Authors: Zenina Masters
Tags: #Adult, #Erotic Romance, #Fey, #Fantasy, #Magic, #Paranormal, #Shapehsifter
A djinn resigned to being alone meets a phoenix who thinks she is off limits, but it doesn’t stop him.
Teebie has spent the last few years making her guests happy and easing them into the life of newly mated couples. Things have been a little more involved with the arrival of the fey, but the basic dance was the same. Keep them fed, keep them happy and nudge them in the right direction.
Andor has lived his five centuries pursuing his own happiness, but his mother puts her foot down. It is time for him to get serious and find a mate. His father has made the arrangements and the Crossroads awaits.
The moment he meets his first djinn, he is fascinated. She is graceful, intelligent and vivid blue.
Even knowing that she is off limits, he can’t help but pursue her by every means at his disposal. She doesn’t run.
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Blue Skies on Fire
Copyright © 2015 Zenina Masters
Cover art by Carmen Waters
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
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Blue Skies on Fire
Shifting Crossroads Book 32
Andor Felix paced in front of his mother’s desk.
“Sit down, Andor. There is no reason for this agitation.”
“You are ordering me to find a mate, Mother. I am pretty sure that this is exactly the kind of event that calls for agitation.”
Meridith Felix, of the people of the norther crown, scowled at him. Her elven features remained graceful and understanding, even though she was exasperated.
Andor thudded into a chair. “Where is Father?”
“Kyrok has slept beneath the ice for the last decade. He will be rising soon, and he wants you to have a wife when he does. He wants grandchildren.”
Andor rolled his eyes. Neither of his parents knew his origins but had taken in the infant left on their doorstep. The need for grandchildren had not bothered them at all in the last five hundred years.
Meridith smiled. “Because now there is a way for you to meet another nice shifter and find out if you have a connection. It is a welcoming moment, and they have thrown it open to the fey as well, so your peculiar type of magic will definitely blend right in.”
Andor slumped back in his chair. “I never blend in.”
His mother got up from behind her crystal desk, and she came around to crouch in front of him. Her pale-blue hair rippled down her back and pooled on the ground. “For hundreds of years you have used guile and glamour to blend in with the humans. You could—and did—find pleasure with them, but did you ever feel the connection of one who could meet you on equal footing?”
“You have told me to avoid the shifters until now. Why the sudden change?”
She smiled slightly. “Because I want you to stop being alone. I live this life because it was chosen for me. I raised you because I love you. I want you to have someone to love as well. It is a wonderful feeling. I even grew to love Kyrok after a while.”
Andor smirked. “Yeah, I can tell. The question is would you have chosen him on your own if your family hadn’t staked you out as a sacrifice to him?”
Meridith chuckled. “If he had bothered to assume a form without the claws and had courted me, yes. He is a very handsome and charming male when he wants to be.”
He raised his mother to her feet and stood with her. “I will go and speak to him. If he is sure that it is what I should do, I will make the arrangements.”
His mother hugged him. “Good. He is expecting you before sundown. He will tell you who to contact.”
Andor grinned. Of course, his parents were conspiring against him. Despite the rocky nature of their introduction, they got along very well. It just went to show that sometimes arranged marriages worked out for the best. The nature of the arrangements left something to be desired, in his opinion. He had no intention of tearing his mate off an altar stone on a beach.
He left his mother and headed down the stairs of the ancient castle in the frozen north. It was a weird place for a castle, but his mother was right at home there. Ice fey were not common, and it showed how desperate they were when they staked her out for the dragon.
He descended ten stories under the earth to find the huge door and his sleeping father resting behind it.
So, she has finally talked to you.
Yes, Father. Do you feel it is time?
It is past time. You need more than just the lust of the moment. You have had plenty of that. Find a woman who sets you on fire for a change, my handsome son.
You are just saying that because I am handsome.
There was a low rumble through the door.
I will be awake within the month. I want you to give some serious thought to finding a woman of your own, the nice, legal and modern way.
So, don’t follow in your footsteps?
What your mother and I started was fine for its time. With the new ability to mix powers, I would not mind proposing and doing it all over again. Perhaps we could present you with a brother or sister.
That is an interesting idea. Well, how do I get to this miraculous place where shifters and fey can mate in harmony?
I have placed the necessary links in the vault. You will be able to transport yourself there once you have made the booking. Do not go in without warning. It would be rude, and one of my kind has gone to the trouble of creating the Crossroads, so treat it and its magic with respect.
So, behave or I will get myself frosted. Got it. See you in a few weeks, Father.
Behave, my son.
The deep draconic chuckle shook the ground.
Visiting his father while he slept always left Andor with a headache. Telepathic communication might come naturally to dragons, but it was not part of Andor’s skill set. It hurt a little if he wasn’t shifted.
