Title: Fire & Ice
Author: Michele Barrow-Belisle
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance
Blitz Host: Lady Amber's Tours
Adventure wasn't something Lorelei Alundra was interested in. Gifted with two other-worldly talents for singing and healing, she's always shied away from her gifts and the spotlight, preferring quiet anonymity, over attention and fame. But when she meets the enigmatic Adrius, with his dark and dangerous mystique and eyes that peer into her soul, her uneventful life becomes irrevocably altered.
Adrius turns up in every one of her classes and knows more about her than any newcomer should. Including the condition of her mother who is suffering from a mysterious illness. Accepting his offer to help leads her into a terrifying and thrilling world, where Elves are even hotter than Legolas, and Faeries...are nothing like Tinkerbell. Lose the butterfly wings and add a tattoo. The two magical beings are fire and ice opposites. One Lorelei can't help falling for, and the other she's compelled to be with.
Now she's trapped in their world, expected to prevent a war between witches and faeries, or forfeit her mother's life. Nothing is what it seems. Not her family. Not the Fey. Not even Adrius, whose feelings for her balance precariously between danger and desire.
As secrets unravel and unsettling truths are revealed, Lorelei must fight to save much more than her mother's life. One mistake could put the fate of his world - and her soul, in jeopardy.
But hey, no pressure...right.
I’d die for him. When all was said and done, that’s what it came down to. I would give my life in exchange for his. Only he was immortal, blessed with eternal life. —And I was the one who was dying. Even after everything we’d been through I still wasn’t sure what he’d be willing to give in exchange for my life.
Climbing out of bed, I wandered out to the courtyard, towards the south border of the
. Apparently, I’d been granted one
last night to sleep in my room. Adrius had given the guards posted outside my
door his assurance that I wouldn’t try to escape, although there was the
unmistakable click of a lock when he closed the door. Even if it had
occurred to me to use magic to free myself, I wouldn’t have known how. The
powers I’d somehow summoned with Octăhvia had receded to some inaccessible
place deep inside me. Wyldewood Forest
The message that had arrived hours earlier was as short and curt as the messenger who’d delivered it. Golden scrawled parchment simply read ‘Meet me in the glen bordering the south forest before daybreak.’ I’d been awake ever since, too anxious to sleep.
I waited for what seemed like an eternity, pacing an uneven groove in the dew-soaked grass. It wasn’t yet daybreak and the sky was still laced with Mediterranean hues. A soft breeze carried the fragrance of wild herbs. It caressed my skin and the tiny hairs on my arm stood on end. I didn’t have to turn around to know who was behind me.
Adrius. I would recognize the electricity of his presence blindfolded. He was surreally gorgeous. Even now as he regarded me with distant, unreadable eyes. He was aloof; not as angry as he’d been last night, but still not himself. He had sent for me and so of course, I came. And now here we were in the very place we’d been when I first arrived in Mythlandria so many weeks ago. There was a familiarity but also an unnerving strangeness. I didn’t like not knowing what to expect. Or what he was thinking. I attempted to use the Inner eye necklace to access his thoughts, but a seerer can see when he’s being read. And his mind was completely closed to me, leaving me in the dark.
“Walk with me.” He said with a fleeting gaze.
I took a deep breath and I followed him, to what could possibly be my end. He was an Elven knight bound to his father’s will. And right now his will equaled me dead.
The thickness of the forest encircled us, swallowing us in its mist. Twigs snapped and crunched beneath our steps and occasionally his arm brushed mine, but he made no attempt to take my hand. Given the circumstances, it was pretty insane for me to hope that he might.
By the time the sunrise peeked through the trees, the silence had become deafening. It was clear I would have to be the one to break it if I wanted any answers. I didn’t like feeling so unsure about him. I knew what the curse could do, but I’d always felt comfortable. Safe. It was different now and I hated it.
“Where are we going?” I asked a little breathless from the quick pace he’d been keeping.
“Not much further.” He looked back at me. “Are you cold?”
I was doubly puzzled by his cryptic behavior. Wintry and detached one minute, worried about my comfort in the next.
I shook my head, suddenly aware I was shivering.
That was all he said before dropping into another uncomfortable stretch of silence. I realized he didn’t answer my question. It made me cringe to consider why.
Light dappled through the leaves. Something in the way the beam hit the ground reminded me of my mother. She’d always loved the play of sunlight. That was one of the reasons our house had been designed with so many large windows. My stomach twisted. I missed my mother. My house. My life. I had to go home... but, he could come with me. That was the best solution. We’d be far from his father, and Venus and the spell that bound his soul to her and his mind to his father. Far from Zanthiel. We could pretend to be normal. Human. Finish school and then head off to college. Together. That was the plan. It could still work. We just had to get past this. If he could find the strength to spare my life, we’d be halfway there.
He glanced at me, his lips pressed in a thin line, and for a moment I wondered if he had been listening to my thoughts. Then I remembered the chain hanging from my neck, and the protective pendant blocking his access to my mind, tucked safely inside my dress.
We climbed uphill over thick coiled roots still sleeping on the forest floor, which confirmed how early it was; the trees weren’t even awake yet. Then he stopped so abruptly I nearly slammed into him. High above the forest below, we stood, still enclosed by the thickness of trees.
He’ll get over this. We can get over this. He needs some time, I told myself. The words weren’t very convincing. I could feel something burning a hole in my chest. Panic maybe.
He turned to face me. The air was thinner here and I shivered, but not from cold. I felt sick and a little dizzy, like I was teetering on the edge of a precipice, about to fall. I tried to steady my breathing. I kept telling myself it was all going to work out. That everything would be fine. But the look on his face made it impossible to believe that was true. I twirled a lock of hair around my finger. His eyes followed my hand, and for a split second his gaze softened. A half smile touched his lips; that same slightly crooked smile that melted my heart. Only it didn’t have time to reach his eyes before it faded. Then it was gone, as quickly as it had come leaving his emotions carefully shielded behind expressionless eyes. They were still beautiful....they were always beautiful, but the chill had returned. More than anything I missed their warmth.
I stood motionless, unable to breathe. Barely noticing the coiling mist that had risen and was swirling knee high.
Being alone in the forest with him used to be my favorite place to be. Now I was chocking from the dread rising in my throat. For an agonizing length of time he stared at me with those eyes that once lit up when he looked at me. His jaw tightened, and his hands clenched and unclenched at his sides. He shifted his weight, and frowned. A vein in his temples pulsed. Gritting his teeth, his hand reached for his sword. But then fell away. Raking a hand through his hair once, he finally broke the throbbing silence.
Michele Barrow-Belisle is an author and artist living in Southern Ontario, Canada with her super-sweet husband, brilliant son and ridiculously affectionate cat. Often told by teachers to stop dreaming and get her head out of the clouds, Michele still spends much of her time lost in make-believe worlds, populated with fascinating and occasionally terrifying characters. Her passion for fantasy extends beyond her writing into her clay figure sculpting, creating miniaturized replicas of the paranormal beings she writes about. Michele is as passionate about reading as she is about writing. When she's not reading or writing, she can be found burning off that last piece of chocolate cake in a Zumba class, or sculpting tiny desserts in polymer clay. She also loves mocha lattes and watching fireflies at twilight. Did we mention she loves chocolate?