The Masked Fae (Royal Fae of Rose Briar Woods 1) - Page 93

“Move down,” Brahm commands the others at the table. Though they look like high-titled Faeries, they scurry to do the prince’s bidding. Satisfied, Brahm pulls out the chair next to his sister for me.

People watch the display. Their murmurs are like a flock of birds winging about the room, and they make me anxious. I reluctantly lower myself into the chair.

The queen watches without a word, but I can feel the weight of her stare.

“Alice, this is my sister, Sabine,” Brahm says. “Sabine, this is Alice.”

He then gives her a look that plainly says, “Be nice.”

“Hello,” I say quietly, terrified of the pretty Fae woman.

The princess turns in her chair, assessing me. “I don’t know what all the fuss is about. You do resemble the girl, I suppose, but your hair is clearly wrong.”

I twist my hands in my lap, forcing myself to give her an answering smile.

“I’m sure you have no idea, but you’re quite fortunate to be tethered to Brahm,” she says. “He is the kindest master you could ask for—do not forget that.”

“That’s enough, Sabine,” Brahm says shortly.

The princess’s eyes move beyond me to her brother. “It’s been a month. Are you still in a foul temper about it? If you’ve grown tired of her, give her to Ian and be done with it.”

“No,” Drake says from behind us in a rough, oddly unpracticed, voice. “Not Ian.”

Both Brahm and Sabine turn to look at him, their shock apparent.

Brahm’s face contorts, looking like he’s fighting something before he finally surrenders.

Looking defeated, he turns from his brother without acknowledging him and leans forward to speak with Sabine. “I have no intention of giving Alice to Ian or anyone else. She’s mine, and I am hers, and it will remain that way.”

Though I didn’t like Sabine’s use of the word “master,” my heart dances when Brahm claims we belong to each other. But the announcement must be a dangerous one.

People in attendance shift and whisper once more, and from the way Queen Marison’s eyes flash, I know Brahm crossed a line.

Suddenly, the queen laughs. The sound is sweet and bright, but a mockingly benevolent smile passes over her lips. “It’s so like you to cherish your first pet, Brahm. If I’d known it would please you so, I would have gotten one for you sooner.”

Brahm’s hand fists around his napkin.

“But I’m afraid you must remember her place,” Queen Marison continues, “lest you give her too much leash and make her unruly. Alice, stand with Drake while we eat.”

Except for Sabine’s sharp inhale, the room is silent.

As I begin to stand, Brahm catches my shoulder, making me pause. “It’s my choice whether or not I bring my illanté to dinner, is it not?”

The question echoes in the room, the hush making it sound much louder than it actually was.

His mother’s eyes flash, and a terrifying smile tugs at her crimson lips. “Are you defying me, Brahm?”

“He’s not,” Sabine says before Brahm can answer, knocking his hand from my shoulder and urgently pushing me to my feet. “She’s going.”

I immediately rise, not daring to look at Brahm, knowing what’s at stake.

Brahm begins to argue, but Sabine hisses to him under her breath, “What do you think will happen to her if you’re dead?”

That’s all it takes for Brahm to relent. Jaw rigid, he sits back in his chair, staring straight ahead.

Hating that I’m on display, and terrified for Brahm, I join Drake. The prince watches me, looking almost as angry as his brother. But when he meets my gaze, he looks away.

He’s the only one. Too many eyes are on me. Some of the attending Fae nobles look like they’re enjoying the display, but most appear uncomfortable.

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