Flame and Crystal Thorns is the first book in a brand new series by Kay L. Moody! Get ready for fae, magic, and lots of danger.
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EXCLUSIVE HARDCOVER EDITION
This special hardcover edition has an exclusive under the dust jacket design featuring an illustration of Chloe and Quintus. It also has a bonus chapter from the love interest’s perspective! See below for images of the exclusive hardcover edition.
She vowed she’d never return to Faerie…but vows were made to be broken.
As a human girl, Chloe is perfectly happy being back in the mortal realm where she belongs. She’s even become the town apothecary. When a fae from her past shows up begging her to return to Faerie, she utterly refuses.
But then she finds out an angry group of mortals are using iron to hold an entire castle full of fae hostage. And of course, the hostages include Chloe’s older sister and her sister’s beloved.
Reluctantly, Chloe packs a bag for what is supposed to be a short trip to Faerie.
But the mortals are more powerful than she expected. To fuel them, they have weapons, flames, and revenge. They won’t stop until they control every court in Faerie.
With the help of a new and mysterious magic and a devastatingly handsome fae companion, Chloe has to save Faerie before her sister and the other fae are killed.
Enter Faerie in this epic fantasy filled with fast-paced action, forced proximity enemies to lovers, and a magical book that thinks for itself. Flame & Crystal Thorns it the first book the Fae and Crystal Thorns series. This is a spin off of The Fae of Bitter Thorn series, but it can be read without any prior knowledge or reading of The Fae of Bitter Thorn.
Flame and Crystal Thorns is Book 1 in the Fae and Crystal Thorns series. Don’t miss the other books in this stunning fantasy series!
Standalone: Nutcracker of Crystalfall
Illustration of Chloe and Quintus
This illustration is featured on the back cover of the exclusive hardcover edition. You can purchase a print of this art in my etsy shop. Check out the artist’s instagram page @artbyartemis
Flame and Crystal Thorns captures the readers imagination right from the start in an exciting and at times heart stopping story full of mesmerising magic, death and destruction, and a romance to make you swoon.-Andrea Morgan, Bookaholic Sisters blog
I thought I loved Elora, but Chloe is perfection! I don’t know how Kay Moody does it, but her books get better and better as she creates new scenarios for her characters to extricate themselves from.-Sara Lawson, editor
Flame and Crystal Thorn is an enchanting adventure through Faerie. It’s perfect for fans of fantasy and romance! You won’t want to put it down!-Laura Fincher
This is my first book by Kay, and I will definitely be reading more!-Ashley Clark
Flame and Crystal thorns is a beautifully written faerie fantasy that I was instantly hooked on! The epic romance and magically detailed world building will reel you in, and absolutely leave you wanting more!-Ashley Nicholas
If you love fae and human you should read the Fae of Bitter Thorn series but also Fae and Crystal Thorns!! You follow Chloe and Quintus on their adventure. But will they save Faerie? Read it to find out!-Malischa Weijkamp
Flame and Crystal Thorns is everything I had hoped it would be. Romance, fantasy, bravery, and cleverness all rolled up into a fantastic story. The ending will make you want for more! Kay L. Moody truly never disappoints.-Cheyenne Mcdonald
I’ve read the Fae of Bitter Thorn series already, and Kay L Moody brought me right back to the world of Faerie with this book. Also, I am thrilled that the book-reading, everyone-healing younger sister of the previous series’ main character gets her own story! Can’t wait for the second book in the series to come out!-Zara Gennert
I read through squinted eyes. The only light in the room came from my kindle. My sleepless night was worth every moment. A night well spent. Flame of Crystal Thorn is a thrilling read for all fae lovers. Holly Black and Elise Kova fans would be delighted! FoCT was captivating and expertly written with every word like a delicate melody with a powerful beat. Transport yourself into the pages of the book and you will devour it as I did! You will not regret it. 5 magnificent stars.-Gladys, Nerd Girl Official
Book Quotes from Flame and Crystal Thorns
- For someone who had once visited Faerie, Chloe found strange comfort in the simplicity of the mortal realm.
- She spoke his name like a warning. If he weren’t so beautiful, she would have glared.
- “Food should always come first, except maybe when it’s up against books.”
- “Never underestimate the value of reading.”
- The overwhelming desire to kick him in the shin was matched only with the desire to dig her hands into his hair and bring his lips to her mouth where they belonged.
- Then again, maybe she wasn’t crying over the dress at all. Maybe it just acted as the catalyst for all the harrowing fear and sadness inside her.
