Today is release day for my new book Everlight Academy, Book1 Faeling. It’s the first in a young adult fantasy trilogy. You can grab a copy here or click the cover below
Seventeen-year-old Silvana Eldry, a faeling, lives in fear. Shunned by society, bullied by her classmates, and ignored by her foster parents, she’s an outcast in a world ruled by the fae.
When she’s offered a prestigious placement at Everlight Academy, she finds herself in a strange, new world. One filled with magic, gorgeous fae beings, and the chance to learn about her powers. But there’s a catch!
There are trials and challenges ahead because Everlight doesn’t just let students survive. They must earn their survival. And Silvy must tear herself from the unwavering connection she feels to a handsome fae prince.
Will her quest for a new life cost her everything or will she get the new life she craves?
Faeling is a slow-burn non-reverse harem romance with one feisty heroine who will stop at nothing to find out who she really is.
I ducked behind a stack of shelves and clutched several items to my chest. My heart pounded in my ears as I glanced around the aisles to make sure no one had seen me. As much as I hated stealing, I knew it was a necessity.
My foster parents never spent the money they got every month to cover my needs. The last time I had pissed off my foster mum, she took away all of my toiletries. Hence, why I was here at the local marketplace stealing soap, shampoo, and toothpaste, along with some much-needed food.
The aisles of the tiny little shop were stocked full of bread, frozen meals, chocolate, and other expensive items I could never afford. I’d managed to snag a small loaf of bread off one of the shelves. Bread was something I rarely ever got to have in my foster home.
One good thing about my broken gossamer wings was they were large enough and opaque enough to hide me from the CCTV cameras. This allowed me to sneak things underneath my baggy clothing with relative ease.
Ducking into a corner, I slipped my newfound items into my drawstring bag and swung it over my shoulder. I knew where all the cameras in the shop were, so I made sure I kept my back to them as I did so. No one ever paid any attention to me other than to gawp at the sight of a faeling — a half-human, half-Fae hybrid. I looked almost human with my long scraggly blond hair, blue eyes, and gangly frame. Maybe I could even pass for an ordinary-looking schoolgirl in my navy-blue uniform and scuffed shoes. Except for the large translucent wings coming out of my back that looked like remnants of broken leaves.
I half expected the cashier — a middle-aged overweight man with greasy hair to scream at me. Hearing the words, “Silvana Eldry, I’m calling your parents, you bloody faeling” hadn’t been uncommon in my short seventeen-year life.
Thankfully, I’d gotten better at stealing over the years. It’s not like I had much of a choice with my current fosters. Being a faeling tended to make me stick out like a sore thumb. Plus, faelings were rarely welcomed among humans.
A glance at the cashier told me he was too occupied with a gorgeous blonde who had just walked in to pay any attention to me. The cashier’s colour was yellow which then turned to a dark orange.
That meant he was curious. I could see colours around all humans. It was their energy, their life force, their aura — whatever you want to call it. The woman had a peach coloured aura around her, muted with green and grey. She wanted to get out of here fast and away from the slimy cashier; that much I could tell.
I dashed out the front door, past the lines of shelves and away from the ever-watchful eyes of the shop’s cameras. The people outside in the street were a riot of colour. Their energy danced around them. Some were sad, some were happy, some were too wrapped up in their lives to even notice me.
However, they were always turned off whenever they caught sight of me. So, I kept my head down and kept on walking.
I made my way through the cobblestone streets of Colchester, Britain’s oldest recorded town. Dozens of Tudor style buildings and modern buildings of steel and stone were erected in a haphazard mess. This place was famous for being where the Fae had arrived half a century ago. The humans had polluted the earth so much, they almost wiped themselves out and, in the process, destroyed the other world – the world of the Fae – that coexisted with ours.
So, fifty years ago hundreds of Fae showed up here, seeking refuge. You’d think the Fae would have been angry at the humans for destroying their world but instead, they chose to save humanity. The Fae re-grew entire forests, cleansed the oceans and came up with cleaner ways of renewable energy. After saving the world from near extinction, most of the Fae disappeared, retreating into their different parts of the world. Some of them stuck around but often didn’t fit in well with human society. These days, most of the Fae usually kept to themselves.
