CURSE OF THE FAE QUEEN by Delia Castel -- A Huntress of Faeries. Five cursed Fae Princes. An evil that will destroy the world. ***Excerpt -- Giveaway***

CURSE OF THE FAE QUEEN 

Delia Castel 


Pub. Date: February 14, 2019 
Publisher: Delia Castel 
Formats: Paperback, eBook 
Pages: 231 

Find it: 
Goodreads, Amazon


A Huntress of Faeries. Five cursed Fae Princes. An evil that will destroy the world. 

When Eighteen-year-old Neara saves a villager from the clutches of a deadly faerie, the Fae Queen sends warriors to abduct her dying father in revenge. To gain his freedom, Neara must venture into the Shadowlands and obtain three enchanted objects under the supervision of the bestial Prince Drayce.

As Neara and Prince Drayce grow closer, she discovers the Queen’s scheme to release an ancient evil and enslave the mortal world. To thwart these plans, she must break the curses of five Fae Princes, but the cost of doing so is her Father’s life.

Torn between saving the human realm and saving her father, Neara must navigate this treacherous world and choose between love, liberty and power.

Curse of the Fae Queen is a reverse harem fantasy adventure for fans of A Court of Thrones and Roses and A Song of Ice and Fire!

Excerpts


Ch1

Wherever there was commotion, there was a faerie.

Wherever there was a faerie, someone was about to die.

I rushed after the crowd of merrymakers toward the tavern’s exit and the source of the commotion. The fresh scent of wildflowers wafted in through the open doors, a welcome respite from sweat and sawdust and sour ale. Someone’s booted foot stepped on the hem of my skirts. I snarled and yanked it free.

A leprechaun darted through the throng, slashing purses and swiping gold pieces. He stuffed his pickings into the openings of his blood-red tunic, eyes gleaming, handsome features twisted. I clutched my basket of burn salves and stared ahead, avoiding eye contact with the leprechaun, avoiding his clever fingers, and most importantly, avoiding his notice.

The folk in the Isle of Bresail say a maiden who can see the fae is twice-blessed. Blessed to behold beings of beauty and blessed again for the chance to bargain for health, riches, and immortality. Whoever said that had obviously never met a faerie.

The fae, creatures of hideous power and beauty, revel in human misery, beget bad luck, and feast upon mortal lives. Every encounter with the monsters carries the risk of being killed. Or worse, a repeat of that horrific Samhain night seven years ago, when the fae slaughtered an entire village trying to find me. Terror still grips my heart like the jaws of the hound of Culainn.

I see the fae. I fear the fae. I’m powerless to stop the fae. And I can say I am thrice cursed.

As I neared the exit, the baker’s apprentice bumped me on the shoulder, and I stumbled across the gritty floor. “Sorry, Neara!”

My gaze dropped to the salves. They lay in the basket, nestled in muslin cloth I’d wrapped around them for safekeeping. “I’m looking for Eirnin. Is he here?”

“Have you tried the forge?”

“They told me he’d be having an early dinner here.”

“Can’t say I’ve seen him.” He raised his massive shoulders. “Maybe he’s watching the spectacle Shona is making of herself in the square.” He rushed ahead, shoving through a group of sailors stumbling toward the doors.

Dread rolled through my belly like a summer thunderstorm. Shona, the haughty eldest daughter of the mayor of Calafort, would never even sip a tankard of ale in public. If she was doing something to attract the attention of drunken louts, there could be only one cause: the fae.

I stepped out into the warm evening, inhaling a lungful of fresh air. The sun hung behind a dip in the Fomori mountains, a burst of daffodil amidst clouds tinged the color of blood-red poppies. Its yellow haze reflected off the whitewashed timber framed buildings lining the cobbled thoroughfare. My gaze traveled down to the crowd gathered at the end around the village square.

Shona, the center of the attraction, wasn’t exactly a friend. Since Father and I moved to the port town of Calafort, she had sullied my name with allegations about my associations with the blacksmith, the retired soldier of fortune, and the local priest—people vital in my private crusade against the fae.

Two young men sprinted past. The smaller of the pair yelled, “Hoist me up on your shoulders, Colman!”

“As if!” The taller gave his companion a playful shove.

A warm wind swirled around my hair, blowing vibrant, copper strands into my eyes. As usual, its color brought back memories of the night I had been willing to bargain to look… less peculiar. The night I had doomed an entire village. Guilt clawed at my gullet, and I gulped. Even if Shona had soured my existence with her gossip, I couldn’t leave anyone, not even her, to become a faerie’s prey.

I strode after the rush of drunk men, only for the familiar pull of dread to weight my steps. For reasons I couldn’t fathom, faeries had become more commonplace in Calafort and more malevolent. Benign household spirits and mischief makers were replaced by malicious beings of unusual and tremendous power.

