Fantasyland 01 Wildest Dreams

Wildest Dreams

Kristen Ashley

Published by
Kristen Ashley at Smashwords

 

Copyright 2011 Kristen Ashley

 

Discover other titles by Kristen Ashley:

 

Rock Chick Series:

Rock Chick

Rock Chick Rescue

Rock Chick Redemption

Rock Chick Renegade

Rock Chick Revenge

 

The ‘Burg Series:

For You

At Peace

Golden Trail

 

The Colorado Mountain Series:

The Gamble

Sweet Dreams

 

Fantasyland Series:

The Golden Dynasty

Fantastical

 

Other Titles by Kristen Ashley:

Lacybourne Manor

Mystery Man

Penmort Castle

Sommersgate House

Three Wishes

 

www.kristenashley.net

 

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*****

 

Chapter One

Love Is Everything

 

“You are sure?” Valentine asked in her soft,
throaty, sing-song New Orleans accented voice.

I nodded.

I was sure. Heck yeah, I was sure.

I could
not
wait.

“Finnie,” my friend Claudia hissed from my
side and I looked from Valentine to Claudia to see Claudia looked
pale and alarmed. “This is crazy,” she went on then elaborated.
“Crazier than when you bungee jumped, crazier than when you jumped
from a plane, crazier than when you swam with the sharks, crazier
–”

I cut her off, saying through a smile, “I
didn’t swim with sharks, they just crashed the party.”

Claudia’s eyes got squinty. “You know what
I mean. And I’ll throw in treasure hunting with that guy who
thought he was the Indiana Jones of this generation but who was, I
will remind you,” she leaned in, “
not.
And that time you nearly got stampeded by elephants when
you were on safari –”

I looked to Valentine. “That was
unfortunate. And it wasn’t my fault no matter what anyone
says.”

Valentine’s eyelids lowered a little, like a
cat who was coasting to sleep.

Seriously, this bitch was cool.

“Finnie!” Claudia snapped and I looked back
at my friend.

“I get it sweetheart, you think I’m
nuts.”


You
are
nuts if you…” she leaned forward again, her eyes darting
with more than a little obvious distrust at Valentine before coming
back to me, “think you’re going to a
parallel universe.


I can assure you,” Valentine put in
smoothly, “she
will.

I looked at Valentine. Her hair was a
dark, shining auburn, real as far as I could tell. Her skin was
alabaster. Her body was long and very thin. Her descent, she
declared, was pure Creole, in other words,
her
people were there before
our
people were there (her people being the Europeans
and when she explained this to us during our first meeting with her
a couple of days ago, after, of course, corresponding with her for
months to set up this gig, it was
she
who added the emphasis). She had a kickass place in the
French Quarter. She had major class from her perfectly coiffed head
to her killer Jimmy Choo clad toes. She reeked of money even more
than
me
and I was
loaded.

And, incidentally, she was, I’d learned from
a variety of reliable sources, an extremely powerful witch.

“Okay,” Claudia stated, “say you do this.
Say you send Finnie there –”


Her name, is Seoafin,” Valentine cut in
haughtily, her green eyes sliding elegantly to me, “that is far
more chic then…” her lips turned down and one nostril quivered
delicately, “
Finnie.

The nostril quiver, I thought, was a good
touch.


Well
I,
and
all her friends who know her and love her and don’t want to see her
get gouged by someone like
you,
call her
Finnie,
” Claudia
returned.

Valentine forced her gaze to Claudia (and
made it obvious she did so) and she said one word, the ice dripping
from it underlining a meaning the word did not exactly have but
could not be missed, “
Indeed
.” Then she looked back at me and her face warmed,
slightly
. “Sjofn
is the Goddess of Love. And love,” her eyelids suddenly fluttered
dreamily, “
love,
” she
breathed then she focused on me with a strange intensity that made
me, even
me
, squirm a
little, “love is
everything.

Okay, this bitch had style and class but
she was
whacked.

“All righty,” I whispered.

“Oh my God!” Claudia cried. “This is
insane!”

Valentine’s eyes sliced to Claudia and her
gaze grew sharp. “It is far from insane. Magic is entirely
natural
it is not
insane.
And I will remind you of what I’ve told
you repeatedly, this is not something I would normally do. It is
because I like your friend, I admire her…” her green gaze travelled
the length of Claudia seated in her chair, “outside her choice in
acquaintances, that is, and she carries the name of a goddess, and
that goddess is the goddess of love, that I’m doing it at all. She
should feel honored.”

“I do, totally,” I assured her and Valentine
smiled benignly at me.


Yeah, she should feel honored,” Claudia
cut in sarcastically. “What with
Finnie
giving
you
a million
dollars,
she
should feel
honored. Right”

Valentine sniffed delicately and
condescendingly as any uppity bitch would do when money was brought
up.

