Eight years ago, Kyle Stafford had everything a seventeen-year-old kid could want -- the latest gadgets, the best clothes, the newest sports car, and a palatial home. A single lapse in judgment changed everything. Now he’s lucky if he eats once a day. Taking refuge in a small cave to avoid a torrential downpour, he’s hoping for a safe place to sleep. What he gets is far from restful… and definitely not safe.
Roen of House Vakeor takes his job as a guard very seriously. When his patrol leads him to one of the hidden portals to the humans’ side, he stumbles -- quite literally -- into a young human male sleeping right at his realm’s front door. Whether the human knows where the entrance is or not, Roen’s duty requires him to take the young man prisoner -- back to House Vakeor.
Praise for Firewalk With Me (Fae-ry Tales 1)
"For such a short story this one had a lot going on... I felt like this series was set up very well. I understood the pull between the two MCs and felt the lust."
-- PizzyGirl, Love Bytes Reviews
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Firewalk With Me (Fae-ry Tales 1)
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Copyright ©2021 Mychael Black
Kyle Stafford huddled under the tattered awning of a decrepit old general store. Rain pounded the dirt, turning it into a lovely mass of mud. Kyle sighed. He couldn't stay here. He needed sleep -- desperately. The city shelters were too far away, and, honestly, he had no desire to go to any of them. The shelters were always overcrowded and stank of piss, body odor, and only God knew what else. No, he needed somewhere out here, a cave maybe.
The mountains loomed in front and behind him. Surely, he could find a small nook to take refuge in, at least until the rain stopped. He shivered and pulled his battered coat tighter around him. The poor thing was threadbare, but it still kept him reasonably warm. His stomach growled, and he glanced over his shoulder at the abandoned store. Nothing perishable, but maybe a can or two of something? He looked around, then picked up a broken piece of wood and finished busting an already half-broken window. Then he cautiously climbed in, wood still in hand. No telling what else decided to check out the place.
The inside seemed to have weathered time far better than the exterior. Most of the shelves, while empty, still stood in place. Judging by the various product signs hanging on the walls, the store wasn't quite as old as the outside appeared. Thankfully, no creatures -- animal or human -- jumped out at him. Kyle scanned the aisles, but the place had been picked bare. He exited the same way he entered and figured his best bet stood straight ahead.
By the time he slogged through the rain and muck, he swore even his bones were utterly drenched. He ignored the cold ache sweeping up from his waterlogged feet and made his way to what appeared to be a small cave opening. It wasn't big, but it was dry. Wood in hand, he explored it to the back, satisfied nothing else called it home. It wasn't warm by any means, and even starting a fire the primitive way would be futile with the rain soaking every bit of wood outside.
Kyle found a relatively smooth spot and lay down. Hunger gnawed at him, but he could deal with that later. Right now, he wanted nothing more than to sleep. On his side, pillowing his head on his arm, he closed his eyes, feeling safer than he had in a long time.
* * *
The ward protecting the portal hadn't been touched. Roen inspected every inch of the shimmering haze, but found nothing amiss. He lifted his left hand and focused on the ward. The barrier vanished, leaving only the bare rock wall.
Roen unfastened a small pouch on his belt and sprinkled a tiny bit of dust into his palm. Then he blew on it, toward the wall. The stone shuddered and slid open slowly. Most people called them portals, but they were more like gateways. Granted, only magick could open one and dismantle the ward.
Roen retied the pouch and stepped into the dark of the outer cave. He immediately stumbled over something large. Within seconds, he had an arrow nocked and ready to fire. Eyes narrowing, he prodded the lump with one boot. The shape grumbled, unintelligible but definitely not an animal. Human then?
"Get up," Roen ordered loud enough that his voice echoed in the small cave.
The man on the floor rolled and scooted backward until he hit the opposite wall. Alert but weary eyes stared at Roen from under a tangle of dark hair. Even in the darkness, the man's eyes seemed to shine, as if lit from within.
"Who are you?" Roen asked. "What are you doing here?"