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Broken Fae by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti

Broken Fae

by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti


Book 4 in the Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac

Me and my kings have come as close to breaking as I ever could have feared.

Just as we were finding a way to get past our difficulties, the stars have torn us apart. Can I fight against the will of the heavens or does fate have something unforeseen in store for me now?

While we're reeling from the wheel of fate and trying to find a way to move on with our lives, our enemies are only growing more powerful.

Felix Oscura is haunting Alestria with his bloodthirsty need to steal the power of the clan he was never destined to rule over. And the illusive King is growing closer to their goal of taking control of the entire city and maybe even beyond.

With challenges around every corner and the mysteries behind my brother's death slowly starting to unravel, will I be able to piece everything together and find a way to overcome the will of the stars before it’s too late?

Age Recommendation:



Urban Fantasy

Reverse Harem


Broken Fae is the fourth book in Caroline Peckham's and Susanne Valenti's Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac series, and starts off immediately where the third book ended, with Leon and Elise mated, and Ryder, Dante and Gabriel heartbroken. A summer separated doesn't ease their pain, and while mated, Elise and Leon are in pain too - because Elise loves all the guys equally, and Leon wants a pride. Can Elise convince the boys that it doesn't matter what the stars say - she loves them too? And with Felix going to war with the Oscura clan, and more facts come out about Elise's brother's murder, can they all put aside their differences, and work together?

Aw. This book bummed me out, made me happy, then made me drop my jaw with that cliffhanger. Thank god this series is over, and I don't have to wait for the next book (unlike Zodiac Academy. ughhhhh). So there are several things I liked about this book, and other things I didn't. As for what I didn't like, it's the same as with the others - too much focus on sex, and not enough on plot - until the end, that is. And once again, I will repeat, I like dirty, sexy books. But I like sex with reason behind it. The first half of this book is Elise trying to convince the boys that despite mating with Leon, she loves them all equally, and wants them all. And getting in their pants. Which is great, and a lot of it was hot, but gawd, I wanted some story in there too. As for what I liked - well, I like the characters, and despite complaining about the amount of it, I like the sex. We got our first four way, and it was hotter than I thought it would be. I liked where we are heading with finding out about Gareth's death - and it seems like Elise is going to come to the conclusion that I have suspected for a long ass time now.

I have some predictions for how this will all play out. Don't read below if you don't want to be spoiled, just in case they do pan out.

  • I think the King did in fact, murder Gareth. I think he figured out "the plan" and killed him for it.

  • As for the King, I think that Professor Titan is him. Two reasons: he said he would talk to Nightshade about using her Siren abilities on Elise, and if anything, it seemed worse afterward. And two, the book he was reading about positioning himself as an authority when not a strong fae. I don't know. We'll see.

  • I think all the guys will be mated to Elise, while being allied with one another.

Broken Fae might have been a lot of sexy times, but it had some important character and relationship growth too. Gabriel and Ryder's arc's are wonderfully done, and work perfectly for their characters - including their new friendship with one another. And we can't forget Dante and Leon. Dante really steps up as leader of his clan, and protector of his family - and Leon is literally boyfriend goals. He is just the sweetest. And Elise, she has gone from throwing her life away, to finding joy again after her brothers death, and wanting to continue to live. Whatever happens in the next book - and holy shit is that thing a monster - I'm hoping this "pride" gets a happy ending.

  1. Leon's family with Elise <3

  2. Dante's complaints about his, what sounds like, well deserved detention in potions class

  3. Leon trying to befriend Ryder had be howling

  4. Leon and Elise finally talking about what they both want

  5. Elise offering herself up for a fight to try to talk to Ryder

  6. Gabriel - protector of frogs

  7. The Gabriel/Elise/Ryder sandwich

  8. Dante saving Elise from Old Sal

  9. Gabriel and Ryder saving Leon


  11. Dante and Leon using Pitball to figure out who gets what with Elise when they go back to their room

  12. Um the sex between Dante and Elise after blowing the killblaze lab up

  13. Gabriel and Ryder drunk hahaha the TATTOO

  14. Dante's aunt lol

  15. ORION

  16. Leon knowing that the best person to go with Elise to see her mother was Ryder, and setting it up

  17. How Gareth's tried saving Elise's Christmas

  18. Leon kidnapping the guys for a "retreat"

  19. Gabriel teaching Dante to cook

  20. CHRISTMAS!!! The perfect gifts and the five-some WOAH

  21. Leon drawing mustaches ad other things of Lionel's dragon/family portraits

  22. Leon rubbing Lionel's pipe all over his balls

  23. Elise squealing with how cute Ryder is in his smallest snake form, and Gabriel making a tiny top hat

  24. Ryder saving Sante's life and Dante killing Felix

Marie: “Well, no need to fret,”

Marie said happily as she bustled into the room with a tray full of pastries and Latisha on her heels with a pot of coffee.

Marie: “Leonidas spent the entire night claiming his mate. You can ask any of the servants. The two of them were here all night long causing quite the ruckus.”

