There are many stories that come into our lives, make us root for all that’s good and the pure romance between the characters.
Such is the case with my latest read, [just finished Sunday evening], DARK WATERS by Liia Ann White. I give this story 5 Stars and am glad to share it with readers.
Randor is a Fae assassin. As the most feared military officer in the Faery Realm, he only got out by striking a deal with the late King to become an assassin for hire. Something he was only able to do because of his place as adopted family member. When he’s ordered to kidnap the Unseelie Faery Princess and deliver her to the Seelie Queen, he doesn’t think twice, until he sees his target. Adora. Unseelie Princess. Most beautiful being in existence and feared witch warrior and his soul mate. Disobeying orders is something he’s never done before. But when he brings her into the Human Realm; his home, he has no regrets. Until his Elvish friend, Kiel, disapproves and an unexpected attack raises questions about his loyalties. The only way that could have happened was if Kiel tipped off the Queen’s witch, Maleficent.
Adora was fearless, powerful and intensely unhappy. Until she was kidnapped by a mysterious stranger, who happens to be her half human, half Seelie soul mate. After being attacked, Adora, fearing she’d lose Randor, admits her feelings for her soul mate. The two of them just need to find a way they can survive together – away from the feuding kingdoms. Entering the Seelie castle, under a pretense of needing the witch’s help to bind Adora’s immense power, they ask for Maleficent, whom they plan to eliminate so she can no longer track them.
When all hell breaks loose, they’re involved in a fight including the witch, Kiel and the Queen. A fight that not all of them will survive.
Adora awoke lying on a cold, hard, stone floor. Her head ached and throbbed. What happened to her? She left the feast, headed for her quarters and…nothing. Her mind was completely blank.
So what was she doing on a floor? Sitting up, Adora rubbed her head and found she was shackled. Both her wrists and ankles were bound in iron cuffs. The metal shimmered with green energy. They’d been charmed, no doubt with a captivity spell.
Good gods, what am I supposed to do?
It was no use trying to free herself. Captivity spells were almost impossible to break without the proper words. Wait, could she pull the chains out of the wall?
Jumping to her feet, Adora stepped back until the chains were tight. They were attached by one hook embedded into the wall.
This should be easy.
Grasping the cold iron chains, she gave a mighty yank. The instant she did, pain shot up her arms. Adora hunched and winced as the cuffs around her wrists tightened, digging into her skin.
“The more you struggle, the tighter they become.” A deep male voice cut the silence around her.
She spun to find a man she didn’t recognise standing at the door of her small cell. He was tall and lean with muscle that she didn’t doubt held immense strength. His sky blue eyes shone in contrast with his tanned skin and brown hair. While this man was obviously Fae, there was something different about him. Something else emitted through his aura.
A smirk spread across his full lips as he took a step toward her.
Refusing to back away, she straightened and stood still. She was Princess Adora, first in line for the throne the Seelie Court and fearless warrior in the Seelie army. People feared her. She feared nothing.
“So, Princess,” he spoke as he continued to slowly approach her. “I’m supposed to deliver you to the Unseelie queen.”
Adora’s breath caught in her throat. The Unseelie queen had tried, many times, to invade the kingdom. But her soldiers never made it past the gates.
“But,” the stranger continued, “I think I’ll keep her waiting. Just for a little while.”
Adora cocked her head. What kind of soldier disobeyed his queen? “Who are you?”
“Forgive my rudeness.” He approached her and bowed his head. “My name is Randor, The Assassin. Former leader of the Unseelie army.”
“Former?” To her recognition, soldiers weren’t granted leave from the army. The only way out was death. It was the same with the Seelie army.
“It’s a long story, Princess.”
Frustration built in her chest. “Apparently I’ve got a lot of time.” She gestured to her cuffs.
His brows furrowed and Randor’s eyes showed a flicker of regret. “I apologise for the shackles. I didn’t want you to wake and run.”
With a wave of his hand, the chains detached from the cuffs and the ankle manacles disappeared. Though the wrist cuffs loosened slightly, they remained. She looked at him with a questioning glance.
“I don’t trust anyone enough to leave them un-cuffed in my residence. Even beautiful princesses.”
Heat rose to Adora’s cheeks. He thought she was beautiful. As ridiculous as it was, she couldn’t help but be flattered by that remark. She was called beautiful on a daily basis, but Randor’s words held an intensity she hadn’t heard in…well, ever.
Randor closed the gap between them and raised his hand to her cheek, brushing it gently with his knuckles. “If you try to harm me or yourself, you’ll be struck down by a pain so strong you’ll wish you were dead.”
Adora shuddered, but wasn’t sure if it was because of the words he’d just spoken or the way he touched her.
His lips curved into a small smile and he withdrew his hand. “You may leave the room. I’ve bound your cuffs with magic so you will move no farther than five feet from me.”
“Five feet?” Most assassins held their captives in their cells. The fact that Randor was allowing her to roam freely rang alarm bells. That he wanted her so close to him just confused her further.
“If you’ll follow me, I’ll give you a quick tour of the premises.”
Without another word, he turned and walked out of the room. He’d taken less than five steps before Adora felt pulled toward him. She followed, her senses on high alert and her hands by her side, ready to strike out at any moment.
He turned to face her, his eyes crinkling when his gaze locked with hers. “Nothing will attack you, Princess. We’re alone here. In fact, there’s nobody around for miles. Literally.”
He swept two French doors open and Adora was hit with a burst of fresh salty air. She stepped out onto the porch and took in the stunning sight before her. Sand dunes, an empty beach and the ocean. That was it. No other houses, no people, not even a boat.
They weren’t in the Water Lands. They weren’t even in Fae territory anymore. That much she knew. Everywhere in the faery realm had a bluish tinge to it, even the black night sky. This was…clear.
Adora turned her head to look at Randor, who watched her with a keen eye. “Where are we?”
She gave him a puzzled look.
“The human realm.”
She couldn’t stop her gasp. She’d always been fascinated with the human realm and had studied it for decades. But she’d never visited it. As a member of the royal family, she wasn’t allowed to leave the faery realm without permission, something Father would never give her.
“You kidnapped me and brought me to the human realm?”
“I live here.”
He spoke as though it was no big deal. It was a hugedeal to Adora. Very few Fae were allowed entry into the human realm, unless they had human ancestry. Something in her mind clicked, as though a light switch was turned on. That’s what he was. He wasn’t pure faery—he was part human.
She turned and looked him directly in the eye. “You’re part human?”
His blue eyes glistened as he smiled and nodded curtly. “My mother was human. Technically.”
She raised her brows, waiting for him to elaborate. He didn’t. He merely turned and walked away.
Frustrating freaking male.