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Lucky Us (His Dark Charms Duet Book 2) -ebook

Lucky Us (His Dark Charms Duet Book 2) -ebook

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Happily ever after is worth fighting for.

Luck was on our side when Seven and I thwarted his father’s evil plan to sabotage Dragonfly Hollow. Now all we want is to be together, but to protect my daughter Arden, we agree to keep our relationship secret a little longer. Keeping our hands off each other though proves more of a challenge than we anticipate.

Things are going our way until my friend, a satyr named River, is found hunched over a human victim in front of his restaurant. Turns out danger still lurks in the fairy realm. Soon Godmother has us on the case, and the clues surrounding who framed River just get weirder and weirder.

Solving this mystery is the key to freeing Seven from Godmother’s hold and paving the way for us to become a family. Only, our happily-ever-after won’t come easily. Lucky for us, we’re ready for a fight.


Happily ever after is worth fighting for.

Luck was on our side when Seven and I thwarted his father’s evil plan to sabotage Dragonfly Hollow. Now all we want is to be together, but to protect my daughter Arden, we agree to keep our relationship secret a little longer. Keeping our hands off each other though proves more of a challenge than we anticipate.

Things are going our way until my friend, a satyr named River, is found hunched over a human victim in front of his restaurant. Turns out danger still lurks in the fairy realm. Soon Godmother has us on the case, and the clues surrounding who framed River just get weirder and weirder.

Solving this mystery is the key to freeing Seven from Godmother’s hold and paving the way for us to become a family. Only, our happily-ever-after won’t come easily. Lucky for us, we’re ready for a fight.

Read sample

Everyone thinks they want a fairy-tale life, but those stories always focus on the wrong things. Cinderella rises above her circumstances when she enchants the prince. No one stops to consider that everything the prince knew about her was a deception. None of it was hers. Not the dress, not the shoes, not the pumpkin carriage. She pulled fictional history’s greatest bluff. What happened next? After the wedding in the castle, did she rise to the demands of being a princess? Did the townspeople magically set aside their envy and spite and accept her as a regent? Or did happily ever after come with a dark and dangerous edge? It’s possible Cinderella found herself in an equally difficult predicament, simply serving a new master.

I think about that story a lot when I ponder my own situation. Seven and I have known each other since we were children and our love is built on more than just a single night’s dancing, but the divide between who he is and who I am couldn’t be more complete. And I wonder if we will ever close that gap. Will there ever be a time I don’t have to bluff? Will my relationship with Seven ever be accepted as real? I don’t know. At the moment, I’m still riding in the pumpkin.

“Tip your head back and to the right, Sophia.” Evangeline motions for me to adjust my position and I do, arching over the poker table at an angle that I’m sure makes the best of my figure but is terribly uncomfortable. The elbow I’m braced on prickles as if it’s fallen asleep, and I’m starving. I missed lunch because the photographer is in a time crunch. My stomach growls a threat that it might start eating me from the inside.

Still, I smile as the camera shutter releases a series of fast clicks and the photographer, an artsy-looking leprechaun with long silver hair, moves around me. At least my outfit is flattering. With me leaning back like this, the floor-length dress splits midthigh, revealing one gold stiletto and the majority of my right leg. The sparkly red number hugs my waist and gives my breasts a marvelous, strapless boost. There’s no room for a bra of any kind. The thing is backless—convenient, considering my wings have to be out for this shoot—but that means my upper half is precariously tucked into a stiff panel of fabric that runs from my sacrum to just above my nipples. Honestly, the fact I’m not spilling out of it is a feat of fashion genius. I’d thank luck or magic, but being fae, I’d feel it if there was any involved. We can sense both even if we can’t always see them at work. Alas, my skin does not tingle and my own luck is nestled deep within me, snoring peacefully.

“Okay, darling, turn toward me and look directly at the camera, ankles crossed, both hands on the table on either side of your hips.” The photographer squats down, adjusting his lens.

I do as he asks, beaming down at him, but he doesn’t take the picture.

“Drop the smile. Look at me like I’m a competitor. I’m the player standing between you and a big win.” He makes a few more adjustments while I try to dredge up the right look.

I spent the majority of my sixteen years in the United States supporting myself by playing poker. One of the skills that came with the territory was the ability to hide my actual emotions behind a poker face, the ability to either be unreadable or to telegraph an emotion that is inconsistent with what I’m feeling. The look I give the photographer now is one of supreme confidence and determination. It’s an expression meant to intimidate. I’m projecting intensity, telling my opponent that I’m holding cards so good they might as well push their chips into the middle of the table right now. My smile dissolves, but not entirely. I close my lips but keep them slightly upturned at one corner, preserving the tightness in my eyes. When I lower my chin, my dark hair falls over one eye.

