Reign, p.1Chanda Hahn
An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 4
Copyright © 2014 by Chanda Hahn
Cover design by Steve Hahn
Cover model Jacelyn Moore
Photographer Tiana Meckel
Kindle Edition, License Notes
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form is forbidden without written permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Table of Contents
About the Author
Bonus Short Story: Jared’s Quest
Bonus Chapter: Vampire Lies Season 2, Book 1 by RaShelle Workman
To my Father, Steve Trujllo
One day her Prince will come and it will be her worst nightmare.
She was drowning. Her fingers were numb with cold. An eerie green light surrounded her while her lungs burned in agony. Something dark and ominous swam toward her through the murky water. Mina kicked, swimming to the surface to evade the approaching being, but no matter how many times she tried, she never got any closer to the surface.
And she knew that tonight in this dream, like all the other nights before, she wouldn’t make it.
It was a memory being played out over and over in her head. A reenactment of her memory on the Fae plane fighting for her life against the sea witch. Every night it plagued her subconscious as she fought against the nightmare, but there was no eluding what was coming next.
She hated this part of the dream. The monster’s strong hand grasped her ankle. Inwardly, she screamed, using all of her strength to kick against the thing grabbing her leg. She kept her eyes pinched closed and refused to look at the beast. She could feel its strong hands pull her down as its touch moved up her legs, to her waist, and then to her shoulders. The sea witch stroked her cheek, trying to convince her to open her eyes and gaze upon its hideous form.
But Mina refused. One thing she had learned was that sometimes she could control things in a dream… like holding her breath for near eternity.
“Come to me, Mina,” the familiar dream voice coaxed as slithery hands reached under her chin and pulled her face to mere inches from the monster’s. Mina shivered in revulsion and fear.
“Why do you fight me when you can join me?” The male voice, though underwater, rang clear as day in her mind. “Accept me.”
She couldn’t help it. Her eyes started to open and she met the gray eyes of Jared. Her heart soared for a split second before she realized her mistake once again. The eyes weren’t gray—they never stayed gray for long. Just a trick of her imagination before they shifted and changed into the deep blue eyes of… Teague.
“Have it your way,” Teague sneered. Then he dragged her down into the never-ending depths of her dream, to her death. As always.
Every scenario and every sequence Mina tried to play out always ended with this scene, and just when she couldn’t hold her breath any longer, she would wake gasping for breath and crying.
She had fallen for Jared, and—because of her stupidity—he was gone. Or the Jared she knew was gone. He was now her mortal enemy, and these dreams were just a reminder of what she had done and what she would have to face.
Tears trickled down Mina’s cheeks like rain, and she wiped her face on her blue sleep shirt, letting herself mourn her loss. She spent many hours crying in the night, scared to fall back to sleep only to return to the same dream. Instead, she would lie in bed, stare out the window, and wait for the sun to rise signaling a new day.
Her seventeenth birthday came and went with nothing more than a cake and a present from her mom and brother. They tried to cheer her up, but they knew what she was going through. For her mom had gone through the same thing when her father died. She was mourning the loss of someone she loved. That pain took time to heal. And it couldn’t be rushed.
Each day, it became harder to drag herself out of bed. The alarm clock would go off at seven o’clock on the dot, and she’d listen to the weather and traffic report on some nameless AM channel. She’d stare at the ceiling and wish for her limbs to move, but wishing on anything other than a falling star, was merely that—wishing.
Her mourning turned to terror as the dreams persisted week after week. She knew it was better to pretend they didn’t occur each night, so she wouldn’t worry her mom.
The door opened and her mom, Sara, walked into her room wearing khaki pants and a navy polo, her signature Happy Maids uniform. She stopped in front of Mina’s nightstand and gently pushed the snooze button.
“Sweetie. It’s time to get up. You have your presentation today.”
“Kill me now.” Mina groaned and pulled the comforter back over her head.
“Mina, it can’t be that bad.” Her mom yanked on the coverlet and pulled it completely off the bed.
Her mom couldn’t understand. It was the dreaded English presentation where she had to give an oral report on a famous author. All the students in her class had to pull a name out of a glass fishbowl. Nan had been ecstatic when she drew J.K. Rowling, and of course—because Mina’s epic unfortunate luck would have it—she pulled out the Brothers Grimm.
