Fenir lifted his gaze to hers, his blue eyes almost gold in the reflection of the burning oil. “I don’t know what to say to convince you of my sincerity. Words don’t seem to be enough, but neither do my actions.” He sighed. “Do you really find me so repulsive?”
Taryn shook her head slowly. “I do not find you repulsive. I find the whole situation abhorrent.” She let out a frustrated grunt. “Something in the dreamscape—my dreamscape—is hurting people. The dukes are at my throat to go to war with the wrong country and to marry you so you’ll give us weapons. Meanwhile, I haven’t heard from Lexa, who’s supposed to be finding a solution to this mess. She’s the only other person who understands that something else is going on, but she’s not here to help me explain it to those pompous lords!” She stopped to take a breath.
“You’re in a difficult position,” Fenir said.
“That’s an understatement.”
He crept closer until they stood shoulder to shoulder, looking out at the impenetrable night. “I wish we could have met under different circumstances, when neither of our lands wanted something from the other.”
Taryn pressed her mouth into a tight line. She wished many things could have been different.
He turned to face her, eyes alight and cheeks slightly pink. Cupping his hands together, he held them out. “I would have liked to show you a different side to me. The quiet, thoughtful stargazer.” His palms began to glow. “The man who loves poetry more than war.” Fenir began to move his hands in polar circles. Blue licks of fire spilled between his fingers as his palms brushed across each other.
Taryn stiffened, breath halting in her lungs.
Fenir continued to roll his palms against each other as the light between them pulsated stronger. “The boy who would be king.” He took one hand away, revealing a small mass of blue fire in his palm, flickering in the shape of a rose. Fenir held it out to her. Heat radiated from the fire, but more like the languid warmth of an afternoon sun than the bite of searing flames.
“It won’t burn,” he said.
Riveted, Taryn lifted her hand and inched toward the blazing petals. Her fingers twitched with the instinct to recoil, but she furrowed her brow and held them steady. With a centimeter between her skin and the flaming rose, she expected to feel and smell her skin singeing, but neither happened. Her finger brushed the edge of a petal and she jerked back automatically. Angling her hand, she noted smooth, unblemished skin. Then she reached forward and touched the rose again. The blue fire rippled like billowing silk. It was warm, almost hot, though not enough to burn.
“How are you doing this?” she whispered.
A smile tugged at his mouth. “I don’t know. How do you dreamwalk? It’s just something I can do—feel the elements, the music they make, and tune them as I would a lyre to make what I want.”
“Music?” she said dubiously.
Fenir took her hand, turning them face to face. “If I could wipe everything else away, the circumstances and the expectations, this is what I’d show you. And…” His throat bobbed as he swallowed. “I would ask you to dance again.”
With her father in a coma, Princess Taryn desperately tries to hold her kingdom together against conniving dukes, soulless raiders, and people being snatched from their dreams. Not to mention the insufferable Prince Fenir still wants to marry her. But when Taryn finds herself pitted against an unearthly invader in an epic battle to save both the dreamscape and waking world, she may have to sacrifice everything she holds dear.