Fae Spark

Mates of the Fae #1

Fae magic. Human heart. A fragile new life…

An unassuming human woman discovers her Fae power. A cold Fae Lord unearths his human heart. Together they must defend their baby from an enemy determined to eradicate all mortal blood from the Fae race.

Liana runs when the Fae Lord Chooses her to be his consort, and the mother of his Heir. She never expected the alien seeming warrior to pay attention to a working class, curvy girl in a sea of leggy blondes. She never expected to loose control of her heart, or her body, in an inferno of magic fueled passion.

She never expected to discover a hidden power in a fight for her life, and the life of their baby.

Lord Eero doesn’t want a Fae chaser. He wants the lush, fierce-eyed human with her motherly heart and youthful fire. He wants a quiet life with family on his country estate, surrounded by memories of his human grandmother. But the Old Blood don’t care what he wants. They threaten to destroy everything he holds dear in a quest to purify Fae blood and regain Fae power.

He will kill them all before he allows his enemies to harm the woman cradling his heart, or their growing child.

This is a steamy paranormal fantasy novel for readers who enjoy scorching love scenes, bbw, interracial romance and alpha males. Standalone, HEA, first in a new urban fantasy romance series. If you enjoy Emma Alisyn’s shifter romance as well as her favorite authors (Mina Carter, Grace Draven, Thea Harrison) you will love Fae Spark.

CHAPTER ONE

THERE WERE THREE classes of men these days. Human, Fae, and Lords of the Fae—the third a class so different from the others it might as well designate a separate species. The Fae Lords moved with sinuous elegance and hoarded power ordinary folk found painful yet mesmerizing to watch.

Like a fiery plane crash. It had to hurt but man, what a sight.

Liana Sandoval presented her letter of appearance to the orderly at the gate, who scanned the bar code, matched it to the pads of her fingers, and waved her past the checkpoint into a small crowd of women. Uncertain of her surroundings—a government form letter didn’t normally imply a party—Liana thought the lakeside beach looked like a Girl’s Night Out. And her memo to wear white must have been routed to the ‘spam’ folder.

The fact that she would stand out in the wrong way in a bright blue sundress with cap sleeves pissed her off and straightened her spine. She mentally smacked herself for being pissed off, because who cared how she dressed? It wasn’t like she wanted to be there in the first place, plus the dock to her pay almost ruined what would otherwise have been an amusing treat.

She snatched a glass of something bubbly and unaffordable off the tray of a passing server, impressed despite herself. The Fae Lord attached to this call-out wasn’t required to host a party, just to show up at a designated time with the paperwork, pick a genetically-matched female to make a baby with, and leave. Liana couldn’t figure out if throwing a party betrayed bourgeois snobbery or was a generous gesture meant to soften the fact that at the end of the night, some woman would be signing a contract, making a transaction out of something that should have been allowed to happen naturally.

Liana looked around the grassy lawn, eyeing the docked boats for a moment before going back to her visual search. A sea of women, but no men. But boy, were these women hot. Liana didn’t know if this particular Lord was just a lucky winner of the genetic jackpot, or if over the last ten years since the arrival of the Fae, these women had spent their time hoarding leftover cosmetics and party dresses from before the War. Liana had overheard many a conversation between pretty girls who didn’t want to work for a living. A coup for any woman if her DNA meant that some Fae Lord could produce a strong Fae child with her as the mother.

Ten years ago human government, in a refreshing change of attitude, spent considerable time negotiating the standard contract for their sacrificed citizens as they ironed out the services Fae would provide in return for what the humans dubbed pejoratively, ‘platinum booty.’ So if chosen, Liana knew her reward for the privilege of fucking a hot stranger and giving birth included luxury housing, all the chocolate she could eat, and weekly salon appointments.

She snorted. The chocolate part sounded just fine, but the rest bored her to dizziness. Still, there were plenty of girls who gossiped and daydreamed, hoarded their makeup and saved up for a presentation dress like debutantes in the old days. Hoping that when they turned eighteen their DNA testing would mark them as eligible for some Fae—and every girl wanted a Lord. Her own half-sister drove Liana crazy every night with her fantasies.

“When I get a letter, I’ll be ready,” Vera said as they sat on her sister’s bed one afternoon, a treasure trove of old lipstick, eye shadow and blushers spread on the threadbare quilt. The blonde girl eyed Liana, doubt evident in her sidelong glance. “These aren’t really your shades, though. The Fae like long legs and blue eyes. Even if you get a letter, I wouldn’t worry about it. Better concentrate on being smart.”

