Eloise doesn't like to be the centre of attention but on the day of her seventeenth birthday, while she's hanging out with her friends, a handsome young man dressed like a pirate kneels down in front of her and vows to be her champion. Then later that night, the young man, Marcus, turns into a wolfhound to save her life. But Marcus doesn't save Eloise from being sent to Fae, a world in which a despotic ruler threatens both faery and human realms, and soon Eloise is involved in a bitter battle to save her aunt, herself and a society in danger...
"I hate this town," Jo complained. "There isn't a single hot guy anywhere."
"Hey," Devin protested mildly, out of habit. We weren't really listening; we'd heard her give this same speech about a hundred times and frankly, my mint chocolate chip ice cream was more interesting. It was too hot to worry about guys. Only Jo could muster the energy to multitask a tantrum while sweating through her t-shirt and eyeing the carful of perfectly droolworthy guys currently ignoring her. Mind you, I'd seen her flirt with a photograph of Ian Somerhalder in a magazine once. A little drought wouldn't stop her.
"I'm hot," Devin added, wiping his forehead. "Literally."
We were at the ice cream parlor where everyone hung out because there was nothing else to do in the bustling metropolis of Rowan, population 8011. In winter we drove up and down Main Street, and in nicer weather we stood around the parking lot. It was October and even though the sun had just set, the pavement was still warm and slightly soft under our shoes. I'd already eaten more ice cream during this drought then in the last ten years put together.
"You don't count," Jo told him. "You know what I mean," she added, patting his shoulder comfortingly. "You'd be hot if I didn't know you. And if I hadn't seen you stuff eight ping pong balls in your mouth when you were ten and then spit all over me when you choked."
He just leaned back against the picnic table, his dark skin gleaming. "Halloween dance last year," was all he said.
Jo narrowed her eyes at him. "Shut up."
The stunning and epic failure of her costume was still talked about. I turned red just thinking about it. I'd have died on the spot if the whole gym had turned to stare at me like that.
Something I was considering doing right now actually.
"Dishy," Jo smoothed back her waist-length hair as a guy I didn't recognize crossed the parking lot toward us. People staring at her never fazed Jo; she got more upset when they ignored her. I much, much preferred being ignored.
"I'd snog that." Jo loved anything British, especially slang, which she used incessantly but incorrectly about half the time. Mostly, she used the swear words.
"Do you even know what that means?" Devin asked.
"It means kissing."
"Then say kissing."
The guy was still coming toward us as they bickered. He ignored the girls preening in his wake, and the guys snickering. His eyes were the color of moss, an eerie pale green that I could see even from several feet away. His gaze was touching me all over, like rain. He looked awed. That would have been disconcerting enough, never mind that he was wearing brown leather pants and some kind of gold-embroidered tunic. There was even a sword hanging from his belt. He looked like he belonged under torchlight, not streetlight.
And, did I mention? He totally kneeled on the dirty pavement, right at my feet.
"My lady Eloise," he said in a voice just made for long summer nights and acoustic guitars. "Finally, you are undressed to our eyes."
"Whoa," I took a big step backward. "What?"
Jo was trying so hard not to laugh at the look on my face I thought ice cream was going to come out of her nose, which would serve her right. Everyone around us turned to watch. Some of the girls even edged closer, especially Bianca. She loved nothing more than watching me squirm, all because two years ago Graham defended me when she laughed at me for getting a volleyball to the face in Phys Ed. She loved Graham. She hated me. Since she'd been the one to throw the volleyball, I wasn't too fond of her either.
"Come," he said to me with polite formality at odds with the scars on his hands. He didn't even glance at Jo. "We must away, before the others find you."
I knew I was blushing that special shade of red that makes me look like a boiled beet. Nothing like being a pale freckled girl who embarrasses easily. "Get up."
He got to his feet, graceful as water. His hair was dark blond, catching the light. His eyes blazed.
I took another step back. "Um, okay."
Devin scowled at him. "What's with the outfit?"
"Is it some sort of theater thing?" Jo asked. "Extra credit for drama? Who are you supposed to be, King Arthur?"
He didn't glance away from me, not even for a moment. I squirmed. Everyone was still looking at us. The whispers crested, like ocean waves. "You must come with me," he said urgently. "Please. If I have found you, the others will as well."
I nearly snorted. "Yeah, I don't think so." Why do people always assume that if you're quiet, you're also naive? Or downright stupid?
"You are in danger."
Devin shifted so he was standing closer to us. "Dude, not cool."
"I'll go with you, handsome," Bianca purred. She was wearing a tight tank top and some kind of glitter gel on her cleavage. Jo actually bared her teeth. She was a little territorial, not just about me, but about cute guys too. Each and every one of them belonged to her. In fact, for all that she teased Devin, she was notorious for cornering girls in the locker room if she thought they weren't being nice enough to him.
"Let's get out of here," I grabbed Jo's arm. "Devin, come on."
The guy finally looked away from me, noticing all the curious faces looking him over. "Another time, then."
He bowed. He actually bowed. I could feel Jo fluttering beside me, she loved that sort of quasi-medieval thing. She was probably forcing herself not to curtsy back.
"Soon," he added.
I honestly didn't know if I should take that as a promise or a threat.
We circled the picnic table to get to Devin's car. Jo let me have the front seat, a definite indication that I must have looked as uncomfortable as I felt. She never let me have the front, she considered it her personal territory to be defended at all costs, like Ian Somerhalder and chocolate macaroons. The guy watched us as we drove away, looking determined.
"Cute," she said as Devin squealed out of the lot. "But what a wanker."
Alyxandra Harvey is the author of Haunting Violet and the Drake Chronicles series. She studied creative writing and literature at York University and has had her poetry published in magazines, including the Antigonish Review, Room of One's Own, OnSpec and CV2. When not writing, she is a bellydancer and jewellery maker. Alyxandra lives in Ontario, Canada.
Allen and Unwin
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Interview with Alyxandra Harvey
Question: What inspired Stolen Away?
Alyxandra Harvey: I've always loved stories of the Fae and I was eager to interpret that world in my own way.
Question: How would you describe Stolen Away, in five words?
Alyxandra Harvey: Poetry, danger, passion, secrets, family!
Question: What is the best thing about creating a character like Eloise?
Alyxandra Harvey: I loved exploring the layers and contradictions in her personality, as well as the dichotomy between who she is and how other people see her. She's misunderstood...she's quiet but she can kick ass. Plus, I just like tattoos and Rockabilly culture.
Question: Why would you want to live in the world of faery?
Alyxandra Harvey: I'm not sure I'd want to live there...but I'd sure like a passport.
Question: How much research went into the setting of the book?
Alyxandra Harvey: Being inordinately fond of Celtic legends and history I'd already done a lot of the research just for fun. I'm also especially fond of the Irish Sidhe, who were said to be the old Gods--- the Tuatha de Danaan driven under the earth by the Sons of Mil. And by the time the Victorians became obsessed with the Fae, they were already shrunk down to tiny beautiful girls with butterfly wings who lived inside bluebells and foxglove flowers.
Ancient Celts to the 19th century..two of my favourite time periods! How could I not use them both in Stolen Away where Eloise and her friends Jo and Devin, encounter the world of Fae...from sinister kings to men with antlers, girls with wings and tiny fairies who'd as soon poke you with a sharp stick then grant you a wish!