A Study in Spirits is #2 in the College Fae series.

Book 2 in the College Fae series is almost ready to launch! I just finished the final draft. It’s awaiting the last feedback from Beta Readers and my editor. After another editing sweep, it should be hitting its March 1st release date!

Read on for a sneak peek!

A Study in Spirits is #2 in the College Fae series. You can sign up to my newsletter via this link to get the book free.

Logan gave the king another bow, asking, “If you would like to enter our home, are you willing to abide under the rules of common Guest Law?”

“Yes,” King Ladislas replied shortly. With a nod from Logan, Celia retreated from the doorway, stepping into the kitchen. Logan followed Ladislas, and the two walked through the short hall, passing Celia, to stand in the common living area.

The place seemed smaller than it usually did, which had to do with Ladislas. He filled up the room, making the furniture seem fit for only a dollhouse. He was taller than Logan, with bulky muscle that provided little space between earlobes and shoulders. He was a Henry VIII figure before that English king ran to fat.

Right now, thought Logan, he was Othello. The question was if Logan was about to be strangled.

The king wasn’t wearing a sword, but that didn’t make him feel less threatening.

Logan calmly set his suitcases and violin down on the couch, and ventured, “Would you like to leave a message for Brigit? Did she know you were coming?”

Instead of answering Logan, Ladislas addressed his next words to Celia. The woman had hung back like a deer ready to startle.

“This bard claims you as bondmate of my daughter. What court do you pay loyalty too?”

“Queen Corallina.”

“Ah,” his look was considering, measuring everything about her. She was a few years older than Logan, about his height, with an oval face, large sea-green eyes, and wavy chestnut hair.

“What degree of your connection do you have with my daughter, naiad?”

“We’ve shared meals.”

“Yet you don’t know her father?” scoffed Ladislas, adding, “You’ve tied yourself to my court without knowing who would call upon your bond. What would Queen Corallina say to that?”

“We both understand the Laws of Civility, your highness. However, Perhaps you do not credit your daughter with enough sense. I am not tied to you and yours. Brigit and I have an understanding that our bondmate ties are limited to those we know attending the university.”

There was a moment of silence before Ladislas admitted with grudgingly respect, “I ask because my daughter, in her naivete, has extended her protection to a human.”

Ladislas drawled out the last word as if he was talking about cockroaches and gave Logan a raking glance up and down. With his ears burning,

Logan replied abruptly, “Perhaps it’s best you return later when Brigit is here? Or Jib?”

Ladislas exploded, denouncing the púca.

“Jib is nothing but a duplicitous rascal! Like all True Beasts, it is bound to its cat nature and cares only for itself. It was supposed to keep us informed of my daughter’s whereabouts. Except for one note sent some time ago, we’ve heard nothing!”

Celia and Logan diplomatically remained silent. In the quiet, the naiad’s cell phone gave a loud ding. Affronted at the interruption, King Ladislas turned away and ignored them both.

“Sorry, excuse me.” Celia dodged back into the kitchen and pulled her phone out of her purse, sitting on the counter. Reading a text, she reluctantly told Logan, “Sorry, I’ve got to go meet a potential roommate. Will you be okay if I go…?”

She rolled her eyes towards the king’s back.

“Sure,” Logan said, trying to infuse his voice with confidence. “He’s really here to see Brigit so –.”

“Okay, if you’re really sure -?” The naiad said, slinging the purse strap over her shoulder and edging towards the door. “I appreciate you letting me take the place over for the summer. It all worked out as my roommate wanted my old place for her and her boyfriend.”

“Great,” said Logan as he opened the door for her. Before he could close it, Celia leaned over and whispered, “Are you sure? He’s powerful magic. Do you want back-up? I could text Granite?”

Thinking about the good-natured, but rather socially clumsy wrestler, Logan was quick to reassure Celia that he would be fine. After all, he survived a trip to the Perilous Realm; he could do this.

Logan closed the door, and turning saw a dash of movement from the corner of his eye from the kitchen. He murmured to the brownie, “Let me deal with it.”

“Keep yer heid,” the brownie cautioned him.

Brigit’s father was walking around the living room, looking out the window, and inspecting the furniture. His tour finally stopped at the couch, where he stared down at Logan’s luggage as if it offended him.

There was too much silence.

“Would you like a piece of cake? There’s probably some beer in the fridge. Or coffee?”

“You did not eat anything from our royal table when you visited us. Why would I accept what meager offerings you might have at your hearth?”

From Logan’s visit to Brigit’s court, he knew food in the human lands was far better tasting than anything in the fae world.

“Maybe because it’s delicious human food, baked by a brownie?”

“Break bread with you?” asked Ladislas sharply. “Do you really grasp, human, what this Guest Right would demand of me?”

