between humans and Fae every ten years, and my dad was bound and determined to be the next Consul of Avalon. A Faeriewalker, someone with enough Fae blood to travel into Faerie and enough mortal blood to travel into the mortal world. A rare breed, seeing as the last one before me died almost a century ago. Knights are Fae warriors, and there was something just wrong about seeing one standing there with a clipboard. Of course, he probably had about a hundred weapons concealed on him, and I could feel the prickly sensation of magic surrounding him.
Supposedly only true Fae could sense magic, but I was apparently the exception. The Knight waved us through, and we climbed a set of red-carpeted stairs into a cavernous marble entryway.
There were more Knights inside, directing the crowd down a long hallway and making sure no one strayed from the path. They were dressed in tuxes, just like all the other men in the crowd, but they stuck out like sore thumbs anyway, with their muscular builds, their severe expressions, and their not-so-covert surveillance. And that Dad was going to introduce me to a lot of people with whom I was supposed to make polite small talk and smile.
Just how any sixteen-year-old likes to spend the evening, right? I could, of course, be a total brat and play the part of the sullen, bored teenager, making my dad regret dragging me along. But he and I were still sort of learning our way around each other, and if I was going to be difficult about something, it would be something more important than whether or not I had to sit through a bunch of speeches. At the end of the hallway, we had to stand in line again, but this was worse, because I could see—and hear—what was in store for us when we got to the head of the line.
There was a tall, thin Fae man standing there, and everyone stopped when they stepped up beside him, then waited for him to announce their names in a loud, deep voice, after which they could finally enter the room and go through an endless-looking receiving line. Maybe Ebola. Maybe I could embarrass my dad enough to make him send me home. Each time my dad ran in to someone he knew—and I swear he knew every person in the room—it was the same thing.
The high heels were pinching my toes, and I was losing sensation in the balls of my feet as we continued our circuit of the room. My face hurt from the fake-smiling, and I was so bored I had to swallow a yawn every three seconds. Throughout the torturous meet-and-greet, more people kept arriving at the party, each one announced in a voice that cut through all the chatter.
Until a wave of silence swept over the room, and even my dad turned to look. The party had been underway for over an hour, and the Important Dignitaries in the receiving line had abandoned their posts to come mingle with us little people, so there was no line waiting to come in.
As a result, everyone in the room had a crystal clear view of the figure who stood regally in the doorway. In some ways, he was a typical Fae man. Tall, lean, with angular features that were painfully beautiful. He was dressed in an outfit that looked like it came straight out of some artsy historical movie, complete with a crimson velvet coat with enormous cuffs and elaborately embroidered lapels, knee breeches, and a frothy white neckcloth.
Many of the Fae bowed or curtsied. Prince Henry soaked in the attention for a moment, standing nearly motionless in the entryway as his gaze swept the room. A smile curled his lips, and there was something oily and unpleasant about it. The prince finally stepped into the room, breaking the spell of silence he had cast.
I rubbed my sweaty palms together and looked at my dad. The Queens of both Courts felt threatened by my abilities and wanted me dead. That made Prince Henry the enemy in my book. Not when the royal family wanted me dead. Dad shook his head slightly.
Not that I thought I was in any real danger. I had a feeling that if a member of one of the royal families showed up at a state dinner and killed one of the guests, that might start an international incident.
Maybe even a war. No such luck. I could feel the magic coming off the group when they were still, like, twenty yards away.
Connor had been captured and basically enslaved by the Erlking, the leader of the Wild Hunt, a group of Fae huntsman who in the olden days preyed on human and Fae quarry. Now, because of an agreement the Erlking had with the government of Avalon, humans were off their menu.
And because the Erlking had also made an agreement with both Queens of Faerie, the only Fae they hunted were ones the Queens condemned. My father still grieved for Connor as if he were dead, and I wished I could do something to help. Dad really knew how to take something that sounded like a compliment and make it obviously an insult.
All the while smiling as if he were being perfectly pleasant. I had to admit, as. The Fae—especially those who live in Faerie—take being old-fashioned to the extreme, and I had no doubt that they had yet to embrace modern fashion. Prince Henry continued to smile. Or if it had something to do with their son being captured by the Wild Hunt. So I met his gaze and fought my urge to squirm, despite the malice I could have sworn I saw in his eyes. Dad put his arm around my shoulders, which was a positively effusive gesture for him.
His lips were uncomfortably wet, and I had to resist an urge to yank my hand from his grip and wipe it on my dress. He held on to my hand longer than necessary, looking at me expectantly. He held his hand out to one of the Knights, who gave him something that looked very much like a scroll.
The Seelie Queen wants to kill me, so I should leave the relative safety of Avalon and travel to her palace in Faerie to meet her in person? Either Titania was nuts, or she thought I was.
Prince Henry was staring at me again, his shoulders stiff and an expression almost like a snarl on his lips. She does you an unprecedented honor. Prince Henry turned to my dad. My dad bowed his head respectfully. However, Queen Mab has shown rather less hospitality, and I fear it would not be safe for my daughter to travel into Faerie. Prince Henry made a face that I think was supposed to express polite concern. You will be quite safe. We leave in three days.
Now, if you will excuse me.
Jenna Black Chapter one I hate politics. Too bad my father is a big-deal Fae politician, hoping to get bigger. Which is how I found myself dressed in an insanely expensive midnight-blue evening dress—wearing heels, no less—and being escorted by my tux-clad father to a fancy state dinner I wanted no part of. My dad and I joined the glittering cream of Avalon high society, waiting in line between the velvet ropes as a pair of Knights controlled traffic and checked invitations.
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Sirensong Chapter One I hate politics. Too bad my father is a big-deal Fae politician, hoping to get bigger. Which is how I found myself dressed in an insanely expensive midnight-blue evening dress—wearing heels, no less—and being escorted by my tux-clad father to a fancy state dinner I wanted no part of. My dad and I joined the glittering cream of Avalon high society, waiting in line between the velvet ropes as a pair of Knights controlled traffic and checked invitations. When I came to Avalon, the only place where the mortal world and Faerie intersect, I already knew my father was some kind of big-deal Fae.