Shelby Morgen
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Copyright ©2005 by Shelby Morgen
An Authorized Excerpt

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Carefully -- very carefully -- Arien circled the Human, staying just out of his reach. Human. Elf. Whatever he was, he was definitely male. He thrashed about, trying to break loose.


He was hers. All hers. She'd caught him, fair and square, clamoring about in her woods on St. Patrick's Day. Now all she had to do was keep him. Her wings flapped so fast she might have been mistaken for a hummingbird. Damn. That always happened when she was frightened.

Or excited.

In this case it might be a little of both. She wanted to get a bigger -- er, better -- look at him, but he was just not cooperating. Here he was, this perfectly fine specimen of male, laid out all naked before her, and he was fighting her! Didn't he know anything? Most males would give their wolf teeth to be caught by her.

Which was exactly why she didn't want them.

But he wasn't most males. He was big, and powerful, and if he kept flailing about like that, he might actually hurt her.

Well, she didn't know if he was big in Human terms. That was hard to judge when you were only five inches tall. But he was much bigger than she was, that much was for sure.

One arm thrashed about again, nearly breaking free this time. Quickly she aimed a bit of her magic at it. There. Just a little bit more Fairy dust -- well, Fairy silk, to be accurate -- and he was locked back in place.

Now. What to do with him?

No use to have caught him if she couldn't mount him. She certainly couldn't do anything with him this big. As long as he fought her, there was nothing she could do about their size ratio. Rules were rules. He had to give his consent before she could change him.

He had to kiss her.

She'd tried. But every time she got anywhere near his face he started flailing about again, despite the Fairy dust.

Well, there were no rules that said she couldn't make him wish he'd kissed her. A slightly malicious smile settled across her tiny face. She could feel it turning the corners of her mouth up in a wicked grin. All right, big guy. If I have to be frustrated and horny because you won't cooperate, so do you.

With no sense of remorse, Arien dug into her pot of Changeling Magic.

* * *

"I don't believe in magic."

Looking back, that was probably the stupidest thing he could have said, seeing as he was in a pub in Ireland on St. Patrick's Day. But at the time, the simple statement seemed nothing more than the truth.

It all started when he sat down at the bar in the local pub to order an Irish Stout. The bartender's smile looked friendly enough as he pulled Mich's beer, but Mich could tell the man was giving him the once-over.

"You'd be the new tenant on Fairy Hill, I'm guessin'."

Mich nodded. That hadn't taken very long. "Michael. Michael Matthews." That would be the end of that discussion. Now they'd all clam up and treat him like he was some kind of evil corporate espionage guy. Or worse, try to sell him something he didn't want.

"So, what brings ya to Glencolmcille, Michael Matthews? Old family in these parts?"

Mich took a deep draught on his beer, not sure whether to be pleased or offended. The name obviously meant nothing to the bartender. "I'm not chasing ghosts, if that's what you mean. On vacation, you might say." Which was the truth, in a manner of speaking. He needed one -- badly -- and this was as close to a vacation as he was likely to get.

No reason he couldn't combine the two. A working vacation. What more could a man ask for? All expenses paid, two months to travel across Ireland, at his own pace, evaluating local breweries and drinking beer. This beer was a prime example. A strong, peaty taste to it, with a deep, dark tint like liquid amber. "Good brew. Local?"

"Oh, aye. From just down the road a piece."

Well. That was vague enough. "Good flavor to it."

"Aye. There's a bit o' the Fairy magic in that one, there is."

Mich laughed. "I don't believe in magic."

The room fell silent, even the constant clatter of glasses and bottles coming to a standstill. "You what?"

"Fairies. Wizards. Banshees. Leprechauns. That's all well and good for children's tales. But we're adults. We're well past the ages of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. I don't believe in magic."

"And ya' rented the cabin on Fairy Hill?"

The silence broke, the room erupting in laughter. A bit unnerving actually. As if everyone else knew the secret handshake and he didn't. No one ever laughed at him. For the most part, people didn't talk to him, unless it was to say "Yes, sir. Can I get you anything else?" But here, at this little pub in the back end of nowhere, the rules had changed.

Fairy Hill? "Yeah, that's the name of the place. So what? Everything around here's got a Fairy name."

"Did ya no' think there might be a reason for that?"
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