The Unseelie’s Wallflower
Author: Elisa Rae
Series: Courts of Conflict, #1
Publication date: June 6th 2023
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Greyson hides many things from the Unseelie Court when they invade his estate each autumn for the Wild Hunt. During his required appearance as host, he is surprised to find a human among the glittering fae. She can see him even when he is using his stealth magic, which means only one thing—they are soul mates. Can he protect her amidst the swirl of fae politics and a plot against her life?
Lyra has grown up among the fae. She has been trained to be the perfect servant. Then her master brings her to the Unseelie Court event of the year and demands she demonstrate her skills to nobles. With the promise of freedom as a motivator, she willingly agrees. Then she realizes her master’s true plan thanks to the intimidating fae lord hosting the event. Though why he would be invested in her fate is a mystery.
The Unseelie’s Wallflower is a light, fantasy romance novella about a relationship between an Unseelie and a human woman. It features faes, fated mates, and a romance between a noble and a servant, all played out against a backdrop of the peril, politics, and maneuverings of the Unseelie Court.
Lingering outside the supper room for an hour was the socially acceptable way to see and be seen, a practice I abhorred. I entertained the idea of retreating to my rooms, but my eye caught the gleam of golden hair among the greenery to the right of the stair—Lyra.
I didn’t question my instinctive need to go to her. She was vulnerable.
Stepping back into the shadows just inside the doorway, I tapped my stealth magic. Not a single head turned as I descended the stairs. The servants and fae didn’t turn, but Lyra’s lack of response concerned me. She could still see me, right?
Slipping into the potted foliage next to the balustrade, I waded through the shorter plants to join Lyra in the corner beneath a great potted tree. She perched on the edge of the tree’s tub, head bent and lost in her thoughts. When my foot entered her vision, she looked up.
“Greyson,” she whispered. The delighted welcome in her eyes warmed my heart. “I hoped I would see you.” Her delight dissipated into worry. “My master has changed his instructions.”
“Is that why you are pretending to be a plant again?” I asked, hoping to lighten her mood.
She blinked and smiled fleetingly. “Not my master’s instructions. In fact, he would be quite cross with me for hiding here. But I am obeying the word of his order, just not necessarily the spirit.” She frowned, her lovely blue eyes dimming with her distress. “I am concerned that my master is using me to do something horrible. Can you help me?”
The question hit me like a punch to the gut. I dropped my stealth and focused on breathing and maintaining an impassive expression. She had committed the ultimate mistake, requesting help. This was my chance. I would demand a forfeit in exchange. Bind her, and then she would be mine forever. She was my soul mate, after all.
No. I couldn’t do it to her. Yes, I wanted her as my wife, mate, other half, but only if she wanted it too. Forcing myself to breathe evenly, I nodded. “I will help.”
“Thank you!” She stood and moved as though to embrace me but hesitated. “I am sorry. You don’t want to be touched, do you? That is why you wear the gloves.” She motioned to my clenched hands.
“It is not a matter of desire but of necessity.” I gazed down into her beloved face and forced myself to speak of one of my most guarded secrets. She needed to understand. “My kind have soul mates and the first stage of connection is initiated by touch.” I held up my gloved hands. “I wear gloves like every adult of my kind do to avoid accidentally binding someone to me who might not wish to be bound to such as I.”
“Why wouldn’t they?”
Her puzzled expression as she studied my gloved hands did not ease the tension in my chest. At least she hadn’t reacted in horror or taken a step back. But perhaps she didn’t understand the impact of being bound to one like me. How could I explain?
“You are kind and gentle.” She lifted her eyes to my face and clasped her hands before her as though restraining them. “Everything you have done toward me has been supportive and respectful. Any female would be blessed to be bound to one such as you.”
“But I am a—”
“There you are.” Piro’s voice broke over mine as he plowed through the greenery to join us.
As much as I cared for my friend, I hated his arriving at that exact moment.
about the author
A reader of fairytales and folklore, Elisa Rae loves a happy ending. Noblebright characters, dastardly villains, and chemistry between characters delight her. When she isn’t writing, she loves to watch superhero movies and literary dramas.
Elisa Rae is the pen name of Rachel Rossano.