Read Arranged (Arranged Trilogy Book 1) Online
Authors: Julia Crane
Copyright 2015 by Julia Crane
All rights reserved.
This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material or artwork herein is prohibited. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior written permission of the author.
This novel is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events; to real people, living or dead; or to real locales are intended only to give the fiction a sense of reality and authenticity. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and their resemblance, if any, to real-life counterparts is entirely coincidental.
“Arranged” edited by Claire Teeter &
There For You Editing
Cover art by
Eden Crane Design
o Eden Crane Designs
, your covers are always stunning.
, it’s time for you to join me on Earth. I’ve found a human mate for you.
Groaning, I threw the covers over my head. I really hated when my mother woke me up with her voice in my head. Maybe if I pretended I didn’t hear her she’d go away.
Yeah right, like that’s ever worked.
I know you’re awake.
Kicking the blankets off, I rose to my feet, and stretched my wings while stumbling toward the bathroom. Grasping the sink I leaned in and studied my face. My eyes were a bit puffy from staying up too late with Aiston, but other than that I looked fine. A quick glamour fixed the small imperfection. After all, a princess always had to look her best. I rolled my eyes.
Tulupea, did you hear me?
For a brief moment I debated not answering her. But I knew all that would accomplish would be her guards storming into my room to make sure I was safe. Being daughter of the Faery Queen sucked at times. I had no privacy. No choice of my life path. My mother wanted me to mate with a human. So I had to do it. She didn’t care that I’d already given my heart to another. Or that I’d be the laughing stock of the faery realm. Duty came first. Always.
Is he good looking at least?
I grumbled as I padded across the cool marble floor back into my bedroom.
Even before she spoke I could sense my mother’s disapproval.
Looks are not important. What is important is repopulating the Earth. So sacrifices will have to be made.
Great. He’s a loser.
Why was this happening to me? I flopped back down on my bed. All my life I’d dreamt of marrying a prince and someday becoming queen after my mother was no longer able to fulfill the role. Now any hope of that had been derailed. My only saving grace was the fact that faeries aged very slowly. Basically we were as close to being immortal as you could get without actually being immortal. So my human’s life would be but a flap of my wings. However, during that time I’d have lost my chance of merging with Aiston. He’d never have me after I’d mated with another, let alone a human. Not that I could blame him. Once I returned, my mother would arrange a pairing of her choosing—one that she felt would be the best arrangement for our realm. Neither I nor the male faery would have a say in the matter. If I was lucky, I would grow to care for him. If not, I would have a very long, unhappy life. And there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.
When will the ceremony take place?
I’ll give you till moonrise and then you must come to me. We’ll discuss the particulars then.
Fine. Anything else?
I know it may seem like I am asking too much from you …
You don’t say?
I thought bitterly.
Don’t worry, Mother. I will do as you ask. Like always
I never doubted you. Please believe me. I understand the sacrifice you are making. If there were any other way I wouldn’t ask this of you. Once you arrive you will see. Magick has been returned to its rightful place on Earth, but the cost was crippling. There’s only thirteen percent of the human population left. We must do what we can to preserve their species.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Tulupea to save the day. I groaned. None of this made any sense to me, at all. I wasn’t sure what one faery could do to change the fate of humankind. Hopefully it would make more sense once I got there. Then again, my mother only told me what she thought I needed to know, which could be very frustrating at times.
I’m going back to bed. I’ll see you at moonrise.
My mother didn’t bother to reply which was fine with me.
It was weird to think I’d be seeing her soon. I’d lost track of the amount of time that’d passed since I’d last seen her face. The moon had risen and set many times since her departure. A part of me looked forward to being with her again. But mostly, I didn’t want to leave our home realm. I would miss my friends and, of course, Aiston.
On the plus side, now that magick was restored, I could show myself freely. The few times I’d been to Earth before the wars, I had to glamour myself to appear human. I hated the discrimination. If only humans had accepted that magick wasn’t evil, the wars would never have started to begin with. In their fear, they caused their own deaths, almost to extinction. Very sad.
I laid in bed staring through my skylight. The sun shined brightly down on me, making it nearly impossible to fall back asleep.
Who was I kidding, even without the sun I wouldn’t have been able to fall back asleep. My mind raced and my heart hurt. Today I would have to say good-bye to Aiston, the faery I thought I would spend the rest of my life with.
Touching my temples, I closed my eyes and called for him.
Aiston. I must leave at moonrise and I don’t know when I will return.
Nice of your mother to give you some notice.
Came the curt reply.
I want to see you.
Meet me by the healing tree. I’ll be there shortly.
Just the thought of seeing him had me instantly wide awake. I rushed to my closet, and pulled out a long, flowing green gown. His favorite color. It was light and airy, and made me feel beautiful.
