When Darkness Ends - Alexandra Ivy

Chapter One

Ireland, present day

Cyn, clan chief of Ireland and former berserker, moaned as he slowly regained consciousness. His brain was fuzzy, which meant it took a full minute to realize he was lying butt-naked on the cold stone floor of a cave.

Bloody hell. It had been a millennium since he’d woken in this precise cave, naked and disoriented. He didn’t like it any better today than he had a thousand years ago.

What’d happened?

With a groan he forced himself to a sitting position, his body hardening at the intoxicating scent that teased at his nose.

Champagne?

A fine, crisp vintage that made his entire body tingle with anticipation.

For a blissful minute he allowed the fragrance to swirl around him. It was oddly familiar. And, surprisingly, it stirred a complex mixture of emotions.

Arousal. Wariness. Frustration

It was the frustration that abruptly forced him to recall why the scent was so familiar.

Muttering a curse, Cyn had a searing memory of following a beautiful fairy through a portal. No . . . not a fairy, he wryly corrected himself. A Chatri. The ancient purebloods of the fey world who’d retreated to their homeland centuries before.

He’d been there to help Roke locate his mate, but Princess Fallon had shoved him out of the throne room when it was obvious that Roke and Sally needed time to work out their differences, insisting that he leave them in peace.

He’d only been vaguely annoyed at first. He didn’t trust the cunning Chatri as far as he could throw them, especially not their king, Sariel. But he wanted Roke to work out his troubles with his mate.

Besides, he was male enough to appreciate being in the company of a beautiful woman.

Or in the case of Fallon . . . a breathtakingly exquisite woman.

Her hair was a glorious tumble of rich gold brushed with hints of pale rose. The sort of hair that begged a man to bury his face in the silken mass. Her eyes were polished amber with flecks of emerald and framed by the thickest, longest lashes Cyn had ever seen. And her ivory features . . . gods almighty, they were so perfect they didn’t look real.

He might be suspicious of Fallon, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t enjoy fantasizing about having her tossed on the nearby chaise longue while he peeled the gown off her slender body, he’d assured himself.

So he’d allowed himself to be distracted by the lovely female as he sipped the potent fey wine, not realizing the danger until his head began to spin and the world went dark.

Idiot.

He should have known that they were plotting something.

He might have a fondness for the fey, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t well aware of their mercurial natures.

And their love for luring the unwary into their clever traps.

With a low growl he turned his head, easily spotting the female who was sprawled naked on the ground, her golden hair shimmering even in the darkness.

He wanted to know how the hell she’d managed to bring them to the caves beneath his private lair. And he wanted to know now.

Cyn moved to bend beside her slumbering form, pretending that he wasn’t acutely aware of the enticing temptation of her long, slender body and the fragile beauty of her pale face.

Sleeping Beauty . . .

A scowl marred his forehead. Aye. She was a beauty. She was also a powerful fey princess who’d managed to catch him off guard once.

It wasn’t going to happen again.

“Fallon?” Cyn murmured, his voice deep and laced with an accent that hadn’t been heard in this world for centuries. She heaved a sigh at the sound of his voice, but she remained stubbornly asleep. Cyn knelt at her side, knowing better than to touch her. The feel of that satin skin beneath his fingertips was guaranteed to make him forget he was pissed as hell at her little trick. “Fallon,” he growled, his voice a command. “Wake up.”

She gave a small jerk, her lashes fluttering upward to reveal the striking amber eyes with the shimmering flecks of emerald.

For a long moment she studied him in stunned confusion.

Understandable.

Most people found Cyn . . . intimidating.

At six foot three he had a powerful chest and thick muscles that marked him as a warrior. His thick mane of dark blond hair hung halfway down his back except for the front strands that he kept woven into tight braids that framed his face.

His features were chiseled along blunt lines with a square jaw and high cheekbones. His brow was wide and