Latisha: “Yes, he really does have a lot of stamina,”

Latisha cooed proudly and I about died of embarrassment. Sure, sex was natural and all but hearing your man’s mothers praising his performance was definitely not something I wanted to listen to.

Leon: “By the stars, Moms, stop with the TMI,”

Reginald: “There’s nothing to be ashamed of, son. Everyone knows a true Lion can satisfy his woman like that.”

Safira: “All of his women,”

Safira added with a lusty smile aimed her husband’s way as she started laying out cups.

Leon: “Please stop, I’m going to puke,”

Safira: “On that note, have you done your monthly contraception spells?”

Safira asked, looking at me with a smile that said she wouldn’t mind if we hadn’t even though I was still currently being interviewed by the cops. Reginald chuckled.

Reginald: “Well if they haven’t then I’m willing to bet we’ll have a cub on the way after all of that-”

Leon: “This is fast going from one of the best days of my life to the worst." Reginald: “Watch out boys. I think we’ve just let a Lion into the pride instead of a Lioness and if we’re not careful, she’ll be crowning herself king before we know it.” Bill: “Just come out with me for a drink. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet a girl to take your mind off Elise. We could go to the Pink Star, I’ll buy you a lap dance?” I released a note of what almost could have been laughter.

Gabriel: “And get my dick infested with Manticrabs in the process?”

Bill: “Hey, your dick needs some kind of action or it’ll fall off. And I’ll have you know that the Pink Star got a four point five star rating in Zodiass Weekly this year.”

Gabriel: “You’re not selling it to me, Bill.” My memory hadn't done her any justice. She shone like the most beautiful star in the zodiac; if I had been her mate, I'd never need to look up at the sky again. Elise: “I love you, Ryder,”

Ryder: “You don’t even know me. And if you did, you’d know there’s nothing here to love.” With a snarl, Leon blinked hard and managed to force the hypnosis off, barking a laugh as he did so even though the look in his eyes said that whatever he’d just been gifted a vision of was all kinds of fucked up.

Leon: “If you’re going to send visions of you cutting my dick off at least be accurate with the size of it!”

Leon called as Ryder turned and stalked away.

Leon: “It would have made it a lot easier for you to choke me with it if you’d had the size right!” Ryder kept walking and Leon sighed dramatically, flopping back down onto the grass.

Elise: “That’s a pretty fucked up vision to send you,”

I muttered, looking down at my Lion with an apology in my eyes which he waved off.

Leon: “It’s how he shows he cares. One of these days I know he’ll gift me a vision of him tossing me from a cliff Mufasa and Scar style and then I know we'll be bros for life." Elise: “I love you, Leo,”

Leon: “That’s the first time you’ve said that to me, little monster,”

Elise: “No it isn’t,”

Leon: “Yeah it is. You’re not good with words. All the other times you thought it, it was just implied.” I rolled my silver-ringed eyes at him and teased my fingers deeper into his hair, the purr emanating from his chest growing louder as he arched his back like a cat, all feline in that moment.

Leon: “Fuck, that feels as good as your lips on my cock,”

he groaned as I slowly massaged his scalp, and he pulled a laugh from my lips.

Leon: “And I love you too, little monster. Just in case I imply it too often as well.”

Elise: “You’re only saying that because I’m playing with your hair,”

I teased and he smiled up at me, catching my wrist in his grip and slowly tugging my hand back out of his hair until it was laying on his bare chest instead.

Leon: "I love you, Elise Callisto."

he growled, holding my eye and making sure I felt the depths of those words all the way down to my soul. I bit my lip to stop myself from grinning like an idiot and he smiled mischievously as he used his grip on my wrist to slide my hand all the way down until my palm was pressed to his junk.

Leon: "Now play with my balls and let's see if you can get me to propose."

Titan: “But you kept in touch?”

Elise: “Oh yeah, we texted a bunch, and she sent me photos of all the things she was reading. She even found this thousand year old carving of a Fae queen who had six husbands and each of them had perfectly engraved coc - actually, that story may not be teacher appropriate. But you get the idea, we stayed in touch.” As I tucked my Atlas away, my heart pulled in several directions and I had a sense I finally knew what was up with me lately. Elise's hand was locked in mine and I tugged her closer as my gaze found Dante in the class, then moved to Gabriel, then Ryder. I growled low in my throat as I was drawn to the three of them. So maybe I’d gotten attached to Elise’s other guys. Maybe I missed hanging out with them all. And maybe it was time I reunited us Avengers style. It was kinda exciting. Tummy flutters and all. He might have pissed me off, but I wasn't done befriending him yet. One day soon we were going to be having sleepovers and pillow fights and he'd giggle like a school girl at my jokes. If it wasn't written in the stars already, I was going to get my Sharpie and scrawl it up there to make it so. Leon: "I miss you."

Ryder: "Ex-fucking-scuse me?"

Leon: "Just being honest."

Ryder: "You miss me? I was never your friend, we're barely acquaintances. In fact, you’re just a cat who comes scratching at my window sometimes who I need to chase away."

Leon: "Nah, I'm more than that to you. We fought alongside each other, we're bound by that. By Elise. By everything we'd do for her. We're the same in that way. And remember when I totally died and you totally left that bloody handprint on me because you were all sad and stuff?”

