The Raven Lady
Author: Sharon Lynn Fisher
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Pub date: October 13th, 2020
Series: Faery Rehistory series #2
Genre: Historical fantasy romance
When we were alone, we sat a moment in strained silence. It appeared that the king, at least, was not afraid of me. Much as I might have enjoyed seeing him quaking like his servants, his unfazed manner—combined with the unorganized state of his court—was far more to my advantage. I might not be monitored as closely as I had feared.
“You are not afraid of me?” I couldn’t resist asking him.
His eyebrow jutted up. “Should I be?”
My gaze faltered down to my soup bowl. He was not easily unbalanced. In truth, I had known it the moment he so coolly dispatched my furies, as one of my English tutors had referred to the magic that seemed to burst out of me when I experienced any kind of strong emotion. Even when one of the birds had drawn his blood—a thing that had never happened before—he had hardly reacted.
“We are enemies after all,” I replied finally, meeting his gaze. I had not expected him to be afraid. I had expected him to be repulsed. If he was, I had not yet seen it in his face.
He held my gaze a moment. “You have been frank, lady. May I?”
I felt a flutter of anticipation and clasped my hands in my lap. His scrutiny was unsettling. I had been examined by both suitor and would-be assassin and felt it less.
“I imagine that you were sent here against your will,” he began, “just as I have agreed to foster you against mine.”
Foster? My blood boiled at the notion. Like marriages, fostering was often a component of peace accords. A child of one side would be sent to the court of the other to help ensure hostilities would not be renewed. While it was true I was still answerable to my father, I was certainly no longer a child. Neither had I been sent here against my will, though I had loathed the idea of it.
“Fostering may have been how it was presented, Your Majesty,” I replied tightly. I knew that I should stop. Let him think me a child. The more he disregarded me the better. But my anger at his arrogance ran away with my tongue. “But I am not a child, as you well know, because your queen and my father had originally intended that we would marry.”
He shook his head. “Forgive me for the poor choice of words. I am no statesman. I only wanted to make you feel welcome. To lessen the sting of . . .”
The king hesitated, looking uncomfortable, and I glared at him. “Of your rejecting my hand and instead offering to take me as your political prisoner?”
He sat back, sighing long and loud. “Do you wish to marry me, princess?”
I froze, the blunt question causing my breath to catch.
“I’m not asking what your loyalty to your people and your father requires of you,” he continued. “Do you, yourself, wish to marry me?”
I swallowed. “I do not.”
“No, indeed,” he said with exasperating smugness. “We are very different—neither of us is anything that is pleasing to the other. But I was in no position to refuse the queen’s request outright, as I expect you would not wish to refuse your father, so here we are. Can we not try and make the best of it?”
That I will certainly do. I bowed my head in acceptance. “Of course, Your Majesty.”
I had known that I would be as distasteful to him as he was to me, yet his confirmation of it was more than I had bargained for. In physical form, he was not as repugnant as I had expected.
“I know that it is Your Ladyship who has been forced to leave your home,” said the king, “but we are alike in ways that may not have occurred to you.”
I stared at him, dubious.
He pushed his soup bowl away and rested his forearms on the table, interlacing his fingers. “Is Irish comfortable for you?” he asked. “We can speak English if you like. I regret I speak neither Elvish nor Icelandic.”
This consideration on his part was unexpected. “My English is much better,” I admitted. I had learned it from childhood. Irish had only been added in recent years, in preparation for the eventual takeover of the country by my father’s allies.
“I have been here—” he continued in English “—this castle has been here, fewer than three months. Once I left my family for the Battle of Ben Bulben, I never returned to them. Before all this, I was a sailor. A ship’s captain. It was a life that pleased me.”
“So I understood, Your Majesty,” I said with a nod. “That is, I knew that you had not always been king.”
His laughter startled me. “The farthest thing from it. The ancient O’Malleys were pirates, and so was I.”
About the Book:
The fairy court is restored. Who will win the game of crowns?
In the aftermath of Ireland’s battle with her ancient enemies, Queen Isolde orders her cousin, smuggler Duncan O’Malley, to assume the throne of fairy as King Finvara. He’s a fish out of water when it comes to nurturing the alliance between Ireland’s mortal and fairy peoples. And the queen wants him to wed the daughter of Ireland’s enemy, the king of Icelandic shadow elves, to help keep the peace. But the Irish think of the elves as goblins, and Finvara refuses.
Elven princess Koli, affronted by the king’s rejection—along with his decision to bring her to court as little more than a captive— vows vengeance. Shortly after her arrival, she uncovers a plot that would bring swift satisfaction. A dark and powerful fairy lord, Far Dorocha, wants to take Finvara’s crown and lead both the fairy and elven people to war against the Irish. And he wants Koli to help him.
It’s the perfect setup for revenge, but Koli soon discovers that Finvara’s not the haughty lord she believed him to be. And as she navigates treacherous waters inside the court, she gets glimpses of the magic and passion that have been slumbering inside her. She must choose a side in the new battle for Ireland—will it be the fearsome father she has served for nearly a century, or the fairy king who has helped awaken her to herself?
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About the Author:
SHARON LYNN FISHER is the author of sci-fi romance, erotic fairy tales, and, most recently, the historical fantasy trilogy The Faery Rehistory, including the first title in the series, The Absinthe Earl. She lives where it rains nine months of the year and is mom to two lovely tweens, two huge dogs, two ridiculous goats, an orange cat and orange mare, and a fluctuating number of poultry.
This giveaway will have two (2) winners, and each will each receive (US only):
- Both the paperbacks of The Absinthe Earl and The Raven Lady
- A Downpour code for a free audiobook
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