The Masked Fae (Royal Fae of Rose Briar Woods 1) - Page 68

“I don’t understand you.” I sit in a chair, waving for her to take a seat as well. “You, more than anyone, are fascinated with human culture, and yet you have no compassion.”

“Compassion is overrated.” She softens her words with a smile. “Humans are interesting, yes. But they’re still just humans. Whoever this girl is, she’s certainly not worth dying for.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever met someone as apathetic as you, Sabine. You are not cruel, and yet you will so quickly turn a blind eye if it suits you.”

Her expression hardens, and she leans forward, clasping the arms of her chair. “I will always—always—choose you first. You’re simply going to have to live with that. If it comes down to it, I will gladly let Mother take out her madness on this girl as long as she doesn’t direct it at you.”

I sit back with a sigh. It’s hard to argue with that sort of loyalty, disturbing though it might be. But that’s why Sabine is dangerous—that’s why I don’t trust her quite as much as I would like.

“Alice isn’t coming back to Faerie,” I finally say. “Let’s put this behind us.”

Suddenly, Sabine’s brave mask slips, and she looks shaken with relief. “You swear?”

“I will do everything in my power to keep her out.”

“And you won’t go into the woods again while Mother is visiting?”

I hesitate before I agree. “I won’t—but you must promise to get her back to Auvenridge as quickly as possible. I’ll go out of my mind if she stays for long.”

She nods quickly. “I will, I swear.”

I study my sister, and familiar guilt nips at my conscience. “How are you faring?”

“Oh, you know.” Sabine lets out a long sigh. “It’s the same as always. I’m sure Mother will marry again soon, and I’ll have a temporary break from her continual nagging.”

My lips twist with morbid humor. “One, maybe two months.”

Sabine grins. “One or two blissful months, and then I’ll get to wear black again. You know how well it suits my complexion.”

“How is Drake?”

She shrugs, suddenly avoiding my eyes. “Who knows? He walks through his days like a wraith.”

As if killing our father wasn’t punishment enough, Mother commanded that all were forbidden to speak to Drake after the incident, lacing her decree with magic so it could not be disregarded.

Sabine and I rebelled when we three were alone, finding ways around the magic as much as possible. But even with that, the punishment was too much for his young mind. In just a few years, he withdrew into himself, shutting others out entirely. He now haunts the family like a ghost—always there, but always silent.

“Do you remember the rose garden you planted for him and Alice all those years ago?” Sabine asks. “Behind the hedge, where they liked to play?”

“Yes,” I say, startled she said the name. She usually avoids it.

“Mother discovered it recently.” Sabine studies the skirt of her gown, running her hand over the silken material. “She withered the roses, and then she burned the entire garden.”

A lump forms in my throat.

Sabine’s eyes become misty. “Drake watched it smolder, and then he walked away.”

“He knew she’d find it eventually,” I say. “Why else would he bring cuttings with him every time you visited?”

“How many are in your greenhouse now?” she asks.

“Several hundred.”

“It’s a strange obsession.”

“What else does he have?” I ask gently.

She shakes her head, threading her fingers together.

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