Druid’s Wish

Love Cursed Book2

Emma Weylin


Chapter 1

Bran Lawson clenched his hands around the steering wheel of his truck as he tried to breathe through the worst of it. Recently his hands began shaking after sending a soul to its ultimate torment. Guilt wasn’t a factor in letting his sword take the life of a criminal. The sword, Cóir—Justice—would never allow him to take the life of an innocent person. It was the being alone. It was the realization he was never going to find himself a curse break. It was knowing there was no happiness for him in this life. He gave those wronged by criminals, by the cut of his sword, a sense of peace and closure. Two things he could never get because of what a faery lord had done to him.

“Green now dots the rolling hills,

New life has sprung from the ground,

Commanded by the great one who calls us,

Spirits with joy become unbound.”

He spunaround to stare at the door of the bar. The voice…Something about it was not human. It seemed otherworldly and yet somehow not. Whoever made the lovely sound coming out of the bar was going to put a damper on his plan to get smashed tonight. It would figure on a night when he was in serious need of Asgardian Mead, some enchanting fae bitch would take advantage of Ferguson’s open-mic night. The shaking in his hands stopped as he extracted himself from the truck.

He was going to put a stop to this nonsense before every man in the building lost more than a week’s pay to the charm of a faery.

“Listen all, I will tell you a story,

Dance and sing until the next moonrise,

With rampant delights of human desires,

The night fills with passionate cries.”

The rush of magic washed over him as he walked into the bar. Every pair of eyes in the place stared right at the petite singer on the corner stage to the right of the bar. Typical faery, using a charm to enthrall anyone nearby without the ability to block a magic suggestion. Beautiful green eyes seemed to smile when the woman glanced at him. Her voice flawlessly flowed from one verse to the next. Law gritted his teeth together as his body tightened with need and hardened with anticipation of the passion her words promised.

“Death once again becomes in balance.

Rebirth of life begins at twilight.

Flowers and thorns are dancing, dancing,

Souls intertwine on this night.”

He felt the currents of her magic as they wove around the other patrons. It wasn’t a demand, but there was something sensual, sweet twinkling in the air. The smile on her full lips belied the feeling within the words. She wasn’t doing this to gain anything, but he wasn’t able to figure out her exact motive for singing here.

“Figures dance and sing beneath the willows.

Seduced by the song of the great magi,

A young maiden waits, with cheeks a flush,

Hopes to catch her love’s lustful eye.”

His gaze sharpened on hers as the words floated through the room, weaving a picture of the first night of spring for the listeners. He took an unwilling step toward her. Red hair the color of a fire bush in the autumn flowed wildly around her. He could almost see the young, fated couple being lulled into the treacherous mating game. The faces could be his and hers, but it was only a trick of the mind.

The faery, the wee folk of the ancient lore, were known to lure men to their deaths.

“Intoxicated by love’s sweet fragrance,

Rebirth of life begins with delight.

Flowers and thorns are dancing, dancing,

Souls intertwine on this night.”

Her brand of magic didn’t have the same feel. There was an innocence to it he hadn’t felt in far too long. As a rule, he kept away from the benign faery. They messed with his head and caused him to do stupid things, like believe in the possibility of trusting the faeries as a whole. The fae were too dangerous. They were wildly erratic in their behavior and could never be trusted, not by him. Not when they’d ruined his life and taken everything he’d once loved.

Something different about her tugged at him. It was in those bewitching green eyes. It was in the perfect allure of her enticingly shaped figure. It was in the red of her hair. She was faery by any description, but it was the blunted point of ears calming the fear growing in his heart. The delicate shell of her ear curved into a soft point, enough to denote her heritage, but not so sharp as to make her a pureblood.

“Introduced to the new, of a lover’s thrills,

Two souls have become at once well bound.

Commanded by the great one who calls us,

Spirits with joy become unbound.”

His fists unclenched at his sides as the muscles of his shoulders relaxed. The music flowed around him. While the patrons wouldn’t notice the full instrumental accompaniment to her lovely voice without the benefit of a band, he knew where it came from. He let the image of happy love fill his mind. If he could catch it for a moment, pretend it could belong to him, he could get through another lonely night.

Her voice. It calmed him in a way no faery voice should, not even a half faery. There were consequences to allowing fae magic to tempt a man, but Law could no longer be tempted by them. Two thousand years of living under one of their curses had taught him how to avoid the bite of their gifts.

“On this night a promise is made.

All the youth and gods have agreed.

They heed the wisdom of the great ones before us,

And give into each other’s need.”

His eyes snapped open when he felt her looking at him once more. She knew he was other. Fear glinted in her eyes before she quickly looked away. Not one note was broken as her fear swelled up and then dissipated as if it had never been. Law forced himself back a step. The last thing she needed was a giant of a man looming over her, even as she stood atop the stage.

“Now alone, off in the distance,

Rebirth of life began in the moonlight.

Flowers and thorns are dancing, dancing,

Souls intertwine on this night.”

It was odd how he didn’t feel tense, even knowing the little jar she had sitting on the edge of the stage would be filled by unsuspecting patrons. He made the decision to keep an eye on her. How she reacted and what she accepted from these people would determine the course he’d take with her. A half faery was a dangerous creature to leave loose on an unsuspecting male population. One who didn’t know her power could wreak havoc without knowing it or, worse, do it while knowing full well what she was doing. If it was the former, he’d have to teach her how to not enchant the male of the human species. It was the story he was willing to tell himself as the reason he needed to get closer to her.

“Death once again becomes in balance.

Rebirth of life comes with the morning light.

Flowers and thorns are dancing, dancing.

