Riley's Sparrow by Mary Winter
erotic fae paranormal romance
length: long novella (approx 28K)
Release Date: 08/23/2012
Cover Art by Winterheart Design
Exiled into the mortal world with one condition—not to use magic—Cheri Aerchere, fairy princess, knows she can’t live on the run forever. She’d used magic, broken the terms of her exile, and now, she has.
In order to redeem himself for a night of passion he spent with Cheri, Riley Hawk knows what he has to do—bring her back to the Fae realms to face her punishment, then forget about her. In the world of Fae politics, his feelings are of no consequence.
But once he sees her again, their sexual attraction cannot be denied, and neither can their feelings for one another. Because Cheri has always belonged to Riley, and once he marks her as his mate, nothing, not even the Fae Court, can separate them. Now that he’s found her, it’s up to him to teach her how good it can be to fly…together.
Note: This is an edited and updated version of the previously released work of the same title. This work has been updated and more accurately reflects the author's vision for the story.
“You can’t run forever, you know. Why don’t you try this?” Menelik pushed a drink across the bar.
Cheri stared at the amber-colored liquid wondering if she really wanted to take a sip. Alcohol affected fairies a lot more strongly than it did humans. Too bad it tasted so damn good, and numbed the pain so well. She closed her eyes and drew in the scents of bar, smoke, and the mishmash of paranormal patrons. “Thanks. What is it?” She lifted the glass to her lips.
“A Riley’s Sparrow.” Menelik winked at her.
Cheri nearly choked. She sputtered, swallowing hard to get the burn down her throat. “You could have warned me.” In spite of her discomfort, a grin spread across her face. The liquor seared heat all the way down to hit her stomach with a burst of warmth. She felt a flush creeping over her cheeks, partially from the drink, and partially from Menelik ferreting out her secret. How he knew that she’d spent five years imprisoned in the body of a sparrow, she’d never know. “Thanks.”
The door to Sparkle & Moondust opened as another patron entered.
The back of Cheri’s neck tingled. She looked up from her drink to find Menelik watching her intently as heavy footfalls grew closer to the bar. “Tell me that whoever just entered is tall, willowy and female. Please.” She struggled not to whimper.
“You can’t run forever, Cheri. I’ve got to get some things out of the back. Don’t go anywhere.”
Don’t go anywhere? How could he say that? Without turning around she had a picture of the man who had just walked in the door in her mind. Or more accurately, the fairy who had just entered. Riley stood nearly six feet tall, with broad shoulders that could make a gentle Fae girl weep with the need to bury her head against them. His body was composed of rock hard muscle, and when he shifted, his other form matched his name. Hawk. Riley Hawk. Her parole officer.
Cheri traced her finger along the unmarred rim of the glass. She didn’t need lipstick to make her lips ruby colored; it was a trait of her people. As were the slanted cat-like green eyes, the ears that almost came to a point, and her long white-blonde hair. Since it fell past her butt, it made her look shorter than her inch over five feet. She stretched her thin fingers over the rim of her glass, noting the translucence of her skin, and bony-bird like structure. A sparrow. She couldn’t go back to a life of picking seeds and hoping some brave soul had ventured out in subzero weather to fill their feeder. Sure, it didn’t get that cold here, but with warmer weather came different dangers. And hawks, always the hawks.
She stiffened as the newcomer sat on the barstool beside her. Menelik, come back! She had no idea if he could hear a fairy’s mental summons, but if he could, she hoped he wouldn’t ignore her. No one ignored Cheri Aerchere, fairy princess. No one.
A strong hand clamped over her bare arm, preventing her from sliding from the bench and going after Menelik. “I believe he told you to stay here.” Riley’s warm voice flooded her senses like a shot of bourbon.
Cheri’s heart fluttered. Her stomach dropped, and for a moment, the world spun on its axis. The drink. She shouldn’t have had the drink. Riley’s sparrow.
Her jaw dropped in an expression completely unbecoming of fairy royalty. “Menelik’s in on this, isn’t he?” Under her breath, in a frequency too high for human ears, she let lose a string of curses one of her mother’s guards had taught her.
“Such language, princess,” Riley leaned in closer. “You know why I’m here. Don’t cause a scene.”
“What are you going to do, take me to some cell and have your wicked way with me?” She batted her eyelashes, and remembering the first time she’d seen Riley. He’d been brought in as part of her sister’s harem, but Lise only had eyes for one Fae man, who sadly, only had eyes for another Fae man. Riley had been relegated to the back of the room where Cheri had found him. Their one night of unauthorized passion had been the crime that had gotten her five years of banishment and stuck in the form of a sparrow. Well, that and the fact that she’d stolen her sister’s man, however unwanted he may have been. Stupid fairy court rules.
“And would you like that, m’lady?” Riley asked in his best courtly voice. He smiled, making endearing lines form at the corner of his sky blue eyes. A dimple winked in his right cheek, and he looked entirely too innocent for her own good.