- “Who did this to you?” Though the volume of his voice was low, it came out as deadly as poison.
- “Just watch me. I’ll save myself and then I’ll save everyone else too.”
- “Admire your selflessness?” He scoffed. “I barely even tolerate it.”
Flame & Crystal Thorns CHAPTER ONE
For someone who had once visited Faerie, Chloe found strange comfort in the simplicity of the mortal realm.
A cracking fire in one corner warmed her small sitting room. She sat in a plush chair with a leather-bound notebook perched open on her lap. The feather quill she used to take notes often left smudges of ink on her fingers. Today’s smudges were especially dark.
Across from her, a neighbor woman whose dark hair had turned mostly gray sniffled. She kept dabbing her eyes, but a few tears still escaped her embroidered handkerchief.
Chloe tapped her quill against a notebook page as her mouth screwed into a knot. “And did you say your husband developed a fever along with his rash?”
“Yes, but…” The woman’s lip quivered, slow at first until as fast as a lone leaf clinging to a tree amidst an icy winter wind. She squeezed her handkerchief as if it might save her from pain. “It’s not a normal fever. I know it is not. Everyone says it’s winter sickness and that the rash will soon be gone, but I am certain it is something much worse.”
Before the woman could soak her handkerchief with a puddle of tears, Chloe reached across the space between them until her hand dropped over the woman’s. “Mrs. Nash, I agree with you. This does not sound like winter sickness.”
The lightest flicker of hope sparked in the woman’s red rimmed eyes.
With a nod, Chloe sat deeper into her plush velvet chair. No weaver in the mortal realm could craft such fine material as the rich maroon velvet of Chloe’s sitting room furniture. Luckily, everyone in town spent too much time whispering about the strange stories Chloe’s nieces and nephews told or about the inhuman color of her brother’s eyes to worry about her too-fine furniture.
Her gaze swept across her notebook, scanning the notes she had taken. “I’ll need to do a bit of research, but I am certain I can find a remedy for your husband.”
“Truly?” Mrs. Nash sat forward in her seat with eyes as wide as clocks.
Chloe snapped the notebook closed before standing up. “There is a reason I’ve gained the reputation as best apothecary in town. I am certain I can help.”
The woman clutched her handkerchief tight as she brought her hand over her heart. Tears welled in her eyes.
Reaching out a hand to help the woman up, Chloe donned a light smile. “You can return to your home now. I’ll do a bit of research, then I’ll fix something up and bring it to your home later tonight.”
Tears splashed onto Mrs. Nash’s splotchy red cheeks as she got to her feet. “Thank you.”
She took a few steps, but then turned back. Shadows from the fire danced across her face as she inhaled deeply. “I know you only moved here because your parents died and your older brother was the only family you had left, but—” She shook her head. “It’s awful about your parents, truly awful, but…”
Her chin trembled as she clutched her handkerchief even tighter to her chest. “I don’t know what would happen to my husband without you. I’m so glad you’re here and not wherever you used to live.”
At least the woman had refrained from asking exactly where Chloe used to live. Chloe and her younger sister always evaded those questions as skillfully as possible. How else could they explain that they used to live not just in a different town but also in a different time?
Having a fae brother who masqueraded as a mortal certainly made life difficult to explain. By mortal standards, he wasn’t even her brother. They did share blood though, which still made him family. And since Faerie had no time, he was able to bring Chloe and her sister back to live with him after their parents’ deaths.
Even more important, her brother’s wife and their children knew about his true fae nature. Maybe her nieces and nephews’ stories sounded strange and outlandish to outsiders but those in her house knew how true they really were.
A tight smile stretched across Chloe’s face as she waved goodbye to Mrs. Nash. The woman had been too deep in her grief to notice Chloe’s tension at the mention of her parents and her previous town. Her fingers gripped her notebook just a little too tight as she made her way down the hall leading to her work room.
This entire wing of the house had been added when Chloe and her younger sister, Grace, moved in. Her brother had done it all in one night, which took almost no work at all since he could conjure buildings, gold, and even clothing with his fae magic.
What did take work was trying to convince the people in town that the extra wing had been there all along. People had whispered about it for months. In the end, they all collectively agreed their memories had to be faulty, since it was clearly impossible for one man to build an entire wing in one night. Impossible for a mortal maybe but not for a fae.
