Read Bride of Fae (Tethers) Online
Authors: LK Rigel
BOOK TWO OF THE TETHERS SERIES
2012 L.K. Rigel
Cover design and interior layout and formatting by TERyvisions
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This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
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Thank you so much to the wonderful beta readers: Julie Helligrath, Christine Powell Gomez, Melissa Lummis, Olivia Hardin, and Jessica Gibson.
who gave me
my first book of fairy tales.
11 - In the Te
mple of Joy and Wonder
13 - And Laughter Holding Both His Si
1876. Faeview, Dumnos
ONALL BAUSINEY SAT UPRIGHT
in his bed. He held his breath and listened. In the dying fire an ember crackled, punctuating the stillness. A woman’s faint laugh echoed off the wall then faded beneath the mantle clock’s chime. A quarter hour before midnight.
Was the laugh real? Or a remnant of his jumbled nightmare, the recurrent dream where Lydia Pengrith said no.
Why did she torture him? When Lydia and her parents came to Faeview next week, it would be the perfect time to announce their engagement, but she’d made him promise to wait until the Varsity Match for her answer to his proposal.
In a world that made sense, Miss Lydia Pengrith, daughter of a clergyman, would accept him without delay. But the world didn’t make sense
. Miss Pengrith—who should be poor and eager for any suitor and therefore amenable—had recently inherited a fortune from her grandfather who, late in life, had married the childless widow of a Manchester manufacturer.
Donall had discovered, to his shock,
that a woman with money of her own more often than not did only what she liked and only when she liked to do it.
Still. He was Donall James Utros Cade Bausiney, Lord Tintagos, the future Earl of Dumnos. As his wife, she would be a countess one day. That had to count for something.
If Donall was entirely honest with himself, Miss Pengrith did seem to prefer the company of Mr. Charles Sarumen. The thought soured Donall’s stomach. Lydia had expressed a casual wish to see Charles again, and to please her Donall had invited his friend to Faeview during the Pengriths’ visit.
The Varsity Match
was a million years away. Well, not until December. Tomorrow was but the first of November.
Again the noise. Donall
held perfectly still and listened—for what? A rustling of wings. An echo of fairy song. An ember in the fireplace snapped, and he jumped with a self-conscious laugh. Tonight was Mischief Night, after all. The night when, according to local legend, the Dumnos fae trooped
from their woodland homes to play in the human world.
Ridiculous, of course. Donall was a man of the world. He’d been to Shrewsbury and Cambridge. Magic had no place in this age of progress and invention, of telegraphs and telephones and trains that crossed continents in fewer than four days. Donall was no mystic and certainly no ghost romancer. His education had cured him of childhood beliefs in wyrding spells and fairy curses.
There. Definitely laughter. Faint drumming, perhaps.
He crossed to the window, the floor cold on his feet
even through the new Turkey carpet. Moonlight streamed in through the curtains, and for a moment he really expected to see a wyrding woman outside on the garden path. Or perhaps the famous Dumnos ghosts, waiting to pounce on any pair of lovers foolish enough to walk out together tonight.
Tonight the villagers would be safely indoors, afraid
of what they might meet on the road, whether ghost or fairy. No surprise there. In Tintagos Village, the vicar’s Sunday sermons were well-attended, but on every other day of the week the people still talked to Brother Sun and Sister Moon.
Everyone knew somebody who’d heard of someone who’d once danced with a fairy or conversed with the ghosts,
whose little cousin had chased a sparkle into the woods and returned a few weeks later all grown up, or whose grandfather or great-great aunt had received some service from a wyrder.
On Mischief Night such stories were told in every Dumnos household.
“You choker,” Donall said aloud. “Nanny’s got you boggled.”
In the Bausiney tradition, he’d visited the nursery earlier to eat holy cakes with Sophia and Caroline and hear Nanny’s Mischief Night story
, told exactly the same year after year since he was Caroline’s age. Like his little sisters, and himself when he was young, someday his—and hopefully Lydia’s—children would delight to the annual recital of the tale of the Dumnos war between wyrd and fae.
His pulse quickened.
There it was again, and no doubts. Faint music. Laughter and pipes with the drums. He ran to get his slippers tucked under the bed. As he reached the fireplace, he heard unmistakable voices.
“Admit it, Aubrey. I’ve done it!”
Donall half leapt and half stumbled away backwards. He sat on his bed, his heart pounding. The man’s disembodied voice had sounded like it was coming from the embers.
“Not so fast,” said another. “You didn’t drink the full measure.”
Donall pulled his coverlet close and stared at the glowing embers, trying to make sense of it. They couldn’t be the Dumnos ghosts, male and female, a pair of doomed and desperate lovers. These voices were both male and robust. Vital. Hardly ghost-like.
“And you must spin three times,” said a woman.
Her voice tinkled like those shards of colored glass his sisters had strung on a line at the gazebo and left to dance in the breeze.
his forehead and laughed. The voices weren’t coming from anything mystical. They had funneled down the chimney and amplified in the fireplace. The servants were on the roof, trying to catch their good luck for the coming winter.
“And you haven’t said the words!”
The female’s pout was evident in her tone. Donall couldn’t think who she might be.
And drinking. On clear nights this time of year, the Faeview servants went up on the roof to catch sight of the aurora borealis. Everyone knew a glimpse of the northern lights had before All Souls Day brings good luck through the winter.
Donall sighed and put on his robe. He
wouldn’t spoil their fun, but he’d better go up and warn them to take care. If the mater and the governor were disturbed, this would not end well.
It was colder in the hallway
. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and automatically looked over his shoulder, as if he were still a child expecting a sharp word from Nanny for his bad manners or a disappointed frown from the mater.