I took out my Atlas and brought up the photo I’d taken of it on my chest. I’d even added the caption BFFs forever, because obviously that was where this was heading. I’d known that then.

Leon: “I'm your little pal.”

I waved the photo at him and he glowered darkly.

Ryder: "You're not my 'little pal',"

he air quoted the words, smacking the Atlas away from his face.

Ryder: "I don't have pals. I don't need pals."

Leon: "Everyone needs a little pal,"

Ryder: "Stop talking,"

Leon: "I can't. I'm a talkative person. And we've got twenty four hours to kill so that's a looooot of time I need to kill. I'll most likely do it talking. And snoozing. There will be some snoozing. But when that ends, the talking will start again."

Ryder: "Just. Stop,"

he half pleaded, walking back towards me as he looked at the box.

Leon: "It can all stop if you just put your power in me, Rydikins. Just put it in. Just the tip."

He snorted a laugh before he could stop himself then tried to cover it with a furious hiss. But I had him pegged. He found me funny. Deep down, beneath all the emotionless bullshit he showed the world was a beating heart that needed love as much as the next guy’s did. And I had a lot of love to give. Endless amounts really. So I was happy to care about him until he let me in. But I always followed my instincts, always trusted myself, and currently they were leading me to Ryder and begging me to wrap him up in cotton wool and cuddle him like a cub.

Ryder: "Why are you looking at me like that?"

Ryder growled as I stepped closer to him. Just a little squeeze...he won't mind a little one. I released his hand and pounced, wrapping him in my arms and dragging him in for a fierce hug. He struggled hard so I clutched him tighter, fighting to keep him there. Then he got his palms between us and shoved me away, his teeth bared. Ryder: "What the fuck, Mufasa?"

Leon: "You liked it.”

I smirked. He totally did.

Ryder: "If you try to hug me again, I will grow a vine so far up your ass that it'll get lodged in your throat and suffocate you to death,"

I laughed, holding out my hand again.

Leon: "Alright, alright, we'll put a pin in the hugging idea."

Ryder: "No, there's no pin. It's a hard limit."

Leon: "Jeez, just power share with me already and we can figure it out later."

Ryder: "There will be no hugging. Ever. I don't hug people."

Leon: "If you were just honest with me, you might find you like getting a little vulnerable, then your magic barriers will come down and I'll slip right inside you."

Ryder: "Can you stop talking about it like you're about to fuck me in the ass, because it's making this impossible. Let me do the pushing, I’m not a taker in any sense." Elise: “What?”

Eugene: “Leon set the Mindys on you. He said that the first Mindy to deliver you back to your room will be his favourite.”

Elise: “What?”

I snarled this time, snatching his Atlas to see for myself.

Leon Night: Me and @EliseCallisto are playing a game of hide and seek. The first girl to find her and bring her to our room will be my favourite forevermore. P.S. Bring snacks for bonus points ;)

Natalie Brooks: I will find her even if I have to gouge my eyes from my face and throw them into the sky to spot her!

Lauren Lockwood: I’ll smother her in chocolate so that she IS the snack.

Kaysie Ward: I saw a fishing net down by Lake Tempest that I can catch her in.

Merranda Devereaux: I will find her even if it kills me and only my rotting corpse remains to deliver her to you.

Leon: “I didn’t actually call you back here for sex, you know,”

he said and I just looked at the damn rose petals smothering the bed in response to that.

Leon: “Well, I’m always hoping for sex. But when I said it was important, I meant it.”

I huffed irritably and moved to sit next to him on the bed, using a gust of air magic to sweep the petals into a corner of the room.

Leon: “They were meant to be romantic,”

Elise: “Bits of dead flowers sticking to my ass while you fuck me? Be still my beating heart,”

Leon: “Angry Elise is kinda scary,”

Leon teased as he moved to sit up too, leaning his back against the headboard as I remained rigid with my legs crossed beneath me.

Leon: “Is this the side of you that gets Ryder all turned on? ‘Cause you’ve got that same psycho look in your eye that he gets and I’m betting the two of you angry fucking would be hot enough to start a house fire.” Leon: "I dunno why, but it turns me on to see you with them or think about you with them.”

Elise: “Because of me, or them...or both?”

I asked with a grin and he laughed.

Leon: “I’m all about the pussy - no need for any sausage in my bun, thanks. But making a sandwich out of you, or even a short stack...”

Elise: “So I’m a pancake now?”

Leon: “Nah, little monster, we’re the pancakes, you’re the syrup, all over all of us, making us nice and sticky.” Elise: “None of their Orders are polyamorous. Hell, Vampires aren’t either. This isn’t normal. I have an Elysian Mate. Surely I shouldn’t-”

Leon: “Who gives a shit about shouldn’t? If it’s what makes us happy then I say that’s what’s right. Besides, you’re half Pegasus, they have a herd, they don’t always mate with a single Fae. And Dante was born of Wolves, they’re poly at least half the time. Who the fuck knows what Basilisks do and Gabe loves you so much he’ll give in to it eventually whatever. We can always build him a nest on the roof of our mansion to go grump in when he wants alone time anyway.” Elise: “That’s your solution, a grumpy nest?”