The innkeeper’s wife stormed out of the crowd, skirts swishing, shooting sharp glares at the men rushing through the cobbled thoroughfare.

“Don’t think I won’t tell your wives and mothers about your disgraceful conduct!” she screeched at their backs. “There should be a law against giving an audience to a public harlot!”

An iron fist clenched my heart. “Mrs. Martin?”

“What?” She whirled around, auburn locks falling from her bonnet.

“Are you talking about Shona Mulloy?”

Her thin lips twisted. “She’ll never be able to put on airs and graces, that one. Not after revealing the wanton hussy beneath that false piety!”

My pulse throbbed in my throat. Not waiting to ask any further questions, I broke into a run. The only cause for Shona to make a public spectacle was magic, and no one could stop it but me.

Hoots and cheers and roars exploded from the podium, louder than a clap of thunder, making me trip on a loose cobblestone. Splaying out my hands for balance, I slowed my steps. What in the name of all that was holy did I think I was doing? Father’s words echoed in my skull. Every encounter with a faerie increased the chance of being captured. The creature behind Shona’s shameless display could be one of the horsemen from that terrible Samhain night. What if he recognized me?

I brought my feet to an abrupt stop. After six years of moving from place to place, we had a mere week before the dense mist covering the coast of Bresail would clear. No merrow could lurk in the waters, calling people to their deaths with their enchanted music, and no kelpies would board the ship and attack. Father and I planned to gain passage on a ship to Hibernia, the land where holy men slew monsters to protect the innocent. Guilt crawled up my back and clung to my shoulders like the talons of a night hag. If I did anything to ruin our chance, Father’s sickness might not grant him another seven years

“Get ’em off!” cried one drunken reveler.

“What kind of lass can’t even undo her own corset?” shouted another.

Guffaws filled the air, and someone bellowed, “The pampered sort!”

My eyes widened. Before good sense could prevail, my feet pounded the cobblestones, and I reached the edge of the crowd. Pushing my way through the eager men, I caught a glimpse of the spectacle. The bodice of Shona’s dress hung around her waist like a shed skin, her breasts jutting out of her under-bust corset. She had hitched her skirts, revealing her thighs and glimpses of a thicket of mahogany, pubic hair.

“Higher!” screamed a drunkard.

Blood surged through my ears, dulling the men’s lascivious shouts. My jaw clenched so hard, it throbbed in time with my raging pulse. I turned my head away, understanding why Mrs Martin had been so incensed. No-one, not even Shona the gossip, deserved to be humiliated in such a fashion!

Using the bodies of the leering men as cover, I receded into the crowd and studied the men in the direction of her glazed stare. The usual village louts and ne’er do wells jostled each other about in the front, but one male stood out from the rabble. Not because his silk jacket was too fine for the village of Calafort, not because he was the only man remaining calm amidst the scandalous display, but because his face was devoid of features and did not even have a nose.

His eyes, fathomless tunnels of black, stared at her with a cold amusement. Around his unlit pipe, one corner of his lips curved into a whisper of a smile.

Gancanagh.

The word popped into the forefront of my mind. It came from the leather-bound book Father insisted that I study for hours every evening. The gancanagh was a silver-tongued, shapeshifter faerie who could morph into a woman’s heart’s desire and drive her into a frenzy of wantonness. While a gancanagh enjoyed sexual contact with women, what really nourished them was the ensuing despair he caused from withdrawing his affections and ruining her reputation.

Ostracized, isolated, and full of despair, his victim would commit suicide, providing him with a condemned soul upon which to feast.

“If you can’t manage the corset, open your legs and give us a good show!” bellowed the inn-keeper to a roar of drunken cheers.

Shona’s head lolled to the side, and she moaned. “Please… I need you!”

The gancanagh nodded, indicating for her to do as they said.

Disgust curdled my stomach, making me want to spit. That was as much as I could stand. Delving shaking fingers into my pocket, I gathered a heavy pinch of salt. It soaked up magic, rendering the attacks of many faeries useless.

Then, I put it under my tongue, suppressed a grimace, and pushed through the crowd, making sure not to look at the gancanagh.

“Shona Mulloy,” I shouted, making my voice as shrill as Mrs. Martin’s. “Your father would be ashamed of you!”

She ignored me, as I had expected. Those in the thrall of a gancanagh became powerless to do anything but his bidding. Her tongue darted out to wet her lips, and she hiked her skirts to her waist, eliciting ear-ringing catcalls.

“That’s a bushy tail if ever I saw one!” yelled a voice from within the crowd.