Some humans have even interbred with them. Sadly, that part didn’t turn out so well.
Over the years the Fae had disappeared from the earth again as if they’d never been here in the first place. Some of the humans even claimed they don’t exist and that humans themselves had managed to save the earth and the rest of the surviving humanity.
However, I was living proof the Fae had been here at least once.
How else could I have been born?
Unless they thought I was a changeling.
I hurried through the streets, avoiding the usual stares. If my threadbare dress and rough shoes didn’t stand out, then the bits of my long-mangled wings sure did.
The Seelie Fae were the ones responsible for saving the humans and most of them had ethereal wings. They were stunning creatures — from what I had seen in books.
Although, when you were a half-breed like me, those same wings looked akin to a gangly monstrosity.
Shoes and clothes were expensive. And they were something my fosters refused to fork out for. So I had to make do with what I had. I’d learned a long time ago to stop being embarrassed by my appearance and meagre possessions.
I made my way through the familiar streets and ducked into an alley. I usually tried to keep my wings covered but my only coat had been stolen from me a few weeks earlier and I couldn’t hide them anymore. I would have been glad to cut off these stupid things, so I could blend in with humans a little more.
Being a faeling wasn’t a good thing and only led to more unwanted abuse for me. The humans may have loved the Fae for saving their world, but they despised any half-breeds that they had left behind.
I rifled through my bag, breathing in the sweet scent of bread. It might not be fresh, but it sure smelled good.
So much better than anything I got at home. I took a moment just to enjoy the scent.
“Look here, there’s a gutter rat,” said a familiar voice.
My blood went cold. No, it couldn’t be. I had left school over an hour ago and Ava didn’t live anywhere near the poor side of town as I did. How had she ended up here?
It seemed nowhere was safe from Ava Jacobs, a local human girl and the bane of my existence — well, one of them at least. I thought of her as my daytime torturer. I had other people to torture me at night.
I kept my gaze on the ground. I didn’t need to look up to recognise her perfect curly blond hair, flawless skin, and bright blue eyes. I looked like an ugly duckling compared to her perfection. My body showed the scars of my life. The most prominent being my mangled wings that looked like broken translucent leaves.
God, I wished my wings worked and were more than just a disability; that was what the humans called it at least. They had never worked even before they grew bigger. You would think I have magic too. No such luck. Aside from my ability to see auras I was as human as it gets.
How had Ava found me? Had she followed me? I wouldn’t put it past her. She lived to make my life a misery and took great pleasure in it too. I didn’t know why. I had never done anything to her. It was like my existence was an affront to her perfect human ways. Sure, I might be as poor as a mouse and a foster kid, but then I did have the right to exist like everyone else did, didn’t I?
“What have you got there?” Ava snatched my bag from my grasp before I had a chance to say or do anything.
I learnt a long time ago it was pointless to fight back. It only made things worse. If I hit her, she would only strike me back harder and make me suffer even more.
Can’t I get a break for once? I’d been so happy with my stash. I should have just gone home while I had the chance. But no, I had to sneak into the alley to enjoy my food. It wasn’t as if I could’ve taken it home with me anyway. If my foster parents saw I had stolen things they would just take the stuff away from me. My foster mum frequently searched through my room to make sure I didn’t have anything hidden away in there.
Idiot, Silvy. Why did you have to stick around?
Ava pulled out the bottles of soap and shampoo and snorted. “God knows you need these given how much you stink.” She tossed the items onto the muddy ground.
Each thud felt like a knife to my heart. Why did she have to take them? It didn’t matter if they got a bit dirty. I only prayed she wouldn’t destroy them like she did with most of my things.
“What’s this?” Ava held up the loaf of bread. “You don’t have the money to afford this.”
She was right about that. The only time my fosters gave me money was when they needed me to go and get something for them. And that never involved things for me.
