escape to elphyne

Dystopian Fantasy Romance where the Fae Protectors meet their match with strong, sassy human women.

The Secrets in Shadow and Blood (Audiobook)

The Secrets in Shadow and Blood (Audiobook)

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In the shadows, vision can turn blurry. Truths can become lies. Enemies can become lovers. 

When Violet inexplicably wakes thousands of years after a nuclear holocaust, she finds the world very different. Fae exist now. They’re vicious, animalistic monsters who pervert magic and can morph into any shape—including vampires. They hoard the bounty of the new world, and keep humans banished to the wasteland. At least, that’s what the humans of today have told her. Determined to make up for an unforgivable mistake in her past, she becomes a covert assassin and seeks revenge for her human brethren. And she’s good at it. But when the thing she hunts saves her life, injuring himself in the process… her crystal clarity suddenly becomes blurry.

Vampires are meant to be monsters, not protectors… not charismatic, annoyingly handsome and loyal and… everything.

Indigo is a Fae Guardian, and a ruthless vampire protector of Elphyne. The Order has tasked him with finding a human with deadly secrets before the unhinged Unseelie Queen, or the fanatical human leader, can exploit her. They chose him for one reason, and one reason only – the taste of human blood does things to him. Addictive, dark, insatiable things. And when he catches Violet’s scent, they know he’ll do everything in his power to possess her and keep her safe. But Indigo hides his own shameful secret in the shadows of his heart, and if it ever comes to light, Violet will never trust him. She’ll kill him.


Reading order:
Each trilogy features a different breed of fae and a different villain.
Each book features a different couple with a satisfying HEA.
Start at the beginning for the best reading experience, or start at your favorite trilogy.

  1. Season of the Wolf Trilogy (Fae Guardians books 1-3)

  2. Season of the Vampire Trilogy (Fae Guardians books 4-6)

  3. Season of the Elf (Fae Guardians books 7-9)

  4. Season of the Crow (Fae Guardians books 10-12)

Violet ran as fast as her sodden boots would allow in the snow-covered forest. She figured it would be easier to lose him in here. She had the cover of trees if he flew. Beyond the forest was Aconite City, or further south, the sea. That was a better option. It was probably time she left Unseelie territory and head into Seelie lands. She’d only remained for so long because killing vampires, saving their prey, had made her feel something other than guilt. 

Her cape billowed under the moonlight, flashing darker than the night. Trees and branches hit her face. Snow crunched underfoot. Boots slipped on ice. The only sounds in the forest were her steps, her rasping breath, and the wind. 

She should be alone, but the tiny hairs on the back of her neck lifted as the sensation of being watched settled over her. There were things that lived here, things existing in nightmares. She couldn’t allow fear to enter her mind. One slip, one hesitation, would mean capture by either the creatures that watched, or the vampire hunting her. The Guardian. Because she could hear him now, somewhere behind, his heavy boots thudding in the snow, an echo of hers. 

Hot male breath panting. Boots crunching. Heart thudding.

Together, they were a symphony of sound. 

Stomp. Gasp. Thud.  

Crunch. Breathe. Beat.  

Her scarf blew off, floating away. Her gloves ripped open on twigs and sharp thorny branches as she steadied herself. The burn of blood welled in her palms.

He was getting closer. 

And she hurt. Her lungs, her eyes, her face. It all stung as wind bit her body, ravaging through woolen layers to bone. She would not go down like this. Not after everything. 

Don’t let the bastards win.

Violet could hear nothing through the roaring of blood in her ears. She stopped and listened. Silence. She strained her senses. The iron stake burned through her gloves as though it was a scalding brand. She turned, scouring the shadows. Come on come on. Where is he? Forcing her breathing to slow, and her heart to stop pounding, she listened.

A white blanket of snow covered the ground. On the horizon, a mix of tree types made uneven black shadows. Under the full moon, snow twinkled like diamonds, dusting branches and catching on evergreen leaves. 

There was no movement except the cloud of her breath. No birds. No creatures. It was as though all had been frightened away by the pursuing Guardian, wherever he was. She had no doubt he watched her from some dark, hidden place, ready to pounce. Maybe even… dread settled with the awareness of being the mouse caught in the lion’s trap.

The prickling at the back of her neck intensified. Slowly, she looked up, expecting to see him in the branches, but only found the stars twinkling eerily. 

“Boo.” Hot breath at her ear.