Affecting a shriek of outrage, I slapped her hard across the face, ensuring that my iron ring made contact with her lip. The salt remaining on my fingers must have either gotten into her mouth or into the tiny cut my ring made, because her eyes focussed.

“Get yourself home,” I screeched. “You’re giving all the womenfolk of Calafort a bad name!” I yanked on her arm, hoping to convince the gancanagh that I hadn’t noticed it.

“Neara, show us your ginger muff!” shouted a heckler.

I ignored the drunken dolt and headed to a gap in the crowd. A few of the men, now shamefaced, stepped aside. Rage seared my veins. Any one of them could have intervened, but they had chosen to let a neighbor debauch herself. According to the information in my book, the gancanagh’s allure only affected women and only if they touched him of their own accord. There was no reason, apart from malicious lechery, that they couldn’t have stopped Shona from falling to ruin.

A hand wrapped around my wrist, its chill seeping through my skin, permeating my bones to the marrow. I suppressed a shudder. The fae, immortal creatures that were neither alive nor dead, were nothing like humans. My leather-bound book said they were the offshoot of a supernatural race called the Fomorians, but from what I had seen over the years, and I had seen a lot, they were hungry spirits made flesh. The only thing that differed from one type of faerie to another was what satisfied their appetites.

Gritting my teeth, I turned my head and glared at the hand restraining me. It was an effort to keep my voice from trembling, but I focussed on my anger and said, “Let go of my person, sir.”

“Permit me to introduce myself.” He released my wrist, gave me a gentlemanly bow, and held out an elegant, smooth-skinned hand that could have belonged to an artist or a Prince. “I am Gerald Canice, and I wish to commend you on your valiant rescue of that young lady’s virtue.”

“I would be doing a better job if you didn’t keep me here talking,” I snapped. “Excuse me.”

Most would have lowered their hand and stepped away at my rudeness. This creature did not. He glided closer, still with his hand outstretched, now turned as though he wanted to take mine and press a kiss on my knuckles. “Please… I must know your name.”

“It’s Neara,” shouted a drunk. “And she’s interested in nothing but stinking herbs and withered old men!”

My face heated, indicating a blush as red a hawthorn berries, one of the many disadvantages of having skin the pallor of diluted milk. The drunks snickered, and I pressed my lips together, trying to exhale my anger through flared nostrils.

“Ignore those louts.” His voice soft and cultured, just as I would imagine a storybook Prince. “Won’t you at least look at me?”

As though of its own volition, my gaze lifted to his face. It was no longer the characterless visage from earlier. He now resembled the raven-haired faerie whose presence had cursed me with the sight. A bolt of shock shot through my heart as fast as lighting, jolting it into action. I drew in a sharp breath between my teeth.

Everything vanished from my attention. The crowd of drunken men, the sobbing girl at my side, the fear of being discovered by the fae. It all faded now that Gerald had caught me in his mesmerizing, viridian-green gaze.

His full lips split into a breath-stealing smile of even, white teeth, rising up to high cheekbones, and leading to eyes so longing they wrung my heart.

“Neara…” My name sounded like supplication on lips that begged to be kissed. “I am delighted to make your acquaintance.”

One of my hands twitched toward his still outstretched hand. My mouth dried, not because of the salt, but due to the warmth pooling between my legs, creating a fire that only he could quench.

My throat dried, partially because of the salt under my tongue, but mostly because of the male’s beauty. If he had chosen any other face, I would have ignored the gancanagh, but I couldn’t resist this dark-haired, green eyed apparition.

A tiny voice, as quiet and persistent as a midge, whispered that it was a trap. The monster wanted to infect me with the venom coating his skin and see me debased before my village.

“I…” A gulp interrupted words that had already withered in my throat. I had come prepared, wearing a bracelet of iron with a matching torque and ring, but I hadn’t anticipated being faced with the being who haunted my dreams… my deepest, most oft-denied desire.

“Neara,” said a voice hoarse with tears.

I turned to lock gazes with Shona, her eyes bloodshot and brimming with tears.

“Will you take me home?”

Her voice was the splash of saltwater I needed to break gancanagh’s spell. Without a backward glance, I pulled her away from the lecherous gazes of the crowd, trying not to succumb to the pit of dread wrenching open my stomach. Once again, I had attracted the attention of the fae. The gancanagh likely wouldn’t work out that I had seen through him, but my awakening of Shona from her stupor would have at least aroused his curiosity.

Shona and I walked unmolested through the crowd of degenerates, many were now slinking back to the tavern. Without his audience, the gancanagh would not pursue us. He fed on the humiliation of his victims, delighted in their ruin and not their lust.