“Gods, Sophia,” Evangeline says in a low voice. “You look like you’re holding the secret to the universe behind your back.”

“Maybe I am,” I say, sending her a wink.

The photographer stands, studying his screen. “That’s it. I think we got it. Thanks, darling. You were a wonderful model.” He takes a step forward and kisses me on the cheek, his breath skating over my skin. He’s a leprechaun, but up until this point, he’s kept his luck to himself. Now I feel it beside me like a large, predatory bird. I give him a nod, and he hurriedly collects his things before kissing Evangeline on both cheeks. “You’ll have the comps tomorrow by end of day.”

“Thanks, Mac.” She brushes her shiny red hair over one shoulder as she watches him leave.

Only a few short weeks ago, I thought the Delaneys hated me, especially Evangeline’s brother, Seven. He stood me up at the Yule ball when we were teenagers and humiliated me in front of everyone in Dragonfly Hollow. Turns out Seven didn’t want to hurt me at all. He was a victim of his psycho father, Chance, who’d poisoned him with blue iron—the only substance in the world capable of draining a fairy’s luck—and kept him locked in a dungeon beneath his hunting cabin.

Weirder still, it turns out Seven is Arden’s father. That little revelation is thanks to some serious magical interference by Godmother. I still don’t completely understand her motives, but I do know this: Seven and I deserve to make up for lost time. Unfortunately, until we have a chance to tell Arden about her unlikely origins, we’ve decided to keep our relationship a secret. We want to give her choices. We want to give her a chance to control the narrative about her own life.

Seven’s responsible for getting me this job teaching poker, and his sister, Evangeline, the head of public relations for Lucky Enterprises, is leaning into the moment. This photo shoot is just the start. I have interviews with all the major news outlets in Devashire scheduled over the next two weeks, at the end of which I’ll be teaching my very first class.

“You did a great job today.” Evangeline hits me with one of her ten-thousand-watt smiles. Just like her brother, she’s supermodel attractive, the kind of person who walks into the room and turns every head. She’s tall, thin, and radiates confidence. But then that’s what being a leprechaun does for you. Leprechauns are always beautiful. Their luck seeps out of their pores.

“Thanks. I’m not used to being photographed. I hope Mac can get what he needs from what we did today.”

She laughs. “Are you kidding me? Sophia, I don’t think you realize how lovely you are.”

“For a pixie,” I add in for her.

“For anyone. If it weren’t for the wings, I’d swear you were a leprechaun. I think living among humans was good for you.” She shakes her head. “That look in your eyes. I’ve never seen a pixie look like that. You’re a badass. And if people knew what you really did for Devashire, they’d treat you like one.”

What I did was help take down her father and prove he was imprisoning pixies in his rural sex dungeon. He also murdered a few people for reasons that only he and maybe Godmother fully understand. Together, Seven and I proved Chance was guilty of murder. He’s now serving a life sentence in Ashgate Prison.

I try not to think too much about the night we took him down. It still shakes me. I’m not sure if what Eva says is true—if Devashire society knew, would they respect me more? It’s a moot point. Godmother took credit for solving the case, and the only people who know my part in it are Seven, Eva, and my friends River and Penelope, all of whom have been sworn to secrecy. One does not challenge Godmother’s narrative of events. Not unless one wants to have one’s wings broken.

I glance down at my toes. My stomach growls loud enough that I’m sure Eva hears it. “Uh, thanks. Are we done for the day?”

She laughs. “No, I want to introduce you to some high rollers. But go ahead and take a break. It sounds like you need one. Eat and get changed into something more comfortable, then meet me in my office.”

I open my mouth to say okay, but the word never leaves my lips. My breath hitches when the buzz of Seven’s luck skates across the back of my neck, over my shoulder, and between my breasts. My nipples tighten at the feel of it, and I have to draw a breath to steady myself. The tingle of it causes the tiny hairs on my arms to stand on end, and everything inside me takes on an electrical charge.

Evangeline’s lips quirk into an impish grin. There is no way she can’t sense that. “In my office by four, Sophia,” she singsongs before striding out the door without looking back.

I adjust my dress and smooth my hair, suddenly filled with a different type of hunger. My heels click on the hardwood floors of the new poker room as I push my way through the gold-plated doors and into the foyer of the Dragonfly Casino. My steps falter when I see Seven standing in front of a poster advertising the latest Cirque du Soleil production going on in the theater.

My very own personal Prince Charming.

