(Royal Conquest Saga #1)
Publication date: November 11th 2018
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, New Adult, Retelling
She sacrificed herself to save her family from poverty…
The ball was only the beginning.
It wasn’t enough to kill my mate, heir to the throne. My obsessive Fae brother-in-law wants the crown. And he wants me ruling by his side.
I thought I was done with romance until a certain pompous elf reappeared in my life at the illustrious Monster Ball. A little teasing led to bruised lips and captured hearts. No one wants Jhaeros and me to be together, not even my favorite sister, Melarue. But she’s a teenager just coming into her elemental powers and discovering boys—the wrong kind—the type I want to shoot arrows through.
My royal in-laws are playing a treacherous game, and my brother-in-law is determined to get what he wants. But this elf princess no longer has a master. I don’t want a crown. I want freedom, family, and the love of a lifetime. But love might be the one thing that destroys us all.
**This book will now include the prequel novella Enemies and Lovers.
With determined, sweeping steps, I made my way back through the crowd, toward the bar where Jhaeros sat. I wouldn’t allow him to scare me off as he’d done in the past. I’d grown up since then. Besides, he wouldn’t recognize me in my mask, especially not since “blossoming” in Faerie as Liri had noted on many occasions. I shuddered. At least I hadn’t seen the murderous Fae. Yet. I’d tolerate Jhaeros over Liri anytime, anyplace.
Something tugged at my heart as I neared the bar. As unwelcome a sight as Jhaeros was, he represented a part of home—Pinemist—with both the good memories and the bad.
Tonight, I was happy to be ignored. I’d ignore him right back.
Head held high, I flounced up to the counter, three feet away from where Jhaeros sat nursing a short glass with amber liquid—no ice. His head craned the opposite way, staring into the crowd. I followed the direction of his nose to a plump brunette elf in a plum empire-waist gown. Typical. He definitely had his type.
“Hello, there,” the elf bartender with the blond fauxhawk said to me with a kind smile. “Enjoying the ball?”
“I am,” I said, grinning back. “I even met a jaguar shifter.”
Jhaeros grunted but didn’t look over. Ignoring him, I pressed my palms against the counter and continued, “It’s a rare treat to mingle with so many supernaturals in one location.”
“Yes, there’s no other event that can compare to The Monster Ball. I’m Elohir. What can I get you?”
“Nice to meet you, Elohir. How about your signature drink?”
The elf’s eyes lit up as he grinned. “One Frostbite coming right up for the lovely lady in yellow and gold.”
I glanced over my shoulder at the blue-haired vocalist as she repeated her earlier chorus.
“I love this song,” I said before facing the bar again.
Elohir’s fauxhawk bobbed as he nodded. “Chilling, isn’t it? It’s called ‘Monster,’ the hit single by Pot & Kettle.” He continued conversing as he mixed my drink. “In a little bit, when the band takes a break, our DJ, Nix, will get the place pumping. She’s in the overhead cage.”
I followed Elohir’s gaze as he tilted his head up. High above the stage, in a cage suspended from the ceiling, a petite, barefoot, dark-skinned female in a white sweetheart gown with ribbons wrapped around her ankles swayed along to the rhythm of the band. The pixie’s bright aqua hair was twisted into two buns on either side of her head.
“Maybe you’ll find someone to get your groove on with—perhaps a shifter,” Elohir suggested, icy blond eyebrows jumping with mirth.
“Or a Fae,” the female bartender called over before returning her attention to a couple leaning over the bar in front of her.
I was done with Fae, but I held my tongue, not wishing to offend the female bartender.
Elohir’s gaze drifted to the frown over my lips.
“Or you could always take a turn with a fellow elf.”
As his eyes shifted slyly in Jhaeros’s direction, my heart plummeted to my stomach and breath stuttered to a stop.
Jhaeros stiffened. The younger version of myself wished briefly to crawl behind the counter and hide. Aerith, the widowed princess, lifted her nose. Before Jhaeros had a chance to huff, or grunt, or—worse—dismiss the notion altogether, I said, “I’m not inclined to dance at the moment.”
Elohir grinned from pointed ear to pointed ear and slid a frosty blue drink across the counter to me. “Perhaps after a drink you’ll be more inclined to warm up.” He winked and moved over to Jhaeros. “You gonna sit here sulking all night, friend?”
“Attending this function wasn’t my idea,” Jhaeros answered gruffly.
“You do know that most sups would kill to get a ticket to The Monster Ball?” Elohir asked incredulously.
“I’m not most, and I’m not a ‘sup,’” Jhaeros said in an arrogant voice.
It was my turn to grunt. Jhaeros’s head jerked my way. I kept my gaze pointed straight ahead at the purple glowing shelves, thinking I was safe until a pair of penetrating brown eyes found mine in the mirror’s reflection. My entire body froze in his heated gaze. When I glared, Jhaeros’s jaw relaxed and he tilted his head slightly as though puzzled by my reaction.
He broke eye contact, and in the mirror’s reflection, I saw him turning to face me.
My heart sped up, pounding up my chest to my exposed neck. I snatched my drink, cold biting into my fingertips, as I said a rushed, “Thank you, Elohir,” and hurried away from the bar.
Nikki Jefford is an award-winning, bestselling author of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and quirky combinations in-between.
She is a third-generation Alaskan now living in the Pacific Northwest with her Westie, Cosmo, and her French husband, who she wouldn’t trade in for anyone–not even Spike or Mr. Darcy!
When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking, or out riding her motorcycle, a Honda CB500F, (so long as it’s sunny and warm)!
To get in on the fun and adventure, visit Nikki at her website for release alerts, updates, exclusive giveaways, and a free story when you subscribe to her newsletter: http://nikkijefford.com/
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