Burnt Offerings (A Fae Shifter Knights bonus story)
This story occurs shortly after Dragon of Glass and spoils some of the events of that book! Read at your own risk!
New to the series? The Fae Shifter Knights Box Set collects books 1-3.
“The world had better be ending early, Daniella,” Gwen said sharply, answering her ringing phone. “Because I was about to absolutely obliterate my highest score in this game.”
It was not Daniella at the other end of the line. “I am grieved to interrupt your obliteration!” Trey hollered as if he was trying to shout across the distance between them. “I have an emergency and desperately require your assistance!” A dog was barking frantically in the background.
Gwen pinched the bridge of her nose. “It’s a phone, Trey. You don’t have to yell.”
“Yes, lady warrior,” Trey whispered. “But please come swiftly.”
“Is anything on fire? Did you shift into a dragon in front of the neighbors?” Gwen set aside her keyboard and searched for her shoes. “Where is Daniella? Shouldn’t she be keeping you out of trouble?”
“She is laboring at the place of coffee and sandwiches,” Trey boomed again. He handled video calls better, where he could physically see people. “I have put the fire out and ah, silenced the loud ceiling circle. I did not feel that being a dragon would help in this situation.”
“No, it probably wouldn’t,” Gwen agreed. “Okay, it will take me about ten minutes to get there. Try not to touch anything.”
The tiny beat-up car that looked completely out of place in Ansel’s magnificent driveway got her across town in a little less than ten minutes.
Trey was wearing one of Daniella’s aprons when he opened the door. “Warrior Gwen,” he greeted her.
He looked less panicked than he’d sounded on the phone, and Fabio whined and tried to push his way out around the big knight while Gwen tried to get in without letting him escape. “Hey, pretty boy,” she told the Afghan hound, who licked her and bounced happily. “Hi, Tinkerbell,” she added towards Robin.
Robin flipped her off from their dollhouse. The tiny, non-binary fable didn’t look concerned by whatever catastrophe Gwen had just missed, but Gwen also knew that they were still recovering from the recent battle with Robin and the knights’ dark faery land.
That’s what her life had come to: a faery—sorry, fable—and knights and destiny. But her own knight was still missing, and her destiny felt murky and uncertain.
“What did the noble knight Trey do now?” Gwen knocked the slushy snow off her shoes and hung her jacket up by the door.
“He was trying to cook,” Robin explained. “It went badly.”
The whole house smelled like smoke and something wrong.
“What have you done?” Gwen asked, cautiously entering the kitchen.
“I wished to provide my key with a meal worthy of her meaning to me. I have been watching the scrying vision box and it has suggested that a proper courtship includes cooking a pleasing meal for one’s mate.”
“That is not a pleasing meal,” Gwen said honestly, looking at the dishes on the counters. What wasn’t burnt was soggy, and she wasn’t sure what the oozing lumpy pile was meant to be. Casserole, perhaps? Still, Trey had clearly tried his best. It was sweet of him, and she squashed her wave of jealousy. She’d have her own knight to keep from electrocuting himself or running into traffic soon enough.
“Behold my failure,” Trey said mournfully. Fabio begged at his feet. Gwen wasn’t sure the food was even safe for a dog. “The toaster was improperly set and I overestimated the time it would take to cook the recipe.”
“What did you do to the microwave?” The door had visible singe marks around it, and looked slightly warped.
“I had been permitted to heat beverages in it, and I presumed that a meal would be no more challenging,” Trey said.
“You put metal in it,” Gwen realized.
“Lady Daniella told me not to put knives in it,” Trey protested. “I did not realize that this extended to all metal.”
“I think we’re going to have to put up OSHA-style safety signs in this kitchen,” Gwen said.
“Please direct me in the making of suitable sustenance for my key,” Trey begged. “Robin only says that it is more entertaining to watch me flounder.”
“I’m too smaaaaaalllll to help,” Robin sang from the living room, clearly comfortable with leaving Trey to his own devices. They were not quite as diminished as they’d been immediately following their difficult battle against the faery forces of evil, but they were barely the size of a fashion doll now and Gwen knew that they tired easily. The magic of this world was not comfortable for them.
“Why did you think that I would be able to assist you with cooking?” Gwen wanted to know. She suspiciously added, “Is it because I’m a woman?” Trey could be shockingly old-fashioned about some things, but she hadn’t noticed outright sexism as a problem before.
“Oh, no,” Trey said in horror. “Our shieldmate Tadra was not permitted to cook for us again after her first attempt at a meal. This is not a talent associated with gender. I simply assumed that you would understand Daniella’s technology, as neither of us do.”
“I…don’t think that technology is wholly to blame here,” Gwen said, poking a piece of unidentifiable vegetable. “I think there’s a basic misunderstanding of edible.” She looked up and caught Trey’s look of abject despair.
“Look, we’ll salvage this,” Gwen promised. “No, not that, there’s nothing worth saving on that plate. Scrape it into the trash and we’ll load up the dishwasher.”
“Lady Daniella trusts me with this service!” Trey agreed cheerfully. He and Fabio were two of a kind, desperately eager to please. “Then you will show me how to cook for her with technology?”
“Oh, I’m going to show you the very best technology.” Gwen grinned at him, pulling out her phone. “I’m going to show you how to order from DoorDash!”
Robin cackled in amusement.
And Fabio was happiest of all, because he got to eat all the mistakes.