The Summer King Bundle 3 Stories - Jennifer L. Armentrout

Chapter 1

Did it make you a bad friend if you were completely, a hundred percent envious of that friend? Yes? No? Kind of?

I figured it was somewhere in between.

That’s what I was mulling over as I watched Ivy Morgan brush thick, red curls over her shoulder, laughing at something her boyfriend Ren Owens had said to her.

At least I wasn’t envious of that—their love. Okay, well, that wasn’t entirely true. Pretty sure anyone who was as single as me would be envious of all that warm and fuzzy that was passed back and forth with each long look or casual brush of skin. The two could barely tear their gazes away from one another to eat the dinner we’d grabbed at the cute little diner inside the shopping center on Prytania Street.

I honest to God couldn’t be happier for them. They’d been through so much—way more than two people should ever have to go through to be together, and here they were, stronger and more in love than ever, and they deserved that happiness.

But their epic love story wasn’t the source of a current case of the green-eye monster that was sitting on my shoulder.

Ivy was just such a… badass.

Even right now, relaxed in the chair, surrounded by twinkling Christmas lights with her hand in Ren’s and her belly full of a cheeseburger deluxe and crinkle fries and half of my tater tots, she could kick ass and take names along with addresses, telephone numbers, and social security numbers.

If the proverbial poo hit the fan, you called Ivy or Ren.

If you needed to know what streets Royal intersected with, you called… me. Or if you needed coffee or fresh beignets but were currently busy, you know, saving the world, you’d call me.

The three of us were all members of the Order, a widespread organization that was literally the only thing that stood between mankind and complete, utter enslavement and destruction by the fae. And not the super cute fae found in Disney movies or some crap like that. Humans thought they were on top of the food chain. They were wrong. The fae were.

The only thing pop culture got right about the fae was their slightly pointy ears. That was it. The fae were more than just beings from another world—the Otherworld—they were capable of glamouring their appearance to blend in with humans. But all Order members, even me, were warded at birth against the glamour. We saw through the human façade to the creature that lurked beneath.

No amount of imagination could capture their allure in their true form or how luminous their silvery skin was or how they were beautiful in the way a leopard stalking its prey was.

The fae preyed on humans—on the very life force that kept our hearts beating and brains working. Much like the mythical vampire feeding on blood or a succubus feasting on energy, the life force that they stole from humans fueled their abilities, which truly ran the gamut. They were faster and stronger than us, and nothing on Earth rivaled their predatory skills. Feeding off humans was also the way the fae slowed their aging process down to a lifespan that rivaled immortality. Without feeding, they aged and died like humans.

There were some of them who didn’t feed on humans, something we’d only discovered recently. The fae from the Summer Court chose not to. They lived and died like us, wanting nothing more than to be left alone and out of the crosshairs of their enemies, the Winter fae.

My fingers drifted to my wrist, where I wore a bracelet that, combined with the words spoken at our births, held the charm that blocked the fae’s ability. I never took the thing off. Ever.

Four leaf clovers.

Who ever would’ve thought a tiny plant would negate something as powerful as a fae?

But a week ago tonight the Order, along with the Summer fae, had done the impossible. The psychotic and wholly creepy fae Queen who went by the name Morgana had been sent back to the Otherworld. She could come back, but no one was expecting her to. Not for a long time. Maybe not even in our lifetime, but the Order would be ready when she did. So would the Summer fae.

That’s why the three of us were having dinner—a little celebratory dinner. We’d survived the battle with the Queen and those who supported her had crawled back into whatever cesspools they were hiding in. We all could take a deep breath now and chill