Meet Ellie D'Arcy, an orphaned college-student, stuck living with her step-mother and step-sister. She's got nowhere else to go, until she inherits her trust fund at age 25, so she has to put up with Tina and Maria's tempers until then. Or does she? Little known to Ellie, she's due another birthright, a magical one. Unfortunately, three fairy godfathers can wreck a lot of havoc on a person's life.
"You know that we never gave Ellie gifts at her birth," Liam stated.
"That's really not necessary," she answered automatically. She'd been coming here for almost two weeks, and the three seemed preoccupied with the idea of giving her something. Even if they were, as they attested, her godfathers, they didn't owe her anything. The only thing Ellie wanted from them was their company, so much so that she considered coming more often, just to talk to them.
"But it is," Angus corrected her, his voice even gruffer than usual. "What sorts of godfathers would we be, if we didn't do something for you? Your problem, Lass, is that you've come to expect less of life than you should."
Ellie knew better than to argue with him. Angus would argue any little thing he felt passionate about until the end of time. She focused on the dishes, hoping they'd decide a knotwork necklace or gift certificate to Kohl's would be enough.
"What'll it be, Lass?" Marcus asked.
Her hands went still in the water. They can't be serious. Ellie had no clue what to ask for. What was appropriate to ask from a godfather? Having never had one, she didn't know. What did she even want? More specifically, what did she want that wouldn't 'disappear' within a week of her receiving it, the first time it was out of her hands while she took a shower?
"Ellie?" Liam prompted her.
The only thing she really longed for was to graduate and make enough money to get out of the house.
Angus laughed, a deep rumble that warmed her. "It would be a little place all her own our Ellie would be pining for," he announced.
"Don't be silly," she blurted out. Even if they could afford it, it was too much to ask for. She looked around at the comfortable but small apartment. And, they can't possibly--
"Too right," Liam attested. "Living alone is much too dangerous for a young woman in this city. It would be a little place with a mate for her, so they could look after each other."
"Do you know someone looking?" Ellie snapped her mouth shut. With the cost of real estate in the city, even a shared apartment in a decent neighborhood was too much.
She forced laughter that she hoped sounded smooth and natural. "Maybe someday. Until then, I guess I'm stuck with Tina and Maria."
The silence behind her drew her attention. She turned halfway toward them, noting the way the godfathers stared at each other in confusion. It always seemed there was a secret conversation going on between them that she wasn't privy to.
Finally, Marcus spoke. "We're offering you anything you wish, Ellie. Do you understand me?"
"A bit of knotwork," she began.
Angus got to his feet and stomped into the parlor.
"What did I say?" Ellie asked.
Liam and Marcus exchanged another knowing look but didn't reply.
Angus came back, a chain hanging from his fisted hand. "Is a trinket what you truly wish?"
A trinket might escape Maria's notice. "I've always liked knotwork jewelry." It wasn't a lie. Ellie had vague memories of a bit of knotwork hanging above her while she slept. She could almost see it, when she closed her eyes and tried hard to.
He nodded and opened his hand, revealing a stunning silver...or perhaps pewter piece, inlaid with faceted green stones that might be emeralds.
Ellie could hardly breathe in awe. Her heart ached. She couldn't accept it. It was too beautiful; though it didn't match their usual style, Maria or Tina would steal this within days, if not to wear it then to sell it for something more to their tastes. Ellie could never prove that they did it, but there was little question. She wasn't a scatterbrain, by nature, so losing everything she held precious wasn't feasible.
"It's too much," she managed miserably.
"Nonsense," Angus assured her. "But, there is a price to the having."
"Price?" What could he mean?
"You can never take it off."
That would make it harder for them to steal it. Maybe I could keep it hidden under my shirt.
No. It's too large for that...and I can't risk it. "Angus--"
He moved fast, much faster than a man his age should. In the blink of an eye, the necklace was settled around her throat and locked on.
"There now," Angus crowed, turning her to view the knotwork lying atop her sweater.
Ellie took a calming breath. He wasn't going to like it, but she had to return the necklace. "Thank you, Angus. It's lovely, but I really shouldn't--"
"A godfather's gift cannot be taken back," Marcus interrupted. "Well, now... That's one. What would you like for the other two?"
She turned on him, nearly speechless in shock. "More?"
Angus sauntered past her, chuckling darkly. He sank down at the table beside his brothers.
Liam's eyes crinkled in amusement. "You have three godfathers, Lass. That means three wishes."
Ellie wracked her brains for something common. What would she buy, if she had a few dollars extra in her pocket?
"If she cannot decide, we could always gift her wealth," Angus suggested.
Marcus waved him off. "Too simple. I know just the thing. A spell... A spell so that she'll always have a bit of pocket money to tide her over."
Ellie was caught between the urge to laugh and the need to roll her eyes. She fought the smile attempting to curve up her lips. "Spell?"
Angus scowled at her. "And what else would three fairy godfathers do? The necklace is bespelled. O' course, it is."
"I thought the term was fairy godmother?" she played along.
Liam's smile never faltered. "Some are, but you're a lucky one, Lass. 'Tis a group of godfathers for you."
"And, you're going to cast a spell to keep me in pocket money?" It was a good thing their insanity was harmless.
Marcus sighed. "Do you want the gift of money, or will you choose another?"
"I suppose you're going to give me a man, too?" she half-laughed. How long had it been since she'd had the time and drive to date? Too long.
Angus slapped his hand on the table, his grin wide. "A fine wish! Now, you're thinking, Lass."
Liam nodded eagerly. "My type of wish. Is it decided, then?"
Ellie laughed in amusement at their teasing. "If we're going to wish for the impossible and the improbable..." She nodded to Marcus and then to Liam. "Well, why not?"