A wave of earthy scents rushed into her nose when she opened the door to her workroom. Dried lavender, rosemary, and a few other herbs hung from thin strings tied to the ceiling. Notebooks, loose papers, heavy books, and empty pots of ink littered a worktable at one end of the room. On the other worktable, herbs and crystals sat next to a stone mortar and pestle.
Ignoring both tables, she knelt down and unlatched the trunk in one corner. No matter how many times she opened the trunk, she still held her breath while lifting the lid. The air ignited with an unseen energy. Tingles spread over her skin as she reached into its depths. The tingles only multiplied when her fingers met the book sitting at the bottom.
She pulled the suede and leather book cover tight to her chest as she breathed in its mossy scent. She had stolen it from Faerie, which she didn’t feel guilty about in the least. Magic pulsed between the pages, but no matter how many times she tried, she could never capture or absorb any of that magic. For good measure, she tugged it even closer and took one last deep breath. Still nothing.
Sighing, she stood and set the book onto her worktable. After getting comfortably situated, she thumbed through the pages. Mr. Nash’s sickness seemed eerily similar to scurpus. The sickness probably had a different name in the mortal realm, but the book from Faerie called it by its fae name.
While fae had healing abilities that could heal almost any sickness without help, they also had a host of remedies that sped up any healing process. Luckily, their remedies worked on mortals too.
Her finger tapped on the book once she found the page for scurpus. She set her notebook right next to it and compared the symptoms. A fever, rash, and excessive weakness were followed by a tinge of gray along the hairline and at the tips of the fingers. Mrs. Nash hadn’t mentioned anything about the gray tinge, but it probably wouldn’t be long before her husband exhibited that symptom too. A simple poultice could heal him, as long as she administered it before the gray tinge in the fingertips spread far enough to reach the palm of his hand.
Wiping her hands on the homespun apron protecting her silk dress, Chloe began gathering herbs. After reading the first ingredient off the list, she found it and set it neatly next to the book. Then she moved onto the next ingredient, setting it right next to the first. A wisp of blonde hair fell into her face while she worked, but she just tucked it back into her messy bun. Soon she had nearly all the ingredients gathered.
Her finger trailed down the page until it found the last ingredient. The sight of it sent a wrench through her heart.
Salt from the Faerie court of Swiftsea.
Chloe gulped. Swiftsea salt had magical properties that not even the other Faerie courts possessed. Her fingers instinctively reached for the hidden pouch under her homespun apron. Tight knots wound in her chest as she reached for its drawstring opening. The tiniest wave of nausea wriggled in her belly.
But just before she found the string, the knots in her chest loosened. Shaking away her worry, she held her page open and flipped to the back of the book.
She had encountered this problem a few times before. Thanks to an intelligent mortal who was long since dead, an appendix had been added to the book, which gave mortal ingredient substitutions for all the ingredients specific to Faerie.
A breath of relief dropped from her lips when she found that Swiftsea salt did indeed have substitute ingredients that existed in the mortal realm. Her relief only lasted a moment. She needed juniper, goldenrod, and fennel. A few bundles of juniper and a handful of goldenrod sat in her workroom but not the other herb.
She hadn’t bothered to collect and dry any fennel during the summer since she had never used it before. Without all three of the herbs, she couldn’t make a proper substitution for Swiftsea salt.
Her mouth went dry as she stared at the page. A part of her hoped staring would change the words in front of her. The book was magic, wasn’t it? It came from a magical realm at least.
The hope was fruitless. Of course the words never changed. If she wanted to save Mr. Nash, she knew what she had to do. Biting her lip, she reached under her apron and opened the small pouch. That same wave of nausea wriggled in her belly again, even stronger this time.
Only a handful of items sat at the bottom of the pouch. It contained a seashell that could make any liquid taste like honey, but even more important, the shell could also cleanse liquids of impurities or even poison. A light purple ribbon cut from a skirt that once belonged to her mother sat next to the shell. There were a few other trinkets, including a loose harp string she probably should have gotten rid of long ago. Last of all, there sat a small bag of Swiftsea salt.
Most of the Faerie items had come from Chloe’s older sister, Elora. A lump formed in her throat as she stared at the open pouch. Her sister lived in Faerie now. She occasionally came to the mortal realm to visit, but Chloe still missed her terribly.
Seeing the items did the same thing it always did. It made her miss Faerie too. She let out a wistful sigh as she plopped onto the nearest chair. Chloe hadn’t spent long in Faerie, but her time had been filled with adventure. Even three years later, she still pined for it sometimes.
