Hi guys, we have Sera Kane popping in with her upcoming debut story Lord of Hearth, Lord of Hollow, we also have a great excerpt for you to check out, so enjoy the post! <3 ~Pixie~
Lord of Hearth, Lord of Hollow
Culinary school is hard enough for Aimes Cully without mixing in an utterly underwhelming physical appearance—too small, too delicate, too red-haired, too freckled, too human—added with the inability to magically improve the food—still too human—and facing the too beautiful, too fae-looking Aleksi’s teases and taunts. When rumors surface that Aimes’s older brother’s success is a lie, Aimes is determined to prove them wrong and show that pure-blooded humans are the equal of anyone with mixed blood.
But things get worse after Aimes is caught in a faerie ring and transported to the fae hollow of Lord Keanewyeth Ordorial. As the attraction heats up, it becomes obvious that there’s something wrong in the magical home. A cursed creature appears, and everything becomes jumbled as the secrets of their lives collide into a painful concoction of Aimes’s past and Keanewyeth’s present. But if they can meld their talents, they might be able to save each.
Step and hop on cloudy night,
Out again afore moon’s soft light.
Else a price that must be paid;
The lord’s commands are all obeyed.
A MOLASSES pause filled the room, thick and oozing. It was a silence that spoke of the dark curse: Double. Dog. Dare.
Aimes held his breath, eyes focused firmly on Aleksi’s grim and angry face. He knew better than to push the teacher’s pet. He knew better than to open his big, stupid mouth and do the one thing his older brother had warned him against doing ever. You could never be too careful when you were too human. Those with fae blood would always come down harder on those without, so the Cullys had to be better. Be smarter, braver, and more creative. That’s why Markl had kept trying until he was accepted at the palace. That was why Aimes had to make it to the palace too.
“If you’re such a know-all-fae,” Aleksi announced with all of the dramatic flair of a ringmaster about to bring out the dancing flame wraiths, “then you can just go get some fairy mushrooms tonight. And then you can make your ‘oh, so famous’—” Aleksi punctuated the words with air quotations so sarcastic that a few of their fellows grimaced at the taste of them. “—Faerie mushrooms for Madame LeBanch tomorrow.”
Aimes took in a swift, tremulous breath. He could still get out of this. All he had to do was cut in with a scathing remark now, something that would cut Aleksi’s legs right out from under him, before he had a chance to invoke….
“I double-dog dare you.”
The curse settled over the class like a blanket. Aleksi’s cronies tittered in delight while his rivals watched in disgusted shock. It was a waste of a curse, especially on a nonentity like Aimes. Humans didn’t have the innate magic to effectively challenge a curse, and especially not one as complex as a named dare. Aimes wouldn’t be able to turn the curse back on Aleksi because fae blood always trumped human blood. The reminder of his ineptitude stung.
Aimes clenched his fists, and his pale chin came up sharply. “All right,” he said, trying to pretend that this high-pitched thing was the normal sound of his voice. “I accept.”
“That’s not a good idea,” Euphenia piped up. “It’s only a 20 percent probability of being overcast tonight.”
“The fae haven’t been interested in mortals for years,” someone from the back said and the crowd began to disperse, the show over by the law of common gossip. “Ever since they discovered paprika.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! It’s cayenne that calms the elven tongue. It takes a fire to tame a fire.”
The room swirled into sound and chaos as the culinary students dispersed like steam, leaving only Aleksi and Aimes. Not for the first time, Aimes wished he had at least a pinch of elven heritage too. The Cullys had been human from the Beginning, by the gods, and they’d be human to the End! His grandfather’s voice echoed in his mind, but Aimes did not dare drop his eyes. Aleksi was the epitome of what a human should be: over six foot and willowy but with the build of a long-distance swimmer. His black hair was the only thing that wasn’t perfect—it only reached midback—but the hints of purple and blue more than made up for the lack of length.
Aleksi, for his part, was sizing Aimes up as though this was their first meeting, and Aimes knew he was found wanting. Even as he clenched his fists and stood stalk-straight, he barely cleared five feet, and for all that he knew his own wiry strength, his limbs were uselessly scrawny. His coloring was starkly wrong: pale green eyes rather than vibrant and hair the bright red-gold of a wheat field afire rather than a shimmering jewel tone. The impressive waist-length of his hair, a crowning glory on anyone else, seemed to merely highlight his deficits.
“Fae bait,” Aleksi hissed at him, and smirked as his shot struck home and exploded like improperly boiled eggs.
Aimes knew he was blushing, a hint of pink that caused his freckles to become terribly evident—just another sign of his oh-so-humanness. “Better than baiting faeries!” And he winced as the ridiculous comeback was one shade from being physically painful.
Aleksi stared at him for a long moment of disbelief, and then he began to laugh. It was a thing of awe, that laughter: large and expansive, yet melodic. Aimes peeked up, and his shoulders drooped. Even in the midst of cynical laughter, Aleksi looked like a god. It was too much. Aimes took to his heels and fled the room chased by the sound of inhumanly beautiful laughter.
Sera Kane has loved the written word for essentially forever, in this particular case, somewhere in the range of thirty years or so. She writes to share the fantastical things that go on in her mind on a daily basis. Her secret-but-not-so-secret desire is to write pieces that are impossible to put down. And, also, to kill off a beloved character. She has not succeeded at either of these things, but be warned that she wants to!
She currently lives in southern California, but she’s been quite a few places in her day! Her favourites include Washington– the state, not DC– Texas, and Japan. Her house is filled by an exceedingly tall husband, a very swift son, a derpy German Shepherd, and a grumpy yet loving Shih-Tzu. If she ever won the lottery, she’d have houses in all three of those places and breed Shepherds in at least one of them.