Three Rings (The Fairytail Saga)

BOOK: Three Rings (The Fairytail Saga)
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Three Rings

Book 2 In The Fairytail Saga

---------------------------------------------------------------------

S.K Munt

Cover by Natalie Rose Spasic

 

 

© 2013 S.K Munt

All Rights Reserved

To my dearest darling mermaids-for sharing mummy with the words

Love you always

Annabelle Rose, Lila Grace and Quinn Brielle

 

And also to the wonderful people of Mackay for their support

 

Part One

1

Adele’s eyes were glazed, her pupils unfocused. Her usually pursed lips hung apart, making her look slack-jawed, blurring the sharp beauty of her features. There was no animation in that face, no spark in her eyes, and her complexion was a sickening green.

Was this a mistake?
Ardhi wondered, stepping closer to the window and opening the gap between two flimsy blinds with his fingertip, which was instantly coated with dust.
What if she wasn’t ready for it? What if this wrecks everything instead of helping?

Adele blinked then, and frowned deeply, leaning closer to the screen of the chunky old computer he’d dug out of the office, furrowing her brow. For a moment, she looked human again, free of the zombie plague that was the world wide web. But then she darted a look towards the window, where she knew he was standing, monitoring her, and her fingernails rose up to her teeth before she looked away once more.

What?
Ardhi thought, feeling his insides tense like a coiled snake awakening from slumber. What had Adele learned? The list of things that could go wrong back in Seaview while he strategized five thousand kilometers away was long.
Ardhi moved to go to her, but at that moment, Adele shut the computer and rubbed her forehead, a weary gesture.

It’s
probably nothing.
Ardhi told himself, recognizing Adele’s ‘woe is me’ posture, which usually only concerned her own well-being.
Her favorite reality star probably just got divorced.

As lovely looking as Adele was
-
the girl was a pain; It was too cold, too wet, the distance they had swum too grand, she was sick of funding their excursion, she missed her parents, she missed her friends….aside from her skin tone and the new shine in her white-gold hair, Adele seemed to resent everything about being a mermaid. She didn’t see the bigger picture- just the little one Ardhi had rubbed out by taking her out of a world she believed she’d dominated before.

Because getting dumped for another woman you were waitressing with is apparently just a minor hiccup in an otherwise charmed life.
Ardhi thought wryly. Adele could claim she wasn’t usually the girl those things happened to until she was mottled red in the face, but Ardhi had his doubts. You were either a winner, or a loser. And for the time being, they were
both
losers.

But Ardhi was going to change that. And Adele was going to help, even if he had to drag her by her pretty mint-green fluke all the way back to Seaview.

‘What do you think?’ A melodic voice, free of any trace of worry or paranoia filled the dingy living room.

Ardhi twisted to see his most faithful recruit standing in front of the open bathroom door. Steam swirled out from behind her and clung to her bare skin. She’d toweled dried her hair but not enough, for rivulets still ran down her shoulders. It was an arresting sight.

‘Well, you’re blonde. Adele did good, I think,’ he said, tilting his head to the side and eyeing her critically. Was it enough? What else could be done? She had an incredibly feminine body, an exquisite face and a certain way of moving that suggested self-possession-but Ivyanne was the most glorious creature on land or sea-if Ardhi wanted to turn Lincoln’s head away from the princess, he needed a
goddess
to use as bait.

‘Why thank you…’ she purred, putting a hand on the curve of her hip and posing while fluttering her eyelashes. She tousled her hair. ‘I miss the red, but I think this could be fun.’

‘I still think it could be lighter.’ Ardhi hedged, uncertain. He really didn’t know if she was up for the task, but he hoped Adele’s insight into the mind of the man she hadn’t been able to hang on to herself would be of use in this shiny new wrapper.

The front door opened and Adele hurried inside, clasping the laptop to her chest and clenching her teeth against the cool air that rushed in behind her until she locked it out. She shivered then turned, freezing when her eyes fell on the other woman.

‘You’re naked!’Adele gasped, looking mortified.

The other woman smiled. ‘You’re astute.’

Adele frowned. ‘Can’t you cover up, just a
little
?’

‘We’re
mermaids
, Ice Queen. Lighten
up
.’

Adele glowered at the other woman, then exhaled heavily-wearied once more, a feeling Ardhi shared. The two women had been arguing like feral cats in the twenty four hours since they’d met, driving him
crazy
. Still, it was to be expected-his plan to get Ivyanne back was bound to make Adele feel out of sorts, especially given that she still had
feelings
for the guy he wanted their ally to seduce.

‘Actually, we’re
screwed
.’ Adele twisted to face Ardhi, anxiety pinching her delicate features. ‘Operation home wrecker probably isn’t going to cut it, mate. Lincoln’s not the only issue waiting for us back in Seaview.’ She smirked. ‘You
could
say :We’re going to need a bigger boat.’

Ardhi’s lungs constricted on the tail edge of an exhale, and he ignored her ridiculous joke. ‘What’s
that
supposed to mean?’ His heartbeat had already begun to quicken and that familiar hot pressure pooled in his hands like lava. ‘They haven’t…?’

‘No.’ The levity faded from Adele’s eyes like a sunset leeched by darkness. ‘I don’t think so anyway. And they may not
get
the happily ever after you bestowed upon them.’ Adele swallowed. ‘Because
Tristan Loveridge
is still
alive
.’

Of all the things Ardhi had expected her to say-that was not one of them, and he wasn’t even able to process the statement at first. He stared at her, wondering if this was just another dumb joke. But her returning gaze was sombre and steadfast-and the hands gripping the laptop to her chest were white-knuckled in fear. She knew Ardhi was going to lose it.


