Alexander, the crown prince of the Fey, is awakened in the middle of the night and summoned to his father’s chambers. He worries his father might be dying, but he soon learns of a very different tragedy. Every man and woman among the Fey has a cariad, another person who will make them complete, according to legend. Alexander finds out within moments not only that his cariad is a man but also that the king banished this helpless young man from the Fey realm ten years ago in a selfish act of prejudice and superstition. Furious and frantic, Alexander sets out to find the man who holds the other half of his heart—and bring him home.
Sebastian tried to focus on the words in his textbook, but he felt pretty sure that three of the four other men sitting on the patio of the cafe were watching him. Two of them appeared to be close to his age, but the one in the corner was probably about thirty. Sebastian cleared his throat and ran his napkin over his face as he glanced down at his shirt to see if he’d spilled something. The one sitting the closest to him had a great body and bright blue eyes, and he’d smiled at Sebastian briefly a few minutes ago.
Throwing a glance at the other two guys again, Sebastian debated what to do. Was the guy interested in him? What about the other two guys? And if there was something that interesting about him, why wasn’t the fourth guy paying any attention to him? He closed his book and went to the bathroom, carefully inspecting his appearance. Not a single hair was out of place. He sighed and washed his hands. Maybe it was just a coincidence. There might be something behind him or across the street that the three men kept looking at.
There’s one way to find out. He exited the bathroom and gathered his things, taking his check inside to pay. When he came back outside to leave, the fourth guy passed him to go inside and pay his own bill. Sebastian held the door for him and then looked around the patio. The hot guy smiled at him again, so Sebastian went over to him.
“Hi. I’m Sebastian.”
The guy looked briefly stunned, which made no sense given the way he’d been staring. But then he smiled and nodded in greeting. “I’m Stefan.”
Sebastian adjusted his backpack and asked, “Would you like to get a drink later?”
Now, the guy’s eyes widened, a look of pure panic coming to his face. He cleared his throat and put his napkin on the table, grabbing for his check. “Uh, actually, I have to go meet my … girlfriend.” He stood, his eyes darting around in seeming embarrassment. “Excuse me.” He moved past Sebastian quickly.
Once again, Sebastian could feel eyes on him. The other two men both averted their gazes when he turned around, but they had obviously witnessed the awkward exchange. He headed for the patio exit, ignoring the younger guy, who had buried his face in a novel. The older man sat right by the exit to the parking lot, and he looked up at Sebastian with an almost sad expression on his face, which puzzled Sebastian.
Sebastian nodded, trying to be polite even though he wondered why the guy had been staring at him. “Not the first time I’ve been shot down,” Sebastian said softly as he passed the man.
“No accounting for taste,” the man said.
Sebastian stopped. “Or people not knowing what they want.” He nodded back toward the now empty table. “That guy kept staring at me, then ran away when I talked to him. Said he had a girlfriend. Not sure if he was lying or not.” He paused. “Sorry. I’m rambling.”
“Quite all right. And you’re not rambling.” He stood up, and Sebastian had to tilt his head back to look up into his eyes. The man tossed down a twenty, even though he’d only had a coffee and a slice of pie, and clasped his hands together in front of him. “If you’re still free for a drink later, I’d love to buy you one.”
The guy was handsome—tall and muscular with short, wavy dark hair and light green eyes—but Sebastian’s attraction to older men had never worked out in the past. The last one had given him grief for his fake ID, even though Sebastian would be twenty-one in just a few weeks. “Actually, I probably need to study. Thanks, though.” Sebastian smiled and hurried away. As he got into his car, he turned and saw that the man he’d been talking to hadn’t moved. He stood there, just staring down at the multi-colored bricks that made up the patio floor. Sebastian put his backpack on the seat beside him and pulled his phone out, checking his calendar. He didn’t have any exams for over a week. What harm could a few drinks do? He slipped his phone into his pocket and opened his car door again, but as he straightened up, he saw that the patio was completely empty. He scanned the parking lot but didn’t see anybody. Both men had simply vanished.
After a brief hesitation, he moved to go back inside. The money was still on the table, so the man hadn’t taken his bill inside, but maybe he’d gone to the bathroom. Sebastian went in to look for the man, but the cafe was almost empty since it was mid-afternoon. Sebastian checked the bathroom as well, and the hostess looked at him when he came out.
“Everything all right, sir?” she asked.
“Fine. I was just looking for the man from the patio. Very tall with black hair. He was sitting right by the parking lot, in the corner.”
She shook her head. “He didn’t come in, sir. I’m sorry.”
“Thanks.” Sebastian looked around as he returned to his car, not sure why he cared. He laughed at himself. Should’ve said yes when I had the chance. He hopped in his car and went home, feeling cheered by the sight of his new place. The white-columned antebellum house had been split into apartments, but many of its unique details had still been beautifully restored. Right now, there was only one other resident, and she was very quiet. It had proven a wonderful retreat from the chaos of dorm life. He thought of the last couple of parties he’d been to and how he’d made no progress with any of the guys he’d met either time.
“Nothing wrong with a night in,” he said to himself as he mounted the thirty-two steps that wound up the hill and took him to the beautiful porch that stretched along the entire front of the house. He put his backpack on the porch swing and pulled out his book again, trying to get lost in the French Revolution and forget about the handsome man he could’ve been spending this evening with.