DISCLAIMER: Wicked Lovely belongs to Melissa Marr.

~ Not His ~

"I can help you," the Winter Queen says.

Could that really be true?

Faeries can't lie, the mortal girl reminds herself, which means she can help me. But in what way, and why would she want to? Isn't she the 'bad guy' in all of this?

Perhaps her 'help' would amount to nothing more helpful than a piece of scotch tape 'helping' to hold closed the gates of Hell.

"Can you save me?" Aislinn asks.

"I can save you," Beira replies, adding after a brief pause: "from him."

Ah, a qualifier. So she is powerless to halt the transformation after all. What is it, exactly, that she is she offering, then?

An icy wind caresses the mortal girl's cheek, soon followed by an icy hand.

"There is no stopping the transformation," the Winter Queen says, confirming Aislinn's suspicions. "However, I do have the ability to prevent you from being enslaved to my son as one of his Summer Girls, or cursed to serve decades - perhaps centuries - as the Winter Girl."

"How?" Aislinn breathes, desperate to grasp at this one small shard of hope.

"All you have to do is swear fealty to me, and I can make you a member of the Winter Court. You will be under my rule, of course, but you will have more freedom as servant to me than you would as a slave to the Summer King..."

And the girl, who has always known better than trust faeries, finds herself beguiled by this promise of a less harsh fate than she would otherwise be forced to suffer. Before she can stop herself, the words "Yes, I swear it" fall from her lips.

Her fate is sealed with icy kiss, and a world of pain, as she is reborn into a creature of the cold. She is all that she asked to be: not his.