The Masked Fae (Royal Fae of Rose Briar Woods 1) - Page 26

“In West Faerie, the throne passes to daughters.”

“Only in West Faerie?” I ask. “The other Fae courts don’t follow the same rule?”

“As far as I know.”

As I process the new information, I study the bandit. The light plays with my eyes, making it impossible to see him well, but I memorize all the details I can—his dark hair peeking out from under the brim of his hat and his equally dark eyes under the mask. Clean-shaven skin, expensive leather, well-tailored jacket.

“You’re not a bandit,” I finally say.

“I told you I wasn’t.”



Is it my imagination, or does he look a touch nervous?

“Well, you’re rather heroic, aren’t you?”

He swallows, his throat visibly moving. “I think that might be an exaggeration.”

“Not to all the people you’ve saved.” I meet his shadowed eyes. “Not to me.”

We’re closer now, drawn together as if connected by an ever-shortening cord.

“You’ve never let me thank you for saving me that night,” I whisper.

His voice is rough as he says, “It’s not necessary.”

“Surely you can at least accept a small token?” My eyes move to his lips, which are perfectly visible in the candlelight. “A kiss for a hero? Isn’t that the way the stories go?”

“Alice,” he says, his voice strained.

I press a chaste kiss to his mouth, our lips meeting for only a few brief seconds before I pull back. Just for a moment, his eyes flicker into focus, but then he tilts his head slightly, and the shadows obscure them once more.

“Thank you for saving me,” I whisper, moving forward again.

It’s just another soft kiss—lingering, one-sided, and slightly disappointing. But the bandit doesn’t move away, nor does he nudge me back.

And then…his lips subtly move against mine, and my heart skips a beat. His hand finds my side, his fingertips grazing my waist, and I move in closer.

Suddenly, he jerks back. Half a second later, a knock sounds at the door.

“Alice,” Regina calls from the hallway. “Are you still awake?”

When I turn to tell the masked man to hide, I find he’s already gone. The balcony door shuts behind him, and his shadow disappears over the rail.

Tags: Shari L. Tapscott Royal Fae of Rose Briar Woods Fantasy
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