“Yes, it is. It’s worse than bad. It’s horrible. I have to talk about my… however many greats it is, because I can’t remember grandfather and uncle. Not to mention I have to lie about their whole lives. They weren’t traveling the world collecting stories for their book. What a crock! They were saving mankind from evil Fae and trying to permanently close the gates to the Fae plane. But if I said that, I’d get an F and a trip to the school’s counselor.” Mina rolled over to her stomach to hide her head beneath the pillow. “Can’t you call in and say that I’m sick or something? Or how about dead? Yeah, dead would be good,” she mumbled.
“Now, Mina, stop it,” her mom said softly. The mattress dipped as she sat on the edge. “I know this hasn’t been easy for you. It’s a lot for a girl your age, but you’ve handled it with such strength and determination. I know you can go in there and give a simple presentation…while leaving out all of the important details.”
“What if I just sneak in a
“Absolutely not, Wilhelmina Grimm. You are just asking for more trouble.”
“Okay, what about my name? Can I finally tell someone I’m a Grimm?”
Her mother let out a disgruntled sigh. “You know why we hide who we are.”
“What’s the point of hiding when every Fae in the world knows we’re here? I mean, we are in a magic house.” Mina sat up, crossed her legs, and gave her mom the dreaded teenager stare, the—you know I’m right—stare.
Her mom tucked her hair behind her ear. A small golden bracelet dangled from her wrist, and two charms now hung on the bracelet. The first, a small gold elephant, was a charm of forgetting. Her Fae Godmothers had put it on last year to help her mom forget about her brother when he’d been kidnapped by a Stiltskin. The second charm was new. A small golden bell dangled next to the forgetting charm, and Mina knew she would have to ask Mrs. Wong about it when she saw her next.
“No, Mina, you can’t tell anyone about your last name. I know we’re no longer hidden from the Fae, but we can’t risk bringing more trouble down on us.”
“Fine, I’ll go to school and give the report, but don’t expect me to get an A on it or anything,” Mina said. “I hate standing in front of people and giving speeches.”
Her mom leaned over kissed her head. “Okay, but you better at least pull a B minus. After all… you don’t want to disappoint your ancestors.”
Mina scrunched up her face. “Sure, whatever.”
Her mom left the room and the door closed with a soft click. Mina got out of the huge four-poster bed and made her way over to the dresser. It still took some getting used to, the large house, which had apparently belonged to all of the Grimms before her and changed according to the new owner’s needs.
After she’d saved Charlie and lost Jared and crossed back over from the Fae plane, the world had righted itself. At least as much as the Story and the Fates allowed. She still wasn’t sure who’d pushed the magic reset button this time and covered up Charlie’s death.
The fire had still happened. The Wongs lost their restaurant and the whole building still came down, only in the new version, Charlie never died—or was never presumed dead. He got out of the fire and they all moved into the Grime Mansion. Or that’s what Nan continued to call it.
When Mina was finally dressed, she grabbed her jacket and a fun colorful scarf and headed down the hall. Charlie was standing on a chair, trying to drag a large suitcase from a shelf in the hall closet. Mina reached up and helped pull the large case down, but it slipped out of her hand and crashed to the ground, spilling the contents onto the floor.
Charlie jumped at the opportunity and began to dig excitedly into the pile of odd clothes and hats that all looked to be decades old. There were scarves, vests, purses, and few odd knickknacks.
Charlie pulled out a pinstriped suit vest and pulled it over his head without buttoning it. He saw an old hat and reached for it, but when his hand touched it, he looked like he flickered out of focus for a moment. Mina’s breath caught in her throat and a trickle of dread raced through her body, causing the hair on her arms to stand up. She snatched the hat out of his hands and threw it back into the suitcase.
Charlie’s hands flew in anger as he signed his displeasure and made a face at her.
Mina’s hands shook as she tried to close and lock the suitcase, but a long feminine blouse hung out, preventing it from closing properly. Opening the case, she shoved the blouse back in and forced the clasp shut until it clicked. Then she proceeded to put it back on the top shelf in the closet, being sure to push it to the far back and out of her brother’s reach.
Once she stepped off of the chair and closed the door, she turned to give her brother her full attention.
“I know. I know. You wanted the costumes out of there.” Her brother was the greatest kid, mute since birth, smart as a whistle, and unique in a variety of ways—one being his penchant for expressing himself in a bevy of weird costumes ranging from villains and superheroes to anything bright and shiny. Currently, he was dressed to impress in a Flash t-shirt, the vintage pinstripe vest, and Bermuda shorts—complete with cowboy belt, holster, and boots.
Glaring, he stomped his foot in challenge. He widened his stance and wiggled his fingers over his holster, inches from the toy gun. The last thing she wanted was to play along, but she would do anything right now to keep him away from a repeat of whatever had happened before, and that meant she needed to keep him away from the closet.