I groaned, flopping down onto the bed and he hooked an arm around me, tugging me against his chest.

Leon: “Yeah, you can go ruffle his feathers up there whenever he’s in a vision downer or whatever and he’ll be cool again after that." Leon: “How many orgasms am I going to have to give you before you forgive me?”

Elise: “Five,”

I gasped, the damn potion making me answer even though I wanted to make him work harder at an apology than that. Leon growled hungrily, tugging at the baggy sweatpants until he’d ripped them off of me and tossing them aside with a wild look in his eyes. He moved to pull the T-shirt off too but I gripped the hem, shaking my head at him.

Elise: “You haven’t earned boobs.” Ryder: “Why won’t you just let me go?”

he asked, starting out strong but his voice breaking at the end.

Elise: “It would be easier to give up breathing than you, Ryder,” Elise: “The stars gave me a gift, but sometimes I think it was a curse too. And I know it will be if it means they stole you from me.” Gabriel: "You don't have to give me a kidney, asshole, just tell me something about yourself. Something real,"

I said, figuring he needed a nudge and he muttered curses under his breath.

Ryder: "I'd rather give you both of my kidneys and a lung to save me from this shit. Elise: “I missed you, Dante,”

I breathed and a smile touched his lips as he lay there on his back, his head turned my way so that we mirrored each other.

Dante: Non me ne sono mai andato.” I never left. Dante: “My mamma and papa were Elysian Mates. Their love burned for everyone to see with the heat and power of the sun. They never would have even considered wanting someone else. And I can’t help thinking that you won’t either in time. Maybe right now you’re still adjusting to it and the feelings you had for me before it happened still linger. But in time, I think you’ll realize that you love Leon most. That he’s the only one you need. And every moment I spend alone in your arms is only going to make me want to hold on tighter. I’m afraid that it will destroy me in the end.” Elise: "Worthy? Your opinion of me is way beyond the rest of the world's."

Dante: "No, bella. You're a queen among men and the sooner you realize that the better. Haven't you noticed how easily you make men worship you? There's magic in you more powerful than the stars themselves." Elise: "Sometimes, we'd steal props from the strippers to use for dressing up. And when we were really young, Gareth used to steal these huge green Dragon dick dildos so that we could pretend they were swords...we stopped doing that fairly sharpish when Mom caught us with them and informed us of where people usually liked to stick them though..." Dante half laughed and gave a half-strangled noise in the back of his throat all at once as he moved towards me.

Dante: "I don't know if that's the saddest or funniest story I've ever heard," Dante: "No one will ever hurt you while I draw breath, Elise. My heart is yours and my strength is too. Never doubt that, no matter what way the rest of this plays out."

My heart thudded desperately against my ribs as he leaned forward to deliver the kiss I was aching for. But he pressed it to my forehead instead of my lips and I felt like I was shattering all over again.

Dante: "A morte e ritorno, Elise."

Dante slid me over into my seat and pulled the car away from the last remnants of my old life as I tried to cling onto something solid after everything I’d just found out.

Elise: "To death and back, Dante,"

I agreed, giving his words back to him as I reached across to take his hand and he let me have it.

Elise: "Always." Oh come on, am I really going to help the fucking Lion King? I tried to let it go one last time before giving in to that urge in me to stop him from being brutally murdered. I might as well have turned into a fucking Care Bear and sung him a song about rainbows shooting out of my ass while I was at it. That was how low this was.

Leon: "Oh holy snake balls!"

he exclaimed as he stared at my junk and I snatched my pants from Big Bird's waistband.

Ryder: "It's what real men have, asshole, grow a pair." He was smiling like a fucking idiot at me.

Leon: "You rescued me," .

Ryder: "I did not,"

I snarled, but I didn't know why I bothered lying. I'd come racing here in the pocket of a blackbird to warn this bastard. How could I deny that shit? I didn't know why, but I just couldn't let him be cut up by the Lunars for the sake of him taking Elise from me. Even if I'd pictured doing so myself more than once.

Leon: "By the stars, you're so in love with me, Rydikins,

Ryder: "I can still put you back up there, Mufasa," Now I had her here alone, everything I wanted to say was just a jumble of bullshit in my head.

Ryder: "You're my snakelet,"

I blurted. By the fucking stars, what the hell was that? Ryder: "I'll always be a monster, baby. I'll be the reason Fae lock their doors at night in Alestria, I am branded on the inside of my enemies' skulls and my name will always strike fear into their hearts. But I will also be your monster, if you'll have me. If you deem me worthy. I don't have much to give but a blackened heart and a tarnished soul, but they're yours because... I love you." Dante spread his wings wide, twisting around and nose diving towards the ground. I fell like Mufasa from the cliff, my paws wheeling in the air and I hoped to the fucking stars Ryder was watching this to make my death worthwhile. I jogged up beside Dante and wiggled my eyebrows.

Leon: "Wanna come back to mine and Elise's room after this?"

