by Kate SeRine
Published by Kensington Publishing
Book 4 in the Transplanted Tales series
For centuries, Gideon Montrose has served the King of Fairies without question and, often, without mercy.
So when the King orders him to apprehend a notorious thief, Gideon obeys. But when he finally gets his hands on the beautiful culprit, Gideon's in for a shock.
Arabella Locksley is none other than the spirited, unpredictable woman he knew back in Make Believe as Robin Hood--the love of his life whose tragic death destroyed his chance at Happily Ever After.
Now, he has an impossible choice. Betray the woman he once loved, or the king he's bound to serve?
I know this gif doesn't technically work for this book, as Ever After deals with a female Robin Hood, but oh well.
Urban Fantasy Retelling - Romance
Ever After is the fourth, and final book in Kate SeRine's Transplanted Tales series. It centers around Gideon Montrose, the King of the Fairy's right hand man. When Gideon is tasked with capturing a Tale who has been stealing the King's Fairy dust shipments, he knows he will obey. But he doesn't expect the thief to be the love of his life, whom he thought watched die long ago in Make Believe. Now that he has the beautiful and fiery Arabella Locksley (aka Robin Hood) back in his life, there is no way he will let her go - even if it means betraying his friend, and king. But there is so much more against their happily ever after than he knows, and it may be too late when learns the truth.
After the events of the last 2 books, I knew I wanted a Gideon story. I NEEDED a Gideon story! His loyalty and obvious affection for Lavender in book 2, despite the sad ending to their love affair in the past, and how he helped Trish, with no strings attached in book 3, I just needed him to have a happily ever after. Because I loved his character so much, my standards were high, and I think Kate SeRine did a good job creating a character that was a good match for him. Romantically, I was very happy with this book, and I loved the epilogue. As for the rest of the story .... I loved that too. I couldn't put it down. I mesh between different tales - Robin Hood, King Arthur, and the fairy's - was so interesting and unique. I was totally entertained throughout the book, and thrilled to see past characters pitch in and help: Red and Nate, Lavender and Seth, and Trish and Nicky.
I have only one complaint. Its obviously the last book in the series. There have been no others since 2014, except for a novella centered around Seth and Lavender in Shifters and Mistletoe last December. But it ends in a way suggesting there is more to come - specifically with Merlin and Lavender's sister. But there isn't anything. I'm not sure if she just left that tidbit there in case inspiration struck and she could go on, but its annoying to me, because it feels unfinished. There is no resolution with the Agency.
Ever After was much better than I thought it would be going in, but it sucked me in, and I couldn't put it down. It made me laugh, and definitely cry, but despite the tears, I still loved this book - hell the whole series. I think you will too.
When Arabella turned to see what was making me frown, Merlin darted forward to press a kiss to her cheek, then dashed away, calling over his shoulder.
Merlin: “G’bye, darling. Good luck with the adventures tonight. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. . . .”
At this, he came to an abrupt halt and turned back to add,
Merlin: “On second thought, for once, please do something I would do. You’re in desperate need of a good shagging.” When I finally pulled back far enough to look down at her smiling face and peered into that bright, intelligent, fearless gaze of hers, I realized I was lost—completely and blissfully lost. And I knew just as surely that I’d never find my way back. . . . Gideon: "I’m an empath—I can feel what others are feeling ... kind of like a ripple in the cosmos that buffets against my senses. The more time I spend with someone, the quicker I can respond to their needs. It’s easier with Tales whose needs are predictable.”
I cast a grin her way.
Gideon: “But, Arabella, lass, you’re anything but predictable.”
Arabella: “That’s why you fell in love with me, isn’t it?”
she guessed, giving me her sauciest grin.
Arabella: “Because you can’t always get in my head.”
Gideon: “Wasn’t your head I was tryin’ to get into.”
She threw her head back with a laugh that would’ve convinced me she wasn’t sick at all if I hadn’t known better.
Arabella: “Ah, now the truth comes out.”
On an impulse, I steered the car off the road and onto the shoulder and threw it into park. I twisted in my seat to face her.
Gideon: “You want to know why I fell in love with you?”
I asked, reaching up to caress her cheek with the back of my hand.
Gideon: “Here y’are then. It was because you’re beautiful and daring and brilliant and, yes, unpredictable. And your laugh makes me want to be near you, just for the chance to hear it again. And your smile . . .”
I took a deep breath and blew it out on a sharp sigh.
Gideon: “I’ve never known another quite like it. Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing y’smile.” Merlin: “What the bloody hell happened here?”
Arabella and I spun around to see Merlin standing in the doorway to his flat, a tall, leggy blonde under one arm and an equally statuesque redhead under the other.
Merlin: “You two have got to be the worst houseguests in the history of... of houseguests! Look what you’ve done to my furniture! And—blimey!—my shelves! Do you have any idea what those books are worth? He plastered on a smile and turned toward the door, his arms spread.
Merlin: “Seems our plans have changed, my darlings.”
The women pouted in almost perfect unison, simpering in disappointment as Merlin ushered them out.
Woman: “But you promised."
Merlin: “Oh, I know, I know, ducky. I was looking forward to our little party too.”
Woman 2: “I thought we were going to play with your magic wand,”
Arabella grunted in disgust and rolled her eyes.
Arabella: “You and everybody else,” Arabella: "I can’t bear the thought of being parted from you again, Gideon, but the thought of the pain you’ll feel when I go . . . It breaks my heart.”
I pulled her close and wrapped my arms around her.
Gideon: “Very well, then. For tonight, we have forever.”
She lifted her face, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.
