Fantastical Page 2

But I was staring at my hand where the bird, or Aggie, had pecked.

That peck had kind of hurt.

What?

You weren’t supposed to feel pain in dreams, were you?

Then I heard a noise I’d never heard in real life before. The kind of noise you hear in movies when horse’s hooves are beating on cobblestones or the members of Monty Python were cracking together coconuts. Aggie flew up and to the window to alight on the balustrade of the Juliet balcony.

It looked down then it started hopping up and down as it turned its head toward me and started chirping madly, telling me, “Come quick, Cora, oh no! Come quick! Dashiell is here! With Orlando and…” the bird looked back down then urgently to me, chirping in a dire chirp (yes, seriously, a dire chirp), “Noctorno!”

Something about the bird’s demeanor made me throw the covers back, struggle out of the bed (seriously, feather beds were awesome but hard as hell to get out of) and rush (not gracefully nor dancing on my toes, I was pretty certain) to the balcony as Aggie kept chirping at me.

“This can’t be. Dashiell can’t see Rosa! Not before the wedding! If he does…”

I made it to the balcony and looked down to see that indeed three horses were in the courtyard. But I lost my sense of urgency when I saw the courtyard, its cobbles sun-warmed, gleaming clean and blonde. It was flanked by fountains, their waters blinking brilliantly in the bright sunlight. There were also an abundance of flower beds of every shape and size, ditto with flower pots and hanging planters. There were flowers here, there and everywhere, willy-nilly, on the house, on the cobbles, in the lush, green lawns. The stone of the house itself was nearly covered either in flowering vines or jutting planters with bright petals and dripping greenery.

Wow. Unbelievable. It was so beautiful I couldn’t breathe.

Then I looked up and out to see what surrounded the house. To my right a tall mountain-like hill with a rushing fall of water that pooled in a glinting pond that fed in a thin stream to a river at the opposite side. To the front beyond the manicured lawn, a dark green, thriving forest as far as the eye could see. To the left, a winding river so clear you could see the rocks on its bed even from a distance.

God, my mind made up some seriously cool shit.

“Cora!” Aggie shrieked through a chirp.

I looked down at him, still slightly dazed from the spectacle before me.

“What?” I asked.

He twitched his bird head to the courtyard and I looked back down to see the three horses with the three riders again. They finally got my attention because they, too, looked magnificent. Just the horses were magnificent but the riders. Yowza. I couldn’t see faces but those powerful thighs.

Um… yum!

I noted one horse was white, one was gray and one was black.

The white horse’s rider was wearing a white hat with a fluffy scarlet feather flowing along its side and around its back. He was also wearing a scarlet vest over one of those shirts with puffy sleeves. His shirt was white. With this, he was wearing biscuit-colored breeches and dark brown boots.

The gray horse’s rider was wearing a gray hat with fluffy deep blue feather flowing along its side and around its back. He was wearing a deep blue vest over a dove gray puffy-sleeved shirt, charcoal gray breeches and matching boots.

The black horse’s rider was wearing all black. Black hat. Black puffy shirt. Black boots. No vest. No feather.

Hmm. Interesting.

I further noted the black rider had the most powerful thighs of the three.

Hmm. Very interesting.

“Cora!” Aggie chirped.

“What?” I asked loudly and then I felt it.

Three sets of eyes on me.

I looked back down at the riders in the courtyard to see all three looking up at me.

Uh… whoa!

Holy… freaking… crap!

Those guys were hot!

The white hatted guy was blond, blue-eyed and g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s, gorgeous. The gray hatted guy had dark-brown hair with a hint of burnish, brown eyes and he was h-a-n-d-s-o-m-e, handsome.

And the black hatted guy had black hair, longer than the other two, very tanned skin, much tanner than the other two (who were nicely tanned, might I add), his features were sharper, leaner, stronger but in all his darkness, clothes, skin, hair, he had light blue eyes. Very light blue eyes.

Oh, and he was h-a-w-t, hawt.

And the hottest thing about him was that he had a scar curving from his temple down his cheekbone.

Ultra hot.

Wow.

Yum!

How was it that I was thirty-two years old and I’d never had this good of a dream? It wasn’t fair. This dream rocked!

“Heya,” I called to the hot guys.

“Cora, the exquisite,” the white hatted guy called back, a blinding white smile on his full lips and I liked what he called me. It was freaking awesome.

“That’s me, Cora the exquisite,” I agreed, smiling back.

“Cora!” Aggie chirped desperately, hopping around frantically.

“What?” I snapped at Aggie then went on, “Quit chirping at me, you crazy bird. I’m talking to the hot guys.”

“You’re barely dressed,” a hard, rough, deep, almost impossibly sexy voice came at me and I looked back down at the men. “Go inside, woman, for all the gods’ sakes, and cover yourself.”

It was the black hatted man.

I looked down at myself to see I was wearing the same nightgown as the woman who had danced and tra la’ed through my room. It was the most material I’d worn to bed in my life. Hell, it was the most material I’d worn anywhere in my life.

My eyes went to the black hatted man. “Dude, I’ve got about seven thousand yards of material on up here. I’m hardly barely dressed,” I told him.

I watched his brows shoot together giving him a decidedly ominous (yet mesmerizing and definitely totally sexy) look and then his eyes left me and his head turned to look at the white hatted guy who had also tipped his chin down and was looking back at him.

The gray hatted guy was looking up at me.

“Are you well, Cora?” he called. “This is not a man named, ‘Dude’. As you well know, this man is named Noctorno.”

Oh dear. That wasn’t a great name. Why couldn’t he have been Dashiell? Dashiell was a cool name. You could shorten it to Dash and Dash was a super-cool name.

Oh well. It didn’t matter. Usually with any good dream I had, I always woke up before the really good part. I just hoped I got to at least kiss one of them. I didn’t care which. My first choice was Noctorno (regardless of his name). My second was the dark brown-haired one mainly because I wasn’t all that big on the white hatted guy’s use of red as an accent color.

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