Souls intertwine on this night.”

The magic faded with the last note of her song. The room slowly came back into conscious reasoning. A wild cheer broke out as men, and a few women, rushed forward to drop bills into the woman’s tip jar.

Law stood back and watched her through the chaos. She handled her fans with grace and kindness. There was no deception to detect in her voice, and she didn’t accept anything larger than a five-dollar bill.

“Lucky son of a bitch,” he muttered to himself. She was the former. He wouldn’t have to kill her yet.

As the crowd died down, the woman gave them a dazzling smile. “Thank you all. I am going to let someone else have a turn while I check out the menu.”

A muscle in Law’s jaw twitched. Bar food could be fatal for a faery because it was excessively high in salt. It was possible this was her one meal a week with salt in it, but he doubted it. He moved forward and met her at the bottom of the two steps coming off the stage. “You like salty foods?”

The woman froze before she lowered her eyes. Her bottom lip quivered. “My dietary issues aren’t your concern.” She paused before peeking up at him with a hint of a mischievous smile tugging at the corners of her luscious mouth. “I did manage to get by this far on my own.”

His jaw tightened to keep from snapping out a caustic reply. “The menu here would be limiting for you.”

She squared her shoulders and then giggled nervously. “Potatoes were a staple for my people. I do great on a meal of curly cheese fries and water, thanks.” She clutched the tip jar close and headed for the bar. After giving the bartender her order, she headed to an empty corner table.

He snorted. Not all people with red hair were Irish, and he didn’t think potatoes were the national food, even if it had been a staple of theirs at one time. He followed her to the table and sat down across from her. “Funny how they were cheering for you a minute ago and now seem to have forgotten you.”

She shrugged while possessively holding the tip jar to her chest, as if it was a treasure. “They got a wonderful song, and I like to eat alone.”

He ignored the last part. “You don’t think it’s odd?”

She glanced over at the stage where a woman hanging out of a too-tight dress was standing at the microphone. Two men set up their guitars. The faery woman looked down at the modest soft-green button-down shirt she was wearing and then looked back up at him. “A good singing voice doesn’t trump visual assets in a place like this.”

Law’s gaze dropped to her chest. She filled the shirt in a way that caused a reaction in his body. He forced his gaze back to her face. “I suppose not. You can’t just eat curly fries.”

“Yes, I think I can. I’m sorry if my diet offends you, but I am a big girl, and I do know how to feed myself.” She dumped out the contents of her jar and started counting it.

He used the time she ignored him to study her. Her eyes were tired. She knew enough to use her magic to blend into the background and become part of the unseen, but her shoulders were still tense. No human would be a threat to her if she didn’t want them to notice her, but he wasn’t human. They could only see the physical world. He cursed under his breath. “Am I making you nervous?”

She glared at him before she recounted what she had in her hands. After setting aside a few bills to pay for her order, she stuffed the wad of bills down her shirt and into her bra. She let out a slow breath. “No, not at all. I like giant men I don’t know asking me strange questions about what I eat.”

He snorted at her sarcasm. “Do you know what you are?”

She abruptly stood up. “It was nice talking to you, but I think I am tired after all.” She walked over to the bar and said something to the bartender. A few minutes later, her meal was wrapped in a to-go box and she was heading out the door.

Law told himself he wasn’t going to follow her. She didn’t ask for his help and obviously didn’t want it.

Damn it!

He had to be sure she knew what kind of world she lived in. The faeries were timeless in their appearance. She could be twenty or twenty thousand. It was impossible to tell. If she was twenty, she’d need help learning how to survive without parents, and he assumed she had no parents if she was young and on her own. The faeries were nothing if not good parents, at least when it came to protecting their young.

Law snarled as he stood up. He glanced at the door leading to the back room reserved for folk like him. He was going to have to forego a drink with the right chemical makeup to get him drunk. He was out of the bar a moment later. The woman was already pulling out of the parking lot in a dilapidated car.

He didn’t let it deter him from his self-appointed task. He got back into his truck and used a few tricks he’d picked up over the years to track anything traveling in a car.

He scrubbed a hand over his face and down his bearded chin before wrapping his hand around the Celtic knot pendant he wore. It had belonged to his mother, and he’d had it since his natural time, when the Celtic people sprawled across Europe. It was the one thing, aside from his sword, he’d brought with him throughout the long tortuous years of his life. “Let me find her safe and sound.”

He never wished. He knew better. The gods were cruel and would grant them just to torment the wisher. But this pendant had belonged to his mother, and she’d always believed it had the power to invoke Boden, god of Justice and god of the Druids. If the gods were still there, and if they cared at all about the people of the Earth realm, they would help him follow the woman’s faint magic trail.

Law crisscrossed the town in his truck for over an hour. It took much longer than he wanted to come across her car in the back of a motel parking lot. At least she had a semisafe place to rest for the night. He parked next to her car and then got out of his truck. He wasn’t above breaking into her car to see what he could find out about her. Just a few words and he’d be in. He reached out, and his hand froze just before touching the door handle. There, on the backseat, she was curled up and appeared sleeping.

“What the hell?” He’d seen her tips for the night. She’d have enough for a room. “Ah, hell,” he muttered.

Cursing, and sure a pure-blood faery somewhere was messing with him, he made what could be a fatal decision. He couldn’t leave her here alone all night. Anything could happen to her.

Being careful to be quiet, Law worked a ward of protection around her car. He’d know if anything got close to it. He walked across the street to the convenience store for a day-old cooler sandwich and a cup of coffee.

He settled into his truck in a way he could see her. He couldn’t shake the feeling she needed someone to watch over her while she slept.