After brushing my hair and teeth I jumped out of my window without telling the guards where I was going. They wouldn’t be thrilled if they realized I’d left without telling them, but sometimes I needed privacy. Hopefully they’d think I was sleeping in like usual.
The soft breeze greeted me as soon as I dropped to the ground. I breathed in the rich, damp air and straightened my dress. Oh how I was going to miss this world.
“Why are you so sad?”
Turning, I glanced back to see a pixie floating through the air. “I must leave today and join my mother on Earth.”
The little pixie flapped her wings faster. “Today?”
I knew she was excited to have gossip to pass on to the others. Before I even made it to the tree, half the realm would know I was leaving. That was one thing I would not miss about this place. Everyone knew everything about everyone.
Picking up my pace, I continued down the winding pathway while the pixie flew off in the opposite direction.
Thankfully the healing tree wasn’t very far from my home. I didn’t think I could wait much longer to be in Aiston’s arms again. I was surprised to find he wasn’t already waiting for me. Maybe he’d been held up by his parents.
I grabbed a piece of fruit off the tree and sat down, leaning my back against the enormous trunk. Instantly a jolt of energy shot through my body. I knew it was pushing out any negative energy and clearing my aura, which was something I was in desperate need of at this point.
“Thank you,” I whispered before biting into the juicy goodness.
A soft hum radiated throughout my body as I waited. We didn’t have clocks, so I watched as the sun rose higher in the sky and wondered what in the world was taking Aiston so long. He knew today was the last day to see me. It upset me that he’d left me hanging, today of all days.
Although, I was sure he’d have a good reason. Maybe something came up with his family or he was stopped on his way to talk.
After some time had passed, I finally heard him approaching. My heart rate kicked into overdrive.
I watched as he approached with his head dropped down, so very unlike the confident boy I knew. Usually he was the life of the party and always made everyone smile. My heart squeezed knowing he was as upset as I was.
In one smooth motion I was on my feet and moving toward him. I expected him to reach out and embrace me, but instead he shoved his hands in his pocket and wouldn’t meet my eyes. Bristling, I watched him in confusion. It wasn’t my fault that I had to go. If I had my way, I’d never leave our realm or my friends.
“You know I have no control over this. It’s my mother’s will.” I took another step forward, and reached out and touched his arm. “You’re mad at me?” I asked quietly.
Finally his gaze met mine. He shook his head. “I’m not mad at you. I knew this was coming, but I just don’t want us to pretend like we have something to wait for. Once you leave here, we’re finished. Forever. I will find a new mate and start a life with her. What we had is meaningless now.”
Jolted by his words, I took a step backwards as if I’d been slapped. “How can you say such hurtful things?”
“Tulupea, we both knew nothing could come out of this. Sure we had fun but that’s that.” He shrugged. “Now I have bragging rights, I dated the princess. But you’re going to be tainted. What your mother is asking of you … honestly, I can’t stand to look at you. You’ll be the laughing stock of the land. A faery with a human. It’s absurd.”
Speechless, I stared at the one person I thought I knew better than myself. I’d thought his feelings for me were real. And now to find out he was using me for bragging rights?
Jutting my chin out, I rose to my full height and took a step forward. My eyes met his, and fear flashed briefly in his. “Get out of my sight. If I see you again I will make you wish you were never born.” This was not an idle threat. My powers were deadly and I was not afraid to use them when needed.
Aiston backed away holding up his hands. “Have a nice life, Tulupea.” He turned on his heels, quickly fading into the forest.
Shaking, I sank back to the ground against the tree. The energy wrapped around me like a warm hug. Tears streamed down my face. I was unable to stop them even though I tried. What just happened? How had I not seen that coming? I was embarrassed and shocked. Had he been laughing at me behind my back this whole time? Belittling our relationship? I could feel my power stirring, wanting to be released, but he wasn’t worth it.
I sat there for a long time mentally going over the last several months of our time together. I finally came to the realization that his feelings for me had to of been true, because if they hadn’t been, I would have known he was lying. Some think faeries can’t lie. Well that’s not exactly true. We can certainly lie, but faeries have an internal lie detector. So I would have known if he’d been deceptive during our time together. Even though I was somewhat relieved by that knowledge, it also informed me what he’d just said, no matter how hurtful, was true. He was over our relationship. It shocked me that he could turn off his feelings so easily.
The thought of being with me now disgusted him.
It was almost comical. Here I was, the princess of all the lands and he didn’t want me because of my duty to the queen. Obviously he never was worth my time to begin with. Aiston did not have the making of a king. I was better off without him. A large weight was lifted off my shoulders with this realization.
Once I felt composed enough, I struggled to my feet and trudged my way back toward the castle. Thank goodness I didn’t run into anyone. I don’t think I could have handled pretending like everything was okay. Not even with my friends.