Taken (Fae's Captive #5) - Lily Archer
You could technically begin this book as your first in the Fae’s Captive world, but I suggest you begin with Fae’s Captive 1 for world-building and amazing feels.
I creep out of Taylor and Leander’s room. They didn’t notice me passed out on their sofa when they burst in after the mating ceremony that I accidentally missed.
Food coma. That’s what Taylor calls it. I was in a food coma. But when they came in and went at it like ferals, I was wide awake. Wide. So, the good news is, I finally got to see them mating. Meow. Bad news is, now I’m all hot and bothered with no one to bother.
I wink at the nearest winter realm soldier standing guard in the hallway, but he stares straight ahead. “Hey.” I snap my fingers in front of his perfect fae face.
He glances at me. “What do you wish, changeling?”
I give him my best eyelash flutter. “Are you into humans?”
He tries to clear his throat, then chokes, then recovers. “Please, changeling. I’m on duty.”
“When you get off, how about getting off, eh?” I tap his silver armor right over his crotch.
He jerks back. “This is highly inappropriate.”
I frown. “I take that as a no?”
He nods. “A no.”
“Your loss.” I continue down the hall, eyeing each guard to see which one is feeling frisky. They’re all big with dark eyes and ridiculous amounts of self-control. No luck.
My thoughts stray to Gareth. His hard body. That hot scar on his cheek. The way he looks at me when he thinks I’m sleeping. It’s enough to drive a human girl mad. But he’s made it clear he doesn’t want me. Maybe it’s time I take the hint. Besides, he’s mated to his job. Always the loyal second-in-command, and boy does he love his rules. I’m certain he has a rule about not penetrating changelings.
I bet that’s the way he says it in his head, too. All surly like “Rule number 3,453: No penetrating changelings under any circumstances.”
I snicker and creep into the gigantic dining hall, the place alive with music, dancing, spirits, and food. It’s a rollicking party full of liquor and lust. If I can’t get laid by someone in here, then I’m utterly failing at life.
I snag a glass of some sort of beer and chug it down as a commotion stirs up to my right, a couple of high fae nobles all over each other, kissing and groping in full view of everyone. Wow, the nobles here are quite different than the ones in the summer realm. Decorum rules there. Here? With the way these two are going at it? This is wild. And I’m loving it so, so much.
“What has gotten into Vinesa?” Another noble, his eyes wide, stands aghast.
“Looks like that fine gentlefae with the dark hair is about to get into her.” I wink at him.
He covers his mouth with one hand. “What in Arin is going on?”
I swipe his unattended wine glass and continue through the dining hall and toward the largest fireplace I’ve ever seen. A band plays to the right, some sort of drumming, fiddling, and luting all colliding to make a lively song for the revelry. So many creatures mingle, talk, and laugh—changelings, high fae, lesser fae, and I spot more than a few shifters prowling around. Maybe Gareth was telling the truth when he said all are free in the winter realm. I stupidly keep my eye out for him, but he’s not in the crowd. Probably sitting in his room writing out his list of rules, or yelling at someone, or glowering at someone else.
The wine is delicious, but quickly gone. So, I swipe another glass and dodge some dancing lesser fae as they swoop past me, twirling and laughing. The winter realm knows how to party. I’ll give them that.
I’m almost to the fireplace when I stop in my tracks, wine running down my chin. Black clothes, leather belt, silver blade with a severely notched hilt—one for each changeling he’s captured—and a rusty red bandana. The Catcher. He’s here. Ancestors help me.
I back away, every hair on my body standing on end.
If I meld into the crowd, he’ll never see me. I can be gone before he has a chance to snatch me.
His shoulders tense, and he cocks his head to the side.
I drop my glass of wine.
He catches it before it hits the stone floor.
“Beth, is it?” He grins and hands me the glass.
I put a hand to my heart