Ava sank her teeth into the bread. Her aura glowed bright green and gold, signifying much pleasure she took in the act.
“No!” A tiny cry escaped my lips. I clapped my hands over my mouth. I wouldn’t plead with her. She’d enjoy that too much.
Ava’s gaze brightened with delight. She loved it when I begged.
Damn. I knew better than to do that.
Anger heated my blood. I had risked my life and what little freedom I had to get those items, only for her to eat half my food within a matter of seconds.
“You stole these, didn’t you, Silvy?” Ava demanded. “I knew you were a thief, you little wretch. Shouldn’t expect anything less from a gutter rat like you. They should lock you up and throw away the key. You don’t belong in this world and you know it.”
Gutter rat. I’d had that name since someone had found me abandoned in a gutter close to the Eldry Woods. That was where my surname came from. Someone had just dumped me there. They had named me Silvana as someone thought it sounded like a pretty fairy name. I preferred Silvy. Silvana sounded too old-fashioned and stupid.
I fumed at her words. She had a point and I knew it. I had never fit in amongst the humans and never would because of my wings. Then again I would never fit in amongst the Fae either due to the lack of power from my human side.
I had run into a Fae once when I was younger. The one and only time I had seen one in person. They had looked at me like I was an alien and not one of the Fae.
I made a grab for my bag, but Ava held it just out of my reach.
My anger threatened to boil over. I knew what would happen if Ava reported me to the local authorities. I’d be locked up for life or worse, executed. Faelings had been put to death for lesser crimes.
I needed my stash back. Right. Now. I enjoyed little in my short life, and I was not going to be locked up for some petty crime that I only did out of necessity.
A gust of windswept through the alley. It made my long hair stand on ends. The burst of air slammed Ava across the alley.
God, what caused that?
My heart pounded so hard, I thought it would burst through my chest. The worst thing possible was for a faeling to be suspected of using magic. That wouldn’t get me locked up, I’d be experimented on like a freaking lab rat.
That was a fate worse than anything I could endure, even my current life.
Where had that gust of wind come from? The wind didn’t throw people around like that, did it?
I decided to get out of there while I had the chance. So, I scooped up my bag and made a run for it.
To my relief, Ava didn’t chase after me. She seemed too stunned to do anything, and I was too freaked out to check on her.
There would be hell to pay when I went to school, but I’d worry about that tomorrow. She would torment me like she usually did anyways so what else was new?
Once I was clear of the alley, I turned down a narrow back street and slammed straight into someone. I yelped in alarm and stumbled back.
To my surprise, it was a teenage boy who looked barely older than me. He was a good foot taller than me with short dark black hair and eyes that shimmered like pure silver. He wore jeans and a grey shirt over a dark T-shirt. Somehow I knew he wasn’t human. He had an aura, unlike that of most humans.
Every human I had ever seen had colour glowing faintly around their bodies. This guy looked like a beacon of glowing, vibrant energy. It whirled in a rainbow kaleidoscope of colours, glowing so bright, it dazzled me.
He must be Fae, I realised. He didn’t have any wings. I had been reading about Fae for most of my life just so I could learn about the other side of my hybrid head of heritage. Every picture I had ever seen of them depicted them having wings.
Damn, he was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen.
I shook my head and wondered where that stray thought had come from.
“You should be more careful,” he snapped.
“Sorry, I didn’t see you there.” My voice came out stronger than I expected. I blinked a few times to get my eyes to adjust to his dazzling colours.
“Not bumping into me.” He glared at me. “I meant that run-in with the human girl.”
My mouth fell open. Holy crackers, had he somehow seen that freaky gust of wind? I hadn’t seen anyone else around or sensed them. I was usually pretty good at finding out if people were hiding or not. They might be able to conceal themselves, but they couldn’t hide their colours. Not from me anyway.
I closed my mouth and raised my chin. “I don’t know what you mean.”
His gorgeous silver eyes narrowed. “Yes, you do. You should be more careful.”
I glowered at him. “I didn’t do anything to her. Who the hell are you anyway?”
