A Faery Dream 3:
Nerida’s whole life has been focused on preparing for one thing – to be Consort to the King of Faery. She’s kept herself distant, awaiting the day when the King would be found and she would take her place beside him.
But there is no King. Instead, Nyssa is now Queen, with Kellen, Nerida’s brother, as her Consort.
Nerida has never felt so lost in her life.
When Imradon appears, he brings out feelings Nerida thought she’d never experience. But fighting against a lifetime of conditioning is hard, and then there’s the big question: does she want a partner, or is she just looking for something—anything—to fill this terrible emptiness?
A Faery Dream 3: Nerida’s Story is a sweet romance that can be read as stand-alone or part of the series.
When the day finally came for little Arabella’s naming ceremony, Nerida had tried everything, and felt drawn to nothing. With the huge influx of guests, she had spent her day helping Donella and the others; cooking, child-minding, decorating.
Now the guests were here, and the party was in full swing; Fae mingling, chatting with those they had not seen for far too long, eating and drinking, awaiting the arrival of the guest of honour.
When Nyssa arrived with little Arabella, everyone gathered around. Nerida hung back, knowing she’d get more cuddles later, away from the throng of people.
“Didn’t expect to find you so far away from the spotlight.”
Nerida turned at the deep voice. The face was familiar, though with bristles covering the strong jaw, it was somewhat older than the soft-skinned face of the boy she’d last seen, years ago.
“Wow.” Nerida’s gaze travelled the length of him. “You’ve grown.”
He laughed. “You sound like Elfreed! As if you and I weren’t the same age.” He raised an eyebrow. “But yes. I’ve grown. As have you.”
His eyes never left hers, and she saw a hint of attraction there. How ridiculous!
“How is it that we haven’t seen each other for so long?” She accepted the glass of mead another young Fae was offering, and took a sip. She felt strange, all sweaty and shaky. What was wrong with her?
“I got into far too much trouble as youngster; for picking on you, and starting fights.”
“Ah.” Nerida nodded. Yes, she remembered that.
“Which wasn’t fair, if you think about it,” he continued. “You always managed to send me away with far more injuries than I ever gave you.”
Nerida laughed. “And yet you never learned that enough was enough.”
He spoke slowly, “There was just something about you that I couldn’t keep away from.” His face had turned serious, and Nerida felt a shiver travel her spine. She turned away to look out over the crowd.
“Have you even met our new heir yet?”
“Not yet. I haven’t even really met Nyssa properly. I missed her arrival celebration, and at her wedding I said a brief hello, not even sure I got to tell her my name.” He glanced at Nerida. “Isn’t she where you want to be?”
Nerida shook her head. “For a long time I thought so.” She glanced back at Imradon. “But now I know I don’t.”
“You’re relieved?” His tone was incredulous.
“I wouldn’t say relieved, exactly. Just aware that the position has more responsibility than I really want on my shoulders, especially when there are two who really are so well suited to the role.” She grinned at him. “You look surprised.”
“You were always ambitious.”
“I was. But I didn’t necessarily realise where my ambition was going to lead.”
“And you’re happy with the quiet life?”
“Not longing for anything more?”
Nerida looked at Imradon in surprise. Had he read her mind? He must’ve been talking to someone. That had to be it, it hadn’t exactly been a secret that she’d been trying to find where she fitted, now that she didn’t wasn’t focusing on being consort anymore.
“Well, it has been strange. To be set on a path and then not follow it, there’s definitely something disorienting about that. But I’m working on finding something else to do with my life.”
“I thought that might be the case.”
“What about you? What are you up to now?”
He glanced at her, something unreadable in his eyes.
“I’m a hunter. Head of the crew from my village.”
“Well done! Spear, or bow?”
“Bow. I don’t seem to quite have the right technique for spear-throwing, but the bow and arrow feels like a perfect fit.”
“I found that too.”
“You’ve tried hunting?”
“I did. I don’t think hunting is for me. I love the bow, but…” Nerida pursed her lips.
“Perhaps you just need lessons?” Imradon spoke before she had the chance to continue.
“You found it a good fit. No matter how natural a skill comes, it still needs practice. It still needs
to be honed to perfection. Perhaps I can help with that.”
Nerida tilted her head to one side. In her mind’s eye she was imagining Imradon’s body pressed up behind hers, his arms along hers as he helped her pull back the string and let the arrow loose.
That’s dangerous. She shivered and opened her mouth to say thanks, but no thanks.
“I’d like that.” Her eyes widened. What had she said?
But Imradon’s smile grew wider, and Nerida couldn’t take back her words. Instead she found herself getting deeper into trouble. “So, when do we start?”
“I can fly up tomorrow if you like. I’ll leave Findon in charge, he needs the experience. And I’ll help you be better than Elden and Elga.”
“Better than Elden and Elga? You must be some sort of miracle worker.”
Imradon laughed. “You bet I am.”
His cheerfulness was catching, and by the end of the night, Nerida found she didn’t want to part from him. He seemed just as reluctant to part with her, but then a woman appeared from the throng to ask him if he was coming home.
Almost instantly Nerida’s spirits dropped. Foolishness! Of course he’d be Joined already. He was her age. Everyone else her age was Joined.