QSFer Tay LaRoi has a new FF fantasy book out:
After the fall of Queen Mab, DJ Suzuki resolves herself to an aimless life of entertaining, drinking, and hooking up within the Faerie Realm. After twenty ageless years, she knows she can’t go back to her family, despite the fact that her brother still searches for her and the small voice telling her that her parents might have had a change of heart about her orientation.
When a young woman named Talia shows up at DJ’s workplace desperate for help, DJ sees a way to rid herself of the guilt of staying away: she’ll take Talia where she needs to go if Talia rids DJ’s family of all memory of her. Talia will be safe and DJ will be free to live in the Faerie Realm with a clear conscience. Everyone wins.
Except there’s more to Talia and her situation than she’s letting on. Her pursuers want more than just her. They want the Faerie Court, and Talia is the key to getting it. If DJ can’t get Talia to safety before they catch up, a guilty conscience will be the least of her worries. She just might have a faerie civil war on her hands.
This girl isn’t Queen Mab. They just have a few similar features. That’s all. People look like each other all the time. I’m just a little tipsy. The longer I look at this girl, the less she looks like the woman I once served. Mab didn’t have freckles or blonde hair. Mab’s ears tapered to a point like every other faerie I’ve seen around here, and this girl’s are rounded like mine. She must be human, which is exactly why she shouldn’t be here in the Time Between.
She gently shakes me out of my thoughts. “Please, is there somewhere I can hide?”
I take her by her wrists. “Slow down. What are you doing here?”
The girl takes a deep breath. “I was kidnapped by a group of trolls and goblins. They’re dragging me to only the gods know where, but they stopped nearby for the night. I managed to bewitch them and escape, but I’m sure it’s worn off by now. My magic’s terrible.”
“Wait, what? Your magic? But you’re…”
A light bulb flicks on.
“You’re half human.”
“Correct. Now can you help me or not?”
I don’t think I can, but Iver might be able to. Queen Shaylee’s half human, and he’s pretty good friends with her. He’ll know what to do with this girl, even if she’s being kidnapped. I take her hand and lead her toward the bar.
The girl squeezes my hand and whispers, “Thank you.”
She’s warm like a human. I can’t remember the last time I felt this sort of heat, the gentle warm pulse that radiates from within.
I shake my head again. Maybe Iver’s right. I should quit drinking.
Nah. Just lighten up.
We wiggle through the crowd near the bar, so I can slip behind the counter. “Iver, we’ve got a situation.”
He turns our way, still pouring a drink, and frowns. “What did you break this time?”
“Bite me. I didn’t break anything. Look, this girl needs help.” I pull her forward, so my boss can have a look at her. “She said a bunch of trolls and goblins kidnapped her.” As he looks her over, I stand on my tiptoes to whisper in his ear, “And she’s half human.”
His eyes go wide and blink at me a few times, then at the girl. He studies her for a few minutes more and concludes, “So you are.”
“What should we do?” I ask.
Iver looks over our heads toward the entrance. “Get down.”
Sure enough, there’s a troll lumbering through the doorway. He must be young because he only has to duck to get in. The dim and flashing lights don’t do any favors for his ashen complexion and warts. The other patrons give him a wide berth. As if a troll’s bulk isn’t enough to scare people off, it looks like he hasn’t washed that brown tunic in years. It can’t smell pleasant.
The three goblins that tag along aren’t much better. Their big ears flap and their long noses bounce with their crouched steps. They can’t be that old either. Two hundred years old, maybe. Two hundred fifty, tops.
I turn to tell the girl to get beneath the counter, but she already thought of that. She’s curled up beside the mini-freezer, hugging her legs to her chest for dear life. Iver glances around the bar, giving everyone a warning look to keep their mouths shut. Judging by the way everyone goes quiet and stiff at the group’s approach, there shouldn’t be an issue.
Even if we weren’t hiding a possible fugitive, I doubt anyone would give these guys a warm welcome. Ever since the Faerie Courts split back up, faeries in Seelie Court lands haven’t been too fond of faeries that willingly served Queen Mab, like trolls and goblins. One hundred years of oppression will do that to people. There are exceptions to every rule of course, but this crew doesn’t look like one of them.
The goblins hop up on a couple of barstools and lean over the counter. “Evening, Iver,” one says with a snaggle-toothed grin. “How’s business?”
Tay grew up reading too many fairy tales and watching too many movies, which is probably why she writes fantasy now.
When she’s not at her day job or writing, she can be found taking spontaneous drives to new places, and drinking way too much coffee. Her Faerie Court Chronicles series is now available from NineStar Press.