With his father the fairy king demanding he find a mate, Prince Aislan is uptight, unsettled. He swears he’ll never put himself in a position as to give his heart to any female. Until he meets a human who possesses the tenderness for which he longs.
Tina doesn’t believe in wishes or fairy tales, so the last thing she expects to find is a man in the moonlight. One who seems to know exactly what she needs, shows her the magic world from where he comes, and makes her dreams come true...if only for a brief moment in time.
Aislan dove out from behind the oak leaf where he’d been hiding and grabbed Ruby around the waist midair, his wings beating a frantic tempo to keep them both airborne.
Ruby yelped in surprise and giggled, wiggling her sweet ass against his hard-on. “You found me...oh!”
He twirled them through the air as he sank into her slick, tight cunt, holding her against his body with one arm around her middle, the other hand tweaking her nipple hard, just the way she liked it. As they shot upward out of the thick canopy of trees, he pumped his hips, his balls tightening as his climax grew close.
Ruby moaned and bucked against him, spreading her legs and leaning forward, taking him deep into her wet heat. She was one of his favorites. She was always ready for his cock, day or night, whenever he needed the release.
She laughed and spun away, out of his arms. “Come get me again,” she called as she dove back into the darkness of the trees, her long, red hair trailing behind her.
Aislan growled his frustration as he dropped down into the darkness beneath the canopy, so close to coming he ached, his cock bobbing between his legs like a stiff tree branch. But Ruby wanted to play tonight, when all he wanted was to come hard so he could get to sleep. Didn’t she care that he hadn’t been sleeping well? That some strange need coursed through him he couldn’t name or even define. Sex was the only outlet he knew, and Ruby wanted to tease. He should have used Jade tonight. She wasn’t as feisty, and she liked it in bed, in comfort.
Ruby giggled, and he followed the sound down, nearly to the ground, to find her reclined in the center of a fragrant wild rose bloom. She lifted her hand and crooked a finger at him, and then she spread her legs wide. Her lovely pussy glistened with her sweet cream in the soft, filtered moonlight.
A few inches above her, he hovered, watching her as she flipped up her short skirt and reached between her legs to finger her slit. She dropped her head back and moaned. The scent of her arousal competed with the glorious bouquet of the rose. His cock jerked, his balls drew up tight. He folded his wings and dropped into the flower to stand at her feet. Pollen poofed around her, coating her shimmering skin with a light dusting of gold.
She grinned up at him, rose slightly using her hands, and was about to take off again.
“Not this time,” he said and sprawled over her, sinking deep into her cunt with one hard thrust. He locked her wrists in his hands and brought them up over her head. She arched into him and cried out as he went deep.
He groaned and dropped his forehead to her shoulder as he pumped into her hard and fast. He held off just long enough for Ruby to thrust up against him with a keening cry of release, her inner muscles milking him into his own climax.
He grunted and came with a few more pounding thrusts of his hips.
Rolling off of her onto the velvety petals of the rose, he sighed and closed his eyes, relaxed. At least for the time being.
Ruby snuggled up against his side. “That was nice.”
He grunted and opened his eyes to look up at the underside of the trees. Sex was always nice. So why did he feel so...empty? Hollow. As if his soul had been sucked from his body by some unseen force?
“Aren’t you going to hold me, Ais?”
Halfheartedly, he raised his arm so she could tuck against him. Why couldn’t she just fly home and let him be now that they’d both gotten what they needed?
Talking. They always wanted to talk. “Nothing.”
She huffed. “You haven’t been yourself lately. What’s bothering you?”
He didn’t know.
She was blessedly silent for a few moments, but then she said, “I’d make a good mate.”
Oh, no. He pulled away from her and sat up, scrubbing his hands over his face. “I’m not looking for a mate, Ruby, and you know it. How many times must we have this conversation?”
She sat up next to him and wrapped her arms around her bent knees. “I know, but I heard that your father—”
“Stop.” He stood up. “I don’t want a mate. Father has been pressuring me to take a mate for years. That does not mean I’m going to. I’m too young.”
His stomach turned. One female for the rest of his life. When a fairy life could be a thousand years or more, that was too long. He was only four-hundred-two years old. He liked female companionship, and he loved sex. But with just one? For the next six hundred or more years? He shuddered.
