Leo opened his mouth, but nothing came out at first. “I’m not quite certain how to explain this.” He rubbed his hand over the back of his neck nervously. The other hand picked up
hers and clasped it warmly, his thumb moving in soothing strokes over the back of her fingers.
“Open mouth, spit out words. C’mon, Leo, it can’t be that bad.”
“There’s something you need to know first.” His eyes were glued to their joined hands.
“I will never, ever, do anything to harm you. You mean more to me than you could possibly understand yet. And if I have my way you and the Malmaynes will never cross paths.” He
clasped both of her hands in between his, his expression more serious than any she’d seen on his face yet. She could practically feel him willing her to believe in him. “Do you
understand what I’m saying?”
She shook her head. She was starting to get scared. “Leo, what is going on?”
He took a deep breath, and her world exploded in light. She was forced to close her eyes against the blinding brilliance. When she opened them again, she was shocked speechless.
The hay bales and farming equipment had disappeared. Instead she found herself inside a huge sapphire tent, the edges and “windows” detailed in delicate gold Arabic scrollwork.
The floor was completely covered in brightly colored silk pillows of every hue imaginable. A small gold table had been set up against one wall. On it sat a carafe of wine and a plate of
candied dates. Fragrant oil lamps hung from the three poles holding the tent up, sending the delicious scent of vanilla into the air.
Wide-eyed she turned to look at what was behind her. It was only then that she realized that she could feel the soft caress of silk against her bare flesh. She looked down.
“Holy crap!” The scanty harem costume, consisting of two barely-there red scarves over her breasts and long, sheer red skirt held at her waist by a gold belt, left absolutely nothing to
“Hmmm, I do like you in red, kitten.”
She stared, her eyes wide as saucers, towards the front of the tent.
There, in all his half-naked, white-garbed splendor, was Leo. His white pants were gathered at the ankles and waist with gold ties and his chest and feet were bare. Golden armbands
encircled both of his biceps. His expression held a glimmer of amusement mixed with a healthy dose of lust.
He entered the tent, moving with the grace of a panther. Any other man of Ruby’s acquaintance would have slipped and fallen on the silk pillows. Leo glided over them, his feet barely
making an impression. Her nipples tightened in anticipation at his predatory expression. His gaze roved over her body with unmistakable possession.
Ruby gulped and bit her lip. “Leo?”
“Don’t be afraid, kitten. Remember, I’ll never, ever hurt you.”
“What’s going on?”
“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Nebraska anymore,” Ruby whispered.
Leo stopped. His lips twitched. “You’re about to be ravished by a Seelie Sidhe lord and you’re misquoting The Wizard of Oz at me? I think I may be insulted.”
Ruby blinked, her rampant sense of humor once again threatening to get her into trouble. “First off, a Sealy is a mattress—”
“You’re welcome to lie on me anytime.”
“Second, you are so not a she.”
“Shtheee. It’s pronounced Shthee.”
“Uh-huh. Lord? That I believe. Hell, you’re the absolute King of Bullshit.”
Leo sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Somehow, this isn’t going quite the way I expected.”
Ruby could practically feel the light bulb settling over her head. She sat up carefully. “Seelie Sidhe lord.”
Leo eyed her warily and nodded. “You’re an elf?”
Leo frowned. “Sidhe.”
“Oh! Galadriel! Can you do the glowy pond thing, too?”
Leo flopped down on the pillows next to her, his breath huffing out in an exasperated laugh. “No, Frodo, I can’t.”
“Hey!” She sniffed. “I at least get to be Arwen. Hell, I’ll take Éowyn.” She waved a hand regally. “You can be Gimli.”
She dissolved into helpless giggles. Leo rolled over and pulled her under him, one dark brow rising arrogantly. “Ruby, I really am a Seelie Sidhe lord.”
She was laughing too hard to answer. He sighed, and pushed his hair back over his ears, allowing their delicately tapered points to show. “Ruby, I have no glamour on me now. Look
at me. Really look at me.” He had to wait until her giggles died down, and that took a bit of time. They had a slightly hysterical twinge to them that even she could hear. Once they did,
she really took a good, hard look at him.
The differences were subtle. His ears were slightly tapered into delicate points. His eyes had an otherworldly glow to them that made them gleam brightly in the lamplight. His skin
glittered with sparkles of gold, the effect when he moved erotic. The most exotic change, however, were his pupils. Human pupils were round. His pupils were oval. Not much of a
change, and easily disguised, but obviously not human.
Ruby caressed his ear with a wondering hand. Her fingertips gently brushed over the tapered points. He shuddered, his eyes closing in exquisite pain.
“Do you know how long it’s been since someone’s done that for me?”
She smirked, feeling incredibly sexy all of a sudden. “Erogenous zone?”
“Oh, very much so.” He opened his eyes, a sensuous smile curving his lips. He stared down at her barely covered breasts, the sensuous smile heating. “How do you like my fantasy?”
She raised one cynical brow, loving it when he chuckled. “At least you’re wearing clothes. I’d have preferred you naked.”
“I almost am!”
“Yes. Operative word: almost.”
“That’s Lord Pig, thank you very much.”
“How are you doing this?” Ruby rested her hand on his shoulder, brushing at it to see if the gold sparkles came off in her hand. They didn’t.
“It’s called glamour. What you see around you isn’t actually here. It’s…all in our heads. A shared fantasy, if you will.”
“Not quite. If someone were to take a picture of us right now, it would show the two of us still in the hayloft. To you, however, everything feels real. I could take you outside, place you on
my stallion and ride off into the desert with you, and to you it would all seem incredibly real.”
“And this is your fantasy? To be sheik to my houri?”
He brushed his thumb across one of her taught nipples. “Can you blame me?”
She stared up at him, that wicked sense of humor starting up again. “Man, you must have had some incredible jack-off material when you were a teenager.”
He blinked, stilling above her. “What?” He sounded like he was choking on something. More than likely it was his own laughter.
“Picture this,” she waved her hand around, encompassing the tent, “but with a naked Playboy bunny in my place.”
“Um, it doesn’t quite work like that, and I’d rather picture you naked.”
“Oh? How does it work?”
“I can’t really craft a fantasy and project it into my own mind. For me, it would be a daydream, just like anyone else’s.” He smiled, the expression crossing his face slow and wicked. His
thumb caressed her bottom lip. The butterfly touch left her wanting more. “I can craft a fantasy of my own making and project it into our senses. Sight, taste, touch, all of them would
respond to the magic as if everything were really there. Or…”
Ruby wasn’t certain she liked the speculative gleam in his eye. “What?”
"Everything about this story is fantastic. All of the characters are interesting, even those that are extremely unlikable, and their presence enriches the story. The ending is immensely
satisfying and leaves this reader anxiously awaiting the next book in the series." Five hearts, The Romance Studio
"...an intense and intriguing story... I’m looking forward to the other books in the series, one featuring Shane and also their sister, Moira." B+, The Good, The Bad and The Unread
"DARE TO BELIEVE is a wonderful story that will keep you entertained from start to finish. If you enjoy an unusual paranormal romance full of intriguing characters and very explosive sex,
then grab DARE TO BELIEVE." Three and a half hearts, Love Romances and More
"The first book in the new Gray Court series is fresh and fun, an escapist fantasy. It’s an entertaining romp with faeries, elves and other magical creatures. There’s plenty of drama, humor
and witty dialogue, as well as explicit sex scenes." Four stars, Romantic Times Book Reviews
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