The Fae Ring (Highland Secrets Book Two) from Paper Dragon Publishing!
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She’s always been a dutiful daughter…
Janet MacLeod has spent the last ten years dedicated to her clan, acting as the Lady of the castle—at the cost of her own happiness.
She aches every time she looks at her brothers, both happy with their wives, and wants nothing more than a love of her own.
He’s a broken soldier…
Xander, a former Fae Warrior, sacrificed his wings and magic to live in the Human Realm and became a traitor to his people.
When he finds Janet forlorn on the beach, Xander gives her a ring he’s had since childhood, not realizing it’ll reveal her as his fated mate.
The ring’s magic activates the Faery Stones, and Janet is sucked into the Fae Realm. Her life is in immediate danger, for the Fae sense—and seek to destroy—any human who dares step into their world.
Xander is the only one who can retrieve her, but he too, wears a target.
Can he rescue his soul-mate and return with her to the Human Realm or will temptation of great magic and the rebirth of his wings force him to abandon their destiny?
Janet was no longer looking his way as he approached.
Xander lifted the plaid that’d slipped off her shoulder and wrapped her in it. He watched his hand as if it were not his own. He’d never reached out to her before.
Big blue eyes met his gaze and she wiped her cheeks. “Thank you, Sir Xander, but that’s no’ necessary.” Lady Janet’s voice was thick and laced with sadness.
His stomach fluttered but he forced a shake of his head. “I don’t want you to get cold, lass.”
One corner of her mouth shot up. Her dark locks whipped around her beautiful face and it took all he was made of not to touch her, tuck her hair behind her ear.
Her cheeks were flushed from the chill, but tears were no longer streaming down. “I’m fine, but thank you, Sir Xander.”
“Just Xander.” His voice cracked, so he cleared his throat. He wasn’t a knight in the Realm of the Humans.
Xander stared at her mouth, although he chided himself for it. He couldn’t hear Lady Janet’s thoughts. Calm washed over him as if she’d cast some sort of spell. Because of his gift, wondering what someone was thinking was uncommon, but definitely not an unwelcome change.
If this lass was like Alana and Angus, he should spend more time with her.
Xander wanted peace.
He’d been lacking it since coming to the Isle of Skye.
“Are you all righ’?” Her voice jolted him.
Xander straightened his shoulders. “You’re crying, yet you’re asking me if something’s wrong? I should ask the same of you, my lady.”
A bitter laugh greeted his ears, and Lady Janet shook her head. “I beg of you, please doona’.” She blushed and looked away.
He frowned and again fought the urge to touch her. “As you wish.”
Lady Janet’s head shot up, her sapphire eyes wide. “Tha’s it?”
He cocked his head to one side. “What?”
“You won’t…push me…like they do?” She gestured to the far-off castle.
“Nay.” Xander shook his head. “I just want to see you smile.”
Silence fell. His honesty had shocked them both. He squared his shoulders and shifted on his feet.
Why did I say that?
“I shall try.” Lady Janet’s voice was low, belying her words.
Xander reached for her hand; he couldn’t help it.
She didn’t pull away. Her eyes locked onto his face.
His pulse thundered in his ears. Something was burning his thigh through the pocket of his trews.
Without releasing the lass, Xander dug in his pocket. A sense of rightness washed over him when his fingertips connected with the body-warmed Fae-forged metal.
He slid the bauble that his father’s mother had given him as a child onto Lady Janet’s ring finger.
She glanced at the ring, then back up at him.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know why I did that.” His words were breathless as his heartbeat kicked up a notch. “You can take it off.”
The black stone was oval and large, but the ring looked as if it belonged on her hand. Xander had always assumed it was made of onyx. He couldn’t tear his gaze away. His spine tingled, and his head spun.
She lifted her hand from his and stared down at the piece of jewelry.
Then the stone flared orange. It melted into red, pulsating and glowing.
Magic made his body burn. Desire hit him in the gut and slid over him. An erection pushed against the fabric of his breeches.
What in five hells?
A grunt fell from his lips; he ached for her. Needed to hold her, kiss her. Take her.
Lady Janet panted, her breasts heaving in her navy blue corset.
Sweat broke out on Xander’s forehead despite the chill in the air.
The lass was suffering from the same condition, her face crimson and skin glowing from cheeks to neck, including the portion of her delicate collar bones he could see through the neckline of her leine. The glow inched up her arms and shoulders, slowly enveloping her, then crept to his boots, enclosing them both in a large aura-like bubble.
It was as if he’d cast a spell, but Xander wasn’t in command of anything magical.
Alarm washed over him, but passion and drive won out when all he could see was the colors swirling around them both. It had swallowed them whole.
Xander didn’t fight the urge to pull her to him.
Lady Janet’s palms landed on his chest. Seared through his doublet.
Their gazes collided.
He lowered his head and took her mouth.
She didn’t fight him. Lady Janet stood tip-toed to return his kiss, twining her tongue with his and slipping her arms around his neck.
Xander groaned and hauled her closer, but tried not to crush her. Being Fae, he was much stronger. He couldn’t—wouldn’t—hurt her, even though his blood was singing in his ears. His temples throbbed as lust pounded its way through his form.
He was drowning in her. His mind shouted that he needed to regain control, even as his body and his magic needed more.
What the hell is happening?
Xander felt something wrap around them both. His senses spiked. He ripped his mouth off hers, though she was still in his arms, plastered to his chest. Magic surrounded them. Flowed through them.
A golden rope.
He could see it. Xander didn’t have to squint. There it was, glowing. Pulsing. Different colors flashed over and spun around them, but that rope didn’t waver.
He gasped, as did Lady Janet.
Can she see or sense it?
“What’s happenin’? Why…what…a rope?” Her words were breathless, fragmented.
“You can see that?”
She nodded, her hair shifting with the movement. Her sapphire eyes were wide, and he tried not to look at her kiss-swollen lips.
Xander released her as chaos reigned in his mind. Dizziness spun his head and his limbs shook. He locked his knees and sucked in air so he wouldn’t fall over—or pass out. “That’s a mating bond.”
“In human terms…you and I just got married.”