His back is to me, which means I have a moment to observe him as my inner world goes topsy-turvy with attraction. The soft shine of his toffee-colored hair picks up the gold reflected off the shiny surfaces in the room and contrasts perfectly with his dark suit, specially tailored to make the most of his broad shoulders. His jacket skims down to his hips in a perfect taper, both professional and somehow sensual, as if the material loves to touch him as much as I do. His long legs end in polished Italian-leather loafers.

As quietly as I can, I sidle up to him, leaving a few feet of space between us. Nothing to see here. Just two people who happen to be reading the same poster at the same time.

“That dress should be illegal,” he whispers, his head still tilted as if he’s studying the picture of the aerial act in front of him. “I take that back. It should be perfectly legal in the privacy of my bedroom. Outside of it, I’d prefer you wrapped in a hooded cloak.”

I lick my bottom lip. “So sad. This dress, with me in it, is about to be plastered all over social media to promote the new poker classes. Evangeline picked it out.”

A growl rumbles from his chest. “Is there no justice in this world? If she must flaunt you for all to see, shouldn’t I, at least, be the first to enjoy you in it, to touch you beneath the material, to… help you out of it?”

My lips twitch. “Who are you to claim first dibs?”

Only his eyes move, but I see him glance in my direction, his emerald gaze twinkling with his regard. “The one who loves you.”

He’s said it to me before, but hearing it now still sends a thrill through me and makes my heart thump in my chest. I know what he wants to hear. There is one thing that Seven needs from me more than anything else, the thing I’ve learned holds his pieces together.

“Be the first then. I’m yours, after all. Do with me as you wish.” Aside from his sister, I am the one person in his life who knows him, his true heart, and knowing that I accept him, that I want to be his and want him to be mine is a balm to the wounds his neglectful parents left behind.

His throat bobs on a hard swallow, and his chest rises and falls at a faster rate. “Come.” 

His luck coils around me, nudging me to follow him as he turns and strides through an unmarked door near the banquet hall. I check over both shoulders. No one is watching. Of course not. Not with him concentrating his luck to make sure we’re alone.

I duck inside.

Seven’s arm circles my waist, and he pulls me against his chest in the darkness. I hear the lock slide into place, and then the light clicks on. We’re in some kind of utility room, surrounded by shelves of tablecloths, aprons, and cloth napkins. At the back is a stack of folding tables. 

I pivot in his arms to face him. “Classy digs, Seven, but I was hoping for a gas station bathroom.”

He gives one breathy laugh, but the heat in his eyes shows me he isn’t in a comedic mood. His expression is ravenous, predatory, feral.

“Are you done modeling for photos today?” he asks, deep and low.

“Yes.” My voice comes out in a squeak, my throat tight from the intensity he’s putting off.

The smile he gives me is positively wolfish. “Good.”

Luck slams into me like an ocean wave I didn’t see coming. Someone has popped the cork on a bottle of champagne and bubbles rush between my legs, through my torso, and to the tips of my breasts. Electric fizz tingles in my blood. My knees wobble but he has me, one hand between my wings and the other in my hair.

When his lips crash down on mine, it isn’t gentle. He’s claiming me with a desperation that tells me exactly how Seven feels about our clandestine circumstances. Leprechauns aren’t used to being denied what they want, and he wants me. All of me.

I melt into him, opening wider for him, his tongue stroking expertly against mine. His thumb braces under my jaw, his fingers wrapped firmly around the base of my skull. The way he’s gripping me is almost painful. Almost. Instead, it makes me feel secure. Safe. And completely turned on.

He shifts me back to the tables and lifts me as if I weigh nothing, perching my bottom on the top of the stack. My dress shifts. Despite hours of staying in place no matter which way I moved, my breasts spill out of the top. He catches one in his mouth, sucking hard. I have to flutter my wings to stay balanced in this position, and I dig my fingers into his hair to steady myself.

“You are so beautiful.” Emerald-green eyes flash in the dim room, and he smiles wickedly at me, breath skating across my nipple. “I saw that photographer kiss you.”

“You were watching me?” Not surprising really. Security cameras record every corner of the casino.

“Only at the end. I wanted to check if you were done.”

“Did it bother you when he kissed me on the cheek?”

He laughs darkly. “Only because I have no way of marking you as mine. I wanted to throw open the doors to that room and make it clear as day that you’re spoken for. Instead, I’ll have to settle for reminding you of the same.”

“How do you plan to do that?” I ask breathlessly.

His hands work under the skirt of my dress, bunching the shiny material around my hips. Adroit fingers hook into the sides of my panties and slide them down my legs. Once they’re off, he brings them to his nose and inhales. My blood heats at the sight, and my breath comes in pants. He slips them into his pocket, then plants his hands on my inner thighs and shoves them apart, exposing me.

“Seven,” I gasp.

He lowers himself to his knees in front of me and licks up my center with the flat of his tongue.