But Faerie was dangerous. It had all sorts of rules and consequences, many of which could be deadly for a mortal. She had never been the type who loved adventure anyway. Reading epic poems provided as much adventure as she ever wanted from life.
Still, the land had been enchanting. Beautiful. It had a whole host of magical books just begging to be read.
Her eyes slammed shut as she folded her arms over her chest. Not this again. She had already decided. She would never return to Faerie. As a mortal, she belonged in the mortal realm.
Letting out a heavy breath, she ran through all the reasons the mortal realm was better for her. Here she’d be able to find someone to fall in love with, someone to grow old with.
Not a fae.
If she had stayed in Faerie and fallen in love with a fae, there would be no growing old together. She knew this more intimately than anyone. Her immortal fae brother had been married for years without trouble, but now his mortal wife was starting to age… and he was not.
Trouble brewed whether they wanted to admit it or not. Pretty soon, her fae brother would have to start wearing a glamour that made him appear older to match is wife’s age. If anyone caught his true face, he might have to leave the mortal realm. Then his wife would be forced to grow old all alone.
Gritting her teeth, Chloe snatched the bag of Swiftsea salt from her pouch. She would use it for Mr. Nash’s poultice, every last bit of it. Yes, it had valuable properties that would keep fae from enchanting her food, but what did that matter when she never intended to return to Faerie anyway?
Despite her surety, it still hurt to see the last sprinkles of her Swiftsea salt drop into the small wooden bowl she used for mixing. One of her last reminders of Faerie would be gone forever.
Her eyes stung as she crushed and cut the other herbs and dropped them into the bowl. The wisp of hair fell into her face again, but she was too busy wiping away a tear to bother with it.
The moment of weakness still ached in her throat, but she did her best to focus on the remedy. It didn’t take long to finish after that.
With the dry ingredients for the poultice secured in a cloth binding inside a small basket, Chloe grabbed her fur-lined cloak and pulled it over her shoulders. Getting to the Nash’s house would be easy since they lived just down the lane.
Chloe hardly noticed the ice crunching under her boots. Memories of Faerie flitted in her mind, no matter how she tried to shake them away. The moon shone bright in the sky, lighting the path ahead. When she arrived at the house next to the large ash tree at the end of the lane, she knocked hard on the front door.
Mrs. Nash answered it, her eyes now puffy and swollen. The woman ushered Chloe into a dark room lit only by the fire in the fireplace. “Here he is.” She whispered the words, as if speaking out loud would upset her ill husband.
The man’s eyes snapped open. His gaze darted around the room while fear seized his features. But once he caught sight of his wife, the tightness of his muscles vanished with a relieved exhale. “Mirielle.”
His fingers shook as he attempted to lift his hand from the bed he rested on. The weakness plaguing him prevented him from bringing his hand more than a palm’s length above the blankets. Just as Chloe had suspected, the lightest tinge of gray dappled his fingertips. After another moment, his hand dropped heavy back onto the bed.
Mrs. Nash rushed to his bedside and took his hand in both of hers. She squeezed it and then brushed the hair off his forehead. A tinge of gray stretched along his hairline. Her whisper came out even gentler than before. “Don’t you worry. Miss Chloe Rosenbel is here to make you feel better, just like I promised.”
She continued to speak soothing words to her husband while Chloe opened the poultice and added water to make a thick paste. Once ready, she spread the paste over the man’s chest.
With each movement, Mrs. Nash spoke gently and offered comfort.
Warmth spread in Chloe’s heart at the sight of it. Growing old with someone wouldn’t always be perfect. Maybe it would mean sickness and heartache and wrinkly skin, but moments like this would make it worth it.
Once finished, she offered a short nod to the Nashes and promised to return the next evening to check on Mr. Nash’s progress. By the time Chloe returned to the wintery air outside, her full heart warmed her against the chill.
It lasted three full steps before a tall figure just ahead forced her to jerk to a stop. She gulped as she glanced up, but then her entire body went rigid. She gasped.
The man before her stood taller than the average mortal, but that wasn’t too out of place. His pointed fae ears, on the other hand, would make anyone stare. Not to mention, he had gloriously perfect features that made him impossibly attractive, especially for a mortal.
“Quintus.” She spoke his name like a warning. If he weren’t so beautiful, she would have glared. He never should have entered the mortal realm without masking himself with a glamour that made him appear more like an imperfect mortal.
His eyes locked onto hers with a fervor she hadn’t known since leaving Faerie. His expression commanded the utmost attention. Surely, his voice would too. “You have to return to Faerie.”
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Never bargain with a fae...