Marcus's gaze turned deadly serious between one heartbeat and the next. "Always a bit o' pocket money," he stated with a nod.
Liam's attention seemed focused far-away, and a dreamy little smile graced his lips. "A man... But not just any man, Ellie, my dear. Your soulmate cannot help but to find you."
heart was suddenly pounding, and she had no idea why it was. It was
a joke. It had to be a joke, but there was something discomforting in
the way they were looking at her.�
* * *�
Ellie pushed through the door into the restroom, her mind in turmoil. She had to get the necklace off and find a way to hide it, but she couldn't seem to figure out the lock without a mirror.
At the sink, she turned the chain until the lock faced the reflective metal surface. Twisting the chain to rotate it only heightened her confusion. There were no seams, no markings save a small symbol that was probably a maker's mark, no loops or thumb catches. It appeared to be a solid block of metal, fusing the ends of the sturdy chain together.
But, that was impossible. Angus had put it on her. It had to open.
You can never take it off.
Had Angus said that? Ellie was certain he had. He hadn't said 'you shouldn't' or 'you must not' or even 'you will not.'
You can never take it off.
"That's crazy." Ellie leaned closer to the mirror, pulling and prodding at the block. It felt as solid as it looked. Whatever the trick to it, it wasn't coming off.
Cursing under her breath, she trudged down the hall. She glanced at her watch, wincing that she'd missed the 3:10 train to work. There would be no time to eat before she started work, unless she settled for a burger at the campus caf� and took the 3:40.
It wasn't exactly high cuisine, but it would do...and it was cheap. A burger, chips and a soda would run her just shy of eight dollars.
Ellie fished her purse out of her backpack, frowning at the weight. It was thick, stuffed so full it bulged in her hand.
"They wouldn't," she breathed. How would they?
"Problem, honey?" the cashier asked.
Her cheeks burning, Ellie mumbled out a 'no' and opened the purse, making sure she shielded the contents from view. She thumbed past the hundreds and fifties, praying that wasn't all she had, nearly sighing in relief at the first twenty. At least one of those was really hers, so she snagged it and paid, stuffing the change into her jeans' pocket.
Ellie dropped the purse back in her backpack, accepted her food and walked away. She knew she'd waste half of it now that her stomach was tied in knots.
It was back to the restroom. Ellie sat in the stall, tearing her backpack apart, looking for a place to hide the wad of money.
"You had to give me two things to hide?" she complained in a whisper.
Hiding the money was essential, even moreso than keeping the necklace under wraps. The money had to be returned to Marcus intact. The necklace was secondary. Worst case scenario, she'd keep it on her neck for the next twenty-four hours.
It's not like I can remove it, anyway. If I can't remove it, it's unlikely anyone else can, either.
That still left her with the problem of hiding... Ellie counted it, her mouth going dry.
A thousand dollars? That was like waving a red flag before Tina and Maria. Even if it didn't mysteriously disappear, just the sight of the money would spur Tina into raising her rent, on the off chance that it was Ellie's money.
But, where could she hide it? Ellie handled one thing after another, rejecting stuffing individual bills in between the pages of her notebook, trying to roll them small enough to stuff her tampon box with them, and so on. Her gaze skated over her laptop then returned.
Of course! Tina and Maria were computer illiterate, save e-mail and forums, and her laptop was only set-up for the college's wireless network. It was the one thing they'd never consider touching.
Ellie pulled the money from her purse, folding a few bills at a time and making a thin layer of them on the keyboard. She shut it, searching for telltale edges and smiling at the results.
The laptop stashed in her backpack, Ellie scooped up her purse...and stopped in dismay. It was full and heavy.
"No," she pleaded. "No, no, no. This has to be a nightmare."
She pulled another stack of bills out of the purse, her heart sinking as it filled again.
"Pocket change," she grumbled. "A spell for pocket change. A five would have sufficed. Twenty wouldn't have been unreasonable." Now what?
At a loss, Ellie laid the second set of bills in the laptop and forced it shut. There would be no more hiding them there. And, if I take more out of the purse, it's going to fill. She didn't question that. She returned the laptop to her backpack with numb fingers.
They're fairies. God help me, they're fairies, and they cast spells. What do I do now? She had a necklace that she couldn't take off and an endless pocketful of cash. Ellie pushed away the thought that she also had a soulmate out there somewhere, burning a path to her door.
|Reviewed by Patrice F. for Joyfully Reviewed||
"I enjoyed the very modern flavor since it didn�t detract from anything. It allowed for sly humor and sexually charged scenes within the plot. Ellie is a contemporary heroine which means she�s clever, uninhibited, strong-willed, and not a doormat for her nasty step relations. The hot-blooded detective took me by surprise admittedly, while catering to all the men-in-uniform fantasies. Ellie�s fairy godfathers are marvelous! Angus, Marcus, and Liam are mystery, mayhem, and miraculous. Ms. Lyons does a superb job at not clumping them together by developing unique characteristics for each one.
"There�s loads of fun times, adult humor, and it goes without saying, sparkles. Who can resist sparkles, I ask you? The darker elements aren�t down played either. The Grimm stories were never intended for children, so you don�t escape the more gruesome and violent aspects. The approach is sophisticated, mirroring the criminalities of what you might see in the local paper. Questions and answers surround the pursuit of true happiness; it comes down to how our choices affect us, the future and our children. As a featured mainstay in the narrative, it reminds us of the price we pay for selfishness and for dismissing the gifts of love and sacrifice. This delightful gem gets top marks for presentation, originality, and chocolate-lava-cake-devilish-yumminess!"LINK: Joyfully Reviewed
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