escape to elphyne

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

A War of Ruin and Reckoning (Paperback)
A War of Ruin and Reckoning (Paperback)

A War of Ruin and Reckoning (Paperback)

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A reckoning is coming… but who will it hurt the most?

When environmental activist Nova Morales wakes thousands of years after a nuclear fallout, she is surrounded by magic, monsters, and war. The earth she fought to protect is in pieces, along with her heart. Everyone she loved is dead. All she wants is to find answers, but instead, she finds herself the unwilling prize in an Unseelie mate hunt.

Elf Guardian Leaf has always prioritized duty to the Well. His fate is his own, despite what the Prime and that insufferable psychic Clarke say about him being fated to a human from the old world. He doesn’t have time for love when a blight on their magic source has the enemy breathing down their necks. But when avoiding his duty throws him into the path of a beautiful war prize who claims they used to be lovers, he’s forced to question everything—even his memory.

The trouble with questions is they lead to answers better left buried. And as more painful secrets come to light, Leaf starts to wonder who the truth will ruin most—the Prime with her machinations, the unhinged Unseelie Queen and her war of vengeance, the crow shifter with a chip on his wings, the lost daughter of an ally… or Nova, the woman he’s falling in love with.

Book Nine in the Fae Guardians series features Leaf, the Cadre of Twelve team leader, and Nova Morales. 

Nova’s confession changed everything. Leaf contemplated his next move while she petted the horse. They were all exhausted, hungry, and thirsty. He wanted to sleep on it, but deciding what to do with her couldn’t wait. 

From how she violently reacted to her twin being the evil man destroying this world, he believed she was on Elphyne’s side, which made things worse. He could have killed her right here and now if she was bad. He already found it hard to walk away from her, but now he’d be stuck with her for some time… at least until he delivered her to the Prime or the Order. 

A distraction. 

And she wasn’t even his mate. No blessing from the Well had sprung between them. Perhaps it was too late for such things now that the taint had warped mana into something that blasted entire troops from existence. Remnants of his release simmered inside his soul, making him hot. He removed his jacket, hoping the cool air helped, but his linen shirt was heavy and scratched at his skin. 

Irritation growing, he strode to the horse and pushed past Nova to check the saddle. She took a meek step back but didn’t complain. Her very smell sent him to the point of impatience. She needed a bath. So did he. They needed food and water, and… he shut his thoughts down and let go of the saddle. 

Usually, he’d stop in and talk with the Prime about this sort of thing. But she was part of the problem. She likely hid in the owl shifter habitat close to the icy wastelands. He’d always known Aleksandra escaped there to avoid conflict. For years, he’d portal about Elphyne, hunting her down when she fled responsibility. She was unaware that he’d discovered her secret hideaway. There was no point ambushing her unless he could fulfill her ultimatum. 

Leaf straightened, wide-eyed, as an idea popped into his head. Aleksandra didn’t know Nova and he weren’t mated. What if…

“What?” Nova asked, noticing he stared at her. 

“Earlier, you wanted to thank me for saving your life, but I stopped you.”

“I know.” 

“But there is something you can do to repay me.” 

“I have nothing to offer. I don’t have mana. I don’t even have shoes.” 

“The Prime is the best person to reveal your wealth of knowledge to about your brother.” He paused. “I’m assuming you want to stop him from further destroying this world?”

“Of course I do,” she exclaimed. “I don’t condone anything he does. And I know things. I’m sure if I—”

He gestured for her to stop. “No need to go into details now. But if I take you to her, I may as well gain something from this setback.”

Her brows lifted at his insinuation, but he was too weary to pretend civility. 

“Okay,” she said slowly. “And what do you get out of it?”

“The Prime won’t reveal important knowledge about my fate until I succumb to her machinations and claim a Well-blessed mate.” Irritation clipped his words. “Naturally, it’s ridiculous that I should be forced into mating, regardless of what a supposed prophecy says. So I’d like you to continue the ruse of being my mate.”

Her jaw clicked shut. She seemed like a clever woman. This shouldn’t be a problem. But suspicion and a touch of disgust flickered in her gaze. 

“In my time, some people did nice things like rescue innocent women from bad people just because it was right.”

“But you wanted to thank me.” He frowned, increasingly annoyed. “I stopped you from owing me a favor. Ergo, I did a nice thing without expectations.”

“Oh my God,” she mumbled, suggesting he was too stubborn to understand the point. “Fine. What will this ruse entail?”

“Exactly what it sounds like.” Was she making him spell it out? 

“No need to get prickly, Mister.”

“My name is D’arn Leaf,” he corrected. 

“I’m simply understanding expectations. For example, how far does this ruse need to go? Who are we fooling—just your Prime or others? Will we need to be physically intimate to convince other fae that I smell like you? Is it just hugging? Do I sit on your lap while you pet me? Am I chained to you while dressed in a bikini? Do we kiss? In case you missed it, I am not fae. I do not understand your customs. So please, Hoja de los Guardianes, break it down for me.”

Such fire in her eyes… such spark. Leaf’s blood heated inexplicably, and he couldn’t tell if it was from anger or arousal. They were clearly from different worlds, but the more time he spent with her, the more she challenged him and the more he felt drawn to her. He leaned into her space, enjoying her flinch at his proximity. It wasn’t from fear. Well, perhaps a little when she was reminded of his size and strength. But the flinch was quickly followed by a dilation of pupils, a caught breath, and a pleasant flush to her grubby cheeks. 

Her attraction to him was wholly refreshing. Most females wilted under his domineering energy. But not her. Perhaps that’s why his mouth continued to say stupid things. “Publicly, I expect you to act like you are in love with me—as mates are known to do. I expect you to lie with your wicked human tongue when I cannot. And I expect you to be a good little mate and do as you are told.”

“Do as I am told?” 

“Obviously, in return, I will continue to protect you. I’ll even feed and clothe you.” He plucked her dirty, torn dress. “If that includes a Well-damned bikini, I will find it for you. You’ll have to look the part if we’re to convince the Prime you’re my mate.”

“Do you even know what a bikini is?”

“You’ve mentioned it before. It must be your outfit of choice.”

Her eye twitched. She stepped forward until her soft breasts clashed with his torso, and it was his turn to catch his breath. From the way his skin tingled, his linen shirt may as well be missing. 

Looking up fearlessly, she asked coyly, “And exactly what acts do you expect of me, Papi?”

more books in the fae guardians series