Ruby stood up, her little hands fisted at her sides. “If that’s how you feel, then why do I keep letting you fuck me? What’s it getting me?”
“An orgasm that makes you scream?” He rolled his eyes. Females were so fickle. Why couldn’t they just take what he had to offer and be happy with it? Why did they always need more?
“I hate you, Aislan.” She pressed her lips tight.
“I’m sorry.” He shook his head and sighed. “You know I like—”
“I love you, Aislan. Why can’t you accept me? Only me.”
Love? He kept his scoffing comment to himself. Love had destroyed his father. He’d never make that kind of mistake. He was destined to be king one day. He would never let his heart overrule his mind the way his father had.
“I’m sorry, Ruby,” he said softly. He hadn’t meant to hurt her. He certainly hadn’t expected declarations of love from her. “I don’t love you. I care for you, but I will never mate with you.”
“Bastard!” She shot into the air, her furious wing beats puffing wind into his face.
Then he heard a sound in the distance, growing louder. He leaped up onto the edge of the petal to see Ruby zipping back and forth, right over the human automobile road.
“Ruby!” he shouted.
She was too angry to hear him.
He flew up into the cool night air as the bright headlights of the automobile appeared around the bend in the road. He dove for Ruby, wrapped his arms around her, and tumbled her into the mossy side of a tree, pinning her with his body. “You stupid little sprite! You could have gotten yourself killed.”
She sobbed and ducked her head against his shoulder. “I don’t care.” Then she shoved against his chest, and he hovered back, away from her as she moved from the tree. Her wing beats were slow, barely enough to keep her airborne. “Go home, Aislan. Leave me alone.” Swiping her hand under her nose, she sniffled. “Just leave me alone.” She turned away and flew between the trees in the direction of the village.
Aislan slowly winged his way up through the trees until he reached the top of the canopy. He settled himself on a leaf and looked up at the starry sky and brilliant full moon. He hadn’t meant to hurt her. He wasn’t heartless. He simply refused to let that heart feel anything that would one day ruin his life.
* * * * *
The cancer has spread.
Less than one-percent chance of survival.
Another round of chemotherapy.
Time to set your affairs in order.
Tina swiped the back of her hand over her damp eyes as she pulled the car to a stop in front of her sister’s cabin. She had to get herself under control before she went in there. Had to be the strong one when she told Sheridan she wouldn’t survive the cancer this time.
“Third time’s the charm,” she whispered. It was spreading like wildfire through her body, consuming her. She’d been in remission for just under two years—or so she’d thought. There was no escaping the inevitable. This time, it would kill her.
The front door of the quaint log cabin opened, spilling a golden rectangle of light down the three steps. Sheridan rushed out in her purple flannel pajamas and fuzzy pink bunny slippers. She ran up to the car, jerked the driver’s door open, and enveloped Tina in a bear hug. “Ohh, I’ve missed you! What are you doing sitting out here in the dark?”
Tina forced a laugh and hugged her beautiful baby sister, inhaling the sweet forest scent of damp pine that flowed into the car on the cool evening breeze. “I was just wondering if you’d run outside in those silly slippers if you lived in the city.”
Sheridan pulled back and grinned. “We can’t all be fashionistas like you.” She glanced past Tina to the empty passenger seat, and her smile faded. “Where’s Pete? I thought he was coming up with you.”
Tina licked her lips and let out a slow breath. “It’s over.”
“Oh, sis.” Sheridan took her hand and tugged.
Tina grabbed her purse and keys then climbed out of the car. “Don’t look so upset. I’m not.” Not about Pete’s abdication, anyway. She’d always known their relationship wouldn’t survive a relapse. He’d made that clear the last time when he moved out until she was healthy again. She should have dumped him then, but she’d been hoping...
“You guys were together a long time.”
She shrugged. “What’s five years?” Especially when it would be all over in less than one. “Anyway.” Tugging her hand from her sister’s tight grasp, she went to the trunk. “Help me carry my bags in.”
“Jeez, sis. Are you moving in?”
“No,” she said as she handed the smallest to Sheridan. “But I was wondering if I could stay a little longer. I haven’t seen you in so long, and I’m—I’ve got some time off.”
