Caressed by Shadow
(The Veiled Court, 3)
Copyright © 2018, Marie Medina
Rory felt a jolt of energy run up his spine. Not a chill so much as a tingle of some kind. The wind picked up, and it seemed as if everyone had gotten quieter. He carefully set a few apples in the basket and glanced around. Everything seemed fine, but he stopped when he saw a man dressed almost entirely in black heading toward him. The man had long black hair that shone in the sun and whipped in the wind. His intense gaze fixed on Rory, and he smiled.
Rory smiled back, even though he had no idea who the man was. Yet as he drew closer, Rory felt his power. He was someone important, and Rory wiped his hands on his trousers as he straightened up and turned toward the man.
“Are you Rory?” the man asked, his voice low and deep.
“Yes.” Rory swallowed, feeling nervous suddenly. “I feel as if I should know you, but I don’t.”
“We’ve never met before, but I’m very pleased to finally do so.” One arm folded over his chest, the man bowed low. “I’m Bastiel, King of the Dark Fey.” He straightened up and came closer. “And you, sweet prince, are my cariad.”
Rory blinked as he looked up at the man who was almost as tall as his oldest brother. As an excuse to put some distance between them, he backed up and imitated the king’s low bow. “It’s an honor to meet you, Your Majesty.”
Bastiel smiled and eliminated the distance Rory had put between them with two long strides. “I know you must be surprised, but please don’t be afraid of me. I know rumors about our realm are rampant here.”
“I’m not af-fraid. Of course n-not,” Rory said, cringing inwardly at the way his voice shook.
Bastiel reached out and cupped his cheek. “You’re as handsome as your older brother, but with a marked difference. A beauty all your own. The way your hair curls. And such rich brown eyes.” His thumb stroked Rory’s cheek. “I think you’ll have me wrapped around your finger in no time.”
Rory couldn’t do anything but stare. His brain refused to move forward, and his tongue didn’t seem to work at all anymore. His breathing had quickened, and he swallowed, trying to get it under control. The king’s hand was warm and strong, and Rory actually thought he could feel the man’s power flowing into him.