She whirled around, brandishing her stake. An almighty scream ripped from some primitive place in her throat. She stabbed on reflex, repeating her mantra in her head.

Head. Heart. Dead.

Blind them. Take away their ability to see. Then go straight for the heart, no hesitation, no second thoughts. No mercy.

Her strike went up, into his face. He dodged. She tried again. He stepped to the side, a lopsided grin on his lips, a lock of dark hair falling over his forehead. When she stabbed and missed again, he cocked his head in bewilderment and delight, as though he couldn’t believe she fought back, and loved every minute.

Anger swarmed her body. Fae were so used to dominating humans, to using them like museum pieces, curating them in palaces and forcing them to perform. Yes, she’d heard the stories about humans being kidnapped if they dared venture outside the walls of Crystal City. She’d heard stories of how musicians were slaves in nightclubs, or how they performed privately for kings and queens, spelled to never stop, not even when their fingers bled. 

How dare humans want a semblance of life? How dare they want to share the abundance of Elphyne? How dare they want to survive, to make amends for a single mistake?

She lunged. He stepped back and took her wrist before twisting, taking her with him until the stake fell from her fingers. A cry burst from her. Still rotating, he wrapped his wings to hug tight across the two of them.

Suddenly trapped in a vampire-made cocoon, she snarled and thrashed, hating that every cell of her heat starved body begged to sink into him. She whimpered at the unfairness of it. She would not die here tonight. She had things to make up for. Lives to save. To kill. 

“Shh,” he said. “Calm down, woman.”

Calm down, woman. 

Another voice, another time. Memories. 

Calm down, woman. Go help your mother in the kitchen. 

More memories bubbled up, like fizzing ferment. This time, the laughter was her father’s. Her brother’s. Laughing because her two left feet couldn’t kick the football. Because her clumsy arms couldn’t catch a baseball. Because she couldn’t run as fast, jump as high, or punch as hard. Their indifference as she won first place ribbon at the science fair. Their confusion at her valedictorian speech, at the snooty words she’d used. Their damned faces… so hard to please… until she announced she was moving into nuclear physics… building weapons… being one of the boys. All so she could see that flicker of respect in their eyes. 

Her first stupid, deadly mistake. 

Be the master, not the mastered.

And like a trigger, her thoughts detonated into self-preservation. She heaved and thrashed and screamed. She would not go down. Her teeth gnashed. Strength came from somewhere deep in her reserves. But the asshole… he giggled! It was a warm, rich sound that melted her insides. 

“That tickles,” he murmured hotly against her ear. 

She shoved her elbow back, satisfied at the oof

He tightened his embrace, his arms and wings, until she couldn’t breathe. 

“While I thoroughly enjoy this us time, you need to calm the fuck down,” he growled, mirth fading from his tone.

Liquid leaked from her eyes, only to freeze in the arctic air. Would she fight to her last breath? Would she need to?

Be smart. Think about this clearly. 

Chest heaving, she reined in her thoughts. She clambered her way back to sanity and to think. If he wanted her dead, he’d have killed her by now. Twice he’d come across her. The first time, she’d fled. The second time, she’d attacked first. He’d not tried to mesmerize her—if he even could. Not all vampires had that skill. The danger might not be as dire as she imagined. 

She relaxed, her arms going limp, her chest still heaving beneath the steel band of his arms. Male spice, sweat, and pine surrounded her. And warmth. Goddamned heat. 

Squeezing her eyes shut, she ordered herself—surrender now, live to fight another day. 

Together they breathed. They listened to the silent forest. Their hearts slowed as one. 

It felt… annoyingly nice. His warm body against her colder one. 

The intimacy of the moment was not lost on her, and the instant she lowered her guard, confusion roared to the surface, revolting against her body’s instinct to succumb to his comforting embrace. 

“What do you want?” she ground out. 

“You don’t really want to know that.” His voice had turned gravelly, rough.

“That’s a stupid answer.” She squirmed. 

“You also don’t want to do that.”

“Why, you’ll smother me again?” 

“No. I’ll bite you. Maybe lick you. Maybe…” He nuzzled into her neck, inhaling deep. “Crimson, you smell so good.”

“Bite me and I swear to God I’ll rip your testicles clean off your body.”

He burst out laughing. It was deep, it came from the belly, and it tickled Violet’s neck, sending goosebumps rippling all the way to her nipples. His humor stole into her like an unwanted intruder, reaching into the dark crevices that hadn’t felt joy in close to a decade.

