Ankou is the king of Fairie's Winter Court and a fallen god of death, prophecy, and healing. He is ancient, hundreds of thousands of years old, and the millennia are weighing on him. He's tired, irritable, and looking for a way out. But then he meets Kate, a human woman who is on the run from an abusive fiance. Kate is his soulmate, and there's nothing he wouldn't do for her.
Ankou is a generally calm, easy-going, and laidback male. He has been around for a very long time, has seen a lot, and little is left that phases him. His gentle nature and even temper help him in his quest to earn Kate's trust and win her heart, in spite of her recent trauma. But, like many people who are slow to anger, once he's pushed too far, look out! Below is an excerpt of what happens when someone threatens the one thing that is guaranteed to provoke a response from this otherwise mild ex-deity.
Forcing himself not to give into his anger, Ankou took slow, deep breaths. "So Kate has been kidnapped by Duibhne and Gormal."
The monarch's voice was mild, but Tairise knew the fury that boiled beneath that deceptively calm surface. Choosing tas words carefully, ta said, "I believe so, your majesty. There is no other scenario I can think of that fits all the available evidence."
Knowing he was a hair's breadth from losing control, Ankou focused on breathing in and out. "Where have they gone?"
"I don't know their destination, but they left through the caves," the Elf pointed to the door ta had brought tas king to.
Considering the options, Ankou realized only one fit. "They are taking her to the portal. They intend to send her back to the human world."
Nodding, Tairise conceded, "That is possible. If so, they will be breaking one of the most basic tenets of the law. They know that, so I can't think what their plan might be afterward."
Getting an iron grip on his temper, Ankou forced himself to think through the possibilities. He could use the Black Coach to get to the portal ahead of them, but he would run the risk that they would realize he was waiting and alter their plans. If they did that, he would have to hunt them without the advantage of knowing their destination.
As he debated his options, a scene flickered before his eyes of Kate's body lying cold and white in the snow. The Black Coach was in the background. The vision made him realize his instinct to follow behind Duibhne and Gormal, instead of racing ahead of them, was the right one. He had never been more grateful for his prophetic power and he sent a silent prayer of thanks to the goddess. With his decision made, he turned to his counselor and said one word. "Go."
"I can accompany you, if you wish, your majesty," ventured the Elf.
Shaking his head, Ankou put aside all good and gentle feelings. As he fully embraced his anger for the first time in a long time, his eyes glowed and his teeth elongated. Focusing his power, he summoned the Genii Cucullati and smiled. "I have all the aid I will need."
The evil light behind tas friend's smile made Tairise gasp. As the ghostly forms of the Genii Cucullati congealed into existence, ta backed away, trembling. The hooded spirits were the stuff of nightmares. Ta almost pitied Gormal and Duibhne.
With a gesture, the Winter king set the Genii Cucullati on the trail of the two Elves. The wraiths swirled around him, lifting him into their embrace, and surged through the door to the tunnel beyond. As they departed, an eerie howl filled the hallway sending Tairise running for the stairs. The wind of their passage swept the door closed behind them, and the resulting bang echoed through the empty corridor. The noise jarred the Elf to tas senses and ta paused on the stairs, looking over tas shoulder.
What ta saw made ta rub tas eyes to clear them. But the image remained. The place where the hooded spirits had manifested now held two glowing, blood-red outlines. One male. One female. Tairise shuddered. The Genii Cucullati were outside the mortal realm. Creatures of the Summerlands, they answered to rules beyond the ken of even the wisest Fae. By attempting to tamper with the Siorghra bond, Duibhne and Gormal had earned their fate. But ta did not envy them.
About the author:
Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US, but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)). She has written three full-length novels in the Spellbound Hearts series, Taken By The Huntsman, Bound By The Summer Prince, and Captivated By The Winter King, as well as Intrigue In The Summer Court, a novella in the Spellbound Hearts series.
And, if you want to keep in touch with this amazing author, here are her links.