Excerpt from M.T. DeSantis’s “Forever Love”:
If she didn’t find love tonight, she never would.
Karli tugged at the halter top of her dress where it weighed against the back of her neck. The dress was not one she would normally wear. The neckline dipped low between her breasts, showing the curving tops of what had been called her “best assets.” How she wanted to cover up. The only thing about the dress she liked was the color. At the top, it was the green of grass beneath noonday sun, and it flowed down into darker shades, ending in a forest hue. The fabric, so light, whispered around her bare legs like a spring breeze, making Karli shiver. In a bold moment, she’d bought the dress for the dance at which she now stood—the summer eve’s dance of the fae. Her grandmother’s stories from years ago promised beauty beyond comprehension and love found by midnight’s arrival. Those humans lucky enough to catch the eye of a fae might be granted eternal life to spend forever with their love.
Karli hugged herself. So far, the first part of her grandmother’s tales had proven true. A violet hue joined the sky’s usual blue. Silver shimmers, more brilliant than stars, fluttered through the unending color overhead. An orange tint glimmered across the moon, the result of the human and fae worlds blurring together. Something exotic spiced the air. It was clove and pepper and roses and, at the same time, none of those things. Yes, her grandmother’s first promise was kept. It was the second one, the finding love, that Karli doubted. She’d never had much luck there.
But then, wasn’t her bad luck why she was here? And if she didn’t actually get out among the dancers, she’d never see if her luck improved.
With a deep breath to steel herself, Karli stepped from beneath the elm tree where she’d spent the last hour hiding. Out under the sky, the music grew stronger, filling Karli’s ears and soul in a way no human melody ever had. The languid plucking of strings and haunting tones of flutes played a song both sensual and ethereal. All around, fae and humans swayed to the sound. Two human men held hands, gazing at one another with expanses of stars in their eyes. A nymph with sky-blue skin and waist-length raven hair glided between Karli and the men. A human man followed, steps slow and trancelike. His dark eyes fixed on the nymph with love or lust or some combination of both. When they passed, the two male dancers were locked in a passionate embrace, bodies rippling in time to the music.
Karli watched, knowing she shouldn’t stare. What would it take for someone to hold her with such desire? She shook her head and turned away—to find herself gazing into a set of green eyes flecked with silver.
“You are human,” the eyes’ owner said. It was a fae woman with ebony skin and ivory hair. She looked about Karli’s age, but for fae, the appearance of thirty meant she could be three hundred.
“I am.” Karli ducked her head, heat rising in her cheeks. It hadn’t been a question. “I mean, you know that.”
The fae laughed, low.
The sound struck a chord in Karli’s body, humming in tune to the music.
The fae held out one slender hand. Delicate fingers tapered almost to points. “I am Ellowyn, and you wish to dance.”
Ellowyn. The name was a song in itself, a harmony of bells. The silver in Ellowyn’s eyes danced to the tune of her name. Of its own accord, Karli’s hand reached to grasp the fae woman’s. Ellowyn’s flesh was satin and lace. Karli shivered.
Smoldering heat curled in Ellowyn’s gaze. She pulled Karli closer until their bodies almost touched. The tease of contact fluttered over Karli’s skin like feathers tossed in the wind.
“What is your name?” Ellowyn purred the question.
Karli’s mouth went dry. The desire in those four simple words sent sensations she’d never known coursing through her. “Karli,” she said in a breathy half-whisper.
Ellowyn smiled, revealing brilliant white teeth. “Karli.” In the fae’s carnal purr, Karli’s name was a decadent dessert of chocolate and cream. “Dance with me, Karli.”
© 2018 M.T. DeSantis
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