Chapter 45 – A Court of Thorns and Roses

Chapter 45 – A Court of Thorns and Roses

I was far away but still seeing—seeing through eyes that weren’t mine, eyes attached to a person who slowly rose from his position on a cracked, bloodied floor.

Amarantha’s face slackened. There my body was, prostrate on the ground, my head snapped to one side at a horribly wrong angle. A flash of red hair in the crowd. Lucien.

Tears shone in Lucien’s remaining eye as he raised his hands and removed the fox mask.

The brutally scarred face beneath was still handsome—his features sharp and elegant.

But my host was looking at Tamlin now, who slowly faced my dead body.

Tamlin’s still-masked face twisted into something truly lupine as he raised his eyes to the queen and snarled. Fangs lengthened.

Amarantha backed away—away from my corpse. She only whispered “Please” before golden light exploded.

The queen was blasted back, thrown against the far wall, and Tamlin let out a roar that shook the mountain as he launched himself at her. He shifted into his beast form faster than I could see—fur and claws and pound upon pound of lethal muscle.

She had no sooner hit the wall than he gripped her by the neck, and the stones cracked as he shoved her against it with a clawed paw.

She thrashed but could do nothing against the brutal onslaught of Tamlin’s beast. Blood ran down his furred arm from where she scratched.

The Attor and the guards rushed for the queen, but several faeries and High Fae, their masks clattering to the ground, jumped into their path, tackling them. Amarantha screeched, kicking at Tamlin, lashing at him with her dark magic, but a wall of gold encompassed his fur like a second skin. She couldn’t touch him.

“Tam!” Lucien cried over the chaos.

A sword hurtled through the air, a shooting star of steel.

Tamlin caught it in a massive paw. Amarantha’s scream was cut short as he drove the sword through her head and into the stone beneath.

And then closed his powerful jaws around her throat—and ripped it out. Silence fell.

It wasn’t until I was again staring down at my own broken body that I realized whose eyes I’d been seeing through. But Rhysand didn’t come any closer to my corpse, not as rushing paws—then a flash of light, then footsteps—filled the air. The beast was already


Amarantha’s blood had vanished from his face, his tunic, as Tamlin slammed to his knees.

He scooped up my limp, broken body, cradling me to his chest. He hadn’t removed his mask, but I saw the tears that fell onto my filthy tunic, and I heard the shuddering sobs that broke from him as he rocked me, stroking my hair.

“No,” someone breathed—Lucien, his sword dangling from his hand. Indeed, there were many High Fae and faeries who watched with damp eyes as Tamlin held me.

I wanted to get to Tamlin. I wanted to touch him, to beg for his forgiveness for what I’d done, for the other bodies on the floor, but I was so far away.

Someone appeared beside Lucien—a tall, handsome brown-haired man with a face similar to his own. Lucien didn’t look at his father, though he stiffened as the High Lord of the Autumn Court approached Tamlin and extended a clenched hand to him.

Tamlin glanced up only when the High Lord opened his fingers and tipped over his hand. A glittering spark fell upon me. It flared and vanished as it touched my chest.

Two more figures approached—both handsome and young. Through my host’s eyes, I knew them instantly. The brown-skinned one on the left wore a tunic of blue and green, and atop his white-blond head was a garland of roses—the High Lord of the Summer Court. His pale-skinned companion, clad in colors of white and gray, possessed a crown of shimmering ice. The High Lord of the Winter Court.

Chins raised, shoulders back, they, too, dropped those glittering kernels upon me, and Tamlin bowed his head in gratitude.

Another High Lord approached, also bestowing upon me a drop of light. He glowed brightest of them all, and from his gold-and-ruby raiment, I knew him to be High Lord of the Dawn Court. Then the High Lord of the Day Court, clad in white and gold, his dark skin gleaming with an inner light, presented his similar gift, and smiled sadly at Tamlin before he walked away.

Rhysand stepped forward, bringing my shred of soul with him, and I found Tamlin staring at me—at us. “For what she gave,” Rhysand said, extending a hand, “we’ll bestow what our predecessors have granted to few before.” He paused. “This makes us even,” he added, and I felt the twinkle of his humor as he opened his hand and let the seed of light fall on me.

Tamlin tenderly brushed aside my matted hair. His hand glowed bright as the rising sun, and in the center of his palm, that strange, shining bud formed.

“I love you,” he whispered, and kissed me as he laid his hand on my heart.

Series Navigation<< Chapter 44 – A Court of Thorns and RosesChapter 46 – A Court of Thorns and Roses >>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!