an excerpt

Chapter One

All fae in his clan had a weakness: they were drawn to flame. He'd been out for an evening flight in the human realm, and that's how he'd met the strapping apprentice. The man had been reading a book in the glow of candlelight. The next morning, he had to visit the apprentice's house again to get a better look at the man he'd been drawn to--or, more appropriately, the man's candle.

Ever since then, Blaze Greymeadow had ventured daily to see him, trying to learn more about the human. Blaze crouched behind blades of tall grass. It was not hard to hide his small form. For many weeks, he'd secretly watched the chandler's apprentice making candles. Sleeves rolled up to reveal a glimpse of his muscular arms, the man repeatedly dipped the line of wicks into a large cast iron pot filled with wax.

To take advantage of the pleasant spring weather, the candle making had been moved outside. Blaze couldn't have been more pleased. He no longer had to peer through the shop windows to admire the man he dreamed about every night. John Butler. The colonists did not have creative names like fairies. If he were fae, he could have been named Goldenrod on account of his blond hair pulled back in a basic queue or Moon on account of his bright smile.

Blaze dared to dash from behind his hiding place and inch closer. Underneath the strong scent of beeswax drifted John's masculine musk. Blaze inhaled deeply. The more he got to know John from afar, the more he wished they could actually meet. Although humans and fae seldom got along. He bit his lip, pondering his difficult situation.

John bent down and added more wood to the fire to keep the wax hot.

Heart pounding, Blaze flattened himself on the ground, stomach pressing into the dirt. What was he thinking being out in the open? Even ants could be seen and squashed if they showed themselves to humans.

John straightened and returned to dipping the candles. His gaze hadn't strayed from his work. Thankfully, he didn't pay the ground any attention. Humans were blessedly unobservant. It made spying on them and playing tricks on them easy.

Blaze exhaled the breath he'd been holding. He scolded himself for being carless, yet he didn't move from his spot. The view was too good.

He rolled over onto his back to get a better look at the human. He was of shorter than average stature for a human although every inch of him was well built. His burgundy cotton breeches were tight and revealed the shape of his legs. White splatter-dashes covered the rest of his legs to his black leather shoes.

The wax layer around the wicks gradually got bigger and bigger, taking on a phallic shape. John paused from his dipping and switched his attention to a rack where candles had been drying. He cut the wicks one by one and set the candles in a wooden crate. Each time John's hand circled one of the finished candles, Blaze imagined that palm caressing his cock. His erection grew, tenting his brown breeches.

Such strong yet careful hands. No fae had consumed him with lust like this human. He could easily imagine John working the blacksmith's bellows and wondered why he'd chosen to be a chandler. Maybe he liked to watch a burning flame, too.

That would be about the only thing the two of them would have in common.

Blaze squinted, the sun now high in the cloudless sky. He had stayed admiring John far longer than he had intended. The other fairies would be wondering where he had disappeared to, and he knew his sister would be concerned that he'd been captured. Of course, Roseblossom always worried too much.

He reluctantly stood, took one last glance at John, and then disappeared behind the tall grass. With a couple shrugs of his shoulders, his wings sprang free from their tight folds against his back. He fluttered upward, racing the butterflies as he traveled back to the fae realm.

Blaze burst through the translucent barrier and reemerged at the door to the house he shared with his sister.

Roseblossom threw the wooden door open, and it cracked against the brown stones. "Where have you been?"

He offered a half-smile. "Trying to tear the house apart, Rosie?" He had moved every stone into position to build their home. He didn't fancy having to rebuild any of it.

"Don't Rosie me!" His sister's long brown hair whipped about as she tossed her head from side to side. "Where have you been?"

"Calm down," he said, stepping closer to her. "Will you let me inside? I'll explain everything over a cup of lemongrass tea."

Roseblossom planted her hands on her hips. "You keep disappearing. I want to know why."

"Fae are naturally curious, as you know. I've been out exploring."

"Exploring," she repeated, disbelief burning in her eyes.

He licked his lips. It hadn't been a lie. He had been exploring, just not the natural surroundings. He'd been exploring John Butler.

"Children can sometimes spend half the day exploring, but you are a grown man, Blaze. Start acting like one. I can't keep being responsible enough for both of us."

Blaze tipped his head back and laughed. "I never asked you to take all that responsibility onto your shoulders, sis. You did it on your own accord."

Roseblossom stepped aside granting him entrance. She grunted as he passed. "If you don't watch it, the queen will want to have a word with you."

"The queen?" Blaze's voice inched higher. No one wanted to go before the fairy queen. "Why? I haven't done anything wrong."

"Perhaps." Roseblossom dashed into the kitchen and returned with a wood serving tray containing two teacups and a pot of tea. She set the tray on the table. "But you have come under investigation."

Investigation? Who had prompted this investigation? He had a hard time believing any of those serving in the court would care that much about his actions. Had one of his friends snitched? He eyed his sister, and his middle tightened. Had Roseblossom?

He hadn't talked to any fae who had been under investigation before. Was that because they had been excommunicated from the clan? Or was that because such investigations served as a threat to keep fae and fairies in line and were seldom carried out? What did being under investigation even mean?

Roseblossom poured him a cup of tea and passed it to him. He sipped the sweet drink while he tried to stitch his thoughts together. Was he going to be followed? If he had been followed, wouldn't he have noticed? Of course, the queen possessed stronger magic than other fae. If she chose to make one of her spies invisible, he would be discovered for sure.

"Is something wrong?" Roseblossom asked, sitting on the stool across from him.


"You've been staring at your teacup as if it held the key to your future."

He shook his head and offered a hollow chuckle. "I'm just tired, I guess."

"Humph." Roseblossom drank the rest of her tea and set the empty cup on the yellow saucer. "Too much exploring. It isn't good for your health."

Blaze nodded, her quiet warning coming in loud and clear. His chest tightened. How could he continue to see John without being charged with getting too close to humans?

Fairies were allowed to meddle in humans lives, but they did so safely from afar. Roseblossom was right. His attraction to the handsome chandler had gotten out of control. It was as if the human enchanted him. But that was a silly notion. Humans did not possess magic or cast spells. He swallowed the last of his tea and sighed. Although, it didn't take magic to infect someone with lovesickness.