To this day Liana fumed. As if smart equaled unattractive. As if not being blonde and blue-eyed meant occupying some secondary tier of prettiness. But in a society where the arrival of the skinny, Nordic-looking Fae brought back the whole Scandinavian standard of beauty with a vengeance, Liana didn’t stand a chance.

Short, curvy, and shades of brown, any half-Fae baby with her as a mother wouldn’t be a blonde.

So far it seemed as if the regular rules of genetics applied when having offspring with the Fae: dark dominant, light recessive. It made for some exotic-looking mixes, and that first batch of babies wasn’t even out of fifth grade yet. Proof some women seemed to ignore, as it didn’t fit their view of things, that at least a few Fae men liked darker women.

Everyone else mingled, the sound of feminine laughter and some type of cocktail party music wafting in the warm summer air. A sherbet-colored sky graced the party, the view of the remnants of downtown after years of cleanup still a Magnificent Mile. Liana found a white, new-looking beach chair and settled down gingerly, making sure not to flash anything as she tucked her skirt under her legs and sat back. Not that anyone noticed, and now that all the other matches were blocking her from view, Liana knew when the Lord arrived he wouldn’t see her anyway. She decided to shrug her shoulders and enjoy the champagne, the music, and the unexpected evening off. And not worry about eating next week. She certainly wouldn’t waste away to nothing.

“You don’t like the party?” a smooth male voice asked from behind her.

Liana jerked, cursing when the champagne sloshed over her hand. She looked up, blowing out a quick breath to say something scathing. Relaxed when her eyes took in dark slacks and a white shirt. Event personnel, probably on break. She sympathized, and hoped he was wearing comfortable shoes.

“It’s fine, just not my thing,” she replied, suppressing irritation and shrugging a shoulder. “I don’t belong here anyway.”

“Oh?”

He must have taken her reply as an invitation to talk because he sat down on the chair next to her. Well, it was a party, therefore making conversation with a stranger was almost mandatory. His break would probably be over soon anyway.

“You aren’t one of the matched?”

“I am, but it’s not like I’m going to be chosen.”

“What makes you say that?”

The genuine curiosity in his tone spurred Liana to turn her head and stare. What the heck did he mean? He had eyes, didn’t he?

But when she took in his slightly wavy dark hair, chiseled bone structure, and sensual mouth, she understood. He might pass as white to the foolish with his hazel-green eyes, but something a bit browner than Europe graced his bloodline. He probably didn’t see anything unfashionable about her coloring, despite current trends. Come to think of it, dark-haired males were a rare sight; they all tended to go blond these days.

Studying him a bit closer, Liana appreciated the width of his shoulders underneath the crisp dress shirt, the cloth of a quality that must speak to the elite branding of the catering company. And his hands, lightly clasped at the knee were pretty without sacrificing masculinity. Long, strong looking fingers with short trimmed, well maintained nails.

She used her champagne flute to point to a group of women a few feet away, one in particular looking aloof even as she sucked in the energy of those around her. The kind of woman others would always try, but not quite succeed, in imitating.

“She looks like a Fae princess. My money’s on her.”

Shades of blonde, every single one, in the group surrounding the princess. Glancing through them, her gaze rested for a moment on a woman standing in their midst, heavily highlighted hair disguising its natural ash brown shade, tucked behind an ear with a crystal clasp. They locked eyes for a single thrumming moment of tension before Liana deliberately jerked her attention away. Of all the rotten coincidences… oh, well. She supposed she’d be getting a call from her mother soon.

Liana’s attention returned to the leader of the pack, a stunning creature with straight hair down to her sleek ass. Pale skin—long gone were the days of the glowing bronzed look—encased in a short, white cocktail dress overlaid with glittery beaded fringe. Expert, understated makeup. Silver and shiny rocks at ears and wrists. And her nails were done. Liana shook her head. Unbelievable. How many nail salons were even still licensed in the city? What a waste of electricity.

The man’s eyes followed Liana’s flute and he shrugged. “Don’t you think the Lords get tired of all the pseudo-Fae blondes?”

Liana choked on her hearty sip of champagne; the statement was that ridiculous. When she caught her breath, she laughed at him.

“I’ve seen a few on TV who like the ‘exotic’ type, but not many. And we’re talking about babies here.”

He tilted his head, amusement crinkling his eyes. “You think the Fae are so shallow they pick their children’s mothers based on physical characteristics?” He nodded at the woman. “The hair color isn’t real anyway.”

