A breathtaking blend of sweet and swoony, HEART SEEKING is the alluring third book in a closed-door fantasy romance series about the Celtic Fae. It’s coming soon on APRIL 21. Enjoy a sneak peek at Chapter One!

If you haven’t read the first two books, FATE CALLING or FATE RISING, you’re going to want to download them first on Amazon or Kindle Unlimited. The following sneak peek does reveal spoilers!

Happy reading,

Lindsay

 

CHAPTER ONE | CATRIONA

The path ahead seemed never-ending as it twisted upward into the mountains. 

Pulling my dagger from its sheath, I followed Kieran and Aislinn deeper into the foggy unknown. My wild fae blood sang with excitement, eager for the thrilling promise of adventure.

We had entered the Mòr Pass at dawn and after traveling unimpeded for several hours, the monotony was beginning to wear thin.

Barren trees protruded from the rocky outcroppings to dangle overhead with long, finger-like branches prepared to claim their next victims. Fog slithered around the thin birch trunks and over the fractured stone steps that were leading us deeper into the mountains. 

As we reached the crest of the staircase, Torrin, Kieran’s brother, and their cousin, Quinn, drew closer to my back. 

I wondered if they were unnerved by the same sense of dread that was creeping up my spine. It was a threatening, ominous dread—both dangerous and exhilarating.

Scanning my eyes over the surrounding landscape, I gripped the hilt of my dagger in eager anticipation. 

We were swallowed up by a sea of mist, but the fog was finally thinning to reveal a wet, moss-covered forest amid rocky outcroppings. Although golden morning sunlight pierced through some of the gloom, shadows still lurked around every corner, hiding dangers I could only imagine.

Kieran’s voice drifted back from the front of our group. “The Ardríoch Moor is on the other side of this forest, but keep your guard up,” he warned. “Liaths sometimes haunt these mountains.”

“What are liaths?” I asked as we trudged onward past massive cobwebs the size of human beings. 

They clung haphazardly to the spindly birch trees, rain drops glistening upon the fragile threads. Dozens of the giant cobwebs filled the forest, making me wonder at the sort of arachnid that might have spun them.

“Liaths are vengeful spirits that haunt the Otherworld,” Kieran replied. His footsteps slowed as he scanned the shadows that loomed ahead. “They are drawn by strong, dark emotions.”

“What kind of dark emotions?” I asked.

Quinn spoke up from behind me. “Fear, anger, revenge. The more sinister the emotion, the greater the draw for a liath.”

Sinister? 

I glanced over my shoulder to where Torrin brought up the rear of our group. 

His sandy-blond hair had grown out over the last several months. It now reached his shoulders, stray strands blowing around his whiskered jaw. He no longer resembled the cruel, cursed prince that had once held me captive, but a part of me still worried that his former sinister tendencies might resurface.

Torrin’s pale blue eyes suddenly met mine. His gaze was filled with nothing more than remorse… but it still unnerved me.

I swiftly looked away. I knew it wasn’t fair of me to judge him for his past crimes when everything he had done was the result of a curse cast by Meira, the wicked fae female we were chasing. But he had yet to prove himself worthy of forgiveness—and until then, I simply didn’t trust him.

Several moments later, Torrin’s hushed words drifted along the rising breeze. “We all harbor a measure of darkness within us.” His voice was deep with contrition. “And sometimes that darkness eclipses everything else.”

My fingers tightened around my dagger. 

His absurd words rankled me.

I wasn’t harboring darkness.

I harbored hope.

As we continued on the trail, a strange sensation suddenly drew my gaze up toward the peak of the distant mountain range. Something was hovering several feet in the air above it. Peering closer, I made out the white silhouette of a figure with outstretched arms. It was a pale, ghostly figure enshrouded in a frail cloak with a shredded hem that billowed in the chilling bite of wind.

Eyes locked on the distant figure, I blindly reached forward to tap Aislinn on the back. “I see something,” I whispered. “There, on the mountain peak.” 

I could feel the eyes of my companions as they briefly landed upon my face and then followed the line of my gaze.

Kieran muttered a curse. “It’s a liath. We need to move.” 

Aislinn grasped my wrist as Kieran tugged her forward, urging us into a faster pace. 

When I snuck another peek at the figure floating above the mountain, several more haunting spectres had joined it, numbering well over a dozen. I edged closer to Aislinn as another handful popped into existence at the base of the mountain. More appeared in the surrounding trees and on the path ahead of Kieran.

He slowed slightly, forcing us into a clustered group.

As I pondered why he didn’t just run right through it, one of the liaths in the forest moved closer. It passed through a massive cobweb that stretched between two trees, but it didn’t just pass through the cobweb like an incorporeal spirit. Instead, it emerged from the shadowy forest with a layer of cobwebs strung across its tattered, substantial body. 

I realized that the liaths weren’t just spiritual manifestations but physical beings.

Creepy. Grotesque. And all too real.