He laughed darkly, looking over at Elise who was stretching out her calves, her tanned skin all dewy and hot as fuck. I couldn't wait to lick her ankles and run my tongue through the creases behind her knees...

Dante: "If I take the kid out, I get her first. And you can sit and watch like a puttana in timeout."

Leon: "Deal, and if I take him down – which I will - you can watch me make her come three times in a row and take notes on my magic dick." Dante's shoulder knocked back into mine a second later and we raced flat out towards the kid who was now cornered at the far edge of the pitch. He screamed like I'd shoved a hot poker up his ass as we collided with him, taking him down beneath us. My thigh was locked over one of his legs and Dante's was locked over the other and both of our hands were weighing down his chest. I snarled at Dante over our kill - I mean freshman - and he snarled right back.

Leon: "I got him first,"

Dante: "No fucking way, my hands were on him a whole second before yours were,"

Freshman: "Ow,"

Leon: "Shhhh."

I placed a hand over his whole face, my gaze still fixed on Dante.

Leon: "Don't be a sore loser, brother." Dante: "The only sore loser will be you while you're in the corner aching to get your hands on our girl,"

I grinned at them, my cock and heart twitching happily in sync with one another. They were both so content right now. I was gonna name this feeling dickbliss. Leon: "Hey! Gabriel!"

I waved enthusiastically.

Leon: "Gaaaaabe!"

He refused to look at me, but every single person on the pitch was turning to look up at him.

Leon; "Gaaabrieeel!"

I waved harder and he finally raised a hand in a brief wave and I chuckled low in my throat. Total BFFTB (best friend forever to be). Dante hurried to my side and planted Elise down, slapping her on the ass and she promptly slapped him on the ass right back.

Leon: "We're playing for boobs this time. Whoever loses doesn't get to touch them once."

Dante nodded his agreement and Elise frowned at us.

Elise: "What?"

Leon: "We’re playing for titty rights, little monster."

I winked at her and she snorted a laugh.

Elise: "Alright, I want in on this. If I catch him then neither of you get boobs and I get to dominate you both. My rules.”

Leon: "You're on,"

Dante: "I've got this in the bag. Quei seni sono miei." Those breasts are mine. Leon: "Best blowie ever right after the game for whoever takes him down,"

Elise: "I assume you're offering that to each other and not from me?"

Elise sing-songed and I laughed.

Dante: "Dalle stelle," From the stars. Leon: "You can have her any time without me there, you know that right? Both of you can. And if you're not ready for a gang bang Gabriel-"

Professor Mars: "By the moon,"

Mars muttered then hurried away. Woops. Elise: "First one back to our room gets the first orgasm."

She shot away with her Vampire speed and we stared after her with our jaws dropping.

Leon: "Dirty cheat,"

I growled. Dante glanced at me, then shoved me to the ground with a hard push.

Dante: "Second one there gets to give it to her!"

Motherfucker. Middle Kipling: "Would you prefer me to conform to the social standards of covering my body?"

Elise: "If you're asking if I want you to put some fucking clothes on, then yeah. Clothes would be good,". Gabriel: "There's a big Card meeting tonight which all members have to attend so that means the lab will be left practically empty. The place will be completely vulnerable to the right kind of attack."

Elise: "Which is?"

I asked, looking up at him as my mind raced to keep up with his words.

Gabriel: "An enormous lightning strike would do it,"

Gabriel purred just as the door opened and electricity crackled over my skin at Dante's arrival. I turned to look at my Storm Dragon with excitement building in my veins and the scowl that had taken over his features at the sight of me in Gabriel's arms melted away as he seemed to catch on to my mood.

Dante: "What is it, bella?"

Elise: "You wanna come destroy a Killblaze lab with me, Drago?"

Dante: "Do you really have to ask that question, amore mio?"

Gabriel: "Oh for the love of the moon,"

Gabriel snarled and we both turned to look at him in confusion.

Elise: "What?"

I asked as his eyes glazed with The Sight.

Elise: "What are you seeing? Is something going to go wrong?"

Gabriel blew out a frustrated breath and shook his head.

Gabriel: "No. I was just gifted a vision of the two of you fucking in celebration of your success while I'm stuck at that shitting cult meeting."

I bit my lip as static crackled through the air and Dante released a dirty laugh. Several more beers and plenty of plummets off the plank later, I was not my fucking self. I crawled along the edge of the wall towards the plank with a smile plastered to my face.

Ryder: "I'm gonna hang from it this time,"

I told Gabriel as he lay on the wall, using his water magic to make his beer travel from his bottle right into his mouth where it sat beside him. He gargled it then sat up as I reached for the plank dizzyingly and missed.

Gabriel: "You're gonna fall."

He snorted a laugh, twizzling his finger though the air and spiraling it down to his legs while he whistled.

Gabriel: "You'll go weeeeeee - splat." Ryder: "What's it important for?"

I slurred and he pushed me down into the chair at the desk.

Gabriel: "Dunno, man. But you can't fight the stars, they'll get all angry and shit."