My cheeks heat. I arch against his mouth, and he flicks and circles my clit before plunging his tongue inside me. His luck follows, filling me with a rush of effervescence that presses against my inner walls even as he worships every inch of pleasure-inducing skin between my thighs. I can’t form words.

It takes an embarrassingly short amount of time for my head to tip back in a silent scream of overwhelming pleasure. I’m still blinded by the light of the first orgasm when he rises, hooking one of my legs over his shoulder, and enters me fast and hard, sending me over the edge again.

“Oh. Gods. Sev. En.” He’s thrusting so hard it feels like my teeth might clack together. The only thing I want is for him to thrust harder, to hold me tighter. I want him so close I can smell him on my skin days from now when we have to be apart.

He grips my hips, his face buried in my neck as he pounds into me until he finds his release, tremors of ecstasy rippling through him in my arms. We’re as close as two people can get, all my limbs wrapped tight around him, and I hold him to me.

He runs his nose from my jaw to my ear. “I love you, Sophia.”

“I love you too.”

Drawing back, he returns my panties and helps me fix my dress, which thanks to his luck hasn’t ripped or sustained a single wrinkle, then zips his pants and takes a seat next to me on the tables. Leaning against the wall, he pulls me against his side. I make myself comfortable.

“So tonight’s the night,” he says.

“Yeah. It took some doing, but my grandmother is playing bridge in Sunnyville, my parents have a date planned, and Arden isn’t babysitting for Penelope. We’ll have the house and her all to ourselves for at least two hours.” 

It’s taken a few days for me to arrange everything, but it’s important to both of us that Arden be the first to know that Seven is her father and that she is the only pixie/leprechaun hybrid in existence. What a heavy hammer to be dropped on her. She’s lived her entire life believing she’s half-human. She believes it because I believed it, thanks to Godmother’s trickery. But it’s time she knows the truth. She deserves to know.

“When should I come?”

“Six should be safe.”

He nods.

I tip my head back until it clunks against the wall behind me. “I hope she doesn’t hate me.”

“If she hates anyone, it will be me. You couldn’t tell Arden what you didn’t know, and I’m going to make sure she understands that.”

“You’re putting a lot of trust in a teenager to have a logical response to this situation.”

He frowns. “Admittedly, I don’t have much experience with teenagers. When Evangeline was her age, I was just two years older and still a teenager myself.”

I groan. “Let me fill you in on raising teenagers. Arden is an exceptionally responsible, levelheaded, and remarkable young woman with the potential to turn into a hormonal, irrational beast when pushed beyond her limits. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.”

He strokes the back of my head. “Whatever happens, however she reacts, it will be okay.” His voice is soft. “We’re in this together. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect both of you. I promise.”

Is that my heart or a warm pat of butter sliding down my ribs? “I know you will.”

A shadow passes through his expression, and he glances away from me. “You know it’s a lie though. If I was willing to do anything, I’d stay away from both of you. You’d be safer and happier.”

I grab his chin and turn his face toward me. “Safe is overrated, and I couldn’t be any happier than this.”

He sighs and kisses me before glancing at his watch. “I’m fifteen minutes late for a meeting.”

“You’d better get going then.” I scamper off the stack of tables.

“Before I do, there’s something I want you to have.”

“Hmm?” I straighten my dress. 

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a necklace with a coin dangling from the end. I recognize it as one from his collection of charms, the magical objects he keeps in a hermetically sealed room in his office. He once brought a coin just like this with us to Shadowvale and used it to distract Yissevel the bone fairy so that I could escape the unseelie’s clutches. It’s gold with the imprint of a goddess on one side and a dragonfly on the other, and he’s mounted it on a matching chain.

“I want you to wear this.”

“Why?” I ask hesitantly.

“Because it protects its wearer from harm and because it will make the man who loves you happy you’re wearing his gift,” he says around a half smile.

“Who could say no to that?” I pivot, moving my hair aside so he can fasten the chain around my neck. The coin rests just below the hollow of my throat. “Thank you.”

In response, he kisses me just below my ear. “One day this will all be easier.”

I smooth my hair and check my makeup in the bottom of a silver tray, but like everything else, it’s fine. Seven’s luck has kept every one of my hairs in place.

I replace the tray and turn in his arms. “I’m not sure it will ever be easier exactly.” He frowns, and I continue. “But it will be worth it. I know it will be worth it.”

His usual lopsided grin comes back in full force. “See you tonight.”

Main Tropes

  • Twisted Cinderella story
  • Fae fantasy romance
  • Across the tracks / Wrong side of the tracks
  • Friends to lovers
  • Second chance romance
  • Romantic suspense
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