I stared at the bony, skeletal wings that protruded from the liath’s back in sharp, awkward angles. Its long arms ended in deadly black claws and the only distinguishable feature on its shadowy face were bright, glowing eyes. Its head moved—and a frightful shriek filled the pass.

The other liaths echoed its ear-piercing call.

Dark purple magic suddenly exploded from my sister’s outstretched hands, but the twisting ribbons of her magical attack just sailed right through the liath—as if it were suddenly incorporeal.

“They can’t be harmed by magic,” Kieran hissed. “They’re impervious to it. Only physical weapons can destroy them, but there are too many for us to fight.” He quickly sheathed his longsword and held out his right hand. 

Golden-red magic spilled from his palm and formed a dome of Air all around us.

The growing horde of liaths pressed against Kieran’s shield in a writhing sea of shadows and mist. Despite the barrier of Air, their shrieks continued to echo against my aching eardrums and their numbers continued to grow into a multitude too overwhelming to comprehend. Hundreds. Thousands. Too many for us to fight off with physical weapons.

Our only hope was escape.

Kieran growled out a brisk set of commands. “Stay together, keep running—and don’t stop until we reach the moor.” He clasped Aislinn’s hand and looked us over with serious green eyes. Giving a brief nod, Kieran turned and bolted forward.

I ran in Aislinn’s wake, adrenaline pumping through my veins in tandem with my fear and exhilaration. 

I craved adventure and thrills—and fate was certainly giving it to me.  

The liaths pressed against the wind barrier Kieran held over us as we ran, screeching and clawing madly at the invisible dome. Their great multitude was too much for the barrier to withstand. It began to crack beneath their weight. Fissures splintered across the dome and it began to crumble. A few liaths slipped through the jagged opening—only to meet their doom on the end of our waiting blades.

Aislinn threw up her hands and sent out a blast of purple magic. It merged with the golden-red glimmer of Kieran’s wind barrier, reinforcing it against the liaths’ persistent assault. 

The trees thinned up ahead. 

We kept running until we finally cleared the last of the forest and met with the tall grasses of the Ardríoch Moor. 

But the reinforced barrier was cracking again.

Aislinn held up her hands, pouring more magic from her palms. “I can’t hold this much longer. We need to scyfte!”

“Join hands!” Kieran shouted over the shrieking that surrounded us. “I know where to go.” 

Once the rest of us had joined hands, Aislinn finally lowered her arms and grabbed hold of Kieran. 

In the next breath, we were running in and out of the wind as my lungs compressed in an uncomfortable but familiar way. The moorland sped by in a blur of green grass and purple heather. 

I had no idea how much land we covered in the minutes it took for Kieran to lead us to his chosen destination. After his century of self-imposed exile in the Ardríoch Moor, he was the only one familiar with the area.

When we drew to a standstill, a familiar ache began to throb at my temples. I grew lightheaded and my vision darkened as a premonition abruptly overtook me. 

* * *

The musty smell of earth mingled with a cloying stench of decay, and a frigid chill settled deep in my bones. I was on my knees on a wet, cold stone floor. My face was in my hands, dirty with dried blood, and harsh sobs wracked my shoulders. 

The image flashed, and I saw Kieran’s youngest brother, Eamonn, standing in a winter wonderland with snow flurries falling down all around him. He carried an injured Meira in his arms, her pale face leached of all color, a stark contrast against her wild mass of red curls. She held a hand to her abdomen, blood dribbling out from between her fingertips. 

It left a trail of bright red spatters on the pristine, white snowbank.

I blinked against another flash and found myself in the arms of a blue-eyed male with dark, shoulder-length hair. He stared into my eyes and gently cupped my jaw. His thumb skimmed over my cheek, eliciting a flutter of tiny sparks along my skin. 

The image shifted with yet another flash. 

I walked through a castle built with soaring spaces and sumptuous decorations. My footsteps echoed over the inlaid-stone pavement as I passed by rows of marble columns. Overhead, muted winter mosaics adorned the domed ceilings and soft, golden faelight flickered in wall sconces. 

The scenery blurred and the image flashed once again. 

Eamonn was standing in front of me in a snow-covered courtyard. Tall, blond and dressed in familiar black leathers with two curved daggers strapped at the hips. 

But his eyes were wrong. 

They were obsidian, not green.

* * *

The final image disappeared and I gasped as the rolling, green highlands came back into view. My mind and my heart were racing from everything I had seen. I was certain that our search for Eamonn and Meira would lead us into the winter court of the Unseelie, and I wondered if that’s where I would meet the dark-haired male with ocean-blue eyes.

He was the same fae from the vision Sorcha the Oracle had shared with me that morning, only a handful of hours ago. 

Who was he?

And why did it feel like I loved him?

Awareness slowly returned as Aislinn gently squeezed my arm. She was kneeling in the tall grass beside me, her light-brown eyes dark with concern.

“What did you see, Cat?”

“The same dark-haired fae from the vision Sorcha gave me.” 

Aislinn’s expression seemed to dim, but elation thrummed through my veins, leaving me giddy with excitement. I knew—with absolute certainty—that this mystery fae was my destiny. 