Ryder: "Yeah. That's true." Don’t wanna piss off the stars…" I set up the gun and started doing the tattoo freehand on my wrist. I went for a scorpion with the Scorpio symbol worked into its body. I may have been drunk, but I did that shit good. Gabriel watched intently, as silent as a bird of prey. It took a while and I drank in the pain of it while I worked, frowning in concentration. When I was finished, Gabriel leaned forward and healed it so it set into my skin like it had always been there.

Ryder: "What do you think it's for? What did the vision show you exactly?"

I looked up at him, finding him practically crying with silent laughter as his whole body shook.

Gabriel: "I didn't get a vision. You've just got my star sign tattooed on you."

He fell to pieces, roaring with laughter as he pointed at the tattoo and my jaw dropped.

Ryder: "You fucking what?!"

I lunged at him, shoving him off of the desk and landing on top of him on the floor. He continued to laugh while I punched him and my rage soon gave way to amusement as I fell apart too.

Ryder: "You asshole, I'll make a feathery fucking hat out of your ass,"

I growled, the threat only half-hearted. Elise: "If you want me to come and see you, you should ask nicely,"

I said with a pout as my wet clothes and hair dripped onto his carpet.

Ryder: "No,"

he replied, his gaze dropping to the white shirt which clung to my body and had turned transparent around the text so that my red lace bra showed beneath it.

Elise: "No?"

Ryder: "If you want nice then you should go hang out with Simba. You don't come to me for nice. I'm the villain in your little fucked up love story."

Elise: "The villain doesn't get the girl."

Ryder: "He does. If the girl is just as bad as him." Elise: "Sounds like you're in luck then. Ryder: "This feels like its own kind of torture,"

Elise: "That's because you're spoiled. Too used to getting your own way." Ryder: "Not with you. You don't make anything easy for me."

I laughed at that comment before dropping my panties to the floor and stepping towards him again.

Elise: "Nothing worth having in life comes easy." Lasita: "Is that my grande Leone?"

Dante: "Sì, aunt, but he's in a mood,"

Lasita: "I dated a Lion once, terrible grouch when he didn't get his way. All I had to do was whack him with a dingy stick to get him straight again though. I keep mine on me at all times, it banishes the mind critters you see?"

She reached up her sleeve and produced the stick which was just a normal fucking stick and I rolled my eyes at it.

Elise: "Where can I buy one of these dingy sticks?"

Elise asked with a light laugh as she opened the back door of the car for my aunt.

Lasita: "The price is one night with a hapless spright under the Vulcan Bridge in northern Alestria,"

she explained and I cringed.

Dante: "Isn't that where all those homeless Fae live?"

Elise whispered to me in alarm and I nodded. Lasita: "Be warned though, those sprites can be quite odorous and if you want a really good dingy stick, you'll need to spend more than one night in their company. They look just like Fae you know, but the smell gives them away."

She tapped her nose like she held some secret and I tried to force that image from my mind as I helped her into the car.

Note to self: put diversionary spells around the Vulcan Bridge to ensure Lasita never goes there again.

Elise climbed into the back with her while Lasita asked if she needed a couple of seatbelts to hold her tiny waist down in case of a car crash and I smiled when Elise laughed it off. I placed my aunt's bag in the trunk before getting into the driver's seat and knocking Leon's hat off with a gust of air.

Leon: "For fuck's sake Dante,"

he muttered and Lasita smacked him around the head with her stick.

Lesita: "Be gone mindworts!"

she cried and I burst out laughing the same moment Elise did.

Leon: "Hey!"

Dante: "Don't shout at my old aunt," I growled and Leon turned back around, folding his arms. Lasita: "Ohhh he's got the devildust in him. It's going to take more than a few strikes."

Elise: "You’d better help him,"

Elise implored and Leon growled under his breath as I snorted a laugh. As I drove off down the road, Lasita started chanting in some crazy language, smacking Leon around the head every time she reached a crescendo.

Leon: "Call her off,"

Dante: "Not until you start smiling, fratello."

I grinned widely at him and he glowered back just as Lasita whipped him with the stick again. Orion: "If this is another orgy offer, I really think you misheard my last refusal,"

Orion said, mostly to Leon, and Elise smacked her mate on the arm.

Elise: "Stop planning orgies without consulting me,"

Leon: "I was gonna ask you too if he agreed obviously." He leaned over to the nightstand and grabbed his Atlas, holding it so that I couldn't see who he was dialing before lifting it to his ear.

Leon: "That's not a very nice greeting for your boyfriend in law," Leon: "This whole pride thing we've got going on has loads of perks, little monster, one of them being that you've got a Lioness for every occasion. And I think that a Debbie downer road trip to have a heart to heart that will likely hurt like a bitch definitely comes under Ryder's skill set." Leon: "Why do you keep sneaking up on me when I'm in these situations?"

he demanded, whirling around to glare at Roary as he strode up the drive towards us, wearing nothing but a pair of sweatpants with his bronzed, muscular chest gleaming with sweat.

Roary: "I'm not the one who keeps starting three ways in public places. And I have to admit I'm a bit surprised to find Ryder Draconis taking part this time."