“What’s so funny?”

“You,” he blurted. “You Well-blessed humans from the old world are all the same. Surprising. Funny. Cute.” 

He booped her nose.

She blinked, agape.

She was supposed to be angry, violent, scary. This was her childhood all over again. Unlike what her father had claimed, she could be all these things and be a woman. Damn him. Booping her nose. Jerk. 

He loosened his grip, easing away, until his wings opened and the cold air whooshed in. She shivered and scowled. 

He held something out to her. It was her scarf. Gingerly, she took it and wrapped it around her head, using the movement to disguise searching for her fallen stake. Even though Guardians could access their mana with metal in their hands, it would still wound him more than another substance. The stake was her best defense. 

“It’s gone,” he clipped, showing real displeasure for the first time since she’d met him. 

The realization squirmed in her gut, making her doubt herself even more. She had run from him. She had attacked him. And this was the first time he was angry—no. She shook her head. Stop trying to humanize him. He’s the enemy. Fae. Vampire. Bloodsucker.

“What has gone?” She feigned ignorance.

“The metal weapon you’re searching for.”

Their gazes clashed. In his, she found no compassion, only wariness. It made her stupidly yearn for the amusement that had lit up his face earlier. She growled in chagrin.

“I would have thought a Well-blessed human such as you would understand the harm metal does. Although…” His voice trailed off as he searched her body, up and down. His gaze stuck on her gloved hands with disappointment, and to the skin showing above. “Perhaps you aren’t Well-blessed after all. You have no blue markings.” His brows winged up thoughtfully. “Although, that could just mean you’re not mated.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He stepped back and eyed her curiously. “You do know you can access mana, like the fae, right? I can smell it on you. It’s like you’ve taken a bath in a power source. You reek of magic.”

“That’s impossible.” She’d done no such thing.

His eyes narrowed. “How long have you been awake in this time, Weapon Maker? Don’t you think you would have aged by now? Just a little bit?”

She stepped back. What was he talking about? Aged? She touched her face as the odd realization hit. She’d been in her early thirties when the nuclear winter had hit. Should she have a wrinkle or two? No. Her family had good genetics. Her eighty-year-old Nonna still looked like she was sixty. 

That’s all it was.

Something else he’d said registered. Weapon Maker. So he wasn’t after her because of the vampires… or the metal… but… 

“H-how did you know?” she stuttered, licking her dry lips. She’d told no one except Peaches and Silver. Were they okay?

“That you build weapons?” he asked.

She nodded. Perhaps the vampire had reached into her mind somehow. She knew the skill wasn’t unheard of in the more powerful fae. It went hand in hand with mesmerization.

He lifted a shoulder. “Our Seers told us.”

Psychics. Like the ones who had sent Gastnor and the first vampires after her. 

Violet pretended the intrusion of privacy didn’t affect her. “I refuse to build weapons anymore, so if that’s why you’re after me, you can just leave. I’ve forgotten everything, and even if I hadn’t, the equipment needed just doesn’t exist anymore.”

The crease in his cheek flashed. “I’m not leaving, and you’re coming with me to the Order.”

“Dream on,” she muttered. 

“You think you can outrun me?” He stared at the snowy landscape. “A storm is coming.”

“I’ve killed more vampires than you can imagine.” The boast blurted out before she could stop it. 

Darkness flittered over his features and he hissed. Two razor sharp fangs taunted her. 

Violet recoiled, using the movement to reach into her boot and draw out her backup dagger. She also had an aluminum shard, but that would be useless in a fight. She lifted the blade to his jaw. 

“I wouldn’t if I were you,” he warned calmly, as though he couldn’t care less about the steel so close to his jugular. 

“Why not? I think I would enjoy slicing you open.”

“Ooh.” His eyes crinkled at the corners. “But didn’t you hear? Blood turns vampires on.”

“You know what turns me on?” She pressed in.

“Tell me.” He took another step closer, too excited, too into it.  

She ground her teeth, frustrated at his facetiousness. Her retort died in her throat as the dagger nicked skin, drawing a single drop of his crimson blood. It rolled down the thick column of his neck, down the Adam’s apple, and onto his leather collar. He didn’t seem to care. 

“Hi,” he said softly, eyes searching her face. “I’m Indigo. What’s your name?”

more books in the fae guardians series