Claudia was a dog with a bone. “So, say you
can actually pull off this nonsense. Where’s she going? What’s she
going to do when she gets there? And are you sure you can bring her
back?”

“She is going to Lunwyn, a beautiful,
snow-covered country at the very top of the Northlands. She is
taking the place of the Seoafin who lives there who, by the way,”
Valentine looked again at me, “actually spells it properly.” She
turned again to Claudia. “She will assume the life of the other
her. She will be there for the time we agreed, that is one year to
this very day, this very hour, this very minute and then, in this
very place,” she raised a pale, graceful hand and pointed a long,
thin, lethally-rounded, blood red-tipped fingernail at the thick
rug on the floor, “I will switch them back.”

“Right,” Claudia whispered, clearly thinking
Valentine was a loon.

I grabbed Claudia’s hand and pulled it to
me. “Honey, listen to me. Valentine’s been in touch with this, uh…
other me. She’s on board and she wants this as much as me. I’ve
written a twenty page report on my life and all she needs to know
about it to show her the way
and
she’ll have
you
.” I squeezed
her hand. “She’s going to write to me about what I need to know
about her life. It’s all sorted. It’s all good. But if I do this,
which I’m going to do, this has to happen very soon. The window is
closing.”

Claudia stared in my eyes and I saw fear in
hers. “Okay, Finnie, I get this, I get it, I’ve gotten it for
years. I get what you want from this. I get that your Dad, your Mom
–”

My lungs seized and my back went straight
before I snapped, “Don’t.”

She squeezed my hand and kept at me. “I
wouldn’t but you’re giving me no choice. You’re giving this woman a
million dollars for something…” she shook her head, “for whatever
this is and you have no idea if it’s going to work,
where
she’ll send you if it does
and
what
will happen
once you get there.”

I grinned. “That’s the adventure,” I pointed
out the obvious.

“This is why I like her,” Valentine murmured
decorously.

Claudia’s eyes slid to the side, aiming a
vicious “shut up” look at Valentine but they cleared when they came
back to me. “Your Mom and Dad –”

I tried to pull my hand from hers, snapping
again, “Don’t.”

She held tight, leaned far forward to get
in my space and didn’t give up. “Your Mom and Dad, Finnie,
they
died
because of
this thirst for adventure, a thirst they taught you and a thirst
you’ve never quenched, not once in all your wanderings and
shenanigans. And I fear, honey, I fear you never will until you
meet their same end.”

I yanked my hand free and looked hard at
her. “They died happy,” I stated.


Finnie, they died
young,
” Claudia said gently.


And
happy,

I returned.

She closed her eyes tight and then burst
out, “
God!
” She opened
her eyes and retorted, “You can’t know that.”

“No, she can’t, but I can,” Valentine butted
in at this point, Claudia’s face got hard and she and I both looked
at her.

Valentine was looking at me.

“They did die happy, you are correct,”
Valentine declared, my heart tightened and Claudia muttered,
“Freaking great, now she communes with the dead.”

Valentine continued, totally ignoring
Claudia. “Though, you must know, happiness is a line and that line
has degrees. There is bliss at one end and there is contentment at
the other. They were not blissful as I would assume you think they
were, being in love, being together and dying doing something they
enjoyed, the sheer exultation of thrill and excitement coursing
their veins, life as big as life can be rushing through their
systems. They
were
happy but
this happiness held weight. And that weight was
you
.”

I pulled in a soft breath and heard Claudia
do the same.


They were sad to leave you,” Valentine
said quietly. “Very sad. And you should know with what we do this
evening, there is no guarantee. You
do
take risks with this venture. I do not know a great deal
about this world. I know it exists, I get communications from it
but infrequently. That said, although interesting,
I
have little interest in it.
These communications are a nuisance. There is much going on in my
world, I cannot find the curiosity to learn about both. I am also
not a seer. So I do not know what will befall you there. What you
can expect. If you will be safe or in danger. I do know there is
another you and she wants to be here for a year. And I would
caution you to understand that her motives might not be the same as
yours.”

“This is true, Finnie,” Claudia whispered,
grabbing my hand again, “think about that.”

“But you can bring me back?” I asked
Valentine and Claudia’s hand tightened in mine.

“Yes, Seoafin, I can bring you back,”
Valentine answered.

“You can definitely bring me back,” I stated
and she inclined her head regally. “So what do I care what the
other me wants here?” I asked.


While here,
ma cherie
, she will be you,” Valentine replied with a fluid
twist of her hand.

“And I will be her when I’m there, honor
system,” I returned.

“There are as many ideas of what honor is as
there are people, my goddess of love,” Valentine warned
quietly.

Hmm. That didn’t sound good.


I will, however, provide you with another
service,” her eyes drifted to Claudia momentarily then back to me,

free of
charge
, because I like
you. I will keep an eye on this Sjofn. And if I have concerns, I
will get a message to you.”

I smiled brightly. “That sounds cool to
me.”

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