Her sister’s grin came back full-force as the wind whipped her flyaway blonde hair into her face. “That’s so great! Of course, you can stay as long as you want. And that’s even better,” she added as she headed for the cabin, “since I can’t take any time off right now. I wound up giving my leave to a friend whose husband was sick.”
Tina closed the trunk and carried her two other bags up the steps to the porch. “We’ll have time to visit in the evenings and your days off.”
The cabin was a two bedroom, and Sheridan put her bag on the floor at the foot of the carved pine double-sized bed in the guest room. The scent of wood smoke and furniture polish helped to relax Tina’s tightened muscles.
“So, how long are you staying? Is this a get-over-Pete vacation?”
Tina set her bags down and engulfed her little sister in a bear hug. Tears stung her eyes. “Let’s just play it by ear, hm?” She’d tell her sister tomorrow. There were so many things she needed to discuss with Sheridan, and she couldn’t do it now while she was tired and overly emotional.
Sheridan returned the hug. “Okay. God, sis, I’ve missed you. I’m so glad you’re here.” She pulled back, still smiling. “And without Pete, we can have some good sister quality time like we used to.” Trying to stifle a yawn, she shook her head. “Sorry. But I gotta get up at three. I’m on twelves. We got inundated with births this week.”
“It’s okay.” Tina sat down on the edge of the bed. “Go get some sleep. I’m pretty tired, too.” Sheridan’s job as a pediatric nurse at Virginia Mason in Seattle kept her busy, and she had a long drive and ferry ride every morning to get there. “I don’t know why you don’t move closer to the city.”
“Are you kidding? And give up the peace and quiet out here? Never.” Tina laughed. “Go for a walk down by the lake tomorrow while I’m gone. One day here should remind you how pretty it is, and how wonderful it is to be away from the concrete jungle of a downtown metropolis.”
She shrugged. She’d always liked the hustle and bustle of the city, having lived in Portland for most of her adult life. She liked the quiet for a get-away, but she wasn’t sure she could live here fulltime.
Not that she had much time left. She forced that smile again. “Okay. I will.” Maybe the quiet and fresh air—
“Are you okay?” Sheridan laid her hand on her shoulder. “You look a little...pale.”
Tina forced a laugh because she thought she might cry. “I’m tired. I spent the morning finishing up stuff at the office, and then the drive up Hood Canal in the dark on the windy roads just zapped me.”
“Okay.” Her sister laid her hand against Tina’s cheek. “Get some rest. I’ll be outta here by five, so don’t worry about getting up. I’ll be home around seven, and I’ll bring Chinese. Sound good?”
Tina nodded. “Thanks.”
With a final squeeze to her shoulder, Sheridan turned to walk out of the room. “Help yourself to anything if you’re hungry. I stocked up a bunch of Fresca just for you.”
Tina chuckled. “Thanks.” She hadn’t had a Fresca in ages, but it used to be her favorite, before she grew up and discovered lattes and mochas from Starbucks. “Hey, sis,” she called as Sheridan pulled the door shut.
“I love you.”
Sheridan turned and smiled. “Love you, too, sis.”
The door shut with a soft click, and Tina let out the pent up breath she’d been holding, along with a lone tear that escaped her right eye. She had to keep it together. She and Sheridan—all they had was each other. They were all they’d ever had. During her last two bouts of cancer, Sheridan had been by her side as much as she could. Three years separated them, and Sheridan was only thirty-one. So young. And so alone out here in the middle of nowhere.
Of course, Tina understood why her sister secluded herself. But it hurt her to know that soon she’d be gone, and Sheridan would be all alone with no one else in the world who knew her secrets. To know the hell she’d survived.
Less than one-percent chance of survival.
She didn’t know if she should keep the appointment to start chemo. Her oncologist had contacted the Jones Cancer Institute at Virginia Mason and set her up to start day after tomorrow. But she wasn’t sure it was worth it. At the rate it was currently spreading, a few months and the illness would claim her. Chemo might slow it down, but it was probably too late to stop it. And if she started the treatment, she’d spend her last few months of life hairless and vomiting, turning into an emaciated scarecrow once again.
She flopped back on the bed and threw her arm over her eyes. Still, less than one percent wasn’t zero. Should she give up because she hated the side effects of the treatment?
She didn’t know. She just didn’t know...