“Not really,” replied Logan. He knew sharing food had significance according to the fae Laws of Civility, however his lessons with Brigit lacked details.

Without waiting for an answer, he left to the small kitchen. Retrieving a knife from a drawer, he cut the cake. He paused a moment, looking at the blade and thinking over the possibility of using it, before setting it down on the counter. It took two trips to bring out saucers of cake with forks, and the two bottles of beer.

Perhaps it was jet lag starting to set in that made Logan sit down in the presence of fae royalty, but he was starting to feel drained. Besides, sitting on the sofa made it easier to eat cake and drink beer.

After finishing a bite, he cleared his throat with his drink. “Was there a special reason for your arrival?”

The king towered over him, looking down his nose at Logan.

“Queen Elixia learned college students sent to these learning centers arrive with gifts from their family. We will not have it said that our dear girl was here without the ceremonial trappings due to her status.”
Ladislas untied a small leather bag from his belt.

“We went shopping.”

From the pouch, he started pulling out items that were about the size of game pieces. When he blew across them, they grew to their standard size. First, a pair of thick leather boots fell to the floor with a thud.

“Seven-League Boots. She shouldn’t have to walk such a long distance between these classes.”

The next item was a fancy women’s handbag. It had a prominent gold metal clasp, a logo of a couture label Logan recognized due to his mom’s love of shopping. He couldn’t imagine Brigit using it.

The king continued.

“Queen Elixia modified this human status symbol. She lined it with a velvet bag, which will always contain inside 30 coins from this realm. She said it was called ‘mad money’ though it does not look insane to me.”

Calculating the highest denomination coin of the Bewachterberg currency, Logan figured Brigit would be able to buy a fast-food sandwich at least once a day.

Next came a trio of what looked like doll dresses until they blossomed to ball-gowns. The king held them up one-by-one before carefully laying them aside.

“A dress as bright as the sun, one as pale as the moon, and, my personal favorite, containing all the colors of the sky.” At Logan’s stupefied expression, the king explained in a tone of addressing a child. “For evening wear. Official functions for nobility.”

“To be worn with the seven-league boots?” But Ladislas did not respond to Logan’s comment. Instead, he kept filling the room with ridiculous items.

He held up a white, opalescent, goblet. It glowed with a dim light.

“After getting a full report of what happened last year to our dear girl, this is essential – a cup carved from Unicorn horn. Queen Elixia had our silversmith fasten this silver chain. With it, Brigit can attach it to her girdle and have it with her every day. Do not let her sup without it, bard.”

Considering last year’s events, the cup might not be a bad idea. But Brigit didn’t wear a medieval belt. Maybe she could use the purse to carry it about?

“A ring which will prick your finger when an enemy is near.” The heavy gold signet he placed on an end table.

“A silver message hand mirror. Brigit is to talk with her mother each evening. This lack of communication with her daughter frets her.”

Having met Brigit’s mother, Logan figured this meant there had been several hysterical, dramatic storms already about Brigit’s bid for independence. No wonder the dryad had run away from home! Ladislas and Elixia were helicopter parents.

“A necklace last used by Ecesedi Báthory Erzsébet. Put it on the neck of your enemy, and issue the command. It decapitates them. I’ve had the crusted blood cleaned off; it looks as good as new.”

King Ladislas held it up for Logan to see, spreading it wide between his hands so the silver chain of rubies, each as large as a pigeon’s egg, sparkled. In a conversational tone, the king added, “It wasn’t true the Baroness bathed in virgin’s blood. She just had a taste for torturing and killing girls.”

Ladislas tossed the deadly necklace into Logan’s lap and gave a dark chuckle at how he startled. Logan delicately picked it up with his forefinger and thumb and put it next to the ring. Distracted for a moment, he was surprised to see the king now held a large bow in his hands.
Ladislas was turning it over in his hands, stroking the smooth wood.

“A longbow made of wych yew. Some see it as inferior to traditional yew, but wych yew makes a flatter, wider bow. Makes a better balance when you draw.”

Continuing in an instructive voice, he nocked an arrow. It had an obsidian arrow-point and black fletchings.

“These arrows are exceptional. A unique blend of three Elements: Wind, Wood, and Stone.”

With an easy, smooth draw, Brigit’s father brought his hand to his pointed ear and aimed the arrow’s tip at Logan. “The enchantment makes each arrow always strike true.”

“What about Guest Right?” Logan reminded him. Angry, he stood up, moving so the tip was a hands-breath from his heart.

“As humans say, better to ask for forgiveness. Your family can come to me for redress.”

The knuckles of the king’s fingers tightened.

The gang is back! With a new adventure!

Never Date a Siren is #1 in the College Fae series. You can sign up to my newsletter via this link to get the book free. Or find it free at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple books.

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