Prince of Seduction

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Elric sighed into the fading light of day as the sun streaked the sky a vivid purple, pink, and orange. Each hour that passed, each month he counted off, put him that much closer to failing his family and his father’s kingdom, Drahcir.

The bloody curse had been with his family for generations, generations that had managed to beat the curse and keep Drahcir and its people alive.  But he had a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach that he would fail.

He ran a hand down his face, feeling more weary and exhausted than he had in months. He longed to speak to his family, especially his brothers. Four siblings had never been closer than he and his brothers. They had shared everything growing up, which made it all the harder when it came time for each of them to leave.

How long had he searched for his mate? How many women had he sought, only to realize they weren’t for him? How long had he been alone as he scoured Scotland for the woman who could save his kingdom?

And the answer to all questions was a resounding – too long.

He was tired of wandering, tired of searching faces, and most importantly, he was tired of fearing that he would fail. As he had often of late, he let out a string of curses that would curl a saint’s toes and wished he could see his ancestor that had meddled in the affairs of the Fae and caused the curse.

Elric leaned a shoulder against the side of the inn and crossed his arms. Autumn had descended on the Highlands and the cool night air helped to soften his growing ire. He had no wish to go inside the inn, but he must. He had to find his mate and return with her before the fifth moon of the Harvest Year, or the curse would wipe out Drahcir and its people.

All because his ancestor wanted to see if he could make a Fae princess fall in love with him.

Well, his ancestor had succeeded, but the fool hadn’t stopped to think what would happen when the princess discovered he didn’t love her. What she had done was put the curse not just on Elric’s ancestor, but the entire Sinclair family.

He had asked his father once if the curse would ever end. Unfortunately, his father didn’t have an answer, and Elric was afraid there wasn’t one.

“I don’t think you’ll find what you seek standing out here.”

Elric slowly turned his head to see who had dared to interrupt his private musings. What he saw gave him pause. He straightened from the building and turned to face the man. Long flaxen hair hung down the middle of the man’s back and was held away from his face by several rows of tiny braids. But it was his unusual shimmering blue eyes that alerted Elric he was standing before a Fae.

The Fae smiled. “I’m glad you know what I am. As for the who? You may call me Aimery. I am commander of the Fae army and here to aid you.”

“Aid me? I didna think anyone was allowed to help us.”

Aimery smiled and crossed his arms over his chest. That’s when Elric noticed the Fae’s curious clothes. The tunic and pants, though typical of the time, were not made of the coarse wool or even the finer material of the gentry. The fabric was unlike anything Elric had ever seen or would ever see.

“I’m not supposed to help,” Aimery said as though Elric wasn’t staring at his clothing. “However, drastic times call for drastic measures.”

“I doona understand.”

Aimery sighed and let his arms fall to his side. “I know. Elric, you’ve searched for many years, and your time is running out. You should’ve found your mate by now.”

“I know.” Elric knew he should show the Fae more respect, but he wasn’t telling Elric anything he didn’t already know.

“You haven’t found her because she isn’t here.”

Elric felt as if someone had knocked his feet out from underneath him. “What do you mean she isna here?”

“Exactly that. Your mate is not in this time.”

He closed his eyes and leaned back against the inn. Of all the things he thought could go wrong to hinder him, this hadn’t been one of them. He had been as certain as the sunrise that their mates were in Scotland, they just had to find them.

“Where in time is she?” Elric managed to croak out as he opened his eyes to gaze at Aimery.

“Many years into the future.”

“Then I’ve failed since I can no’ reach her.”

Aimery grinned, a twinkle in his eyes. “That’s where I come in.”