Mina frowned, pretended to dip her imaginary hat in acceptance of the duel, turned around, and placed her back against her brother’s. One step at a time, they each took five paces toward their end of the hall.
Charlie’s boots clicked on the hardwood. They paused.
Mina spun around, her finger held out. “Bang!” she yelled, seconds before Charlie’s toy gun was pulled from the holster.
He gripped his side in mock injury, flung the plastic revolver to the side, and crumpled to the ground in one of the most dramatic death scenes a nine year old could muster. Right down to the twitching right leg and the hand splayed out in a final act of farewell. When his breathing stopped and his eyes closed, Mina used the chance to escape by jumping over Charlie’s prone form and running for the front door.
But he was too fast. He magically sprung to life and lumbered after her in a very zombie-esque fashion.
“Uh-uh,” she said, laughing. “You haven’t been dead long enough. Plus, you were shot. You’re not going to reanimate as a Zombie unless you were bitten by another Zombie.”
Charlie shrugged his shoulders, held his arms out in front of him, and headed toward the kitchen, dragging one foot slightly behind him.
Mina knew where her brother was heading, and seconds later she heard her mother scream in fright. Charlie was the master of the sneak and scare.
“Ouch, Charlie! What are you doing? You bit me!”
Mina tried to strike the suitcase from her mind, but it kept haunting her all through her English Lit. She barely paid attention as student after student went up and gave their five-minute oral report. Brody stood up and spoke for minutes on something. Even his tanned figure, sun bleached blond hair, and blue eyes didn’t distract her from her inner turmoil for more than a moment.
What was it that caused Charlie to flicker out like that? Was it something in the suitcase? Was it a sickness? Oh goodness, she really hoped not. Maybe it was all a figment of her imagination. Yeah, that was easier to believe. She’d just chalk it up to the extra stress she’d been under.
Nix sauntered from the back of the room and paused for a second by her desk to gently place a small rounded piece of sea glass on her book. It wasn’t Nix’s first token of thanks. Every few days he’d discover something different, unique, and wonderful about the human plane, and he’d leave little gifts for her to find on her desk or in her locker.
Mina smiled and picked up the smooth bit of glass. It was dark green and probably at one time part of a beer bottle, but Nix didn’t need to know that. She remembered his home on the Fae plane and how there were tons of crystals placed in the wall. She had a feeling that here, in her world, Nix might become a bit of a hoarder if not properly immersed in the culture.
But it seemed that Ever had taken care of that, or was at least trying. She’d become his sponsor, like a guardian to Nix, helping him to adapt and fit in with the social norms of a teenager. Currently though, he was living with the other Fae at the Godmother’s Guild.
Ever wasn’t a fan of the place and didn’t really like being near the Godmothers’ home, but she did what she could when it came to Nix.
Nix went to the front of the class, running his hands through his tumbled red hair in nervousness. He took a deep breath and smiled, making those Fae green eyes twinkle mischievously and the female classmates sigh. He seeme
“Ahem,” Nix cleared his throat, looked over at Mina, and winked. “Dr. Seuss was a man passionate about animals and clothes. He put hats on cats and socks on foxes. He was always losing his Things so he took to numbering them. I think he may at one point have lived on a mountain as a hermit who didn’t have a heart. And the people in the village didn’t know Who they were…uh…the end!” Nix said with enthusiasm.
The students had giggled throughout his presentation, but as soon as he was done, the room erupted. T.J. and Steven started hooting loudly and gave him a standing ovation. Nix’s face turned red, but he bowed and jogged through a gauntlet of high fives, receiving numerous pats on the back as well.
The teacher just stared after Nix with a look of utter confusion on his face. Luckily, Ever and Mina were able to convince the school that Nix, or Nick—his new human name—was a foreign exchange student from some far off land. Ever had to pick a country so small no one would even know about in the hopes that it would explain his lack of knowledge in modern culture. Up to this point it had worked, because the teachers had been extremely helpful and lenient toward him.
Nix’s survival of the trip to the human plane had been a godsend, because it was the one thing that brought Ever and Mina back together. Ever had been five shades of furious over Mina’s error in being tricked with the Grimoire and losing Jared to Teague. She had actually still refused to talk to her until she learned Charlie and Mina saved Nix’s life by bringing him over. Ever had a few choice words about how dangerous and stupid it was, but she understood. And as Mina was trying to explain the school bus to Nix—how it wasn’t a giant yellow beast devouring a sacrifice of young children—Ever finally took pity on her.
Reign by Chanda Hahn / Fantasy / Young Adult / Romance & Love have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes