Wicked Lovely Page 71

"Aislinn comes with me to see Donia and becomes a queen." Keenan kept his irritation at being questioned under control. They both wanted the same thing—Aislinn's well-being.

Seth looked truly ill at ease. "Will it hurt her?"

Aislinn seemed startled by the question, fork full of food held in midair.

"No," Keenan said. "And afterward, there's not much in your world or mine that can seriously hurt her."

"What about the other one, the Winter Queen?" Seth had entangled his hand in Aislinn's hair, stroking it absently while he spoke.

"She still can. Monarchs can wound or kill one another."

"Monarchs like you," Seth prompted. "You can hurt her."

"I will not." Keenan looked at Aislinn, curled up against Seth, seeming happy. It was what he wanted for her, happiness. There was little she could ask that he'd deny—even if that meant she would be in another's arms for now. "I gave her my vow."

They sat there then, in silence as Aislinn ate, until finally she asked, "Can Seth come with us?"

"No. No mortals, not at the test. It would not be safe for him," Keenan answered carefully, resisting the urge to cringe at the danger of a mortal there. Even without the Sight, the glare would be blinding when his power was unbound, when Aislinn's power slid into her.

Aislinn put her bowl aside and moved into Seth's lap.

Keenan didn't miss the tension around her eyes. He took a steadying breath and added, "Afterward, though, you could bring him to the Rath with us. He can join us to celebrate."

"What about seeing them… us" — she corrected herself before Keenan could—"giving him the Sight so it's easier."

"A monarch can authorize that." Keenan smiled at her attention to detail. She truly would make a wonderful queen.

"So if you—"

"Or you, Aislinn," he interjected.

"Right. If one of us approved it, it would be okay to find a way for him to see us?" she continued with a strange almost-fearful note in her voice.

"I already approve it. We'd just need to get the ingredients. I have a book at the loft." Keenan didn't miss their exchange. "Unless you've already found such a recipe?"

Neither answered. They didn't have to. He cursed softly, knowing exactly where they would've found such a recipe. Who else could have given them such a thing? He dropped that subject and said, "We'll need to work on you learning to hide your emotions better than that. Both of you. Now that Aislinn is summer fey, her emotions will be more volatile. It is the nature of our court."

At Seth's quirked brow, Keenan sighed. "You'll be around enough that it'd be useful for you, too. There are things you might do well to know if you're to be with my queen."

Aislinn said nothing, but Seth's expression tensed. He held Keenan's gaze for several heartbeats, and Keenan realized that the mortal was not unaware of their inevitable competition for Aislinn's attention.

Keenan's respect for Seth grew. The mortal loved Aislinn enough to stay beside her despite the odds against him. It was an admirable quality.

And as they spoke—not about the court or the future, but simply talking, trying to learn more about each other— Keenan found it surprisingly tolerable to sit with his queen and her lover.

He was still relieved, though, when Donia called to let him know that she was home, waiting for them, and to hurry. Beira's hags had been riding all over Huntsdale, wreaking havoc. Fey from the High Court had already begun to leave town, unwilling to stay while things were in upheaval.

Of course, they won't stay.

He sighed. It'd be nice to have at least one other court that tried to stop trouble rather than start it or run from it.

When he hung up, Keenan told Aislinn and Seth of Donia's comments, and they made ready to depart

Aislinn looked anxious at leaving Seth, despite his murmured assurances that he'd see her shortly.

Speaking softly, Keenan reminded him, "The hags cannot come in, but Beira can. Until we return, you must stay here. I would not want you at her mercy."

"Grams. Grams is alone," Aislinn whispered, her eyes widening. Then she was out the door, running.

Keenan paused only a heartbeat, glancing at Seth. "Stay here. We'll be back as soon as we can."

Seth nodded and shoved him toward the still-open door. "Keep her safe."

Outside, Niall was already sending guards after Aislinn.

"Leave someone to watch over him," Keenan instructed as he fled, following Aislinn, hoping that she worried for nothing, that Elena was safe.

When Aislinn got there, the door was ajar. She went into the living room. The TV was on, but she didn't see Grams. She stepped around the corner. "Grams?"

Behind her, the guards spilled into the room.

On the floor, eyes closed, lay Grams.

Aislinn scrambled over to her, felt for a pulse, for breath. Grams was alive.

"Is she…" Keenan pulled her to her feet and knelt beside Grams.

"She's hurt," Aislinn said. "You all come with us to the hospital. If anyone comes near her, you will stop them."

Grimly Keenan nodded. "Your queen has spoken."

The guards bowed. One stepped forward. "We will do our best, but if it's the Winter Queen herself…"

Aislinn heard the fear in his voice. "Is she that strong?"

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