Family secrets, changelings, and fairies you never want to meet on a dark night.
Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic.
When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie. She is linked to a world where humans – ‘hot-bloods’ – are disposable entertainment. Life on a run-down estate – her single mum’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend – become the least of Jess’s worries.
Purchase from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/We-Other-Sue-Bentley-ebook/dp/B07D19PRGL/
Purchase from Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/We-Other-Sue-Bentley-ebook/dp/B07D19PRGL/
Context – this is the reader’s first glimpse into a Dark Court in Faery. It’s seen through the viewpoint of a character, Ninka – who will be central to Jess Morgan’s unfolding story and of on-going significance throughout the series. Jess is struggling at present with her familiar but chaotic life and is unaware of many secrets in her background or that things are about to change forever, and events overtake her.
Ninka Minka, last of the Hudskin race, was trying not to listen to the struggling hob’s squeals.
It wasn’t the tiny faery’s death that bothered her; the matter of life and death in the Shadow Court was like everything else there, twisted and uncertain. It was the lengthy pleasure that Tweeter took in his task that she found so upsetting.
Added to this, in the midst of it all, Catelysma was jouncing her newest plaything on her knee. No one knew where the pretty baby had come from and no one was foolish enough to ask. It looked too well cared-for to be a forest foundling. But it was of no concern to any of the fey gathered that a mortal might be grieving her baby’s loss; mortals were fecund, if short-lived, and the mother could easily have another.
The infant’s rounded features, flushed pink cheeks and soft, peach-skinned limbs were drawing murmurs of admiration from all those in attendance. As Ninka looked more closely at the fitted garment that covered the baby from its neck down, her heart gave a lurch. Although muddy and grass-stained it was just possible to make out the original pink colour and the faint design of dancing animals. Immediately, she guessed where it had come from and the knowledge made her tremble.
‘She shall be known as, Aerith,’ Catelysma decided, a smile of satisfaction playing over her perfect features.
There were nods of approval from the scrags and boggarts clustered in the shadows. A grey phantasm drifted past, smoke-like limbs trailing and its mournful features wearing what passed for a smile.
Aerith smiled and gurgled, unconcerned by the narrow eyes blinking at her from spiteful cat faces.
Ninka felt a shiver of fear for the little mortal. How soon before the Dark Lady tired of her and she became prey to the ravenous scrags and red caps? She watched as Catelysma placed a golden ball in the baby’s lap and made a languorous gesture with one slender white hand, setting a glamour on the ball, which instantly became a fluffy golden rabbit. The infant’s lips pursed. She blew a loud raspberry as she clapped her chubby hands with pleasure.
‘How delightful, she is!’ Catelysma purred. ‘Eyes like cornflowers and tender pink lips.’
Nods and smiles rippled round the court. Ninka found herself smiling too. Aerith was indeed charming, but then young mortals brought into Faery usually were – at first.
‘Some pity…I beg.’ The wounded hob moaned loudly as Tweeter continued working with his curved bone blade.
Some of the fairy host tittered. A few yawned. Most paid no attention to the little hob’s suffering, which was commonplace enough. They preferred the rare novelty of watching Catelysma petting the pretty infant.
Was the Dark Lady thinking of that other half-ling babe – the Forbidden? Ninka thought. Was it dead, and if so, did she mourn it? Was this what the show of maternity was all about? Her thoughts began to wander.
The details of that event in the forest, which she had witnessed by accident, were imprinted deeply upon her. It would have far-reaching implications for the Shadow Court, the solitary fey, and beyond if what she knew ever came to light. But that knowledge was caged within her, where it must stay buried, until the time was right for disclosure. If Catelysma had even the slightest inkling that any fey knew her secret – well, Ninka knew her life would be worth less than a dandelion seed blowing on the breeze.
The hob wailed piteously.
‘Be done with that now!’
‘Ladyship.’ Tweeter clenched mud coloured teeth in an ingratiating grin. Raising the blade, he thrust hard.
Ninka would have liked to think the Dark Lady had spoken out of pity. The pool of the hob’s blood on the moss carpet looked dark and syrupy. She felt slightly sick with disgust, but knew better than to reveal the fact.
‘Dismissed. All of you!’
As the rest of the court melted into the trees, Ninka suppressed a sigh of relief. She sidled towards a birch, eager to be about her work.
‘Not you, Hudskin. Approach me,’ Catelysma said softly.
Author Bio – Sue Bentley discovered a love of books at an early age. She worked for Northamptonshire Libraries for many years, while teaching herself the craft of writing. She is the author of the worldwide bestselling Magic Kitten, Magic Puppy, Magic Ponies, Magic Bunny series for age 5-9 years. She also writes for children and adults under various pen names. A lover of English Folklore, her books often contain elements of the otherworld and the darkness within the everyday. Her books have been translated into around 20 languages. We Other is her first book for Young Adults.
Giveaway – Win a signed copy of We Other and a personal letter (open internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.