okay… I promised some goodies… a few teasers and the all important excerpts… so here we go… this is ch 1 from Southern Discoveries (Finder’s Keepers: Book 2)
The portal tossed Quaidin Lari in every direction imaginable. His head was spinning, his stomach about to evict all of its contents. Colors flew by in shades of burnt green and browns so dark they might as well have been considered black.
He could have handled the depressing color scheme and the runaway rollercoaster ride, but the shots of yellow and brightest white being flashed before his eyes was a different story. Quaidin hated rogue portals. The destabilized jump from one place, or realm, to another was bad enough, but watching the out of control magic show always got to him. His body spinning out of control, the lights flashed from the darkness of an underground hideaway, to surface of the sun bright…
Squeezing his eyes shut, Quaidin prayed to the Fae Goddess – Lac Mar – that the ride would soon end. If he threw up, he wanted to avoid rolling around in his vomit.
Gritting his teeth, Quaidin refused to show such weakness.
He was one of the Fianna – the fierce Fae mercenary troops – in charge of taking over the job of policing the Fae community. After the Sentinels went missing, the Fianna reformed after centuries of being unneeded.
The past two decades had changed their quiet lives. The hidden Fianna had gone from training for the worst to fighting on the front lines. The Sentinels were all but gone and the Danshue – the evil Fae – were growing in number every day.
Quaidin threw his hand over his mouth. Hurling his guts up and praying to the Lac Mar because of an out of control ride through a rogue portal wouldn’t look very reassuring to those depending on the Fianna for safety. Besides, he was in charge of persuasion for his squad.
Sure, he had all the allure of his Incubus heritage, but no one looked at the deathly ill and thought, I want to tell this man all my secrets.
Just when he thought that Fate had decided to turn a simple portal jump into a lifetime of confusion and punishment, Quaidin stumbled across solid ground, immediately falling to his knees. He couldn’t see straight, yet, but knew that he wanted to go back home to Out-realm immediately. Every time he came Earth-side, the experience cemented how much he hated the place. “Please tell me I managed to land in a patch of soft, foul-smelling mud somewhere in Out-realm. Not Earth-side Kentucky.”
No one answered.
Still, Quaidin refused to open his eyes. His knees were firmly planted on solid ground, but his hands had managed to find something disgusting.
Sitting up, his arse propped up on his feet, he did his best not to inhale. Eyes tightly closed, Quaidin started flinging and flicking his hands to dislodge the substance clinging to his skin.
His squad mates all started screaming at once.
“Son of a-”
“Stop that, you-”
Grinning like a devil dog, Quaidin cracked opened his eyelids. Looking around at Casfin, Vloran, Zander, and Yolland he cut them all off. “We can all wear this muck together.”
Casfin, one of the most laid back and composed Captains the Fianna mercenaries had ever seen, looked like he was on the verge of homicide. Stripping off his clothes without a word, Casfin stalked off to a nearby pond. One by one, the others decided to follow.
Vloran was last to add his clothes to the growing pile. It wasn’t that the man was slower than the others. For a nearly eight-foot mountain of a Fae, he could move quite swiftly when he wanted to. When he wanted to, being the key phrase.
Quaidin pushed himself up from the ground as Vloran turned to leave.
“What is the big deal? A little dirt never hurt anyone.”
Vloran glared over his shoulder, and said, “I believe the people Earth-side call what you landed in a cow-patty.” Seeing the, no doubt, confused look on Quaidin’s face, Vloran turned away in disgust. “Cow shit, man. You landed in cow shit.”
More than ready to go home, Quaidin ripped off his uniform and threw them on the burnable heap of mission clothing. Moving for the water, he barked, “I hate this place.”
Quaidin eyed the large beast lazily munching on the grass growing along the bank of the small pond. Floating in the middle of the water, he felt safe in shooting hate filled stares at the cow.
Suffocating in heat and honeysuckle, he wanted to say the hell with the mission and head home. How could it be so hot? Summers on Earth-side wouldn’t begin for another week, maybe two weeks. They needed to locate the new Fae Princess and slip back through a portal to Out-realm before the heat level reached the nineties, or Lac Mar forbid, the hundreds.