With his duty to his family confirmed, he headed up to the vault on the fifth sublevel. Inside, he found a note that said,
When Andor gets his head out of his ass and wants to be a grownup.
He grimaced and picked up the package underneath the sarcastic note. It seemed he had to be a grownup. It had just taken a few hundred years.
* * * *
Teebie looked at the reservation list and blinked at the iconography that indicated a VIP. There hadn’t been one of them in quite a while. A mythical shifter was about to spend time at her home.
The fact that the shifter was male was a little unusual. Most of the mythical shifters that had needed to seek out the Crossroads were females. It was harder for a powerful female to find a mate than it was for a male.
Teebie arranged a room with a balcony and set up the bed. All she knew was that her guest would be arriving in the next three days and that he had flight as part of his shifted form.
Dira had given her complete control of the Open Heart Bed and Breakfast, and the power that the Crossroads generated was used to alter the structure of the building to suit the needs of the guests.
The little fact that the Crossroads was now self-supporting was not something that she had been invited to share. Dira’s help blending the fey and shifter magics had created something that was evolving and growing. Keeping up with it was something that Teebie tried to do.
It was necessary to bleed off the extra power that was being generated with every mating, so her aunt had put her in charge of the new expansion. Dira and Mak were splitting their time between the Crossroads and their new home. The human world thought that Dira was fun and exotic. She was modelling for Mak’s family’s clothing line and enjoying the attention from the public and her new family.
The fact that Dira managed to balance her old family with her new was part of what kept her in a position of honour in Teebie’s mind. It was the realization of a dream that Teebie hoped would one day visit her. Seeing couple after couple get together was starting a sharp ache in her chest. Being the only djinn in town was beginning to make her less exotic and more pitiable.
As she got ready for the new arrivals, she looked down at the hands holding the clipboard. Blue. Out of all her siblings, she was the only one who defaulted to blue. She sighed and put the information aside as the Crossroads vibrated with the newest arrival. It wasn’t one of hers, but her guests wouldn’t be far behind. It was time to pull a fantasia and get the mops and brooms working while the current guests were away and the new ones had yet to arrive.
The longest time before more wishes that she would fulfill.
The Crossed Star was getting busy, but Teebie wanted to talk to Chuck or Spike. There was another balance ceremony in the morning, and they needed something special.
Chuck was tending the bar. “Evening, Teebie. What can I get for you?”
“Our union tomorrow is a little different. He is a wine fey, and her human persona is a restaurateur, if you can imagine that. We need a bottle of wine that is fairly special for the event. Something that they can take home with them.”
Chuck frowned. “I think I may have something, but I will have to check the cellar. Can I get back to you later?”
“Sure. You know where to find me.”
Chuck nodded. “Same old, same old.”
Teebie sighed. “You know it.”
She headed back to the Open Heart and pasted a smile on her face for the couples and singles that she passed. She couldn’t be seen being cranky or lonely. It would wreck the mood of the Crossroads.
Her VIP guest was due to arrive, and just as she touched the door of the bed and breakfast, she felt a surge of power run through the ground under her feet. Apparently, he had arrived.
She entered her home and crossed the floor to her desk, looking for the icon that was associated with the new arrival. A wing on fire was the icon.
Teebie prepared a selection of tea, coffee and lemonade for her new guest as well as some of the cookies she had made earlier. She had to admit that she enjoyed that particular part of the job. She loved baking as much as her auntie did.
She had no idea if he was going to come directly to the Open Heart or if he was going to get his tour first. Teebie sat behind her desk, closed her eyes and tracked the power signature as she had a hundred times before.
Tony was doing the tour. His crystal-black energy marked him easily. The bright blue-white crackle next to him had to be the guest.
Teebie checked on their progress and slipped out to visit Teal.
Inside the Meditation Centre, she walked in and whispered, “So, what is he like?”
Teal turned with a smile. “He is handsome enough if you like that whole Viking thing. Tony couldn’t get him out of here fast enough, for fear I would end up swimming in my own drool. He is very handsome with piercing blue eyes.”
Teebie nodded at the summation. “Nice to know. I will gird my loins so I don’t make a fool of myself when I meet him.”
“Good idea. How are you doing over there? I haven’t had a chance to come by in the last few weeks. Things have been so busy all of a sudden.” Teal grinned.
“I understand completely. It is something I have been dealing with as well. Keeping the polite greeting up is taking all my energy lately. I don’t even have enough time to work on my books.”
“You need to take time for yourself.”
Teebie laughed. “I need Dira and Mak to return and help out. Barring that, I will simply continue to plug along.”
“You do an amazing job. Bookings at the Open Heart are at an all-time high. That is due to you.”
“And to opening up the Crossroads to the fey. They are sticklers for luxury and privacy. I provide both.”
Teal grinned. “And you do it with charm and grace.”
Teebie lifted her head as she sensed her guest beginning his path to the Open Heart. “One thing before I rush off.”