Wait
.’ The third party spoke, a warm, moist hand landing on his bare shoulder. ‘Tristan survived being stabbed through the
ribs?
You said it was a twelve inch blade!’

Ardhi closed his eyes, gnashing his teeth together, trying to recollect the moment he’d been reliving for days-he remembered the blade piercing, and sinking deep between the other man’s ribs. Yes it had met
some
resistance, but the blood that had streamed out- it had obscured Tristan’s lifeless body in the water. How could
anyone
had survived that, man, mer
or
beast? Was it possible that Ardhi had somehow missed
every
vital organ in his haste to get back to Lincoln?

Ardhi expected to feel rage, but his body was too tense to let a single sensation take grip on him. He opened his eyes, stared blankly at Adele, who was shifting nervously from one foot to the other.

‘How do you know this?’ He asked, surprised by how even his voice came out.

Adele hugged the laptop more tightly with one hand and raked the other through her hair. ‘I checked my Facebook. Don’t freak-I didn’t
talk
to anybody-but Ilsa had sent me like a million messages over the weekend, and one was saying that if I came back, I might still have a shot with Lincoln, because she’d seen Ivyanne get on Tristan’s boat with him on Thursday afternoon-
alone
-and drive off somewhere together.’ She paused. ‘Not that Ilsa knows that Tristan’s
supposed
to be dead, like you said, they would have covered that up-but she wouldn’t mistake him for someone else either.’

Ardhi was astounded. Did their hanging out mean that she was actually still considering
marrying
the bottom feeder? Even after Ardhi had given his
life
to unite her with her supposed human soul mate? It was unthinkable! Bile rose in his throat as his fingertips began to pulse with the need to hurt something.

But another thought calmed him; If Lincoln’s love didn’t carry enough weight to make Ivyanne send Tristan packing...well, it erased any lingering doubts Ardhi’d had about his rightful place in Ivyanne’s life. If neither man was enough for her, then he’d stop at nothing to convince her that he was the
only
option.

‘On the bright side…’ Adele started, ‘you’re not going to have to worry about the whole ‘murderer’ label thing hanging over your head when you go back now.’

Ardhi hoisted an eyebrow. ‘Does attempted murder sit better with humans? Because it won’t make a difference to our kind, and if I’m going to have to right my wrongs, they’re going to expect me to
apologize
to the scumbag.’ His insides tightened, physically repelling the very idea. No, he wouldn’t be doing that, and he wouldn’t be fighting Tristan for Ivyanne’s attention again either. He was above that now.

Adele shrugged. ‘Small price to pay for stabbing someone, don’t you think?’

‘Not to me it’s not. To me it’s more than I can afford-or
intend
-to pay.’ He turned away, staring back towards the window, feeling that calm settle more deeply over him now that he was thinking again, instead of reacting.

Okay so this was a mess up-a major speed bump-but it wasn’t unmanageable. He cast his mind over the plan he’d already had, and realized there was no reason to derail from it-Tristan or no Tristan-Link was still an obstacle. Ardhi wouldn’t be able to kill one of his own creations, as it went against every fibre of his being to do so, but he
could
get him out of the way without bloodshed by preying on his human weaknesses.

‘Tristan lived.’ He said this simply, calmly, watching a light mist of rain turn the grass outside the window silvery and slick-a calm rain, courtesy of his focused, centered dismay. ‘Well, I’ll have to rectify that.’

For a moment there was silence. Then, the two girls erupted at once.

‘So I still get a crack at this Lincoln guy?’ One crisp, lightly accented voice demanded.

‘Rectify
life
?!’ Adele’s voice was shrill. ‘You’re going to kill him
again
? How are you going to convince everyone that you’re a martyr and not a
villain
if you come after their golden boy a
second
time?!’

Ardhi faced her and smiled. ‘Because no one will know it was me,’ he said, with a slight smile. ‘They’ll blame fate, and Ivyanne will blame herself. She’s cursed, remember?’

Adele stared at him, the horror in her blue eyes told him she’d just gone from reluctant ally, to liability. He’d known it was a possibility all along, but the fact that
Tristan’s
fate had sealed her position made his blood boil.

Stupid bitch,
he thought, sensing her desire to flee. The charge in his hands crackled into his palms, and his fingers flexed, then curled-focusing it instead of resisting this time. He was going to need it to put her in her place.

‘I didn’t sign up to be a party to this.’Adele said, shaking her head, confirming his intuition. She glanced at the other woman. ‘We
don’t
need to do this-’

‘I
want
to do this.’ The other woman said, smiling, stretching. ‘Lincoln sounds like a tall drink of water darlin, and I’m
thirsty
.’

‘You didn’t sign up at all.’ Ardhi pointed out to Adele, smiling at his more faithful ally’s enthusiasm. The room flashed, and the lights flickered as a crack of lightning lit the atmosphere beyond the walls. He took a step towards her. ‘You were recruited because I needed you. You didn’t have an option then, and you don’t have one now.’

Adele swallowed, backing up a pace. ‘And what will you do if I say no?’

Ardhi grinned at her. ‘That’s the dumbest question I’ve ever heard. But if you want a demonst-’

Adele moved to run, but she hadn’t managed to twist the handle on the door before Ardhi caught her hair and yanked her soft, fragile body up against his chest, feeling a different kind of power sluice through him as she cried out. He clamped his hand over her mouth, stifling her scream, and felt her body begin to shudder as his energy broke free of its barriers and penetrated hers in a wave that crackled instead of crashed. Two seconds was all it took, before she went limp in his arms. He released her hair and she fell to the dusty timber floor like a broken swan.

BOOK: Three Rings (The Fairytail Saga)
10.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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