Ryder pushed past us, pointing a menacing finger at Leon's older brother as a rattle sounded in his throat.

Ryder: "You didn't see a damn thing, but if you think you did, I'll happily carve your malfunctioning eyes from your pretty face."

Roary: "Fuck me, the Lunar King thinks I'm pretty. I need to go and write about this in my diary," Leon: "Nights never rat and we place family above all else. We will protect the pride until death."

Ryder: "What does your pride have to do with me?"

Leon: "Are you all in with Elise?"

Ryder: "What of it?"

Leon: "She's a part of the pride so that means you are too whether you like it or not, buttercup." Leon: "My moms made you road snacks,"

he said with a grin, passing a huge bag of food through the window and forcing Ryder to take it.

Leon: "And you need a coat,"

he added to me before shoving a bundled up black puffer jacket straight into Ryder's face.

Ryder: "Is that all?"

Leon: "Unless you wanna give me a goodbye kiss? It'll get Elise hot if you do."

Ryder raised an eyebrow at me as Leon made a show of puckering up and I bit my lip, letting him know I wouldn't be objecting to that at all. Instead of indulging in my fantasies, Ryder's palm smooshed Leon's face as he shoved his head back out of the window and we sped away without so much as a goodbye.

Leon: "If you guys hook up, film it and send it to me!"

Leon's voice chased us away and I laughed as Ryder hit the button to close the window again.

Text: Elise: Hey hot wings...what are you up to? ;)

Hot wings? Why did I like the sound of that? I smirked as I stretched myself out on the couch, tapping out a reply to her.

Gabriel: Just hanging out at my apartment missing you... Elise: I miss you too, you sexy blackbird. And I miss that package between your thighs. Any chance you'll be giving it to me this Christmas?

Fuck me, was she serious?

Gabriel: I thought you were spending Christmas with your mate…

Elise: He's happy for me to visit whoever I want. And I really want to visit you. I'm a naughty Santa and I need a sleigh to ride... Gabriel: Why don't you come here and I'll rope your reindeer or whatever the fuck you want? Leon stood there with a taunting smirk on his face and Elise's Atlas in his hand.

Leon: "Hey jingle balls, I'm here to suck on your North Pole." Leon: "Well, so far Gabriel is winning. Guess he'll get to spend Christmas morning with Elise..."

Ryder: "Elise?"

Leon: "Yeah...she's gonna come here with Roary so I hope you all brought presents for her with you."

Dante: "How could we have brought presents here? You kidnapped us, stronzo,"

Leon: "Well I guess you could make a present, as you have some time to kill,"

Leon suggested thoughtfully as he returned from the cupboard with a large box in his arms. He placed it down on the table, flipping open the lid and I caught sight of a bunch of craft paper, colouring pens, jars of glitter and all manner of creative shit.

Gabriel: "You're kidding, right?"

Ryder: "I'm not going anywhere near a tube of fucking glitter glue,"

Leon: "Suit yourself. Elise is going to turn up here to find a lot of grumpy boyfriends with no gifts to offer her on her first Christmas without her brother though. Except me obviously. I bought her a Cadillac, a vacation house in Sunshine Bay and a fallen star engraved with both our names." He took the star out of his pocket alongside a photograph of both the house and the car. Dalle stelle.

Dante: "Well I bought the three of us tickets to see the Aquarius Firework Show next month. I just don’t have the tickets with me."

Leon: "You did that?"

Dante: "Yeah."

I broke a smile and he grinned back at me.

Leon: "Dante takes first place."

Ryder: "For fuck's sake."

Ryder: "Stand back then unless you wanna lose your head, Big Bird," '

Ryder said, holding the axe back as he prepared to swing it.

Ryder: "You need to get a bit closer Inferno, bend down there in front of the trunk."

Dante: "Molto divertente, stronzo," Very funny, asshole. Ryder having used their magic to get them up to sit on the trunk. Ryder flipped the finger at me with a smirk and Gabriel laughed, the sound almost making me join in as I was caught by surprise. I fought the noise down in my throat though, using my power to carry them back to the cabin and feeling my own magic starting to drain. Stronzos. Ryder and Gabriel started talking in low voices that I couldn't hear, laughing Gabriel: "Now Mariella's gone, are things... better?"

Ryder: "Yeah. Much."

Gabriel: "That's good. I guess all that bullshit talking on the roof paid off then, right?"

He laughed vaguely, glancing at me and I frowned as I placed a glittery Zodiac charm on the tree.

Ryder: "I figured you'd appreciate the quiet again,”

Gabriel: "I mean...I don't always like the quiet. Do you?"

I cleared my throat.

Ryder: "No, not always."

Gabriel: "Well if you ever want it to be not quiet for a bit then you can know...come up there or whatever."

He placed a shiny red Dragon bauble on the tree which swirled with a glittering storm inside it.

Ryder: "Yeah, sure. Sometimes. Maybe."

I glanced at him and found him grinning and my mouth pulled up at the corner. Dickhead. When it was finally done, Leon moved forward with something in his hands and I grimaced as I inspected the golden star he held with photos of our faces glued onto each point of the star with Elise at the top. Where the fuck had he even gotten that picture of me? It looked candid, like he’d taken it his fucking self when I hadn’t been looking at school.