“Time to move out. Our ride should be here any minute.” Casfin dropped Quaidin’s satchel on the bank and walked off.
The cow crept suspiciously toward his satchel, spurring Quaidin to swim with increasing strokes for the edge of the pond. Keeping one eye on the animal, he pulled his body out of the water and started jerking his spare uniform out.
Vloran moseyed over – the man was the definition of relaxed – and tossed him a canteen of water.
“Thanks man.” Quaidin took a long pull of the slightly warm liquid. “Is the portal shut down?”
The portal they had just used to get to Earth-side was a rogue portal. Their squad was in charge of shutting it down. And instead of taking care of the matter while they were still in Out-realm, they had used it to travel closer to the Princess and their goal. The already captured Danshue responsible for the rogue portal would be their cover until they had a feel for the situation and the people surrounding the new Fae princess.
The Danshue, or evil Fae, were growing in number and they all had it out for Princess de Platadreki. They needed to secure the Princess and eliminate all threats along the way.
“Yolland and Zander are taking care of it. The portal was hastily opened, but that just means it will be harder to close. It looks like someone just ripped open a hole in reality. Some of the spells used to open it need to be reinforced so that the entire thing does not explode as they attempt to close the link.” Vloran crouched down, his arms planted on his knees. His eyes continually quartered the area, watching the trees, the field, the nearby gravel road, and even the sky.
Pants on and shoes laced up, Quaidin checked the ground for any surprises before flopping down beside Vloran. “Casfin could close it in no time.”
Plucking a piece of grass to roll between his fingers, Vloran looked back at Yolland and Zander. “Guess the Captain thinks they need the practice. Would have done it himself otherwise.”
Quaidin took another swallow of warm water, refusing to even unpack his shirt until the last minute. He pinched a few strands of his light brown hair between his fingers and pulled the wavy mass forward. Squinting his eyes, he tried to determine if the missing blonde streaks were covered in mystery pond scum or if they were just heavy with water. He was about to ask Vloran what he thought when a large SUV came into sight, slowly driving down the one lane road at the edge of the field. “Looks like our ride has arrived. Maybe you and Casfin can stick your heads out of your windows,” Quaidin suggested.
It was no more than the truth. Vloran had to be nearing the eight-foot mark, and their dear Captain looked to be at least a head taller than that. Quaidin didn’t know a lot about Earth-side, always wishing to keep his visits short, but Humans rarely made it to seven feet. They definitely didn’t make cars to accommodate small giants.
It was a good thing that Humans and Norms – those Fae born without magic – were unable to see anything placed under a glamor. Otherwise, Vloran and Casfin would have started a riot. What with Vloran’s silver skin tone and the light blue dusting on Casfin’s otherwise pale flesh. It was hard to mistake them for normal.
“Come on funny guy. With the mood Casfin is in, he may just leave your ass if you make him wait.”
Shaking his head, Quaidin jumped to his feet, more than ready to get started. More than ready to secure the Princess and get the hell out of dodge.
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a teaser … or two
- Casfin took a step in Quaidin’s direction, dwarfing the six foot man. “Maybe you enjoy, and at times need, a little electric shock therapy. Personally I found her power strong enough to wish to avoid it in the future. And I was barely touched by the rage we caused earlier. Maybe we should listen to the rest of Kyland’s story and keep our opinions to ourselves.”
- Placing a box of tissues beside Makayla, he quickly moved to the nearby closet. Pulling a sheet from within, he used it to cover the couch he slept on more often than was pretty to admit.Anton’s office was spacious with a sitting area and bar to the right of the door. Between the sitting area and his desk, along the right wall, Anton had a private bathroom. The other side of the room housed a walk-in closet. The rest of the wall space was covered in artwork and bookcases. Really, he had little reason to go home at night.
Kyland released a chuckle as Marin took one of the paintings he held and arranged it on the covered couch to her liking. “I knew you lived here.”
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