Liana snorted. “Poor man. He won’t know her natural color until the baby comes out.” The kind of woman who had the time and money to spend on fake nails would probably also maintain… other… areas. “Talk about a shock if you’re expecting something else.”

“You have no desire to catch the Lord’s eye? The Fae appreciate variety. It breaks up the tedium of long years. Your coloring… differentiates you.”

The way he said it sparked her buried resentment. She liked the way she looked. Screw society if her curls and curves weren’t the in thing.

“You mean I’m not white,” she snapped. “You don’t have to be p.c.”

He raised a hand and touched one of her curls, lifting it with careful precision from her chest and gently twining it around his finger.  She grit her teeth, irritated at yet another person playing with her hair without permission.

“Lovely,” he murmured. “My grandmother’s hair curled like this.” He met her eyes. “Forgive me. I would braid her hair when I was a child. She died years ago.”

Her ire softened. Not someone pawing on her because he’d never seen textured hair before. But a grandson missing his Nana.

“Okay, hands off,” she said gently, tugging the curl from his grip. And stiffened. For a moment, she thought she’d seen a flash of… something. Liana looked into her empty champagne flute, sifting through the muffled thoughts floating in her head. Maybe she could save up and spring for a bottle of this stuff if it could produce those kinds of hallucinations…

“More?” her companion asked, lifting a hand and waving a server over. He plucked a glass from the tray and handed it to her, murmuring something to the young man who left and returned only seconds later with a small hors d’oeuvre plate, which he presented to Liana. She took the plate and he left.

Popping a decadent something into her mouth, Liana said, “It’s nice of your coworkers to serve you on your break.”

The man looked at her, blinking, then smiled. The curve of his lips both sweet and dark. “Yes, indeed. Very… nice.”

She chattered, suddenly nervous as the masculine darkness reached his eyes. “At least you get a break. I worked for an event company before, and we didn’t even get ten minutes, especially not when we were serving Fae. Man, can they party.”

“They have made an art of it. What is your name?”

“Liana Sandoval.” She set the plate of goodies on her lap and held out a hand, old-fashioned style. His fingers wrapped around her wrist in the Fae manner of greeting and Liana just barely stopped herself from rolling her eyes. “What are you called?”

“Eero.”

She blinked at him. What an… interesting name. She took another long sip of the champagne.

“This stuff is fabulous.” Liana sighed, lowering the flute. “I’d better not have any more though. I have to work in the morning.”

Eero crossed his arms, settling a shoulder more comfortably on the chair. “What do you do?”

“I’m a daycare teacher. Well, part-time because I have day classes for my major. I’m going to have a dual degree in business management and early childhood education. I wait tables at night, though.”

“Preschool? Ah. That is the facility where women leave their young to be cared for because their men are not men.”

That was a harsh way of putting it, one likely to offend a whole number of people. The disapproval startled her. Most women worked outside the home these days, especially with the leaner male population.

“Yeah. The little ones mostly just sleep and play and need to be held. The older ones start to learn their shapes and numbers and stuff.”

“You enjoy caring for the children?”

She smiled. “Yes, I do. I want to open my own center when I’ve saved up enough.”

He leaned forward, reaching out to pick up her now empty hand, tracing designs on her palm. Was he flirting? She frowned at him, but he didn’t release her, eyes glinting. The orange and pink sky shaded into purple and blue, but she could still clearly see the flecks of green in his irises.

“Do you want children of your own?” he asked, caressing her palm with the pad of his thumb. Tingles pirouetted down her spine.

“Of course. But I have to find a family man first, and those are in short supply these days. Hey, stop that.”

“What if I don’t wish to stop?”

She’d never seen human eyes shine in the fading light like that. Liana curled her palm and tugged, ineffective against his strong grip. Her wrist felt fragile wrapped in his fingers.

“I’m not that kind of girl. Besides, I don’t think your employer would like you poaching on one of his matches, at least until he’s made his choice,” she said, then paused, looking around, blinking rapidly as the champagne sloshed around the inside of her forehead. “Oh, whee. Where is this guy anyway? Let’s get this ball rolling. Some of us have to work in the morning.”

A dark brow arched. “Your wish, Lady.” He released her hand, rising, and Liana realized after a moment of champagne-muddled thought that he must have gone way over his fifteen-minute break.

He smiled down at her then strolled away, hands in his pockets. She watched the crowd swallow him, a little taken aback by the abrupt departure and almost… regretful. Especially since she’d gotten a nice look at his ass. Tight.

Shrugging, she picked up the champagne flute and downed the rest.

Didn’t want to be wasteful.