Ryder: "You're a fucking psycho,"

I told Leon as he reached up and placed it on top of the tree. Dante: "Says the murdering snake who probably has more dead bodies in his back yard than some of the inmates at Darkmore Penitentiary," I sneered at him, baring my teeth.

Ryder: "I kill to protect my gang."

Dante: "And I kill to protect my family,"

Leon: "Let's not talk about what we all kill for,. I'm sure Gabriel would kill to protect his roof tent and I'd kill to protect a sandwich, so we're all capable of murder for reasonable things. But there's one thing we'd definitely all kill for and I think you know what that is."

He glanced between us as if prompting an answer from three year olds.

Leon: "Anyone?"

My hands curled into tight fists and venom dripped onto my tongue. I'm so done with this shit.

Leon: "The answer was Elise, you all failed that test."

Dante: "We know, idiota." Elise: "I take it Leon isn't back yet?"

I grumbled without looking out from beneath my pillowy cocoon.

Roary: "I can do you one better, I'm taking you to him. He also told me to tell you to prepare for the Christmas of dreams."

Elise: "Tell him to go fuck himself. I'm not in the mood. I just wanna wallow today and eat a shit ton of chocolate. Maybe some of that gravy Marie made. I wonder if that would taste good together? It seems like it shouldn't but that's what I want, chocolate and dipping gravy."

Roary: "Are you trying to tell me you've got me a niece or nephew growing in your belly? Because that sounds like some weird craving shit to me.”

Elise: "Fuck no, I do not have my life together enough to take on responsibility for raising someone else. I'll be keeping my contraceptive spells in place for the foreseeable future, thank you very much, this womb is not looking to take on a tenant." Elise: "It's all I want. All of us, together."

Leon: "I hope you mean that in the naked sense, little monster,"

Leon purred and I rolled my eyes. The idea of that was more than a little terrifying...although...

Roary: "Can I get the fuck out of here before the cum starts flying? Happy Christmas and all that shit, but I didn't expect to spend my morning watching the four of you stuff Elise's stocking and I could really do without that visual, thanks." Leon: "So, I got you three assholes with big dicks for Christmas, you wanna find out what the others got?"

Elise: "Is it another asshole with a big dick?"

Leon: "Yeah. Are you hungry though? Maybe we should all eat before you open them, wouldn’t want you to lose an eye because you have low blood sugar and your reactions are slow. Gabe makes a mean pancake when he wants to." Leon: "Don't start arguing again or I'll get Elise to put you in the no sex naughty corner when we start going at it later," Roses are red and violets are blue, Merry Christmas, little monster, I want to bone you. There was glitter stuck to it which came off on my hands and inside there was a long note written in Faetalian.

Elise: "What does it say?"

I asked him as I looked up from my card.

Dante: "It's utter filth. I'll whisper it in your ear the next time I'm making you come and you'll get the idea." Dante: "I've got about ten minutes until I'm obnoxiously late, so let's make sure this takes fifteen," Elise: "Does that mean you're my Source now too?"

Gabriel: "I get the feeling I'm your everything now. Even if the stars chose someone else for you." Ryder: "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty,"

Ryder mocked, making little kissy noises as he clicked his fingers together.

Gabriel: "Please tell me you don't own a cat. I seriously can't see you being a responsible pet owner." Ryder: "I can't be seen sneaking into a room on the Oscura levels of the dorms,"

he muttered and I smirked as I patted my sweatpants’ pocket.

Gabriel: "There's always room for a little snake in here," I

Elise: "Is that a snake in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

he murmured against my mouth and a laugh erupted from my lungs as I took Ryder from my pants’ pocket.

Gabriel: "It's a real life trouser snake, gorgeous, but I'm happy to see you too."

I winked and she cast a silencing bubble around us as she laughed, taking Ryder into her grip and holding him up to her face.

Elise: "Oh! You are so cute like this!"

she exclaimed, rubbing her nose against his. I didn't know if snakes could scowl, but I swear this one did.

I quickly made a tiny top hat out of leaves in my palm and balanced it on his head, making Elise practically bounce up and down in delight. Ryder suddenly shifted and a huge, pissed off man with tensing muscles stood there before us instead.

Ryder: "I am not fucking cute." Elise bit her lip as her eyes flipped to the top hat still balancing on his head as she tried not to laugh, but I didn't even try to stop myself as I spotted it. He snatched it from his head, crushing it in his fist as his eyes narrowed on me, but as I continued to laugh, he cracked a smile. Leon: "The stars put us together for a reason, little monster. You and me are as unstoppable as the rising sun. So let's go show them what happens when they try to fuck with our boyfriends." I kicked the door open and roared a battle cry with fire blazing around my hands like an absolute badass. But there was no one there.

Leon: "For fuck's sake, I won't do it as awesomely as that next time." Ryder: "You're asking me to betray everything I am."

Elise: "No. He's asking you to be the man you were born to be. The leader who makes his own path and chooses for himself what's right and what's wrong."


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