Arabella: “Tell me what forever will be like.”
Gideon: “We’ll have a home nestled in the woods with enough land for us to go exploring together and never tire of the adventures we’ll share. We’ll have an archery range and perhaps I’ll eventually become a decent shot.”
She chuckled, knowing well my lack of skill with a bow and arrow.
Arabella: “There may be hope for you yet.”
I smoothed her hair.
A single tear made its way to her cheek.
Arabella: “And will there be children?”
I wiped the tear away with my thumb and nodded.
Gideon: “As many as y’like. They’ll be our pride and joy. We’ll fill our home with laughter and love, Arabella, and our wee ones will want for nothing. They’ll always know how much their parents adore them. And when they have nightmares, we’ll hold them in our arms and sing them lullabies until they nod off again, secure in the knowledge that they’ve nothing t’fear.”
Arabella: “Will we grow old together?”
I somehow managed a smile.
Gideon: “If you like. But it’ll take centuries. And every night, we’ll curl up by the fire together and just enjoy the warmth and light we share. I’ll hold you in my arms until you fall asleep, and then I’ll carry you to our bed where I’ll guard you through the night and keep you safe with my very last breath.”
Arabella: “That sounds perfect,”
she said, her voice tight with emotion. She reached up to lightly caress my cheek.
Arabella: “But you forgot one thing.”
I lifted a single brow.
Gideon: “Did I now? And what was that?”
Her fingertips trailed down the edge of my jaw, along my throat to my bare chest.
Arabella: “We’ll make love every night until, too exhausted to go on, we’ll collapse in each other’s arms.”
My hand slid up her back until I reached the zipper on her dress. I pulled it down slowly, my gaze holding hers.
Gideon: “I didn’t forget.” I heard Merlin chuckle.
Merlin: “Oh, I like this one, Gideon.”
Lily turned her leaf-green eyes on Merlin.
Lily: “Yeah, pretty boy? Who the fuck are you? And why should I give a shit?”
Merlin: “And such a pretty mouth,”
Merlin teased with a cockeyed grin. He then turned that grin on me and gestured toward Lily.
Merlin: “Please tell me this is the ‘bookish’ one, Gideon. I think I’m in love.” He offered me a weak smile.
King: “You were wrong, you know,”
he said. The guards had recovered from being thrown off me and made to take hold of me again, but I shook free, determined not to leave my king.
Gideon: “Wrong about what, sire?”
His grin grew.
King: “I’ve never once been sorry to know you.”
And then his eyes fluttered shut. Gideon: “No, I’m not letting you go this time, lass. I won’t.”
Arabella: “I’m so sorry,”
she breathed, tears in her voice.
Arabella: “I know I promised not to put you through this again. Please forgive me.”
My lips trembled when I said,
Gideon: “There’s nothing to forgive. If anything, I’m the one who needs forgiveness. I’ve certainly never forgiven myself for letting you go that day at the falls, for failing you.”
Arabella: “Oh, Gideon. It wasn’t your fault. You didn’t let me go. I was the one who couldn’t hold on.”
I gathered her closer, not bothering to check the tears that were scalding my cheeks.
Gideon: “You have to hold on now, lass. Promise me.”
Her hand came up to grip my bicep as she clung to me, and she nodded.
Arabella: “I swear it.”
I held her close for a long while, needing to feel her in my arms, reluctant to part from her but knowing that if I was to save her—if there was to be any hope—I’d have to leave her side.
Gideon: “You know, you were wrong, lass,”
I told her, at last breaking the silence.
Arabella: “About what?”
she asked, her brief rally beginning to diminish again.
Gideon: “When you said I never needed anything back in Make Believe,”
I explained. I put my finger under her chin and gently lifted her face to mine.
Gideon: “I needed you. I still do.” My lips trembled as I bent and pressed a kiss to her forehead.
Arabella: “I’m slipping,”
she told me, her voice breaking.
Arabella: “Don’t let me fall, Gideon.”
Gideon: “Hold on, lass,”
I breathed, feeling as helpless at that moment as I had the day in Make Believe.
Gideon: “Don’t let go this time. I cannot lose y’again.”
Arabella’s fingers drifted slowly up my arm, then my neck until she finally found my cheek. I lifted my head just enough to peer down into her face, blinking away the tears that blurred my vision.
Arabella: “Marry me,”
she rasped, her dry lips cracking as she spoke the words. I forced a smile and tried to chuckle, but it died on a stifled sob. Still, I managed to say,
Gideon: “I thought you’d never ask.”
Her lips curved ever so slightly, her eyes drifting shut for a moment before she dragged them open again.
Arabella: “I want ‘ever after,’ Gideon. I always did.”
Gideon: “Then you’ll have it, lass. I’ll hold y’in my arms forever more.”
She dragged in a shaky breath.
Arabella: “And we’ll live in a cottage.”
Gideon: “And I’ll make love to you every night,”
I reminded her. Her hand drifted from my cheek to the pendant about my neck, her fingertips caressing the symbols. I drew the necklace over my head and slipped it over hers, letting the pendant come to rest on her chest. Then I drew her up enough that I could whisper my full name in her ear. Instantly the bond took hold, making us both gasp with the intensity of the magic and love infused in the silver.
Arabella: “I’m yours now,”
she managed, her voice barely audible.
Arabella: “And you’re mine.” Arabella: “Come to bed, love. You have a promise to keep.”
I raised a single brow at her
Gideon: “Do I now?”
Arabella: “I believe you promised me that we would make love every night, Mr. Montrose. And it’s already two A.M. Tick-tock.”