Quinn crouched beside us. “What about Eamonn?” she pressed. “Did you see anything about him, or Meira? Anything that might help us find him?”

I took a moment to rein in my joy as I revisited the premonition in my memory. “I saw Eamonn and Meira in a winter wonderland, and then again in some sort of snowy courtyard.”

“They’re in the Unseelie Court,” Kieran said, turning to Torrin. “She’s seeking aid from the queen, as you said she would.”

Torrin nodded gravely. “They may have already claimed sanctuary, and if Queen Maeve hides them in her castle, we’ll never get near them.”

Kieran crouched down and clasped my shoulder. “Did you see any reference of time?”

I twisted my lips in contemplation. “No,” I answered slowly. “It was hard to tell if it’s happening now or in the future.”

“So it’s possible it’s the present,” Kieran said, hope bright in his green eyes. “We might not be far behind.” His eagerness dimmed slightly as he glanced around at our haggard faces. “Let’s take a moment to rest and we’ll leave within the hour.”

I looked around.

The moorland was just barely kissed by winter. Snow dusted the hillside and the mountain range that loomed above us. 

“Where are we?” I asked.

“The outskirts of the Unseelie Court,” Kieran answered. He stood and pointed toward the snow-capped mountains. “The Fuar Pass is there.”

We took a moment to rest and eat. After our long journey through the Mòr Pass, it was a welcome reprieve. I sat cross-legged in the grass and accepted the handful of dried meats and cheese Aislinn offered me with a smile and a nod of thanks. As I chewed, my mind ran through the different images from my premonition. 

I was happy that we seemed close to finding Eamonn, but it was the mysterious dark-haired fae I couldn’t stop thinking about.

Closing my eyes, I tried looking at the vision from a different angle. I tried to prod it and manipulate it into showing me more of the future I was certain awaited me, but all my tinkering only left me with a headache. 

Heaving a weary sigh, I opened my eyes and my breath caught in my throat. 

Wisps of brilliant color danced like vapors around my companions. Vibrant purple, golden red and pale blue. 

I wondered if I was seeing their magical auras, the essence of their beings. 

When I blinked, the dancing vapors faded, lingering just out of reach on the edge of my awareness.

As my eyesight cleared, I noticed Aislinn was no longer sitting with us. Kieran, Torrin and Quinn were huddled in a close group, discussing our plan of action, while my sister was standing at the crest of a grassy knoll. 

The tips of the slender blades of grass were brushed with a white dusting of snow. The soft breeze whipped around her leather-clad body and rustled the long strands of golden hair that hung down her back.

Brushing the crumbs from my hands, I rose and joined her on the knoll. 

Her eyes glistened with unshed tears as she stared off into the distance. 

I slid an arm around her shoulders and hugged her close against my side. 

She held herself stiffly at first, then slowly relaxed into the embrace. Even though she spoke not a word, I could tell that she was worried about Eamonn and the dangers our rescue mission presented.

“Eamonn’s going to be fine,” I whispered as I angled my head to rest against hers. 

We were nearly the same height; only an inch prevented me from matching her five-foot-seven. 

“We’re going to save him, Ash. I know we will.”

Her lips quirked at one corner of her mouth. “Are you saying that because it was in your vision, or is it just another one of your gut feelings?”

“It’s a gut feeling.” Her shoulders drooped slightly and I squeezed her tighter as I added, “But my gut feelings usually turn out to be true, don’t they?”

Aislinn sighed and gave a reluctant nod. I could tell that she wanted to believe me but was afraid to embrace the hope I was offering. 

I echoed her sigh and shook my own head. 

My sister was a fearless protector. A warrior. A newly crowned queen. She was also a reforming pessimist—not that I could blame her after the tragedies of our past. 

We’d been orphans for less than a year. 

The reminder brought an old, familiar ache crashing into my chest.

“We’re going to find the truth someday,” I murmured to Aislinn. “About our parents, and why we were raised in the human world.” 

My thoughts were whirling fast, spiraling around the mysteries that surrounded our fae heritage. 

The magical bindings that had restrained our true nature had been broken for over five months now, and we were quickly coming into our full powers. I had mastered three elements, but still struggled with my seer abilities more than I cared to admit.

I frowned at the pain from my lingering headache and rubbed my fingers over my throbbing brow. 

Debilitating headaches came with each vision, but I still clung to the hope that time and practice would ease the horrible side effect. 

“I hope you’re right,” Aislinn said, drawing my thoughts back to our conversation. “About Mum and Dad, and Eamonn.” She returned my hug for a long moment, then kissed my forehead and made her way back to her mate.

The ache in my head intensified.

As a dull throbbing pounded against my skull, my eyes fell on a distant river that wound along the edge of a thick, snow-capped forest. The dark-blue water glistened and seemed to beckon me, like a pull that called to me from deep within my gut. 

I heeded its call without a second thought.

HEART SEEKING is coming APRIL 21! You can preorder it here.

Written by Lindsay Grace

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