Home > Midnight Soul (Fantasyland #5)(15)

Midnight Soul (Fantasyland #5)(15)
Author: Kristen Ashley

Queen Aurora (and Frey, and when Noc kept refusing, the kicker, Cora) had insisted he take a small bag of those ice diamonds and a small chest of gold. And with his adventure in this crazy place, that was all he needed. More than he needed (Circe had taken more but she’d had a seriously fucked-up life, was trying to make a go of it in NOLA as an office manager of a towing company, and after all she’d had done to her, she deserved some cush and the means to spoil herself).

And that was what he was going to get, what he was going to do, what was up next for Noc.

The beautiful, but grieving, Franka Drakkar with her pretty mouth didn’t factor.

“So she’s your type,” Cora said, taking him back into their conversation, “But you’re not gonna go there.”

Noc shook his head. “She’s from here, I’m from home. I’m going home. But it isn’t even about that, babe. Tor got you back. Frey got Finnie back. Won’t go on because you were there, you know. Franka didn’t get her man back.”

“Don’t say that in front of Apollo,” she whispered. “Maddie suggested that and it pisses him off. He thinks she’s incapable of any emotion, much less love.”

“You four couples aren’t the only ones who’ve known love, Cora,” he returned. “Not bein’ a dick, but that’s the way it is. And she’s stone cold on the outside, babe, but inside the woman is in some serious pain. She’s capable of emotion, just like you and me, and I know that because I saw it.”

What he didn’t share was that Franka Drakkar might be capable of more of it, with the pain he saw in her eyes, the guilt that seemed to visibly weigh on her at what she’d done.

She just, for some reason, wouldn’t allow herself to let it show, even maybe fully feel it.

That reason was a mystery and Noc was a cop. Cops were big on mysteries. Solving them, to be precise.


Another reason he had to steer clear of Franka Drakkar.

Cora nodded. “I think your perception of her is right, at least the way she is with you, for whatever reason she gave you that particular Franka. What concerns me, honey, is that it seems to mean so much to you.”

That was what concerned him too.

“Woman’s in pain, she gave me that, she gave me time,” he tried to explain it. “Tomorrow, she’ll be gone and eventually she’ll be just another memory of this place. But you spend hours with a woman drinking whiskey and watching her face light up, the pain she’s trying to hide clearing clean away because she’s never seen a phone before. We’ll just say that’ll be a memory I won’t forget.”

“I’ll bet,” Cora replied, the concern shifting out of her expression, understanding replacing it.

Noc grabbed his knife and started cutting into the tender, moist, perfectly-cooked steak on his plate.

Cora changed the subject.

“I can’t wait to show you my world, Noc. It’s gonna be awesome. You’re gonna love it.”

He looked to her, meat in his mouth and chewing and smiling he said, “Can’t wait either, babe.”

Her face lit up too.

And seeing it, Noc knew that’d be another memory he wouldn’t forget that he’d take home from this crazy world.

There it was.

They were having dinner and Franka wasn’t invited.

Tomorrow morning, she’d be leaving.

So she was a memory of this world.

A mysterious one.

A sad one.

But just a memory.

And Noc had to live with that.

What he wouldn’t admit was that he didn’t like it.

Chapter Three



I sat curled in an armchair by the fire in my room wearing my silk nightgown, my lacy-knit wool shawl held tight around my bared shoulders, staring at the fire, thinking that Kristian’s home was an eight-day sleigh ride from Fyngaard, where the Winter Palace was located.

A long, cold ride for me and Josette, but as much as I wished to get to my brother, I would savor it, for it would likely be the last time I’d sled over my Lunwyn.

Over a lonely day and a lonely dinner, I’d made my decision.

I was going to Airen, across the Green Sea. I’d heard the sky city was marvelous. Dark and austere, but it opened onto a bay with stunning views, and the Sky Citadel was made of the glinting black stone that could only be found on that continent, but I’d heard it was extraordinary.

And I’d heard Firenze had barely taken its first steps into the civilized world, but their city of fire, and the barbarians who lived there, might be to my taste, if only to see one (or several).

Not to mention, there was the magical sisterhood of the Nadirii, who lived shrouded by enchantments, a warrior class of women who dwelled solely amongst their own, using males only for purposes of procreation…and pleasure.

I was no warrior. But I had other attributes and no need for male companionship. Not anymore. I’d never been good at being a member of the sisterhood. But facing a new life and new adventures, it was worth a try. Perhaps they’d allow me behind their enchantments.

Therefore, even if I couldn’t talk Kristian into going with me, I was going.

And perhaps I could find a way to dull the pain through adventure.

Before I left, however, I’d give my brother plenty of jewels and coin to make him safe. He loved his wife, his son. He might not be as sharp-witted as most of the Drakkars (a boon for him, for without that sharp wit he also did not have sharp claws, and that was something of a lovable anomaly for our House—none of this, of course, I’d ever told him, or ever would), but he’d definitely desire to have the means to keep his family safe.

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