His lips quirked into a smile. “You’ll find out sooner or later.”
And with that, he vanished.
Poof. One second he and his glimmering aura were there and the next second, he had vanished.
My jaw dropped. This day was getting weirder and weirder.
Instead of going home, I headed straight to my only refuge I had in my life: the town library. It was a large clock tower building. The old library burned down years ago after the humans had nearly wiped themselves out. I loved the place because it had such an old-world character. A lot of buildings were destroyed during the Change. The Fae world being destroyed had caused a lot of damage and some places fell off the map.
The library was my safe haven. Even Ava didn’t bother me much whilst I was there. Probably because she didn’t want people to know how much she tormented me.
I never bothered reporting her. What good would it do? No one trusted the word of a faeling to that of a human’s. We were viewed as less than second-class people.
The warmth of the library washed over me as I headed inside. This was the only place in town where I could find books made from real paper. Since the Change, books were usually only available in digital format or some expensive new material. The Fae had outlawed the cutting down of trees.
I loved the feel of books and the smell of them. It felt like getting lost in a different world. Also, you didn’t get judged or tormented for being half-breed Fae.
Being a faeling was bad enough because some of them went mad. One male faeling had committed a bunch of mass killings of half a dozen people a few years back. The humans were just waiting for me to go psycho. Some faelings didn’t even survive childhood. Fae and human DNA didn’t mix well together.
Lucky me, I guess. I’m one of the few who survived.
I glanced around in hopes to see the librarian, Freya Goodwin. She was one of the few people, if not the only one, who had ever been nice to me.
She would even sneak in food for lunch for me whenever she could. I never got any lunch otherwise, with having no money for food. Yet another thing my foster parents refused to pay out for. I had breakfast and some dinner at their place – if I was lucky – so I had to make do.
I headed straight for one of the computer terminals and shoved my bag under the table.
As a student, I had free access. Typing in my details, I waited for it to load.
I would live in this place if I could. It was my own private world. Nothing bad could reach me whilst I was here.
I waited for the web to load and typed in faeling baby found in Eldry Woods.
Eldry Woods had only been around for a couple of decades back then. It was part of the Fae’s initiative in replanting trees in different areas. Now half the town was woodland. The humans never bothered to rebuild any of the buildings that had disappeared. I still found it strange no one had ever questioned where all of those buildings had even disappeared to. I’d been found in a gutter close to the woods, I knew from the familiar words of the newspaper article by heart.
I must’ve read it a thousand times. A faeling baby being found had been big news. According to the report, I had only been a few hours old. My mother, whoever she was, hadn’t kept me long at all. My chest tightened whenever I read that part of the report. How anyone could give up their baby, let alone leave it in the gutter, was beyond me.
From what I had read babies were rare among the Fae, and they greatly valued children. It had been one of the reasons why they had interbred with humans because having kids was so hard for them.
I had no idea whether my mother was Fae or human. They had done endless tests on me as a kid but hadn’t cared to find out who my real parents were. They only cared to know if I had magic or not.
I’d asked about my real parents a few times over the years but never got any answers. Humans couldn’t answer questions they didn’t know the answer to. Once upon a time, I had dreamed my real mother would appear one day and rescue me. That never happened of course.
I’d undergone testing every few months since I was eleven. They did it to see if I had any magic. Nothing ever showed up. I’d almost be glad if something did because that would mean I could escape my fosters and find my real mum and dad. I didn’t care which one it was, I just wanted someone to feel connected to.
Most kids took parental love for granted. I’d give anything to feel loved by someone.
Had my mother loved me? Or was she so disgusted at her half-breed baby she dumped me at the first chance she got? And did my father, whoever he was, even knew I existed?
I knew it was hopeless, but I wouldn’t give up searching for my parents. Maybe I would never get answers, but it didn’t matter. It was one of the few things that kept me going.
I scrolled through the old articles, but they didn’t reveal anything new.
No surprise there, but still, this was the only real connection I had to my mother. Whoever she was.