His gaze, heavy on my back, turned my steps to lead. The gancanagh was likely evaluating me, wondering why I could resist his magic. My throat thickened, and I gulped down my rising panic. This was exactly the kind of thing Father had warned me against. We could not flee Bresail if we attracted the attention of the fae, and I had done exactly that! If the wicked creature stayed to satisfy his curiosity, we were doomed.

A curious faerie always attracted others, and I of all people would know that arousing the interest of the creatures was deadly.

*****

The folk in the Isle of Bresail say a maiden who can see the fae is twice-blessed. Blessed to behold beings of beauty and blessed again for the chance to bargain for health, riches, and immortality. Whoever said that had obviously never met a faerie.

The fae, creatures of hideous power and beauty, revel in human misery, beget bad luck, and feast upon mortal lives. Every encounter with the monsters carries the risk of being killed. Or worse, a repeat of that horrific Samhain night seven years ago, when the fae slaughtered an entire village trying to find me. Terror still grips my heart like the jaws of the hound of Culainn.

I see the fae. I fear the fae. I’m powerless to stop the fae. And I can say I am thrice cursed.

Shorter Excerpts

****

As though of its own volition, my gaze lifted to his face. It was no longer the characterless visage from earlier. He now resembled the raven-haired faerie whose presence had cursed me with the sight. A bolt of shock shot through my heart as fast as lighting, jolting it into action. I drew in a sharp breath between my teeth.

Everything vanished from my attention. The crowd of drunken men, the sobbing girl at my side, the fear of being discovered by the fae. It all faded now that Gerald had caught me in his mesmerizing, viridian-green gaze.

His full lips split into a breath-stealing smile of even, white teeth, rising up to high cheekbones, and leading to eyes so longing they wrung my heart.

“Neara…” My name sounded like supplication on lips that begged to be kissed. “I am delighted to make your acquaintance.”

One of my hands twitched toward his still outstretched hand. My mouth dried, not because of the salt, but due to the warmth pooling between my legs, creating a fire that only he could quench.

*****

The pool rippled again, revealing an image of me sitting on a gold throne, surrounded by four handsome faeries.

“What’s this?”

Prince Drayce knelt at my side. He pointed at the first male, a faerie whose skin shone like polished mahogany. Rope-like strands of hair hung down his muscled chest. “That is Prince Calor of the Summer Court.”

The next male’s hair was as black as crows’ feathers, his skin a pale beige with beautifl, almond-shaped eyes. “Prince Verus of the Spring Court.”

I nodded, waiting for him to explain why I was sitting with all these royals.

The third male had bronze skin and hair that shone like spun gold. “Prince Folium of the Autumn Court.”

And the last male was as pale as me, but with blue hair and eyes the color of frost. I turned to Prince Drayce. “I suppose this one’s from the Winter Court?”

He nodded. “That is Prince Nix.”

*****

A slow grin spread across his face, showcasing even, white teeth that had no business on a face so scaly. I bristled, spine stiffening at his mockery. In a low purr that made my spine tingle, he said, “Call me Drayce.”

I stepped back, and my hamstrings hit the edge of the four-poster. “What happened between you and Queen Melusina?”

“Do you really wish to know?” He stepped so close, I felt his heat radiating through his leather armor.

I pulled my shoulders back. “Actually, I—”

He cupped my cheek and lowered his lips onto mine.

Firm lips, softer than I had imagined, brushed against mine in the lightest of caresses. Sweet, tentative, safe. His warm, leather scent engulfed my senses and pushed away the doubts that plagued me earlier. My eyes fluttered closed, and I yielded to his touch.

Just as I became accustomed to his kiss, he drew back and examined my face with those slitted eyes. There was something skittish in his gaze, the expression of one waiting for a rebuke. When I smiled, he kissed me again.

I slid my hand over the leather encasing his forearm, over his strong, hard bicep, wanting, needing more.


About Delia:


Delia Castel has loved fairytales for as long as she can remember. The books she writes under this pen name are steamy, reverse harem retellings of classic stories.

To download a free copy of The Big Bad She-Wolf as well as the exclusive chapters that follow the tale, visit:




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Tour Schedule:

Week One:
2/11/2019- Mythical Books- Excerpt
2/12/2019- Bookbriefs- Review
2/14/2019- BookHounds- Excerpt
2/15/2019- PopTheButterfly Reads- Review
2/15/2019- Journey in Bookland- Review


Week Two:
2/18/2019- Character Madness and Musings- Spotlight
2/18/2019- Dazzled by Books- Excerpt
2/19/2019- Kelly P's Blog- Excerpt
2/20/2019- Smada's Book Smack- Spotlight
2/21/2019- TMBA Corbett Tries to Write- Excerpt
2/22/2019- Two Chicks on Books- Excerpt


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